Fact checked by Steven Lines, lifelong Hunter, and Outdoorsman.
If you’re into archery, at some point, you’d want to hunt down a moose. Scouting, stalking the animals, planning your take-down; it’s so tempting. Now since you’re here, reading this article, I have a hunch that you’re a recurve bow user or someone who’s planning to go for one. Can you kill a moose with a recurve bow, though?
Yes, you can. A recurve bow is probably one of the best things a hunter can possess to take their archery skills to heights. And this includes hunting as well.
A recurve bow can be very lethal, and if you can hit the vital organs correctly, the moose will be dead before you know it. It doesn’t matter if you’re an expert or a beginner; a recurve bow can be your best friend.
Wait! Don’t think even for a second that only having a high-end recurve bow is enough to score a kill. You’ll need to know different techniques, get the right bow equipment, and most importantly, a complete guide to help you hunt moose. So, let’s get to it.
Why Is Recurve Bow Better?
I’m not saying a compound bow or traditional bow is bad; no. But if you want to hunt moose, a recurve bow should be your thing.
A recurve bow can store more energy than traditional or compound bows. And thus, it also delivers you more energy as well. When you shoot an arrow, it travels with more power and hits the mark effectively.
Plus, you’ll find a recurve bow pretty light in weight, and it doesn’t make much of a noise. So, you get to keep your cover all the time.
Moose Hunting: Things You Should Know
Before you get to the hunting zone and show off with your archery skills, you might want to know how to spot a moose and when to hunt. Here are some tips for you.
Spotting the Moose
Locating the moose is pretty challenging. Even if you’re in the hunting zone, you might not be able to track a single moose unless you know the hacks. So, how do you find a moose? Well, here are some tips you might want to take into account.
Look out for moose tracks, rubbed trees, and moose droppings.
- Moose usually love to rub their antlers against objects, especially trees, before they drop those antlers (it happens every year). See if you can find the rubbed trees. If you see the marks, you can have a hunch that a moose is nearby or at least had been there.
- Moose is a bit shy when it comes to behavior. For which, rather than staying in a crowd, they try to be in a low traffic area.
- The measurement of moose tracks is about 5 to 7 inches in length. So, if you find any similar track, try following it. If you’re lucky, it may lead you to a moose. However, I can’t give you my word.
- Moose scat or droppings are like round pellets. Usually, these droppings are piled up. You may find them on the trails of the moose.
If you do your math correctly, chances are, you can track them down. Once you’ve understood their habits and behavior, it’s going to be easy-peasy for you to locate and hunt moose. After you’ve tracked down your prey, it’s time to plan the take-down.
When to Hunt
Time of Year
Moose starts mating in late September, and this goes on through mid-October. You can pick this time to hunt moose as they’re much more active and tend to respond to calls.
Time of Day
In the early mornings and the evenings, you’ll feel a soothing coolness. That’s when moose come out to search for food and water. So, grabbing your recurve bow can be a good idea at this time. However, don’t throw the mid-day out of the window. Many moose roam around to their prime locations in the mid-day.
Moose love cooler climates. When it’s warm, you’ve less chance of spotting a moose.
Moose increase their activity when the air pressure decreases. They come out to look for food and shelter.
General Weather Conditions
During bad weather conditions, moose usually seek shelter in wooden areas. Try to look for them in swamps too.
Bow Hunting Styles
Mixing up your archery skills with great bow hunting styles can lead you one step ahead to hitting your prey.
The name probably gives you a hint; you have to stalk your moose. Here, you have to keep a very low profile. Keep yourself undetected all the time. One wrong move and you can say your moose hunt bye-bye. Keep two things in mind while still hunting –
- Moose have a poor eye-sight: This can be your trump card. The odds can be in your favor even more if you wear fluorescent orange. This will help you blend in with the environment, and you’ll stay undetected.
- They’ve got a high sense of hearing and smell: Now, it’s pretty obvious, and I bet you saw it coming. Nat Geo wasn’t lying. Most animals with vision issues have a great sense of hearing and smell.
This includes moose as well. So, make sure you don’t smell, and you better be quiet. One wrong move and you can see the moose making a run for it.
Having said all that, always try to walk facing the wind while hunting moose. Otherwise, the wind will carry your smell, and undoubtedly, you’ll blow your cover if the moose detect you.
Don’t even try to have your ‘me-time’ by smoking cigars. Putting sanitizer in your hands is another bad idea as well. Smokes and sanitizers have enough perfume that moose can detect.
Instead, I’d suggest you use scent-control products, spay-scent eliminators, or electronic scent eliminators. You can also try using a wind checker if you want; it works pretty well.
This one is all about testing your patience, not just your archery skills. As the name says it, and you might’ve guessed, ‘stand hunting’ requires you to stand and wait. But for how long, though? Well, you never know. You have to create a ground blind and wait for a moose to appear.
I recommend setting up a trap in the trail and calling the moose. Hunters have used the ‘calling moose’ technique for a long time to this day. If you do it right, the moose will interpret the call as a voice coming from another animal and may respond to it. For a better understanding, consider watching this video.
What Makes a Good Recurve Bow?
Bows and arrows have become pretty advanced over the years. Thanks to its high-end features, archery has become an easy skill to acquire. However, since you’re talking about big game here, make sure you get something robust.
You might want to check out bow companies like Hoyt or Bowtech. They produce robust recurve bows and compound bows that can be a great addition to your hunting adventure. But it’s not only the bow that does the job for you. A combination of the broadhead and great arrow is important as well.
Invest your money on a good broadhead. I’d suggest something that has about a 7/8 cutting diameter; this is the least you can go for. Why? You see, whether it’s a female moose or a bull, they’re both pretty strong.
And if you’re someone who wants to go for a bull moose, don’t forget to picture their tank-like bodies. Their ribs are put together in such a way that they feel like steel shingles. As a result, getting an arrow into this animal is quite a challenging task, let alone a successful pass-through.
The mechanical ones are a spelling disaster; they don’t help much. With a strong fixed-blade broadhead, you’ll have the best possible chance to have a successful kill.
Shooting an arrow that doesn’t penetrate deep is useless. And that’s when you need to think about the type of arrow you’re going to choose.
I prefer going for a carbon arrow set. Arrows with carbon shafts are lighter than the ones with aluminum shafts – no wonder they penetrate deeper inside a thick skin.
Besides, these arrows flex less, not to mention they recover faster from flex at impact, and you get more penetration power with less kinetic energy. So yes, a carbon arrow should be in your quiver.
How Much Draw Weight Does It Take to Kill a Moose?
‘Usually, 55 lbs draw is enough to kill any large game. I shoot a 65 lb take-down recurve when I train. Then I switch my bow limbs for 50 when I hunt (also train with it but not as much as with the 65).’ says a Stack Exchange user in a comment.
Some hunters think poundage worth 40 lbs should be enough, even the pro ones. However, 50 lbs should be the minimum poundage for a good kill. Going for 55 pounds or even higher is better without a doubt.
Bear in mind that the legal range varies from one state to another. However, most states prefer 50 pounds, while there might be a few exceptions.
What Is the Effective Range of a Recurve Bow?
You can cover hundreds of yards with a recurve bow. Technically, you have to figure out the ideal range by maths on the specifications: arrow weight, draw length, draw weight, etc.
An ideal range from 60 to 100 yards is adequate if you’re target shooting. But that’s not the case when you need to shoot the arrow to hunt moose. The ideal range is between 20 to 30 yards in such a case.
Where Is the Best Place to Shoot a Moose?
If you want your shot to be fatal, ensure you maintain an adequate distance between you and your prey. Now, even though you’re a lethal hunter, you must go for a humane kill. The faster the death, the better. For this, try hitting the heart and the lungs of the moose.
Your best chance to go for the heart and double lung shot is when the moose is facing slightly away from you, or it’s facing towards you, or it’s broadside to you.
After You’ve Taken the Moose Down
Don’t be so sure that the moose is dead right after you’ve hit it. If the animal is down, you might want to approach it, but make sure to keep your guard. Moose usually keep their eyes open when dead. So, if you see its eyes are closed, there’s no need to be excited. It’s still alive. Use caution! If it needs, shoot the moose once again.
Once you’ve confirmed the kill, it’s better to field dress the moose right away. Cool the meat as fast as possible if you want to prevent gamey flavors.
So, can you kill a moose with a recurve bow? You know the answer. Hunting anything with a recurve bow is more straightforward than any other bow type. All you need to do is now get your hands on the best recurve bow on a budget and set your foot in the wild.
Steven Lines is a hunter and outdoorsman from Safford, Arizona, USA. Since he was a child, he has been hunting and fishing and has over 20 years of outdoor experience. Steven works as a hunting guide in Arizona during his spare time and runs a Youtube channel dedicated to sharing his outdoor adventures with others.