Can You Kill A Deer With A Recurve Bow?

Fact checked by Steven Lines, lifelong Hunter, and OutdoorsmanOpens in a new tab..

This is not your typical write-up with ‘deer hunting tips’ that tells you how highly challenging sports deer hunting can be and guarantees to turn you into the ‘Chuck Norris’ version of a hunter.

NO! Rather, I expect you to have some knowledge on this highly rewarding game since I’m going to talk from an expert’s perspective here. 

And since you’ve got your hands on a recurve bow (or maybe you will) and I reckon you want to hunt down a deer, now you’re probably thinking of one question. Can you kill a deer with a recurve bow?

The answer is… ba dum tss…YES! You can. For ages, hunters have been using recurve bows to harvest deer, moose, and elk. They’re lightweight, make less noise, and help the arrows easily penetrate their hides for a swift and ethical kill. 

However, hunting down big game animals requires skill, perseverance, and intelligence, even if you have high-end recurves. Allow me to shed some light on you.

Can You Kill A Deer With A Recurve Bow

A Few Pre-Hunting Tips

Maybe you can shoot a deer pretty well, but here are some things you should know before you jump to the hunting zone. 

Don’t Pressure the Deer

Time to get personal with the deer in your hunting game? Cool! Remember not to spook them with your presence. Go for low-pressure hunting techniques. For example, you might use trail cameras to get in-depth knowledge about their movement.

You probably wouldn’t want to stop spending time in the wild; it’s tempting, I know. Checking your trail cameras, setting up the tree stands, scouting for deer is all fun. However, it’s best if you hold your urges a bit and stop going out too often. 

If you can hold it until the opening day, the deer will get pressured to go out of the areas occupied by other hunters and end up moving to your spot. 

Plan Everything Before the Hunt

Make sure you’re not on the property too often when you’re closer to the opening day. Plan your strategy. Set up your things before a week, and you’ll be able to enjoy the best hunting session with the big game animals. 

And guess what makes you stand out? Other hunters won’t probably plan things earlier as you did. And if everything goes as planned, you’ll find the deer leaving their areas. Since you haven’t shown your activity, the deer will migrate to your place, thinking it is a haven.

Target Bedding-to-Feeding Routes

Deer love having nuts, fruits, plants, and acorns before the arrival of the rutting season. They search for foods that have high sugar, nuts, and acorns. As a result, they stop by places with these foods in abundance. 

You can search for areas that have these foods preferred by deer. Setting up some trail cameras can spice things up for you to track them. Once you’ve tracked them down, you can go for the larger game; meaning, shoot some big bucks.

Stalk the Does

If you’re a badass hunter, you’d want to go for the buck, and that’s what every hunter wants. But tell you what, you might want to invest your time stalking some does to get to a buck fast. Yes, true- most hunters don’t care about does; however, the bucks do. 

And during these specific times, does are the only thing that roams around inside their heads. So, anywhere you find a female deer, a.k.a doe, I can almost guarantee you that there’s a buck nearby.

Silence Is Key

Let it be compound bows or recurve bows; they tend to make some noise in the first place. Yes, recurves make less noise, but they can still blow your cover when you’re deer hunting. You’ll find accessories in the market that silences recurve bows, a string silencer, for example. Try getting your hands on one of these, and you should be good to go. You can also tune your bows and arrows.

Once you’ve taken care of your bow, it’s time for you to keep yourself covered. Take baby steps when you walk. Even if the leaves rustle, these animals can sense you. So, you better keep a very low profile. 

Make sure you don’t smell. There are thousands of sensitive receptors in a deer’s nostrils. The wind will carry your smell, and the next thing you know, the deers will make a run for it. Walk in such a way that the wind stays in your face. To keep the wind in your favor, you can use a wind checker.

Soaps and sanitizers have got perfume in them, and even the slightest bit can bring you a challenge you don’t want to accept. If you really want to use soap, try the scent-removing ones. 

Remain Concealed

The forest is your place to hide. Try blending in with the trees and the bushes as much as possible. Camouflage yourself from head to toe and use something to kill your smell. 

You might consider using scent-removing products for the best results. If you want the wind in your favor, get yourself a wind-checker; it’s pretty handy. 

Keep Practicing

Using a recurve bow is easy, that’s true! However, just like traditional bows and compound bows, you’ll have to practice with your recurve to shoot instinctively. I’d suggest taking shots in different field positions. 

You might want to practice at your hunting zone or create a scenario that gives you the hunting zone vibe for best results. It will keep you aligned with the actual shooting scene. 

Try firing shots at different angles and see which shot is fatal. So, when it’s time for the actual shooting, you’ll have in-depth knowledge about your moves. 

What Recurve Draw Weight Should I Use for Deer?

Speaking of draw weights, you don’t need excessive weight for shooting a whitetail. However, the more weight you go for, the better. You have to get out of your comfort zone, though. 

The minimum ‘legal’ draw weight for hunting varies from one state to another. So yes, you better check the rules of the state you’re going to hunt in. However, the minimum draw weight required is 40 lbs when it comes to most States.

But I honestly think 45 pounds is a good start, though, while I recommend going for 55 pounds as this makes sure the arrow reaches the target effectively and hits the mark. 

I’m not saying that the lighter bows won’t kill deer; they can. But if you go for the lighter ones, you won’t get maximum penetration. Keep in mind that deer have very thick skin. Recurve bows don’t need to be expensive; you can find effective recurve bows on a budget here.

What Is the Ideal Range of Shooting a Deer with a Recurve Bow?

Since bow hunting is just another close-range sport, you can get a good shot within 15 to 17 yards. However, some hunters prefer 25 yards to even 30 yards, depending on their archery skills. 

If the distance between you and the animal decreases, it’s clear as a day that you’ll have a better chance of hitting the deer. But when I’m saying you’ll hit the animal, I’m not guaranteeing deep penetration, though. 

You see, at close distances, you can hit the limbs of the deer, or maybe even hit the heart or lung area because this time you’ve got proper shot placement. But, this also means that the arrow won’t have its full speed. And in this big game, speed is power. 

Try increasing your effective range with consistent shooting form and hard work. It doesn’t matter how well you shoot; it’s always wise to keep your hunting site close to the big game. Once you can shoot longer ranges, your chances of getting a vital hit increase. 

What Arrows Should I Use for Deer Hunting?

You can’t simply see an arrow in an archery store and be like, ‘Oh, I’ll take this one.’ The arrows should match your draw length and draw weight. Each arrow has to be similar regarding stiffness, weight, and spine. Otherwise, you won’t get much of a consistency. 

As for the type, you should get your hands on carbon arrows. While others may disagree (or may not), archers prefer carbon arrows. If you have the best recurve bow, why not get the best arrow? 

Invest in something that has at least 0.001 to 0.006 inches straightness tolerance. Straighter arrows will cost you more money, so you better check your bank too. 

What Broadheads Should I Use for Dear?

A traditional bow or a compound bow can work fine with mechanical broadheads. But when you’re talking about recurves, traditional shooters always prefer the fixed-bladed broadheads over anything. And that’s what I’d recommend. I’m not too fond of mechanical ones personally. 

Keep an eye on the tip design. The pyramid style points, bone busting style tips, cut-on contact are much better than the cone-shaped ones. A sharp broadhead is your best bet if you want to go for instinctive shooting. If you’d like to read more, there’s an entire review dedicated to broadheads for recurve bows here.

Wrapping Up! 

So, can you kill a deer with a recurve bow? Now you know not only the answers but some tips that you probably didn’t know before. So, you better grab your recurve bow right now and start planning your next moves. 

Steven Lines hunter pic 1

Steven Lines is a hunter and outdoorsman from Safford, Arizona, USA. Since he was a child, he has been hunting and fishing and has over 20 years of outdoor experience. Steven works as a hunting guide in Arizona during his spare time and runs a Youtube channelOpens in a new tab. dedicated to sharing his outdoor adventures with others.


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Hi, I'm Sam! I used to work as a caregiver, and now I'm in medical school. My blog is about helping people get healthier through fun activities like archery, hunting, and powerlifting. If you like one of my articles, please share it with your friends and family so they can be healthy too!

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