The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Large Game with Bows


Hunting is big in the USA and you may have heard people talking about it.  They discuss what they have caught and how they’ve caught it, the thrill of the exact moment the animal falls and possibly even the fear when the first arrow doesn’t produce a kill.  You’re intrigued.

What is it about hunting that makes it so popular?  It is exciting and the challenge it presents is just too much to turn down.  It also provides plenty of exercise and the chance to socialise with friends.  Think you can master the skills and bag yourself a prize?  It’s time to put yourself to the test.

There are many things to think about before going hunting, so slow down a bit and take your time.  You should never go out unprepared, as this is a dangerous sport and should be treated with respect.  Below are some tips for you, as a beginner, to get you started.


Choose Your Game

It is best to stick to just one type of animal first, so that you can really focus on practicing your skills and making sure you have everything you need.  For the purposes of this article, let’s choose large game.  After all, it’s the thought of standing over your trophy deer or bear that’s got you hooked, isn’t it?

If you want to hunt deer, whitetail or even bears, you will need to know a few things first.  Hunting large game can be dangerous and you need to ensure you keep a safe distance.  Practice first.  A lot.  Don’t go straight for the kill, as the chances are you will miss and startle the animal.  Not a good idea, particularly with bears!

Check out this post if you are looking for smaller games like turkey hunting.

For those who are going for deer, you might want to check out the deer attractants. Trek Warrior has done a very detailed research on multiple deer attractant options. Make sure you take a look.

Choose Your Hunting Bow

There are different bows to choose from, including a bow and arrow and a crossbow.  A bow and arrow can be split down further, with a recurve, compound or longbow being available.  Crossbows can be recurve or compound in style and are powerful, horizontal shooters.

Check out our posts about choosing the best bows:

If you want to hunt large game, you will need something powerful and fast.  Some large prey have very tough skin and others have heavy bones, so you will need a bow with a draw weight of at least 50-70lbs.  Large game with thinner skin will only require bows with a draw weight of 40lbs or more.  You must ensure that whatever weight bow you use, you can handle it.

Crossbows are very popular and are highly recommended for hunting large game, such as deer and elk.  This is because they are incredibly powerful and quiet.  You can also stay completely still when shooting them, so there is less chance of startling the animal.

An excellent crossbow for hunting large game is the [easyazon_link identifier=”B00JOQJOGM” locale=”US” tag=”deadbullseye-20″]Barnett Outdoors Ghost 360 CRT Crossbow[/easyazon_link].  It offers hunters a perfect balance of weight, size and speed.  It has a compact design, which is handy for shooting out of a tree stand or a blind.

[easyazon_image align=”none” height=”500″ identifier=”B00JOQJOGM” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”deadbullseye-20″ width=”312″]

It has a patented Carbon Lite Riser, giving a perfect balance at only 7lbs.  Therefore weight should not be a problem.  It features a 5-1 safety system and trigger system, so you can be confident that you can hunt safely.  It shoots arrows at a speed of 360 feet per second, giving you the speed you need for larger, thick skinned animals.

You should always keep your fingers below the flight track and strings when firing, as the velocity of the string hitting them would cause serious injury.  You should ensure you use appropriate arrows and arrowheads also.  This crossbow should only be used with arrows with a half-moon or moon nock classification.

Choose Your Arrows For Hunting

You must also choose the best arrows for your game.  Heavier arrows carry more energy but lighter arrows may be faster, although they will not carry as much energy over a longer range.  Ensure you practice with field points first and remember that these may be slightly more accurate than a hunting arrow.

If you are hunting with a crossbow, you can’t go wrong with the [easyazon_link identifier=”B0000AVE2U” locale=”US” tag=”deadbullseye-20″]Barnett Outdoors Carbon Crossbow 20-inch Arrows[/easyazon_link].  These feature half-moon nocks and have lightweight carbon shafts.  They are very durable and give optimal accuracy and target penetration.

They are most compatible with the [easyazon_link identifier=”B004P4HH8U” locale=”US” tag=”deadbullseye-20″]Ghost 350[/easyazon_link], Penetrator, [easyazon_link identifier=”B004IJ1Q1Q” locale=”US” tag=”deadbullseye-20″]Jackal[/easyazon_link] and [easyazon_link identifier=”B00TP83KEG” locale=”US” tag=”deadbullseye-20″]Wildcat C-5 crossbows[/easyazon_link].  They are great quality and will give you peace of mind that your arrow will hit the target.

Choose Your Hunting Arrowheads

Once you have chosen your bow and arrows, you will then need to focus on the arrowhead.  The best choice for hunting large game is broadheads.  These can be mechanical, fixed or have removable blades and you must ensure that you choose the correct ones for your bow.

If hunting with a crossbow, the [easyazon_link identifier=”B000HX6FRC” locale=”US” tag=”deadbullseye-20″]New Archery Products Spitfire Broadhead[/easyazon_link]s are one of the best mechanical broadheads for hunting large game.  They come from an extremely reputable brand and their reputation is now legendary.  They fly completely straight and have incredibly sharp blades, thanks to their exclusive Diamize Edge stainless steel blades.

They feature a hardened, high carbon steel Trophy Tip, to ensure maximum devastation, and the patented scooped-out Slimline ferrule really does improve flight and penetration.  The patented snap-locking blade system ensures that the blades remain closed during flight, opening upon impact to deliver a sharp and lethal blow.

[easyazon_image align=”right” height=”467″ identifier=”B003WHHXAS” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”deadbullseye-20″ width=”300″]Another great broadhead on the market is the [easyazon_link identifier=”B003WHHXAS” locale=”US” tag=”deadbullseye-20″]Grim reaper Razorcut Expandable Broadhead[/easyazon_link], and not just for the fantastic name!  They are specially designed for faster crossbows and higher kinetic energy bows and work perfectly with whitetail sized game.

They leave huge blood trails, making it easier to follow your prey should it get away.  However, it is unlikely they will get far due to the devastating effects of the sharp blades.  They are incredibly accurate and fly just like a field point.

They have patented mini-tip blades to enhance penetration and you will not be disappointed, as these really are one of the best broadheads for hunting deer. If you are looking for more information about hunting broadheads, check out this post about choosing the best broadheads for whitetail hunting.

Do Your Hunter Homeworks

Before you go hunting, you should make sure you know and understand the state regulations.  Some states do not allow the use of certain equipment, such as cross bows or broadheads, but many do.

It would be a good idea to stick to just one area first, to hone your skills and get used to the game you are hunting.  Setting up a tree stand would be a good idea to hunt large game, as this will ensure you do not waste too much energy stalking prey.  There are plenty of permanent, stationary stands that will provide you with adequate cover and space, giving you a better experience when you first start out.

Perhaps one of the most important things you can do is to learn about the game you are hunting.  What are its natural behaviours?  Where are you most likely to encounter many of them?  Are they nocturnal or will you be ok to rock up whenever the mood strikes?  You should also research the kill zones of an animal, to ensure a quick and ethical kill.


My name is Austin. I built this website to be a place where outdoor enthusiasts from everywhere come to share what they know! I love with the intense feelings of freedom and adrenaline that only the outdoors gives me. I hope you find the content on this site to be helpful in your search.

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