What Animals do People Bow Hunt?

What Animals do People Bow Hunt?

Most bow hunters always look for a new challenge. They usually go for different targets than other hunters, depending on their skill level. So, what animals do people bow hunt?

Bow hunters mostly hunt wild turkey, elk, bears, mule deer, and whitetails. However, seasoned bow hunters often also target large animals like moose and weary coyotes. Extremely skilled hunters often love a challenge and can go for quick-moving animals like rabbits and squirrels.

Regardless, whichever type of game you choose to hunt depends on your skill and level of comfort. Remember, bows are effective up to around 50 yards, meaning hunters must get extremely close to their target before shooting their arrow. That said, you could hunt whichever animal you want (legally), just like you’d do with a shotgun or hunting rifle.

What type of game can you bow hunt?

Are you trying to hunt using traditional methods and are wondering which type of animals you can hunt with your bow? Well, worry no more. As mentioned above, there are several options you could choose from. All you need is a good strategy and the right equipment to have a successful hunting session.

If you are a novice, then you’ve come to the right place. Bowhunters hunt within an average distance of 2 to 38 meters using a bow and arrow. It’s more technical compared to rifle hunting; however, it’s also more involving, thrilling, and interesting. Plus, it greatly enhances your archery skills.

Unlike using a hunting rifle, bow hunting requires hunters to capitalize on closing the distance and taking a well-placed shot. Bowhunting is more intimate and requires patience, skill, and perseverance. Thus, the type of animal you hunt often depends on your skill level, patience, and strategy.

The types of animals you choose to hunt can be categorized into large and small game and require hunters to arm themselves with proper equipment. For instance, hunting big game with a thick hide requires stronger bows with heavier arrows, while hunting small game requires lighter bows and arrows that hunters can move around freely.

Based on the location you’re hunting in, you should find out what game is actually legal. For example, different states in the US have different hunting regulations, meaning what animals you may or may not hunt are based on the state you’re in.

Large game

Hunting big game is hard, especially when using a bow. Typically, bigger animals have three types of hides, thick, tough, or thin. Usually, prey with thick hides also has heavy bones, while those with thin hides have lighter bones. Thus, learners need to distinguish when selecting what bows to use.

The most common large game animals bowhunters hunt are:

  • Elks
  • Bears
  • Deer
  • Coyotes
  • Moose

Hunters should use (approximately) 60-pound bows that launches arrows at greater speeds. The degree of penetration usually depends on an arrow’s weight and speed, which is why bow hunters are advised to select arrows with bigger and sharper heads. Arrows that move more quickly produce greater force capable of bringing down bigger game.

For instance, hunters will need arrows that can produce 40 to 80 ft. per pound of energy when hunting thick-skinned animals and those that produce 25 to 39 ft. per pound of energy when hunting thin-skinned animals. Using the wrong type of arrow could greatly diminish your hunting success rate.


Most people choose to hunt deer because they are the safest. If you want to hunt some deer, then the best time to do that is between 1 and 2 pm, late into the afternoon, or early evening. Deer are more active in the early mornings when the weather is cooler. Their eyesight is also more effective during this period.

You should ensure that you make a clean kill when hunting deer, which means that you should aim for the kill point. The kill point (where the heart is located) is just behind the deer’s front leg. Hitting your target ensures an instant kill, preventing the deer from incurring unnecessary pain and suffering.

The best equipment to use when hunting deer is a crossbow, compound bow, or recurve bow. Remember that longer bows are also more accurate compared to shorter bows.

Small game

Hunting small game is more challenging since the animals are more active, present a smaller target, and are more easily spooked. Most people think it’s easier to hunt small game, but they couldn’t be more wrong. However, they are easier to spot since they are often in large numbers.

The small game you could hunt includes pheasants, skunks, squirrels, raccoons, turkeys, rabbinates, or doves. Hunting small game is easier since you need less equipment. You’ll also be more relaxed since the animals are less dangerous than bigger animals. Plus, it’s easier to take the animals out of the woods.

If you are a beginner, you should start with a small game to help give you more experience when hunting a bigger game. You’ll have to take some time and learn about the animal’s biology and habitat. You’ll need to select animals that are abundant in your region or track them to their location.

You can hunt small prey using small sharp arrowheads if you want a clean kill. Alternatively, you could use rubber blunts if you plan on knocking them down. Experts believe that recurve bows are best suited for hunting small animals because of their shorter length, making it easier to maneuver between bushes and twigs.

Additional hunting equipment

Bowhunters can use additional hunting equipment to make the experience easier. This equipment may include:

  • Trackable arrows: these are designed to help the hunter follow up with their shot, retrieve the arrow, or locate the legally harvested animal.
  • Magnifying sights, range finding sights, and holographic sights: you can attach these to legal bowhunting equipment.

These accessories can be useful, but one doesn’t have to own them to enjoy bowhunting.


Bowhunting is an amazing experience that helps connect the hunter to their game. It helps them gain a new perspective, provides them with a thrilling experience, and appreciates the process.

Whichever type of game you choose to hunt depends on your skills and equipment. You should always ensure that you have the correct equipment and follow all rules and regulations stated by the legal authorities.