A successful journalist and news reporter in the past, George is now focused on freelance work to be able to dedicate more time to the most important things in his life: family, friends, his dogs, and fishing.
John is an avid traveler, hiker, and RVer. Moreover, it seems like he knows everything when it comes to fishing and hunting: his father started sharing all the tips and tricks he knew when John was a kid. No wonder we trust his opinion every time a new article is being created.
Last updated: August 30, 2021
Outdoorsly is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
All hunters know how lucky they are to be able to go in the great outdoors and get closer to nature. A hunting weekend is fun, but going after deer is not an easy task, and you need the right equipment for that. The good news is that if you’re looking for the best crossbow for deer hunting, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve scoured the market in order to find the crossbows that can make your deer hunting simpler and more exciting. That search has resulted in a list of the ten best crossbows that are designed to make life easier when you are looking to either upgrade your current weapon or buy your first. At the top of our list is the Excalibur Matrix Grizzly, and that’s our Editor’s Choice for several reasons. We loved the fact that it’s colored for hunting in mossy oak break-up country camouflage, has the super-strong SMF composite frame and insane accuracy. However, we didn’t stop there, and there are a further nine crossbows for you to consider – all offering different combinations of attributes for every type of deer hunter out there.
Our team has spent many hours researching different models, comparing power strokes and draw weights, as well as crossbows’ lengths and weights, so we could find the best crossbow for deer hunting out there. We’ve carefully examined customer feedback and compiled the detailed reviews of ten best crossbows on the market. That’s followed by a handy buying guide, which is designed to talk you through the features that can help you find the most accurate and powerful crossbow.
The crossbow that makes it onto the very top of our list here is the excellent Excalibur Matrix Grizzly, and this is a crossbow that would suit almost anyone – from beginners to seasoned hunters.
The draw weight of the Excalibur crossbow isn’t excessive, and most people will have no trouble cocking it. The weapon weighs in at just 5.5 pounds, which makes it perfect for moving around with, and this is a durable, compact, and accurate crossbow that doesn’t make a great deal of noise when fired.
All in all, the Excalibur Matrix Grizzly is going to be a hard crossbow to beat when it comes to finding a reliable crossbow for deer hunting. You will go a long, long way before you find anything this good anywhere else.
The second product on our list is the CenterPoint Sniper 370, which is a relatively inexpensive crossbow and an amazing way to get into hunting for not too much money.
Many hunters love this crossbow because it features an adjustable stock and foregrip, and the all-important anti-dry fire mechanism as standard. You also get an auto-safety trigger mechanism, which is a wonderful sign that the manufacturer has put some thoughts into this design. Moreover, this model has an integrated string suppressors that will help you to make silent shots.
This crossbow is significantly heavier than the previous model since its weight is 7.9 pounds. However, if you can handle the extra weight, your wallet will remain a lot heavier, too, so this crossbow is going to appeal to a considerable section of buyers out there.
The Barnett Jackal Crossbow package includes three arrows, so you can start hunting immediately. You also get a quickly detachable quiver, bolts, and a premium red dot sight in the box.
The draw weight of the Barnett Jackal is 150 pounds, and it is more than enough to get your prey. This crossbow has stable quad limbs that increase its accuracy.
This is a simple crossbow for hunting deer, and it does have some magnificent features. It won’t cost you the earth to own. Weighing in at a total of 7.7 pounds and with a 12-inch power stroke, this crossbow will be an excellent option for many buyers out there.
Unfortunately, some people noticed that the customer service and quality control were poor.
The next crossbow on our list is from TenPoint, and it’s the Wicked Ridge Invader G3. This crossbow is quite lightweight. You also get an astonishing package when you opt for the TenPoint Wicked Ridge Invader G3, with a TenPoint 3X Multi-Line Scope, a Wicked Ridge Instant-Detach 3-Arrow Quiver, and three 400-grain Carbon Arrows along with 100-grain practice tips all thrown in.
This crossbow has an impressive power stroke of 13.5 inches, and even though the draw weight is 165 pounds, there’s an integrated self-retracting rope cocking device that reduces the overall draw weight to half that figure – making this a fantastic option fast and easy to cock.
For some inexperienced hunters, it may be difficult to center the scope. However, other customers really liked it and said that this bow is extremely accurate.
The CenterPoint Tormentor Whisper 380 gets the title of the most compact crossbow because it has an extremely narrow axle to axle measurement of just 14 inches. This model is going to be an incredible pick for hunters who need a more portable bow. That impressive feature is partly achieved because TenPoint uses compression fiberglass quad limbs to maintain power while keeping the crossbow width small.
You can use this crossbow even in bad weather conditions because it has rubber padded grips and composite stock for extra stability. So, under no circumstances, you will fail with your shots.
The power stroke here is also not bad, at almost fourteen inches, and this is a nice crossbow that will attract a lot of hunters. Nevertheless, some customers had issues with the quality of this crossbow. All in all, worth considering if you haven’t got money to burn, but you love to hunt deer.
The Empire Beowulf 360 by SA Sports comes in a decent package – meaning you won’t need to spend anything once you’ve opted for this crossbow.
Draw weight here is 175 pounds, which isn’t the lightest mechanism on our list, but also not the heaviest. Keep it in mind, however, if you like a lighter draw weight.
In the box, you get a 4×32 multi-range scope, three carbon arrows, a side-mounted claw lever latch, and a quick-detach quiver. There’s also a rope cocking device, which will help you to cock it very quickly. However, some users had an issue with the wrong sizes of the parts.
The Empire Beowulf 360 has the safety features every hunter will want, with an ambidextrous auto-safety and an anti-dry fire trigger. All in all, this is an excellent beginner crossbow for deer hunting on our list by far.
The Titan SS is another model from TenPoint on our list. It is quite powerful and convenient because of the adjustable height of the comb and a butt plate with two positions. You can change the length of pull as you want. You get an anti-dry fire mechanism here, and the manufacturer guarantees the quality of this crossbow.
It has a nice design – the cocked axle to axle measurement here is only 18.5 inches, which makes it great when you find yourself in the trees. Moreover, the color allows you to blend with the area and stay invisible for the deer.
Unfortunately, this package does not include arrows or a cocking device, and you will need to buy them as extras if you opt for this specific deal. Next, it is quite heavy, which, on the other hand, can be a benefit for some.
Overall, this is a great crossbow and incorporates some useful features. Well worth looking at before you commit to buy anything else.
If you’re a whitetail deer hunting specialist, you may well want to sit up and take notice of the next crossbow on our list, because the Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR is, as the name suggests, a whitetail specialist just like you.
If you do opt for this crossbow, you’ll get complete, ready to hunt accessory package, which includes a 4×32 millimeters multi-reticle scope, two 22 inch headhunter arrows, a lightweight quiver, rope cocking device, and even some lube wax.
This crossbow weighs just 6.6 Pounds, has an axle to axle width only a shade over eighteen inches, and is made from a lightweight composite material. You get an anti-dry fire mechanism on the Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR, too, which might just save your crossbow by chance. Furthermore, it shoots arrows at 375 feet per second and provides you with absolute accuracy.
The only downside some users noticed is that safety/fire switch can be hard to engage.
The first thing to say here is that the PSE Fang LT has one extremely impressive attribute for a crossbow at this price point, and that is its weight. This crossbow weighs just 5.8 pounds, making it one of the lightest crossbow on this list – although that’s no mean feat.
Secondly, it’s worth acknowledging that the PSE Fang LT has the safety features you want to see on a hunting crossbow, with both an anti-dry fire mechanism as well as an auto-safety trigger. The rubber-coated foot stirrup makes cocking this crossbow a little more comfortable than it would be without the feature, as the draw weight is 165 pounds.
We really loved its mossy oak country camouflage as it allows you to stay hidden from the deer. This makes your hunting more interesting and exciting.
Nevertheless, some users weren’t happy with the quality of the crossbow. Luckily, this issue didn’t appear to be often.
Last but not least is the Ravin R10 professional crossbow, and it definitely deserves to be mentioned in our review because it is immensely powerful. It has all the advanced technologies while being extremely compact and lightweight.
The Ravin R10 comes fully assembled and requires no additional adjustments, so you go hunting right away. In the package, you get six Ravin branded arrows and nocks, one removable cocking handle, one quiver bracket, and six practice field points. It also arrives with a100-yard illuminated scope, so this isn’t a bad deal at all, although it is very expensive. The all-important anti-dry fire mechanism is present, as is an auto safety switch, so this will also suit every hunter.
It is hard to compare its accuracy with other crossbows. It feels and shoots just like a rifle. In addition, it is perfectly balanced.
Why did it make our list?
Comes fully assembled
Powerful professional crossbow
Compact and lightweight
What is not ideal about it?
Things to Consider
Looking for the ideal crossbow for your own hunting expeditions doesn’t need to be a tedious affair. There are a lot of things to consider when you’re searching for this type of product, but luckily, help is at hand. We’re about to break down the ins and outs of these weapons and help you learn more about the various features and terms you’ll encounter on your search. We’ll give you the lowdown on what makes a great deer hunting crossbow, so let’s start!
How to choose the best crossbow for deer hunting?
There is a staggering amount of crossbows suitable for deer hunting on the market, but not all of them will match the way you move and hunt. It’s important to take all the individual attributes of a weapon into account before you buy it. You will need to think about the power stroke, velocity, draw weight, crossbow weight, length and some other essential features. The good news is that on our list of the ten best crossbows for hunting deer, you can find the model, which is perfect for your hunting style.
The term power stroke is all about the length between the string while the weapon is cocked and the resting point of the uncocked crossbow.
The longer this distance is, the more kinetic energy the arrow has when it leaves the crossbow, and the higher the power of your shot will be.
On the other hand, crossbows with longer power strokes are harder to cock. If you don’t want to spend much time and effort on this, check the TenPoint Wicked Ridge Invader G3 that has an integrated self-retracting rope cocking device that makes it easier to cock.
Arrow velocity can determine how accurate and humane you are as a hunter. Moreover, figuring out the arrow speed will tell you what force impact it has. Remember that the kinetic energy in an arrow will decrease as it travels away from your crossbow, which means that you’ll also need more velocity if you intend to shoot from a greater distance. For deer hunting, everything above 300fps is more than enough. Take a look at the Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR, which is quite powerful and shoots arrows at 375fps.
The draw weight refers to how much pull is required in order to move the limbs of your crossbow into the firing position. One thing to bear in mind is that a higher draw weight results typically in a faster arrow speed, and this can be a factor in making sure that you get your medium-sized game – although, arrow weight will also play its role in that.
As with most selection factors, draw weight will come down to your own requirements for hunting and your preferences. Balance what you need with what you can achieve in the field, and you won’t go too far wrong. Our Editor’s Choice, the Excalibur Matrix Grizzly, has a 200lb of draw weight, as well as it is extremely accurate and relatively lightweight.
The weight, like a lot of hunting equipment concerns, is a trade-off. On the one hand, the more it weighs, the easier it will be to hold your crossbow steady when you’re aiming. On the other hand, with a more lightweight weapon, you’ll be able to move around quicker– and that can help a lot with finding and tracking a target.
Different types of crossbow have various weight characteristics, and this is something you may want to keep an eye on if you get easily fatigued or planning a long hunt.
The perfect balance you can achieve with the TenPoint Titan SS. Furthermore, you can adjust and customize it accordingly to your needs.
A longer weapon in any form is a more accurate weapon, but as a mobile shooter, you will need to weigh up the pros and cons of lugging a longer crossbow around the field. What the hunters need most is the ability to move freely and quietly, so bulky, bigger kit can’t help with that, unfortunately. Try to work out how you shoot. If you get at a close distance to your prey more often, then a longer crossbow might not be as necessary for you as for the hunter who shoots from greater distances. You can explore the benefits of having a smaller weapon with the PSE Fang LT.
As with hunting rifles, scopes that are fitted to crossbows provide more accuracy. Before you make your purchase, make sure to check the scope because there is a large variety of them. If you like a specific crossbow, but you are not so impressed with the scope or want to install your favorite, it’s worth figuring out if the scope is replaceable, and if the crossbow is fitted with a standard rail that enables you to swap it out. Take a look at the Ravin R10 that comes with a 100-yard illuminated scope and other important accessories, so you will be ready to go hunting right away with it.
Ease of use
Ease of use is especially crucial if you are a beginner, and you want to learn how to hunt before progressing to a weapon, which is more difficult to use out there in the field. Not all crossbows are created equal when it comes to user-friendliness, so if you are new to the hunting game, make sure to check which crossbows incorporate design features that exist to aid you as well as any accessories. For example, with the user-friendly TenPoint Wicked Ridge Invader G3, you get an amazing package to start hunting immediately.
The very last thing we need as deer hunters is to spook our prey, and we really don’t want to make a tremendous amount of noise every time we are making a shot. Deer, in particular, are the animals that will take off rapidly at the slightest hint of a sound, so it’s essential to know which crossbow makes less noise.
Modern compound crossbows tend to be more and more silent. The shorter the draw weight, the less vibration the crossbow will have, and, therefore, the less noise they will produce. The CenterPoint Sniper 370 is what you might want to get silent shots.
The quality of manufacturing materials is important when it comes to the durability of any piece of equipment, and crossbows are no different. As hunters, we all want to know that our weapons are built of the right materials to ensure strength, as well as safe and reliable repeated operation, but we also need them to be lightweight and easy to carry. Today’s composite materials provide both strength and reduced weight, which gives deer hunters the best of both worlds. Our top pick here, the Excalibur Matrix Grizzly, is an excellent example of what can be achieved with modern composite materials. Be sure to check the materials used when you’re selecting your own new crossbow for hunting deer.
Remember that the lighter and stronger bow you buy, the more prey you are likely to get, and the longer your crossbow will last.
One of the biggest concerns, when you’re using a crossbow, is always going to be finger safety. Many of today’s crossbows incorporate mechanisms that prevent your fingers from getting in contact with the bowstring. It’s worth using a crossbow with a feature like this because even the most experienced hunter can make a mistake out in the field.
In terms of the crossbow itself, accidental dry firing will do a lot of damage to most crossbows, and again, even the most seasoned hunter can dry fire. The compound crossbow for deer hunting can end up being destroyed after a dry fire because the firing energy has nowhere to go except to the weapon itself. Many crossbows nowadays, like the SA Sports Empire Beowulf 360, have automatic safeties, which kick in as soon as the string is drawn and significantly reduce the chances of dry firing.
Crossbow kits and accessories
Different manufacturers offer various options when it comes to selling crossbows for hunting deer. Depending on which crossbow you select, you can expect to have to buy differing amounts of equipment and accessories on top of the price you pay for your weapon. It’s essential to take everything into account when you are searching for your new crossbow, and advisable to take particular note of what is included in each crossbow bundle. Some crossbow manufacturers will include items of equipment such as cocking devices, arrows, and quiver in the sale price, which you can find with the TenPoint Wicked Ridge Invader G3, while others will not.
Especially if your budget is comparatively tight, it is wise to check everything that comes in the bundle of all of the various crossbows you are considering before you make a decision to buy one.
When you’re choosing a crossbow for deer hunting, you will notice that the price can significantly vary. Our list of the top ten crossbows for deer hunting offers everything you might want to see.
You can choose to go for our budget model – the Barnett Jackal – which only costs around $200 – but it’s important to remember that most times, you get what you pay for. Crossbows are potentially dangerous weapons, and it’s always better to prioritize quality over budget if possible.
If you do decide to go for our premium pick – the excellent Excalibur Matrix Grizzly – you’ll need to part with at least five-hundred of your hard-earned dollars, but it’s a high-end crossbow with super-strong SMF composite frame, excellent accuracy and low noise level.
There are multiple affordable options out there, however, such as the CenterPoint Sniper 370, which will set you back around $225 and offers all the equipment you will need to get out hunting.
If you are a professional with a huge deer hunting experience, you might want to see our upgraded pick – the Ravin R10. This crossbow is incredibly compact and lightweight, but the price tag is very high.
It’s extremely important to take the manufacturer’s advice into account when it comes to your own individual crossbow and the way it is intended to be used. Safety is paramount, and failure to adhere to the specific instructions designed for your crossbow can result in injury or crossbow damages. Not all crossbows on the market are built in a way that allows a user to uncock the weapon by using the cocking device. The accepted method for safely uncocking a crossbow is to shoot the arrow into a suitable backstop, and you will need to use this method if the manufacturer of your own weapon doesn’t permit uncocking the weapon with the cocking device.
Dry firing certainly can damage your crossbow, and it’s important to try to prevent that from happening. One of the easiest ways to accomplish that is to look for deer hunting crossbows which incorporate an anti-dry fire mechanism. When you conduct your search for a crossbow to suit your needs, make sure to look out for that to protect your weapon because not all crossbows out there will have the anti-dry fire mechanisms in place.
Depending on where you live and hunt, different regulations will apply to the use of crossbows and other weapons. It’s vital to check for all regulatory and legislative measures in the specific location where you live and to abide by all rules that apply. For hunters who live in Canada, it is required to be at least 18 years old to own a crossbow, and the velocity of the arrow must be lower than 500 fps. For people who live and hunt in the USA, you want to check the regulations of your state because there can be different limitations.
Well, that was our review of the best deer hunting crossbows around.
Our favorite crossbow is the excellent Excalibur Matrix Grizzly. We absolutely loved the color of the camouflage on this model, and we could not get over just how sturdy the SMF composite frame was. It’s a great all-around weapon and perfect for most deer hunters.
In the second place on our list of the ten best crossbows for deer hunting is the astonishing CenterPoint Sniper 370. It is extremely lightweight, yet durable and offers exceptional accuracy while hunting. The deer won’t stand a chance if you decide to go for that offering by CenterPoint.
In the third place comes the lovely Barnett Jackal crossbow, and we adore the
synthetic string and cable system on this model. Many hunters out there will also appreciate the sleek military feel of this crossbow and low price tag, and there is no doubt that it fully deserves its place in our top three.