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Bow Draw Weight Chart

Bow draw weight chart illustration

Figuring out the right draw weight is one of the first things a first time archer considers when contemplating the purchase of a compound bow. The following draw weight charts provide a basic guide for draw weight selection for compound and recurve bows based on body type, game size, and weight.

Compound Bow Draw Weight Chart

Body Type Suggested Draw Weight
Small child (40 to 70 lbs.) 10-15 lbs.
Child (70 to 100 lbs.) 15-20 lbs.
Women and large-framed boys (100 to 140 lbs.) 30-40 lbs.
Women with a larger frame & youth boys (140 to 160 lbs.) 40-50 lbs.
The majority of males (160 to 190 lbs.) 55-65 lbs.
Larger males (190+ lbs.) 60-70 lbs.

The above chart provides suggested draw weight for a compound bow based on body type. Again, these are basic guide lines. You'll want to adapt your draw weight for any special considerations including physical ability. If unsure, start with a lower draw weight. With time, your strength will improve and you can increase draw weight if you choose.

Game Size Draw Weight Chart

Game Size Suggested Compound Bow Draw Weight
Small game (Squirrels, rabbits, ground hogs, etc.) < 25 ft/lbs
Medium game (Pronghorn, deer, etc.) 25-45 ft/lbs
Large game (Elk, black bear, wild boar, etc.) 45-65 ft/lbs
Toughest game (Grizzly bear, cape buffalo, etc.) < 65 ft/lbs

The above chart shows suggested compound bow draw weights based on game size. Don't select a weight that greater than what you can handle.

Draw weight is only one factor to consider when selecting a compound bow for hunting. The most important consideration for selecting a compound bow for hunting is kinectic energy (KE). Kinectic energy depends on (1) draw weight, (2) draw length, (3) brace height and (4) arrow weight.

Recurve Bow Draw Weight Chart

Archer's Weight Suggested Draw Weight
Small Children (70-100 lbs.) 10-15 lbs
Larger Children (100-130 lbs.) 15-25 lbs
Small-Frame Female (100-130 lbs.) 25-35 lbs
Medium-Frame Female (130-160 lbs) 25-35 lbs
Small-Frame Male (120-150 lbs) 30-45 lbs
Medium-Frame Male (150-180 lbs) 40-55 lbs
Large-Frame Females (160+ lbs) 30-45 lbs
Large Frame Men (180+ lbs) 45-60 lbs

The above chart shows suggested draw weights for a recurve bow based on the archer's weight and gender. If you are a beginning archer we recommend starting on the lower end of the draw weight recommendation. As your strength and ability improve, you can increase your draw weight.

For target practice at 50 to 60 yards, you'll typically need a recurve bow with a 25-35 lb draw weight. At closer distances a 15-25 lb draw weight is sufficient. For target practice beyond 60 yards, we recommend a minimum 35 lb draw weight.

For hunting with a recurve bow, we recommend a minimum draw weight of 40 lbs. Before selecting either a recurve or compound bow for hunting you'll want to check your state's minimum draw weight requirements.