Types of Bows – 2021 Informational Overview

Because bow hunting is an incredibly old activity, the style and manner have had many years to expand and be refined.

As a result, there are a variety of different types of hunting bows to choose from, each bringing a unique history to their present use.

They are all amazing choices for their specific ideal uses and allow hunters to choose which style they would like to participate in.

Benefits of Using a Bow While Hunting

There are many benefits of choosing to hunt with a bow other than simply participating in something with a deep history. Many people hunt with a bow for the challenge, the increased freedom, and also due to different environments.


If you like the hunt itself more than the kill, bowhunting is the perfect practice for you. Hunting in this manner requires great patience, skill, and planning in ways that hunting with other devices often does not. Many hunters choose to participate in this art for the challenge, as it requires physical and mental preparation along with skill.



Bow hunting also allows archers more freedom than those using guns. There are fewer regulations around where and when bows can be used, which not only expands the number of possible locations, but also often lengthens the hunting season for bow users.


Many people choose to hunt with a bow because of the ways in which this practice alters the hunting environment. Bow hunting offers a quieter setting that often feels more secluded, no matter how populated a hunting ground is. Because of the necessary planning and waiting involved, it is usually a calmer sport in general.

Types of Bows Explained

To make your decision easier, we have outlined all the major types of hunting bows, as well as the pros and cons of using them. Each offers a different experience to hunting and is the perfect choice for someone out there. From traditional to crossbows, here are the six most popular types of bows used for hunting.

Best Compound Bow:Bear Archery Cruzer G2

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  • Power: This bow is extremely energy efficient and releases a great amount of power. Shots from this bow are strong and fast, which makes this a top choice among many archers.
  • Accuracy: Not only does this bow’s technology allow for speed, but this compound bow is also known for its increased accuracy. This bow is a great choice for beginner hunters, as it requires slightly less skill to shoot effectively.
  • User-Friendly: While being incredibly powerful and accurate, the system of pulleys used in this model requires less strength to draw than one might expect. This means this bow can be used for long periods of time without archers becoming too tired to shoot.
  • Low Sensitivity to Environment: The rigid nature and technological construction of compound bows reduces its sensitivity to changes in temperature and humidity, making this an amazing choice for those who frequently hunt in different elements.


  • Requires a Bow Press: Replacing strings or cables, as well as making adjustments to this bow requires a bow press, where traditional bows do not.
  • High Potential Damage: The powerful shot of this bow is great when planned for, but this makes dry firing that much more dangerous, as it has a higher potential to damage or destroy the bow.
  • High Maintenance: Because this style of bow has a large number of moving parts, it offers more points of potential failure. Although durable, there are more opportunities for things needing to be replaced.

A compound bow is a modern styled bow that utilizes a levering system of cables and pulleys to bend the limbs. They are often more rigid than other styles which allows more energy and power, but actually, requires less strength to operate than traditional models because of the levering technology.

The best example of a quality compound bow is the Bear Archery Cruzer G2. This is a genius designed multi-shooter bow with a solid back wall. It features extended draw length for longer draw archers and an infinite draw setting.

This bow comes with the infinite edge pro bow, a three-pin tundra sight, arrow rest, quiver, tube peep sight, string loop, comfort wrist sling, and octane stabilizer. It is comfortable, easy to draw and hold, without compromising power. This is a favorite among archers young and old, and receives high praise as a modern compound that is durable and performs well.

Best Traditional Bow:Southland Archery Supply SAS Maverick Bow

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  • Simplicity: This beautiful bow is naturally made with a classic design, making repairs straightforward
  • Community: Choosing this bow style allows archers to connect to the rich history and tradition that these classic bows subscribe to
  • Versatility: This traditionally styled bow is great for a number of uses, whereas more modern bows are often specifically tailored to one hunting type
  • Skill: A traditional bow requires great skill and planning which is the best part of hunting for many, and leaves accomplished hunters with a feeling of real satisfaction


  • Time: Shooting this bow takes a long time to truly master, so time and access to a practice range are extremely necessary if you choose this style
  • Averageness: Because this bow is so versatile, it might not be the best choice for those looking for a specifically equipped bow. Some other types of bows are engineered for speed, power, or distance, for example, whereas the traditional bow is good but not exceptional at all three
  • Difficulty: Because traditional bows require so much skill, they are perhaps not the best choice for those looking for immediate satisfaction. Ideal for stronger and older hunters with plenty of patience and a love of the chase, this may not be a match for young archers new to the practice.

Shooting a traditional bow is a great way to feel a sense of community. This was the first style bow created and has a rich history of use. Archers tend to use this type of bow out of a longing for connectedness, a fascination for history, or a love of tradition.

This bow requires both immense strength and skill as it relies on no equipment for accuracy or stability, but offers a rewarding feeling when it is mastered. Generally, traditional bows are made simply of natural materials like wood or bamboo and follow a traditional bow shape.

The best rated traditional style bow is the Southland Archery Supply SAS Maverick Bow. It has a beautiful classic design that complements its sleek performance. The riser is crafted from Makore Wood, Zebra, and Chulgam, giving it a natural and sturdy frame.

The limbs are high strength fiberglass, as well as Makore Wood, ensuring the longevity of your bow. This style features a slender profile and feels comfortable in the hands or over the shoulder. It is 60 inches long and supports up to 45 pounds of tension. This bow is an exceptional example of a traditional style, as it is durable, simply designed, and beautifully crafted.

Best Crossbow:Barnett Whitetail Hunter II

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  • Precision: This crossbow allows for incredible accuracy from shooters and is ideal for beginner hunters in this regard
  • Stamina: Because of this bow’s easy to use nature and low weight, it can be operated for long periods of time without archers becoming fatigued
  • Ease of Use: Because of its locking mechanism, this crossbow is easy to pull back and fire. It is simple to manage and requires minimal strength to operate
  • Power: All the power from your shot comes from this bow’s complex technology rather than your draw length, which gives users a strong and fast shot with minimal effort


  • Maintenance: Similar to a compound bow, its many parts require careful maintenance, as each different piece is a new opportunity for damage
  • Less Classic: The modernness of this style may be an attraction to some, while others find it too different from a traditional bow. While its technology makes it easy to use, it can also take some of the skill out of hunting

A crossbow is often thought to be a compromise between a bow and a gun. It shoots arrow-like projectiles and is shot similarly to the stock of a long gun, but has a bow-like assembly mounted horizontally on a frame.

A crossbow has a locking mechanism which limits a shooter’s exertion to only drawing the string into a lock and releasing via the trigger. This increases accuracy and also requires less stamina.

The Barnett Whitetail Hunter II is the best overall crossbow option. With a draw weight of 150 pounds, this amazingly powerful bow shoots up to 350 feet per second. It features Trigger Tech technology with three-pound, zero-creep release, all stainless steel components, and a nock sensor to eliminate dry fires. This lightweight bow is easy to draw and is painless to carry even over long periods of time. This bow is amazing for veteran archers and new hunters alike, as it is easy to use and increases your accuracy.

Best Takedown Bow:Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow

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  • Adjustability: This style of bow is super easy to make adjustments on because it is made of multiple parts that can be exchanged for customization
  • Easy to Fix: Because this bow can be separated into different parts, it is not only simple to transport or customize but can be fixed easily compared to its single piece equivalents
  • Collapsibility: The main attraction of this bow is its collapsible nature. If you find yourself struggling to fit all your hunting gear when you travel, you might want to look at this compact design that can go just about anywhere easily
  • Shareability: This is an ideal device for a family or group looking for an easily adjustable bow that can be shared between many different individuals


  • Noise: This bow is not particularly quiet, which should be kept in mind when hunting. Noise can easily scare away game or annoy neighbors
  • Complexity: In order to utilize its collapsible nature, this bow should be supervised by someone with intimate knowledge about engineering in order to properly set it up and take it down

A takedown bow is a bow that can be disassembled easily and is amazing to transport as it requires a much smaller vessel. It is made of a riser and two limbs that create a working bow when strung and allows archers to change the limbs/configuration easily.

This is an ideal choice for archers who travel a lot and don’t have a ton of space, or who need a bow that can be easily adjusted or used between multiple people. Unfortunately, because of its collapsibility, takedown bows are often louder than a single piece bow.

The best example of a takedown bow is the Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow. This top quality takedown involves a B-50 bowstring and arrow rest, as well as brass bushings which are pre-installed for the stabilizer, sight,  brass plunger, and quiver.

The bow itself has limbs made of hard maple wood and black fiberglass for incredible durability and power. It has a single knob which is tapered and a metal limb pocket design which is beautifully made and easy to use. This bow is rated good for beginners, as it is intuitively designed and easy to draw.

Best LongBow:Longbowmaker Hungarian Style Handmade Longbow

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  • Power: This bow has a heavy draw weight, creating a powerful shot every time
  • How to String: There is an instruction book in the package, so you can see the details
  • Noise: This is an extremely quiet bow compared to other more modern styles, which is a huge advantage when hunting
  • User-Friendly: This style of bow is generally simple and this specific model is no different. It is relatively intuitive and easy to use
  • Smoothness: For taller archers, this is an ideal choice as it allows for a smooth draw and release
  • Aesthetics: The simplicity and classic nature of a one-piece longbow are hard to beat. Aesthetically beautiful, this elegant piece of equipment gives a traditional style to modern hunting


  • Manual Stringing: This bow requires you to string it yourself, which is not an obstacle for seasoned archers, but could be challenging for beginners
  • Size: The size of this longbow alone can be enough to deter certain hunters, especially those who hunt in heavy brush or forests. It can be a tough piece of equipment to handle for smaller or younger archers as well
  • Less Forgiving: Longbows are typically less forgiving than a recurve, for example, which should be factored into your decision. With a more traditional look often comes less technology that can aid you and your shots

A longbow gets its name from its height. It should be roughly as tall as the archer, giving users a long draw. Its limbs are narrow and allow a circular or D-shaped cross-section, and are not traditionally recurved. This type of bow has been used throughout history in a multitude of cultures and allows for a quieter release.

The best longbow is, without a doubt, the Longbowmaker Hungarian Style Handmade Longbow. As the name suggests, it is handmade, using wood, cow leather, glass steel, and beech. It is incredibly high-quality and brings the archer back to the roots of hunting with its simple design and elegant frame. It is also vastly powerful, with a draw weight of up to 110 pounds, and delivers a strong but silent shot in the field.

Best Recurve Crossbow:Excalibur Null Matrix SMF Grizzly Crossbow

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  • Shorter Bows: This style operates with shorter bows than some other models, which is handy in terrain where longer bows could be cumbersome. This bow is especially ideal for hunters that practice in brush or forest 
  • User-Friendly: This bow is lightweight, compact, and easy to shoot. With technology that aids in draw weight, you can shoot farther and harder without exerting too much energy. It is also comfortable to hold, shoot, and pack
  • Power: Recurve bows offer incredible energy efficiency which allows for more power and speed of arrows than a straight-limbed equivalent, and this bow is no different. Your net energy will depend on your specific setup, but this bow promises power and accuracy no matter what
  • Traditionality: This style offers many engineered aids while maintaining a classic look. Recurve bow hunters get the best of both worlds, with modern enhancements and the traditional look and feel of a weapon that has been used throughout time. It is also somewhat simply designed, which makes it easy to fix if necessary


  • Noise: Recurve bows are often louder than some other types, which should be taken into consideration. This is an obvious downfall to any hunting gear, as it can spook animals away
  • Skill: Although easier to use than a longbow, there is significantly less aid technology than with a compound bow. Shooting this recurve still requires a lot of practice and patience in terms of accuracy, no matter how powerful its shape renders it

A recurve bow is a bow with limbs that curve away from the user when unstrung. This style stores and delivers energy more efficiently than a straight-limbed bow, thus giving the arrow more speed. It also is a shorter bow and therefore is preferred in terrain where long weapons are a hassle, like in brush or heavily forested land, as well as hunters who operate on horseback.

The best recurve bow is easily the Excalibur Null Matrix SMF Grizzly Crossbow. With a lightweight frame and draw weight easy for anyone to pull, this recurve is a favorite among many. It allows for incredible speed and accuracy, is made of durable materials, and is easy to adjust even in the field.

This versatile bow ensures you won’t miss a single thing on the hunt and is compact and reliable. Perfect for traveling, as well as beginner use, it feels good when drawn and fits into the shoulder well. This recurve offers everything a hunter could possibly want in a crossbow.

How to Choose a Bow

Choosing the right bow style is important, as is choosing the right specific bow. Here are the top three things to keep in mind when choosing a bow.


No matter how much you love a bow or bow style, it is simply impractical to choose one that doesn’t feel good to shoot. Make sure to test a bow before purchasing and consider its weight especially if you enjoy long hunting trips.


Speaking of weight, the size of the bow, the draw weight required, and all other measurements are vital to choosing a good bow. Be sure to either know your measurements or stop by a local shop to have an expert help you find the right fit. This is essential so you don’t overexert or injure yourself when hunting.

Durable Materials

Lastly, a good bow will be made of quality materials. Choose a bow that will be able to endure your local weather. Consider the terrain you hunt in as well and account for excessive brush or trees, snow, or heavy rain.


There are a multitude of options when it comes to archery and each bow style has a rich history. Some offer classical approaches to hunting, while others can aid beginners with accuracy and power. There is a great option for every hunter, so no matter your skill level or strength, you are sure to enjoy the art of archery.