16 Essentials For Recurve Bow Hunting You Need to Know

A recurve bow is not usually the first choice when it comes to hunting. The compound bow is preferred. Experienced archers might even advise you against using a recurve bow for hunting.

However, if you want to practice a traditional and pure form of hunting, the recurve bow is your best option. It shoots very fast, thanks to reflex/deflex design. It allows for instinctive shooting which is thrilling and sharpens your archery skills.

If you want to practice a traditional and pure form of hunting, the recurve bow is your best option.

You should know that hunting with a recurve is trickier than using a compound. You will have to put in a lot of hard work, but it will be worth it in the end. The other great thing about a recurve bow is that most recurve bows have preinstalled bushings that allow for the installation of accessories such as a stabilizer.

A Recurve Bow Vs A Compound Bow In Bowhunting

This is one debate that is never going to end anytime soon.

It is not too difficult to choose a bow for target archery and other simple forms of archery. However, when it comes to hunting, the process becomes a little complicated.

Should you get a recurve bow or a compound bow? As already mentioned above more shooters will recommend a compound bow in this scenario, especially if you are a beginner. The reason is that a compound bow requires very little effort from you. It is modern and, therefore, makes the job easier for you.

However, an adventurous archer is not looking for ‘easy’. When hunting game, you want to get the most out of the experience; you are looking for an unadulterated hunting experience. That is what you get from a recurve bow. Not to say that the compound bow is not a good option—that depends on your preference—but there is something about the recurve.

The recurve bow will test your skills and strength as a hunter. Unlike the compound bow that gives you a mechanical advantage because of its pulleys and cables, you bear all the weight of the resistance with the recurve.

It also provides for a very smooth draw which means you can take quick successive shots.  As you can imagine, this is a much-needed function in hunting. Another important feature is that a recurve bow can be used with almost all kinds of arrows.

Assuming you are ready for an authentic hunting experience with your recurve bow, take a look at what you will need.

The Essentials

1. Arrows

A hunting arrow should be able to penetrate your target deeply if you want to make a serious impact. But first, make sure your arrows match your recurve bow’s draw weight and your draw length. It is always advisable to buy them while buying the bow.

If you have a powerful bow, your arrows should be stiff. The stiffness of an arrow is referred to as an arrow’s spine. Failure to match your arrow’s spine with your bow will cause the arrow to deflect and you will not have much success in your hunting.

2. Broadhead

The kind of broadhead you should choose depends on the game you want to hunt. Not many people put thought into this, as long as the job gets done.  There are two major types of broadheads; the mechanical blade and the fixed blade. For a deep and small wound, the fixed blade is preferred while for a large and shallow wound, the mechanical blade is best. Because of this, the fixed blade is better if you want to hunt thick-skinned game.

While buying broadheads, ensure that you buy a broadhead wrench too. Given that broadheads are meant to inflict deadly wounds on prey, it is a no-brainer that you could get hurt very badly if you try to unscrew them with your bare hands.

3. Quiver

This is a very important device. Without a quiver, it is impossible to have an enjoyable hunting experience. You need a safe and efficient place to store your arrows. There are different types of quivers; you choose one depending on your preferences. The following are the most common types:

Back quiver: you have probably seen this one as it is used by most archers, even in movies. It has a strap and you carry it on your back. Put your hand orientation into consideration when buying a back quiver. The main disadvantage of the back quiver is that getting an arrow quickly and quietly might be tough.

Belt quiver: this one is small, compact and light. More archers are ditching the traditional back quiver for the belt quiver. While this type of quiver makes it easy to draw an arrow, moving through thick bushes might be an issue.

Bow quiver: this one is attached to the bow and is mostly used with compound bows.

Ground quiver: as the name suggests, the ground quiver is placed on the ground. It is not the best for hunting; unless you plan to stand in the same spot and wait for prey.

4. Finger Tab or Glove and Arm Guard

When shooting, there is a very good chance of the string coming into contact with your arm—and that slap is not usually gentle. An arm guard is meant to protect you from that. Choosing an arm guard is not that complicated, as long as you get one that does its job. Most people consider the material used.

A finger tab or glove, on the other hand, protects your fingers from the string. Hunting without one will have your fingers sore very soon. Some people say a tab is more comfortable than a glove but that is a matter of personal preference. Whichever one you pick, ensure that the size is right and the material feels comfortable against your skin.

5. Clothing

What do you think would be your success rate if you went hunting wearing your brightest shirt? You need camouflage clothing that matches the color of your hunting environment. Camo helps you sneak up on your prey so most of the time you do not have to shoot over a long distance—hence a better likelihood of killing something.

Ask for assistance from the store attendants or an expert when buying camouflage clothing. Pro archers recommend dressing in layers. The weather is known for being unpredictable. You should be prepared. Camouflage clothing does not have to cost every cent you have. You can even improvise if money is really tight.

6. Footwear

Archery footwear is an important investment. Do not try to go hunting without appropriate footwear. Find boots that will protect your feet and ensure comfort. If you will be hunting in a cold place, make sure they keep you warm. Better still, they should match your camo clothing to help you blend in perfectly with the hunting habitat.

7. Backpack

When buying your hunting gear, a backpack is a must-buy. Most probably, you have to walk long distances to find game. A backpack helps you carry everything you need such as snacks, water, gear, and your hunting license. You could also use it to carry your prey back to the car.

Do not buy a brightly-colored bag. Just like your clothing, your bag should be camouflaged. Consider the material used o make it too; the tougher, the better. Ensure that it is not too bulky. You need to be comfortable even when you have to trek for hours.

8. Bow Case

Who needs a bow case? Every hunter does. A case keeps your stuff organized. It also provides a safe way to carry your gear. You can either get a soft case or a hard case, depending on a few factors. A soft case is best if you do not travel very far to hunt. It has compartments for the different hunting essentials. You can get one in a backpack design to make the carrying easier.

A hard case offers maximum protection for your gear. Get this one if your gear is expensive or if you plan to travel by airplane. Most of them come with a security lock. It is a good investment and lasts long. Better still, you can get a custom one designed for your recurve bow.

Optional Stuff

9. Silencer or Dampener

A bow does not give off much noise compared to a firearm. However, there is still the string vibration that can be heard by the prey when shooting at close range. More powerful bows produce more noise and if your bow has a high draw weight you will have to buy a dampener, silencer or both. For a less powerful bow, either can do.

The dampener is attached to the limbs and its major function is to eliminate the vibrations and, in the process, some of the noise. Therefore, you might still notice some sound coming from the bowstring. If you use both of them together you will reduce the noise and vibration as much as possible.

10. Bowstring Wax

You have probably been told that you need to take care of your bowstring; but how do you do that? You do it by waxing it frequently. Your bowstring is made up of very tiny fibers. While shooting, friction is created as a result of the tiny fibers rubbing against each other. As a result, the strands start snapping and your bowstring will not last long. Not only does bowstring wax prevent this friction, but it also protects it against the elements. Part of being a great archer is taking good care of your equipment, and that includes your bowstring.

11. Tree Stand

A tree stand gives you a few advantages over your prey. First, you will be on higher ground which means that you can see farther. You will see the game before it sees you. If you go for a camouflage color, your chances of getting lucky will be even higher. Second, a tree stand makes it difficult for an animal to smell your scent. With these advantages, you will not go home empty-handed– most probably.

The one disadvantage of tree stands is that they can be noisy. If you are the kind of hunter that likes to keep shifting, the animal will notice you and escape even before you can draw your string. So, what do you do? Be careful and make sure you pick the quietest option.

There are three main types of tree stands. The first one is the ladder tree stand. It is easy to climb up and down. It offers comfort and is also not noisy. The second type is the hang-on stand. This one actually has a lock-on platform for noise reduction. It is probably the quietest option. The last one is the climbing stand. This one is best suited for hunters who move around a lot as it is portable.

12. GPS Devices

The process of chasing an animal can be so thrilling that you can lose track of time and even get lost. A GPS device helps find your way back home without much trouble. If you have enough money to spare, go all out and buy one that has a hunting calendar and offers data on weather conditions, distances, and coordinates.

Another use of GPS devices is tracking arrows. After a hunting session, the last thing you want is to start walking all over looking for your arrows. Your other option is to buy new arrows, which can cost you a lot in the long run. Invest in a GPS and find your arrows easily.

13. Stabilizer

A stabilizer enhances stability. Even the slightest shaking might interfere with your accuracy. You need your bow to be as steady as possible, and that can be difficult. The function of a stabilizer is to balance out your bow’s weight and minimize shaking during shooting.

Stabilizers come in many shapes and sizes. Hunters prefer compact stabilizers because they are convenient and allow for moving around. Before you get one, understand that it adds extra weight and it can slow you down. Archers that really need a stabilizer are those that shoot from a tree stand, on stiff winds or those that have a hard time making a steady shot for whatever reason.

14. Arrow Rest

An arrow rest is a small device but very important in archery. It is very fascinating how it can affect the path of your arrow. A rest keeps your arrow steady until it is launched. Check if your riser has holes. If there are no holes, you do not have many options. For your recurve bow, you can get a shelf rest, stick-on rest or a screw-in rest.

Shelf rests are simple, usually made of hairs, feathers or leather. They are used mostly by archers who shoot off the shelf (that is, they do not use an elevated rest). Stick-on rests go with just about any traditional bow. The screw-in rests can only be used with bows that have drilled holes. Arrow rests are hand-orientation specific.  This may not apply to the shelf rests by it definitely applies to the other two. Choose an arrow rest that matches the hand orientation of your bow.

15. Release

A release or release aid, as you can tell from the name, helps you release the arrow more smoothly and enhances your accuracy. It does the job way quicker than your fingers. The different types of releases include a resistance activated release, hinge release, thumb trigger, and an index finger release.

The index finger release is attached to your wrist. Hunters like it because it does not easily get lost. The thumb trigger released is hand-held (you can get one with a wrist strap). The hinge release is pretty interesting. With it, you never know exactly when it will trigger. This “surprise” factor is not helpful in hunting, though. The resistance activated release is hand-held and triggerless.

16. Sight

Most experienced archers will discourage the use of sights, especially in hunting. More often than not, bow hunting requires instinctive shooting and you may not really need a sight if you have done enough practice. However, if you still want to get one, make sure you get the right kind for you.

What You Need To Know

Consider transportation when buying gear: as you can see, there are a number of things that you must have before you can start hunting. Even though it can be overwhelming in many ways, know how you will transport everything safely to the where you intend to carry out your hunting. Consider buying a takedown recurve bow and invest in a bow case.

Choose your equipment wisely: think everything through and do not be in a rush. Can you afford a quiet bow or will you have to buy a silencer and/or dampener? The silence (or lack thereof) of your equipment will determine your chances of success. The draw weight of your bow is another important factor. Depending on the type of game you will be hunting, make sure you get the right draw weight.

The hunting regulations of your area: in most places, you cannot just wake up one day, buy hunting equipment and set off to have a good time. There are strict regulations that govern hunting for obvious reasons. The consequences of hunting without a license can also be serious. Be a good archer and find out what you need before you start.

You will probably be humbled: unless you are really lucky, the first few hunting trips will humble you. Do not worry too much if every single animal seems to slip past you. Keep practicing and learning as much as you can about the environment and game. Very soon you will be getting the big animals.

Recurve bow hunting makes you feel alive. Unlike hunting with the compound bow, there is the traditional aspect that adds a little spice to the experience. Before you embark on this adventure, make sure you have everything you need. Pick your arrows carefully and make sure they go with your recurve bow. Choose a broadhead that will have an impact on the prey. Get camouflage clothing to help you blend in and make it hard for the animal to see you. Your shoes must ensure comfort and protection. A backpack, quiver and bow case will help with the transportation of your gear and game.

For long, brutal hunting sessions, get a finger tab/glove and arm guard to avoid a sore arm and fingers. To maximize your chances of success, invest in a GPS device, tree stand, dampener/silencer, release, stabilizer and arrow rest. Whether or not you buy a sight depends on you—but you can do just fine without it. Finally, do not forget bowstring wax to take care of your bowstring.

Have an awesome hunting experience!