A compound bow is deadly enough to kill a deer. However, to ethically kill an animal, you can’t do whatever you please. Remember to abide by the state’s minimum draw weight requirement and prepare extensively, including but not limited to practicing shot placement and hunting strategies.
There is a diverse selection of weapons that you can opt to use for hunting. Whether you prefer hunting wild animals with a bow and arrow or guns and rifles, it all depends on your preference; unless you are a person convicted of a felony, your hunting rights will probably be at a limit.
Compound bows may easily top your list of weapon choices if you are interested in joining the deer hunt. They are popular among hunters who want both the advanced specifications of a bow and, at the same time, not too extreme as crossbows.
One of the primary reasons hunters prefer compound bows is that they are handy and can be enough to kill both small and large game animals.
Therefore, a compound bow can kill a deer, but with a few notes to consider since you have to know specific rules and factors to achieve a successful hunt, which you can refer to below:
- Minimum draw weight
- Shot placement
- Arrow selection and tuning
Draw weight differs from one person to the other, and there is no universal draw weight that everyone must follow. Don’t forget, however, that the hunted animal deserves an ethical kill.
As a result, every state imposes bowhunting regulations to keep hunters in check in hunting and killing wild animals humanely. That’s why you must be aware and abide by the bowhunting regulations set by your state, including the minimum draw weight.
Please note that not all states share similar minimum draw weight requirements. For instance, Alabama, Arizona, and Maryland require a minimum draw weight of 30 lb for their bow hunters. Meanwhile, Nevada imposes a 40 lb minimum draw weight with a maximum 80% let-off.
On the other hand, states like Oklahoma and North Carolina have different minimum draw weight requirements for those using compound bows and traditional bows like recurve bows and longbows, despite sharing the same bowhunting category.
For example, Oklahoma imposes a 30 lb minimum draw weight for compound bows, whereas 40 lb is the minimum draw weight for longbows and recurve bows.
In contrast, there are states with fewer restrictions, like Mississippi, Missouri, and New Mexico, with no minimum draw weight.
Generally, the minimum draw weight is between 30 and 40 pounds. Hence, if your state is imposing a 40-pound minimum draw weight, you can never go lower than 40 pounds, but you can always go higher.
Suppose you have a draw weight lower than the imposed minimum; you’ll have to work your way through to be able to draw a 40 lb compound bow. Also, you must be aware of required let-offs by your state regulations, specifically for compound bows.
Another thing to remember is that every state may change its rules now and then, so always keep updated before the hunting season.
You can always check it on the internet or call the department responsible for imposing the bowhunting regulations in your state for more precise and more defined information about the rules.
Aside from bowhunting regulations for compound bows, it is also crucial to practice the appropriate shot placement for deer hunting. Always target the deer’s vital organs, the heart and lungs, to provide an instant humane kill.
Moreover, a clean shot of its vital organs will save you time and effort tracking the deer. You can achieve this by attempting either shot placements: broadside and quartering-away.
However, comparing the two, broadside shot placement will always be the ideal among the others for a 100% ethical kill.
Before selecting the arrows to use and starting the tuning process, you need to identify the type of bow you will use, the draw length, and the draw weight.
After identifying the details needed, you can refer to the charts shown by the manufacturers to help you select which arrow shaft length, material, and weight to use for your arrow to fly correctly and accurately.
If you are not sure about your judgment, don’t hesitate to consult other fellow bowhunters or, better, the nearest trusted archery shop.
Once you have the perfect arrow and broadhead combination for your bow, tuning is the final step to ensuring your arrows fly true to the target.
In hunting, it’s not always solely about your compound bow and regulations. It would help if you were physically and mentally fit to help you battle the long hours of waiting and tracking the target.
Consistent practice can undeniably make your archery muscles strengthen. However, there are specific exercises that can adequately improve your draw strength in a short time:
- Core exercises
o Bird Dog
o Leg Lift/Hold
o Russian Twist
- Shoulder exercises
o Arnold Press
o Band Lateral Raise
o Standing Dumbbell Fly
o Dumbbell Front Raise
- Back exercises
o Wide Grip Lat Pulldown
o Cable row
o Barbell row
A good hunting strategy is a bonus effort that not all bowhunters put a lot of importance on, as most focus more on their shooting accuracy and equipment advancements. Identifying and putting into reality your hunting strategies will give you an edge in hitting the deer without too much hassle.
Furthermore, preparedness doesn’t stop at ensuring everything is on, marking every box on the checklist. It also involves studying the deer’s anatomy, choosing the hunting method to follow, and setting traps.
Killing a deer with a compound bow is possible because it is a powerful and advanced weapon getting better over time. However, a successful hunt doesn’t solely rely on your bow; preparedness and following the bowhunting regulations can influence your deer hunt experience.
How far can a compound bow kill a deer?
Forty yards is the ideal farthest shooting distance you can kill a deer with a compound bow. Shooting beyond 40 yards gives the deer more time to react before the arrow can hit it.
Most states require bowhunters to take a Bowhunter Education course to have more uniform and legitimate information on bowhunting regulations and ethical killing practices on hunting both small and large game wild animals.
Included in the Bowhunter Education course is the ideal maximum shooting distance for hunters, regardless of the type of weapon they prefer. For bowhunters such as those hunting with longbows, recurve bows, and compound bows, 40 yards is the effective farthest distance they can kill a deer.
You may be wondering the reason for this specific distance. It is important to note that deers have a keen sense of smell and hearing. Therefore, the slightest sound and movement in the surroundings can alarm them in no time, triggering them to flee from the scene.
Shooting at a very far distance increases the chance for the deer to react abruptly, saving itself from the shot.
Let’s say you can ensure a broadside shot placement; even a few seconds late reaction from the deer can lead to a failed ethical shot which means the chance of the deer getting wounded is high. As a result, retrieving it can get more complex and suffer before it expires.
There are indeed bowhunters who can ethically kill a deer at a distance of more than 40 yards; however, this doesn’t mean that it applies to everyone. The shooting range is not a one-size-fits-all; it all depends on how skilled you are and how often you practice shooting at a far distance.
On the other hand, it would help to know that it can also depend on the specific deer specie and landscape. Pope & Young has a record book that can support further studies on the correlation between distance, deer type, and terrain.
Although there are no current studies yet on the matter, knowing about it can help you understand more about the effective shooting range of killing a deer with your bow:
- The average shot distance for killing a whitetail deer is approximately 19 yards, according to the Pope & Young record book. Meanwhile, the percentage of shooting a whitetail deer over 19 yards is only five percent.
- For mule deers in North America, the average distance in the Pope & Young records is about 35 yards. Whereas only over 1/3 shot beyond 40 yards.
- Columbia blacktail deers have almost similar average shot distance with the mule deers.
- According to the P&Y record book, about 25 yards is the average shot distance of coues whitetail deers, with one-quarter of bucks shot beyond 40 yards.
- Sitka blacktail deers almost have a similar average shot distance with the coues whitetail deers. Most of them, however, hit between 30 and 60 yards away.
Please note that Pope & Young records only refers to longbows, recurve bows, and compound bows. Thus, the descriptions above do not apply or are irrelevant to crossbows.
If you assess the data presented above, it is crucial to keep an open mind about the effective range since each shooting situation can be unique from one person to the other.
Nonetheless, it would be best to always practice from a more extended range than you intend to hunt because it can aid in defining your shooting form and makes it easier for you to shoot at closer ranges.
What is the best compound bow for deer hunting?
PSE Archery Stinger Max Pro is the best compound bow for deer hunting. It is best for entry-level shooters and those on a budget with a high let-off, dependable performance, and outstanding balance.
Every bowhunter has a definition or checklist of what they think composes the best compound bow. For compound bow users, some emphasize speed, cam design, and brand. Meanwhile, others on a tight budget identify the best affordable compound bow with excellent features.
Finding the best compound bow can be somewhat subjective, but a few models are unquestionably among the best for deer hunting, and PSE Archery Stinger Max Pro is on the list of those chosen.
Since its recent release, it has been one of PSE’s best-selling compound bows known for taking down deer. Here are the specifications that make PSE Archery Stinger Max Pro the best compound bow in the market:
- 21.5″ to 30″ draw length with half-inch increments
- 30″ axle-to-axle measurement
- Available in 50 lb and 70 lb draw weight
- It only weighs 3.8 lb
- 7″ brace height
- A high let-off of 80%
It has the following speed rating:
- 304 fps (IBO)
- 312 fps (ATA)
Besides its specifications, PSE Archery Stinger Max Pro has a stylish design with a top-notch finish and fit. It also has generous adjustability in its design, as you can see in its specifications mentioned above.
Additionally, you can use the PSE compound bow model’s vibration-dampening spacers to control its noise and vibration. You can rest assured that shooting it won’t be loud and is quiet enough not to get the deer started and run.
Its accuracy level can be up to 60 yards, so you can effectively shoot a deer at this far distance using this compound bow. Whether you are shooting from a treestand or doing the spot and stalking hunting method, it can all be possible with PSE Archery Stinger Max Pro.
Furthermore, if you are on a tight budget, the price of this compound bow is affordable. It is also perfect for entry-level shooters still trying to figure out how to shoot deer ethically.
Despite the pros of using PSE Archery Stinger Max Pro, it also has its cons:
- It has a slow speed rating compared to other excellent compound bows.
- It has a single-cam design.
If the cons above bother you, you can check other excellent performing compound bows best known for hunting:
- Matthews Archery V3 Compound Bow
- Xpedition X30 Compound Bow
- Hoyt Ventum 33 Hunting Bow
- Bear Archery Cruzer G2 Compound Bow
Researching the top compound bows for hunting in the market can help you make better decisions and comparisons. In this manner, you’ll be able to zero in on the ideal compound bow for deer hunting.
Choosing a compound bow for deer hunting season is an excellent choice that many hunters would agree. Nevertheless, the success of humanely killing a deer does not entirely depend on the weapon of choice but also on how prepared you are and whether you have the right equipment to shoot accurately.
Thus, killing a deer with a compound bow is possible but ethically doing it is another matter you must never overlook.