It likely comes as no surprise how popular bow hunting has become in recent years. Truly, this is the old school standard–the way our ancestors hunted for deer and other prey. Many hunters love how the complexities of bow hunting challenge them in their craft and, ultimately, how it ups their skill.
There is also the draw of bow hunting’s broader season, which starts earlier than rifle season. So having bow skills and the right bow to pair with them can greatly extend your hunting season and bring in impressive trophies.
With that in mind, it’s imperative to have the best deer hunting bow for your needs! Check out our roundup of the top picks for deer hunting bows, including some things to consider that will help you choose the right bow that’s perfect for you.
Our Top Picks
Bear Archery Legit Compound Bow
Best Crossbow Option
Excalibur Assassin Extreme
There are a lot of moving parts in play that make for what should be considered a top pick for a deer hunting bow. We’re talking speed of fire, accuracy, durability, weight grade/ease of carry, serviceability, and more.
Many deer hunting bows can claim the top spot in any one of these categories, but the key is to find a bow that ranks high in all of them. And with all of that in mind, that’s why we’ve chosen the Mathews Phase 4 Compound Bow as our overall top pick for the best deer hunting bow.
This bow may not round out every element of the best deer hunting bow perfectly, but it ranks high enough in each category that it balances out to be the best bang for your buck–literally and metaphorically. It’s precise, portable, quiet, and easy to service both on and off the field.
- Quiet, smooth firing, with notably low vibration
- Has a great package for servicing the bow out in the field
- Lightweight design and offers a good draw weight as well
- Can be used with some of the most popular accessories from previous Mathews brand bows
- Among the pricier deer hunting bows
- Due to the brand’s innovations, this bow will likely be outpaced by new designs in a year or two
Best Budget Option
Whether you are approaching deer hunting as a hobby, from a conservation standpoint, or to put food on the table, the truth remains the same: you don’t want to break the bank on any of these ventures. And it’s no secret that bow hunting can become quite expensive…even more expensive than its rifle hunting counterpart.
Fortunately, the price of a deer hunting bow does not have to be a deal breaker for whether you can take up the craft–not if you invest in the Bear Archery Legit Compound Bow.
This high-performance bow clocks in significantly cheaper than many of its counterparts. At the same time, it maintains a great draw cycle and draw weight, is easy to use, and flexible to use for hunters of all ages and builds.
- Remarkably affordable, particularly when stacked against its contemporaries
- Maintains great attributes despite its lower price point
- A fantastic beginner bow
- Some consumers have reported issues with screws and strings coming undone with use
- Not as durable as some other deer hunting bows on the market
Best Crossbow Option
There is a lot of back and forth about which is better for deer hunting–a compound bow or a crossbow. There are pros and cons to each, and ultimately, it comes down to skill and preference. If your preferences lie on the crossbow side, then we recommend the Excaliber Assassin Extreme as the best crossbow option for deer hunting.
Excaliber has been beating out the competition for years when it comes to deer hunting bows. This model is no exception. It’s durable and compact, with reduced vibration, shock, and noise qualities. Speedy and sleek, this bow is easy to carry, with a balanced draw and a precise aim.
- Popular for a reason–Excaliber continues to deliver with sleek, high-quality designs
- Excellent accuracy and smooth firing
- Remains sleek and versatile, avoids being bulky despite its many features and larger size
- Can be a difficult bow for beginners to wield.
- On the pricier side of deer hunting bows
Best For Youth Hunters
Deer hunting is a great skill to teach young outdoors people. It can help increase their appreciation for conservation and their mindfulness of the circle of life. It can also help them to become more self-sufficient and aware of the awesome responsibility of felling game and providing for one’s own needs with the skill of their hands.
At the same time, you don’t want to overwhelm young hunters with a bow that’s too large or too unwieldy for them. Being able to efficiently and safely hunt from a young age is key. For this reason, we recommend the Mathews Prima Compound Bow as a great option to start young hunters off on the right foot.
This bow is compact and lightweight, yet it remains an effective option for felling game. This bow is great for adolescents and teens, as it’s maneuverable and sturdy without being overly complex. This is a great deer hunting bow to start young hunters off in a manageable but effective way.
- A perfect size and weight for young bow hunters
- Durable and sturdy, making it a great bow to grow with your young hunter
- Great controlled vibration to reduce strain on still-growing arms
- On the more expensive side for starting off young hunters
- May still be too large for particularly young hunters
Best Recurve Bow
One of the greatest draws of bow hunting is how it offers a sense of power and connection to one’s ancestral roots. Nothing gets you closer to that feeling of primal hunting skills than mastering the use of a recurve bow. But you don’t want to sacrifice practicality on the offer of aesthetics–you need a bow that shoots as good as it looks.
With that in mind, we recommend the Bear Archery Super Grizzly as the best recurve bow option. This bow lives up to its well known brand name, offering a sleek design and accurate aim without the use of any augmenting tools.
This is a powerful, smooth bow that will make the perfect fit for any recurve hunter’s collection.
- A truly sleek, beautiful bow
- Marries the best of historic bow design with modern standards
- Has a smooth draw and fire design
- Has limited poundage options
- May not fire as precisely as a crossbow or compound bow
Deer Hunting Bows Buyer’s Guide
Consider The Hunter’s Stamina
Individual stamina is a major contributing factor to the quality of any deer hunting bow. It’s not just that every bow has its own draw weight–the amount of weight you’re pulling against to draw the bowstring back. But there are actually ideal draw weights for certain types of hunting, such as whitetail.
While different types of bows are manufactured to help offset some of the draw weight, nothing will mitigate it entirely. So you need to be aware of your own stamina before deciding which is the best deer hunting bow for you. Ultimately, it won’t matter if you have the best quality deer hunting bow if you aren’t able to draw back the string.
Be sure to test out your deer hunting bow of choice, learn its draw weight, and consider doing any necessary work to raise your stamina to meet that bow’s requirements if it’s one you truly have your heart set on.
Consider the Range and Location from Which You Will Be Hunting
Certain deer hunting bows are graded for hunting and firing over longer or shorter distances. While it may seem like having a long range bow would be the best notion regardless–after all, you may be shooting at a fast-moving target if the deer spooks–this is not actually always the case.
Long range deer hunting bows may not perform to your needs in shorter distances. You may also have a harder time maneuvering with these bows in short range. Conversely, short range bows will obviously not perform as well over long distances, diminishing your accuracy.
A lot of things can affect the range and location, and therefore the accuracy, of your use with a deer hunting bow. You might consider, for example, whether you will be firing from a ground blind or a tree stand. Will you typically be firing from in the woods or across an open field?
The key to choosing the right deer hunting bow is to have an idea of the optimal range and location at which you will most often be using it. There will always be exceptions, of course, but tailoring your deer hunting bow pick to your standard range and location will
Consider the Age and Build of the Hunter
Though we live in an age of equality, there are some concessions that may need to be made when choosing a deer hunting bow, based on a hunter’s muscular build and age.
Kiddos who are still growing, as well as men and women, may have different musculature–and therefore, different deer hunting bow needs. Even a teenager may struggle with the draw weight, size, and grip of a standard compound deer hunting bow.
There are also some deer hunting bows on the market that tailor to general musculature differences between men and women, or those that can help the differently-abled with offsetting the sometimes awkward grip and draw weight of a standard compound or crossbow.
Since everyone’s build and needs are different, do consider whether the men, women, and kiddos in your life could benefit from a deer hunting bow tailored to their age and stature.
Take Into Account Your Familiarity with Bow Hunting
When you are just starting out in any craft or hobby, beginning with the craft master’s tools is not generally considered a wise choice. Until you know how to properly wield a tool, you are more likely to be frustrated by, and even a danger to or with said tool.
This standard holds true for deer hunting bows as well. While it can be tempting to go straight for the best deer hunting bow on the market, do take into consideration your familiarity with bow hunting as you make your purchase selection.
It may be better to start a few rungs down or with a budget option as you learn your way up the ladder of mastery with deer hunting. There’s no shame in aiming small to miss small at first; eventually, you will find yourself feeling at home with the bigger and better deer hunting bows out there.
But if you are a novice, definitely consider a more simple and straightforward deer hunting bow to get you started on the path to success.
Wrapping Up the Best Deer Hunting Bows for 2023
Ready to grab the best deer hunting bow and get prepped for hunting season? Before you strike off on the hunt, be sure you check out our roundup of the Best Camo for Deer Hunting. Pair this with the best deer hunting bow, and you’ll be a force of nature on the hunting grounds this year.
- About the Author
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Born in Madelia, MN, to a now 5-generation Minnesota family, Ryan’s MN roots go deep.
A painter by day, Ryan founded Life in Minnesota in 2013 with his wife Kelly to chronicle their musings on everything Minnesota. Ryan and Kelly are raising their 7 kiddos in Maple Grove, MN.
When he’s not shuttling his kids around to hockey practice, you might find him in the shop working on his leatherwork. Undoubtedly, there will be a family trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area every summer, and of course weekends at Grandpa’s cabin up north in the summer.