Rifles are some of the greatest inventions to come out of human-built technology, for sure. However, the argument could definitely be made that hunting with a rifle is not nearly as exhilarating as bowhunting, no matter how much more efficient the former might be.
There truly is a good reason why crossbows are still very much in use despite dating back to 700 BC. The difference is that now, thanks to advancements in technology, they’re better, sharper and stronger.
And the benefits of bowhunting are never as prominent as when it’s used for hunting deer. But we won’t say much more; we’ll just show you our top 7 picks for the best crossbow for deer hunting.
Let’s get started.
Best Crossbow for Deer Hunting Reviews
After hours of research and analysis, we have narrowed it down to the following 7 crossbows for your consideration. Let's see what each one has to offer in turn.
1. Barnett Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow
The first crossbow we’ve selected for your consideration is from a long-standing and easily recognizable name in the hunting equipment industry: Barnett.
The Whitetail Hunter II is particularly well-loved by most hunters because of its comparatively lightweight design. Measuring only a little over 16 inches from one axle to another, you’ll be able to use this thing with ease no matter whether you’re on the ground or on a tree stand.
One of the most appealing factors about this bow is that it comes with integrated TriggerTech technology, which undoubtedly allows for more accurate shooting. Add to this the three-pound trigger and zero-creep release, and you get a hugely efficient bow.
We’re also a big fan of the foot stirrup, which has been specifically designed to resist inconvenient vibration. The anti-dry fire trigger is, of course, necessary for your safety.
2. Center Point Specialist XL 370 Camo- Crossbow Package
We’ve chosen this next crossbow specifically because of its capacity for accuracy and speed. This CNC machined aluminum crossbow is, in particular, well-suited to beginner and novice hunters, although professionals also love it.
The stock and quiver are greatly adjustable, while the rail is built such that a solid mounting capability is almost promised. The 185 pounds of draw weight, while not optimal for deer hunting, can still offer you great speed on the field, up to 370 feet per second.
We also greatly appreciate the inbuilt safety mechanisms in this thing, starting from the anti-dry fire mechanism and auto-safety trigger. We can’t possibly overstate the importance of such features; hunting, in general, isn’t the safest of activities!
All of that being said, it’s important to be wary of the bow trigger, which is not immune to creeping. Furthermore, the tactical stock is somewhat poorly built; however, given the overall price you’re paying and the host of features, we think it’s a small price to pay.
3. BARNETT Whitetail Hunter STR Crossbow
As you may already know by now, Barnett is a highly sought-after name in the industry; they’ve been at it for 5 decades now, and they only keep getting better.
The Whitetail Hunter STR is a great example of what these guys are capable of because the STR line is specifically meant to produce only premium, heavy-duty and high-performance crossbows. It is mainly characterized by its ability to enhance stability by evenly distributing weight between the riser and the stock.
One of the most important things about this crossbow is the included illuminated scope, which has been crafted from the highest quality materials for the highest level of performance. And like all other Whitetail models from Barnett, this one also comes with TriggerTech technology, which affords you an accurate and effortless shot.
And finally, because this crossbow has a draw weight of 185 pounds, you can expect to take down not only deer, but also bigger game. Yes, this bow will set you back some, but it’s definitely worth it.
4. Barnett Jackal Crossbow Package
Yes, this one is also from Barnett, and yes, it’s for a very good reason! This set has a lot to offer, especially if you’re a beginner or a novice who’s ready to step up their game, so keep reading if that sounds like you.
And when they say that this is a complete crossbow package, they really mean it: you’re getting, besides the crossbow itself, a quiver, a few bolts, and a red dot sight. The best thing about this set is that all the components can be used right out of the box, meaning assembly is going to be a walk in the park.
So what can it do? Well, the stock is honestly one of our favorite things, because it has such a smooth, military feel to it. The synthetic string and cable mechanism, along with the high-energy wheels, allow for higher precision. Furthermore, being able to shoot at 315 feet per second with a 150-pound draw weight makes this an ideal choice for deer hunters.
All of this results in surprising accuracy, given the relatively low price of the thing.
We really don’t have anything to complain about with regards to this bad boy; however, you will have to get your own rope cocking device.
5. Wicked Ridge by TenPoint Invader G3 Crossbow
Whether you’re a beginner or have been at this for a while, there’s a very good chance that you’ve already heard of the Wicked Ridge Invader line. With this TenPoint G3, the manufacturers have really stepped up their game. Let’s find out how.
For starters, this is the most lightweight and quickest model of Wicked Ridge Invader. Jam-packed with great features like the multi-line scope, instantly detachable 3-arrow quiver, you can expect the highest level of accuracy. There’s also ACUdraw cocking mechanisms for further help.
We also appreciate the fact that the crossbow strings are made from premium quality materials, offering unparalleled longevity. In fact, you can expect to make up to 6,000 shots with this thing—impressive, right?
And all the things we have just mentioned come ready to use right out of the box, which we love. Bowhunting can seem daunting at first to those who are just starting out, but this package aims to solve that.
Sure, this guy is a little expensive, but hey, you’re getting so many things in the package that we really can’t imagine a better way to spend your money. Trust us: get this bow!
6. Bear X Crossbows Archery Torrix FFL Crossbow
This next crossbow we’ve selected for your consideration is not one for the faint of heart; we recommend this bow to only the most serious of hunters, so if that doesn’t sound like you, you might wanna skip it.
There’s a good reason why we’re saying that: this is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful crossbows out there. With only a draw weight of 125 lbs, this thing is nonetheless able to shoot at a speed of up to 355 ft per second; we don’t know what’s impressive if that isn’t!
The best crossbow for the money, in fact, is not just one that has an impressive draw weight to speed ratio. Kinetic energy is also an important consideration; and on that front, this crossbow definitely delivers with 114.5 feet-pound of it.
Yes, this is definitely one of the most expensive crossbow packages out there; we won’t lie. However, if you’re a serious hunter who knows what he wants and what a good crossbow looks like, then you’ll agree with us when we say that it’s totally worth the money!
7. TenPoint Turbo GT Crossbow Package
We’re closing off our list of the best hunting crossbow reviews with another highly lucrative package from TenPoint. Once you read about its features, you’ll understand how it got a spot on our list.
With speeds of up to 360 feet per second at a draw weight of 175 pounds, this thing is immensely powerful, yet super lightweight and easy to maneuver, meaning accuracy won’t be a concern in any way. The included self-retracting rope cocking device only adds to this.
The compact and streamlined design is something else we love. This crossbow measures 17.5 inches from axle to axle, which allows for the manuverability we mentioned earlier.
So what’s in the package? With your purchase, you can expect a 3x Pro-View scope alongside an easily removable 3-arrow quiver. In addition, there will be as many as three Pro Elite carbon arrows all measured at 50 cm. You’ll also love the quiver bracket that can be mounted on the side.
All in all, there’s not much to complain about with regards to this bad boy, except maybe that the paint scratches a bit too easily. But c’mon, is that really a good enough reason to pass up such a high-functioning bow?
Buying Guide for Deer Hunting Crossbow
You won't be able to realize all the amazing benefits of using a crossbow unless you have the right one. So here are the factors to keep in mind to buy your ideal crossbow.
Hunting crossbows come in quite a large variety of different types, including, but not limited to: recurve, pistol, compound, bullet, rifle, and repeating.
For the purposes of this article, however, we're only going to be discussing recurve and compound crossbow types, as they are the most suited to deer hunting.
The main benefit of this model is its simplistic design. The strings of a recurve crossbow are attached directly to its limbs, basically translates to a lack of complexities. This, in turn, ensures a lightweight design and lower required levels of maintenance.
The biggest advantage of a recurve crossbow can be boiled down to its ability to afford you a higher draw length than a compound. As for disadvantages, there's really only one: recurve bows can be somewhat noisy compared to other bow types. Accordingly, it's a good idea to invest in a bowstring silencer to eliminate the ringing sound that accompanies a shot.
Remember how we said that with recurve bows, the strings are attached directly to the limbs? Well, in the case of a compound crossbow, the strings are attached to the limbs via a pulley and cable system.
Basically, what this means is, you'll feel a more natural pull when you draw the trigger back (also called the let-off effect). So compound bows, it can be said, require you to put in less energy.
Furthermore, the release is relatively quieter, while the speeds are higher with lower recoil. Consequently, you get higher accuracy and precision. Additionally, compared to recurve bows, compound ones can provide a larger shooting range. And because of their shorter limbs, they are smaller in size.
On the other hand, the sophisticated pulley system increases the weight of the bow, making it more high-maintenance.
Ah, the million-dollar question: Just what is draw weight? What does it all mean!? In the simplest terms, draw weight refers to how much force you need to use when drawing the bow back to have it cocked and on lock. What you should know is, the arrow speed is directly proportional to the draw weight.
The draw weight is important because it determines the ease with which you can expect to be able to use your crossbow. And the kind of game you are hunting is what will decide the right draw weight.
Since we're talking about deer hunting, the draw weight of your chosen crossbow should be at least 150 pounds. Most deer hunters are unwilling to take risks associated with draw weights than that.
By this we mean the weight of the crossbow itself. If you choose a lightweight model like the recurve, you can expect better maneuverability and portability.
On the other hand, compound crossbows tend to be heavier. While carrying them might cause some muscle fatigue, they are easier to keep balanced and stable when you're shooting.
Ultimately, it depends on your needs, preferences, and abilities.
Single-Handed or Two-Handed:
As you may have already guessed, this means that crossbows come in both a one-handed and two-handed variety. You might be wondering what the difference is.
Well, since two-handed crossbows are operated using both hands, they are understandably more versatile than single-handed crossbows. This also lends them a higher degree of power and accuracy.
However, despite the benefits of two-handed crossbows, many still prefer single-handed crossbows as they are lighter and more easily maneuverable. Plus, they're also a lot more affordable.
The velocity your bow offers influences a number of other factors, such as range, accuracy, and impact of the force. Once again, the required velocity depends on the size of the game you're hunting. In the case of deer, a minimum speed of 300 feet per second is ideal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the best crossbow for hunting?
Ans: All the bows we’ve reviewed are great; that’s why we reviewed them! However, the Barnett Whitetail Hunter II undoubtedly stands out in every way.
Q: How much draw weight do I need?
Ans: A draw weight of 150 pounds and a speed of 300 feet per second is optimal for deer hunting. However, if you're hunting for bigger game, then the draw weight and total arrow weight should also increase.
Q: What kind of crossbow should I choose?
Ans: If you prioritize precision and accuracy, then you should consider a compound or reverse limb style crossbow. Alternately, if you are okay with lower accuracy for the benefit of a lighter crossbow, then a recurve-style bow will suit you better.
Q: Should I go for a one-handed or two-handed crossbow?
Once again, this depends on your particular need for accuracy. Two-handed crossbows offer higher maneuverability and precision. However, if you're looking to spend less or don't have high requirements for precision, then a one-handed crossbow is okay.
Q: What are the benefits and drawbacks of a recurve crossbow?
Ans: The benefits are derived mostly from the simplistic and lightweight design, which means lower levels of maintenance. However, this comes at the price of accuracy and precision.
If you were looking for the best crossbow for deer hunting, hopefully now you’ve found it. If you need a nudge in the right direction, though, we’d definitely suggest the Barnett Whitetail Hunter II.
If you have a bigger budget, the Bear X Crossbows Archery Torrix FFL Crossbow Package is another great option that won’t let you down.
And if you still have concerns, why not refer back to our buying guide? Either way, we hope your shots are always on point. Good luck!