In this article, we put our knowledge to work to help you land on the best elk hunting bow. Bowhunting elk is certainly not for the faint of heart. It takes a legendary person to get within 60 yards of an aggressive bull elk and draw his bow with a steady hand. Whether you’re a newbie or seasoned hunter, you’ll find value in this guide.
When choosing the best compound bow for elk hunting, it’s wise to test them first. As you already know, everyone has different preferences, and while one man’s favorite brand could be Hoyt, another man’s could be Bowtech or PSE.
If your goal is to save some bucks by buying online, we’ve already scouted out some good finds for you that we share with you below. However, if you have yet to shoot a bow, testing some models by different makers in person first is the wisest idea.
At this point, we know you’re pumped to choose your next bow, so let’s get rolling with our top picks.
Elk Hunting Bow Reviews
In each of the following reviews, we’ll give you an accurate idea of what to expect from each bow. Plus, we always list the most important pros & cons to consider for all elk hunting gear to help you make the most informed buying decision.
#1) Diamond by Bowtech Deploy SB R.A.K. Compound Bow Package
For those of you who want a bow that you can load up with heavy arrows that cut through bone like butter, the Deploy SB is the one for you. Diamond by Bowtech is one of the leaders in the industry, and this model is the company’s most advanced bow with its Synchronized Binary Cam System that allows arrows to reach speeds up to 330 fps.
Amazingly, it offers that level of power while only weighing 3.2 lbs. Currently, there are two models available with different draw weights: 50 – 60 lbs (A12686/B12686) and 60 – 70 lbs (A12688/B12688). Regardless of which model you choose, you get more than enough power to take down big game. Additionally, you’ll find that the advanced cam design gives you the most consistent level of accuracy during your hunts.
Lastly, the pros at Bowtech ensure that this bow is as close to ready to go right out of the box as possible. Reduce your sighting time and fine-tune your adjustments with more ease than inferior models with the accessories in the Ready-Aim-Kill (R.A.K.) package. Moreover, Bowtech backs its flagship bow with a lifetime warranty.
- Lightweight at 3.2 lbs with an IBO speed above 300
- The R.A.K. (Ready Aim Kill) package includes factory-tested and tuned accessories
- Shoot more without losing accuracy
- The smoothest cams that pull easier
- Lifetime warranty
- Quiet operation for stealthier stalking
- Helps to improve your accuracy from further distances
- Solid back wall
- High upfront cost
- You might not be a fan of the R.A.K. accessories
#2) PSE Archery Evolve 28 Compound Bow Package
Another one of the best compound bows for elk hunting is PSE’s premium Evolve 28 bow. This made-in-the-USA bow matches the power of Bowtech’s Deploy SB with a max arrow speed of 335 fps and a draw weight of 70 lbs. PSE’s Evolve Cam System gives you one of the highest let-offs available at 80-90% without reducing power. This is one of the main reasons the Evolve 28 shines as an elk hunting bow.
Next, the Evolve 28 is lightweight at 4.1 lbs, yet it is the heaviest of the bows featured in our guide. Depending on your age and pack weight, the slightly higher weight is an important consideration. Several additional unique features are the PSE vibration dampening system for better accuracy, string stop, and a roller guide cable-guard you won’t find on cheap bows.
One final consideration is that this bow is available in right hand only, which is a bummer for our lefty friends out there. The good news is our #1 pick the Deploy SB is available in left and right. Also, we have a couple of upcoming treats for lefties coming up in our following picks.
- The vibration dampening system delivers a near vibration-free shot
- One of the most comfortable bows on the market
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Excellent power from a compact bow
- The fit feels quite natural in the hand
- The short profile is good for ground blinds and treestands
- Generous let-off up to 90% for longer, steadier holds at full draw
- A bit heavier than our other picks
- No left-hand model
#3) Bear Archery Cruzer G2 Adult Compound Bow
Now, let’s take a jump down the price ladder to our top mid-range elk hunting bow pick. At the time of this writing, the Cruzer G2 costs about half as much as our top two picks. For this reason, it’s a great choice for first-time bow owners and seasoned vets who want to save some bucks compared to going for top-shelf models.
The first highlight of the Cruzer G2 is how light it is at just 3 lbs. That’s even lighter than the Deploy SB, yet the Cruzer G2 does boast a peak draw weight of 70 lbs with speeds up to 315 fps. As you can see, this bow does deliver serious power for a fair price. Next, the Cruzer G2 offers maximum adjustability with a 12″ to 30″ draw range and 5 to 70 lb draw weight.
Another reason we love this bow for first-time owners is the complete accessory package. The bow includes a sight, whisker biscuit, peep sight, nock loop, quiver, and stabilizer to get you rocking & rolling right out of the box. Finally, it’s important to note that Bear Archery backs its compound bows with a limited lifetime warranty that covers 100% of the limbs for the first 5 years and 50% coverage after 5 years.
- Our top budget alternative pick to top-shelf Bowtech and PSE models
- The lightest bow in our guide at 3 lbs
- Maximum adjustability
- Built-in offset string suppressor for noise & vibration reduction
- A noticeably smooth draw
- More than enough power at full draw (30″ and 70 lbs) to take down a bull
- Includes a full accessory package
- Left and right-hand models
- 50% warranty coverage on limbs after 5 years
- Lower let-off than PSE at 75%
#4) Diamond by Bowtech Edge SB-1 Compound Bow Package
If you’re on the hunt for a more beginner-friendly, affordable alternative to the Deploy SB, Diamond’s SB-1 is the first place to look. The key difference between the Edge SB-1 and Deploy SB is the Edge’s EZ Adjust pocket design. The EZ Adjust feature gives you a full 65 lbs of draw weight adjustability from 5 to 70 lbs – similar to the Cruzer G2. Additionally, the SB-1 offers a draw length adjustment range of 13″ to 31″.
Regarding weight, the SB-1 is just a few tenths of a pound heavier than the Deploy SB at 3.5 lbs. Next, this bow also features Diamond’s Synchronized Binary Cam System that delivers a generous 80% let-off and an arrow speed up to 320 fps that nearly matches the Deploy SB. Also, you’ll enjoy the integrated draw weight indicator for quick visual verification.
Finally, the base package includes a solid accessory package. You’ll get a peep sight, 5″ stabilizer, BCY string loop, wrist sling, sight, arrow rest, and quiver. Also, it comes backed by the same lifetime warranty as offered by the Deploy SB. All in all, this is another top-notch bow from Diamond and a fan-favorite among elk hunters.
- Generous 80% let-off that delivers
- Great adjustability for beginners
- Power & speed that nearly matches the Deploy SB
- Lightweight at 3.5 lbs
- Diamond lifetime warranty
- Compact 32″ axle to axle for ground blinds
- Accessories included
- You might end up replacing some of the accessories
- Not quite as smooth as the Deploy SB or PSE Evolve
#5) Predator Archery Raptor Compound Hunting Bow Kit
Last up is our top budget elk hunting bow pick. Comparatively, the Raptor costs about 1/4 of what our top picks are going for at the time of this writing. For this reason, it’s best for beginners and first-time owners because seasoned veterans are more likely to notice its shortcomings when comparing it to premium bows they’ve used in the past.
Having said that, this bow delivers adequate power for an elk hunt with arrow speeds up to 315 fps (with a 315-grain arrow) and a max draw weight of 70 lbs. Also, newcomers will enjoy the adjustability offered by this bow with a 24.5″ to 31″ draw length and 30 to 70 lb draw weight.
Several final highlights that make the Raptor worth a look are the hard-to-find transferrable lifetime warranty, USA-based service, made-in-the-USA limbs, and 100% aluminum cams for a discount price. On top of that, we like the 75% let-off offered by this bargain elk hunting bow.
- All-metal cams for a discounted price
- High draw length and draw weight adjustability
- It weighs just 3.6 lbs
- Transferrable lifetime warranty
- 75% let-off
- Compact 30″ axle to axle length
- Perfect for beginners and first-time owners who want to get their feet wet before going all-in
- Reduced speeds slower than 315 fps with arrows heavier than 400 grains
- Decent accessories
- More likely to need professional tuning out of the box
Remember, the best elk hunting bow must be paired with the best elk hunting broadheads for optimal results. The key is to not come up short by packing light arrows because the heavier the arrow the more devastating the kill shot. For example, a 500+ grain arrow and 70 lb draw weight offers enough momentum to break through bone.
Of the brands in this guide, we trust Diamond and PSE the most. Both companies offer excellent warranties, top-notch cams & other components, and maximum let-off for longer holds in high-pressure situations. Plus, they offer better accuracy at longer ranges. With a quality bow, you give yourself optimal accuracy in the optimal range of 40 to 60 yards for elk hunting. To make a long story short, don’t skimp unless you have to.
Finally, you might want to pair one of our favorite compound bows with the best bow sight for elk hunting for even better accuracy.