Long before the compound bow became the bow of choice for almost every hunter, countless deer, elk and other big game were successfully harvested with a recurve bow. Today, the recurve bow is largely overlooked by most hunters, but the recurve can still be used effectively for deer hunting. Here is a look at some tips for deer hunting with a recurve bow that hunters can use to improve their odds of success.
Arrows from a recurve bow fly slower, much slower, than arrows from a compound bow. For this reason it is important for a bow hunter to use string silencers and other devices meant to make the bow quiet. Due to the slow speed of the arrow, a deer is more likely to “jump” the string resulting in a miss or worse yet, a poorly hit deer. A hunter should also tune the bow and arrows to make the arrow flight as smooth and silent as possible.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Just like with a compound bow, it is important for a recurve hunter to shoot as much as possible. This is especially true if the hunter chooses to not use sights and shoot instinctively. Practice sessions should include taking shots in a variety of potential field positions. The hunter should also become familiar with taking shots with the bow held at an angle as this may be required when shooting the bow in the field. These practice session with a recurve are not just to build skill, but also to determine limits. Though the bow may be capable of taking deer or other game animals at 40 yards, many hunters simply cannot reliably make a shot at this distance. If you cannot keep the shots in an eight inch target at a certain distance, you should not shoot at an animal at that range.
As the effective range of a recurve bow is less than the range of a compound bow, recurve deer hunters need to be more aware of defeating a deer’s senses. Wearing proper camouflage and eliminating and masking scent is even more important to a bow hunter with a recurve than those with a compound bow. There is a lot of good information out there on choosing camouflage and fighting scent, but the basics of staying still and staying upwind of the deer are still important.
Hunt While Concealed
Without the mechanical advantage that the pulleys of a compound bow offer, it is difficult to hold a recurve bow at full draw for long periods of time. Due to this it is often best for a hunter with a recurve to hunt in thick cover with small shooting lanes. The cover allows the hunter to draw as a deer approaches a shooting lane and release an arrow when the deer enters the lane. Choosing to hunt from a ground blind or from a tree stand covered by a blind can also help recurve hunters to cover movement drawing the bow.