Best Deer Hunting Bow for Beginners 2024: Complete Guide

For new bowhunters, selecting the right compound bow for successful deer hunting can feel daunting. With so many technical specifications and features to evaluate, it’s tough to know where to start. You want a bow that can bring down deer ethically and consistently without breaking the bank.

As an experienced bowhunter and archery coach who has helped outfit many novice hunters, I’m sharing my expertise on choosing the ideal beginner deer hunting bow in this comprehensive 2024 guide. We’ll cover key considerations from draw length and weight to proper sizing, accessories, and more.

Whether you’re on a tight budget or have some flexibility, I’ll help you identify the best compound bow to start racking up successful, memorable hunts. With the right bow in hand, you can gain confidence, skill, and harvests in the deer woods for years to come.

Factors to Consider in a Beginner Deer Hunting Bow

Before getting to specific bow recommendations, let’s look at the crucial factors to weigh for a beginner-friendly deer hunting bow:

Draw Weight

The draw weight, measured in pounds, determines how much force is needed to pull the bowstring fully back. Most beginners should start with 40-50 lbs draw weight and work up from there as strength improves. A lighter draw allows you to focus on form rather than struggling to draw the bow.

Draw Length

The draw length is the distance from the bow grip to the string at full draw, matching your arm span. A properly fitted bow will have a draw length close to your measured draw to allow you to draw comfortably and accurately.


Let-off refers to the percent decrease in draw weight at full draw. A 50% let-off means the draw weight drops by 50% once you hit the full draw. Higher let-off makes holding and aiming easier. Look for 50-80% let-off.

Axle to Axle Length

The axle-to-axle length is the distance between the two limb axles. A more compact axle-to-axle length can be better for hunting in blinds and treestands. Beginner bows typically have axle lengths of around 30 to 35 inches.

Kinetic Energy

Kinetic energy measured in feet per second (fps) determines the arrow’s impact force on release. 320-350 fps is ideal for deer hunting. Lower draw weights will produce less kinetic energy.


Bows can range from under $200 to over $1,000. As a beginner, it’s smart to keep your first bow under $500 while you improve your skills. Spending too much as a newbie isn’t necessary.

Keeping these specifications and considerations in mind will help you select a bow well-suited for the beginner deer hunter. Next, let’s look at specific bow recommendations at various budget levels.

Best Beginner Deer Hunting Bows Under $500

For new bowhunters, sticking to a maximum budget of $500 allows you to get excellent quality and performance without overspending as you’re learning. Here are my top picks for beginner-friendly deer hunting bows under $500:

Diamond Archery Edge 320

Diamond Archery Edge 320

My #1 overall recommendation, this very adjustable bow grows with you from beginner to experienced.

Draw Weight: 7-70 lbs adjustable draw
Draw Length: 15-31 inches adjustable
Axle to Axle: 31 inches
Kinetic Energy: Up to 320 fps

Overview: Diamond Archery is the budget-friendly sibling brand of BowTech. The Edge 320 gives beginners an affordable way to benefit from BowTech’s high-performance technologies. The exceptionally wide draw weight and length adjustability provide ample room to progress from a novice to a seasoned archer without needing to upgrade bows. Smooth draw with a generous 80% let-off makes it very beginner-friendly. The compact axle-to-axle length also suits tight blinds and stands. Backed by BowTech’s excellent warranty.

Price: $399

Bear Archery Cruzer G2

Bear Archery Cruzer G2

An ultra-adjustable bestseller, Bear Archery is trusted by generations of beginners.

Draw Weight: 5-70 lbs adjustable
Draw Length: 12-30 inches adjustable
Axle to Axle: 32 inches
Kinetic Energy: 310 fps

Overview: The Cruzer G2 is the latest version of Bear’s staple entry-level bow, which has helped thousands of archers get started and taken untold numbers of deer. The wide draw weight range lets you start low and progress. Generous let-off makes holding weight comfortable, while the generous draw length range accommodates virtually any arm span. The lightweight balanced design weighs just 3.6 lbs. The G2 updates include a faster bow assembly and upgraded vibration dampening for an even smoother shot. Covered by Bear’s superb lifetime warranty.

Price: $399

PSE Archery Stinger Max

PSE Archery Stinger Max

This budget-friendly beginner bow still delivers smooth performance.

Draw Weight: 50, 60, 70 lb pre-set versions
Draw Length: 25-30.5 inches
Axle to Axle: 35 inches
Kinetic Energy: 312 fps

Overview: While not as adjustable as the Diamond or Bear, the Max presents an affordable option for archers who already know their draw length and are ready for a deer hunting weight. Its pre-set draw weights of 50, 60, or 70 lbs allow you to choose the right weight for your strength level. 35” axle length is quite forgiving. At just 3.2 lbs, it’s very light in hand and easy to maneuver. The dual cam system provides a tunable 70% let-off. Budget price but still delivers quality thanks to PSE’s precision manufacturing.

Price: $299

Southwest Archery Spyder XL

Southwest Archery Spyder XL

Great value in this high-performance beginner compound bow.

Draw Weight: 20-70 lbs adjustable
Draw Length: 19-30 inches adjustable
Axle to Axle: 35 inches
Kinetic Energy: 320 fps

Overview: While not a household name yet, Southwest Archery produces excellent beginner and intermediate bows that outperform their price tags. The Spyder XL combines strong adjustability, forgiveness, and accuracy for a hunting bow under $300. The draw length adjustment system is top-notch for fitting the bow precisely to your arm’s length. Smooth draw cycle with 75% let-off. Lightweight and compact axle design. Includes whisker biscuit rest and 3-pin sight. Amazing value for the performance.

Price: $269

Best Beginner Deer Hunting Bows Under $300

If staying under $300 is important for your first bow, these slightly more basic but still high-quality options can get you started bowhunting:

Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Pro

Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Pro

Unmatched adjustability and shooter-friendly 75% let-off

Draw Weight: 7-70 lbs adjustable
Draw Length: 13-31 inches adjustable
Axle to Axle: 31 inches
Kinetic Energy: 310 fps

Overview: The Diamond Infinite Edge Pro provides almost the same adjustability as the pricier Edge 320 in a more affordable package. The wide draw length range accommodates virtually any shooter. Smooth draw with a generous 75% let-off allows even beginners to hold weight comfortably at full draw. Compact axle-to-axle for maneuverability in stands and blinds. The max kinetic energy of 310 fps is ample for deer. A very capable bargain buy to start deer hunting.

Price: $299

Bear Archery Cruzer

Bestselling beginner’s bow with adjustable draw weights.

Draw Weight: 5-70 lbs adjustable
Draw Length: 12-30 inches adjustable
Axle to Axle: 32 inches
Kinetic Energy: 310 fps

Overview: The original Bear Cruzer still holds its own as a great value adjustable hunting bow for novices. A wide range of draw weight settings allow you to start low and progress at your own pace. Generous let-off takes the pressure off holding at full draw. At just 3.6 lbs, it carries light and balances well. Dual cam provides a smooth draw cycle that optimizes accuracy. Backed by Bear’s rock-solid lifetime warranty. The Cruzer’s affordable price and adjustability make it ideal as a starter bow.

Price: $279

PSE Archery Mini-Burner

PSE Archery Mini-Burner

A short youth bow sized for small-framed shooters.

Draw Weight: 16-26 lbs @ 16”
Draw Length: 16 inches
Axle to Axle: 27.25 inches
Kinetic Energy: N/A

Overview: For smaller shooters not ready for a full-sized bow, the Mini-Burner provides an appropriately fitted starter bow. The light draw weight range allows young beginners to safely build skills. Short 16” draw length fits petite frames. Compact 27.25” axle-to-axle is easy to maneuver. Pre-drilled and tapped sight mounting holes. Octane string and cables for durability. The affordable price makes this a great first bow for a younger hunter before sizing up.

Price: $199

Quest Archery Raptor

Beginner-focused compound ready to hunt.

Draw Weight: 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 lb versions
Draw Length: 25-30 inches adjustable
Axle to Axle: 30.75 inches
Kinetic Energy: Up to 300 fps

Overview: Quest stripped out unneeded bells and whistles to create an affordable, ready-to-hunt compound bow perfect for beginners. Available in preset draw weights from 30 to 70 lbs to match your starting strength. Draw length adjusts across a generous range. Compact 30.75” axle fits tight treestands. Smooth Hybrid Cam Technology tuning system. Lightweight at 3.8 lbs for easy handling. Ready-to-hunt package includes Whisker Biscuit rest, 3-pin fiber optic sight, and sling. Just add arrows and go hunting.

Price: $269

Comparison Table of Best Beginner Deer Hunting Bows

Here is a comparison table summarizing the key specs and features of the beginner deer hunting bow recommendations:

ModelDraw WeightDraw LengthAxle to Axle LengthKinetic EnergyPrice
Diamond Edge 3207-70 lbs adjustable15-31 inches adjustable31 inches320 fps$399
Bear Cruzer G25-70 lbs adjustable12-30 inches adjustable32 inches310 fps$399
PSE Stinger Max50, 60, 70 lb versions25-30.5 inches35 inches312 fps$299
Southwest Archery Spyder XL20-70 lbs adjustable19-30 inches adjustable35 inches320 fps$269
Diamond Infinite Edge Pro7-70 lbs adjustable13-31 inches adjustable31 inches310 fps$299
Bear Cruzer5-70 lbs adjustable12-30 inches adjustable32 inches310 fps$279
PSE Mini Burner16-26 lbs @ 16”16 inches27.25 inchesN/A$199
Quest Raptor30/40/50/60/70 lb25-30 inches adjustable30.75 inches300 fps$269

This covers top-rated starter bows tailored for the beginner deer hunter at a variety of budget levels. Use this guide to narrow down your options.

Things to Know When Buying Your First Bow

Beyond just the bow itself, there are some other things new archers should know when making their first bow purchase:

Accessories Needed

Beginner bow packages often include basic accessories like sights, arrow rest, quiver, and arm guard. But you may need to purchase:

  • Arrows – Match arrow spine weight to your draw weight.
  • Release – Mechanical release aids accuracy and arrow speed.
  • Target – Essential for practice to develop shooting form.
  • Soft Case – Protect bow when transporting in the field.
  • String Wax – Wax prevents fraying and reduces string vibration.
  • Bow Square – Needed for tuning and adjusting rest/sight.

Factor these extras into your total budget. It’s smart to consult with the pro shop for specific accessory fitting for your bow model.

Getting Properly Measured

Having a bow properly fitted specifically to your draw length is critical for accuracy and avoiding injury. Get measured at a pro shop rather than guessing your size.

They’ll measure your wingspan and determine the ideal draw length so you can select the right bow size or properly adjust an adjustable bow. Don’t skip this step in the rush to start hunting. Taking the time for proper fitting sets you up for archery success.

Trying Before Buying

If possible, test-shoot a few bows before deciding on a purchase. Pro shops often have ranges where you can feel the draw, weight, handling, and shot experience.

While not always an option if buying sight unseen online, shooting a bow first-hand helps ensure you select a beginner-friendly draw weight and comfortable fit. If buying online, look for generous return policies that allow you to exchange if the bow doesn’t suit your frame.

Get Out There and Start Bowhunting!

As a beginner, stick to these guidelines for selecting your first deer hunting bow and you’ll be well on your way to successful, rewarding hunts. Choosing an adjustable poundage bow suited for your size and strength will set you up for a great entry into bowhunting. Add the necessary accessories and take time to properly measure and fit the bow to your proportions.

Soon you’ll be honing your shooting technique and archery skills until you’re confident in your first deer hunting adventures. With the right beginning bow as your foundation, there are decades of memorable hunts in store spreading your wings as a bowhunter.