Last Updated on December 27, 2022
A well-prepared hunter like yourself will have it no other way: you want the best hunting arrows in your quiver for your upcoming 2023 deer, elk, or wild game hunt. No exceptions. We put together this no-nonsense guide for the outdoorsmen that leave nothing to chance, from their boots to their arrows.
While we can’t take the shot for you (as much as we would love to) we want to put you in the best possible position should that perfect opportunity arise. A hunter that regularly finds success is always a well-prepared one, which is why we’ve taken great care to ensure that the products on this list are up to snuff.
There’s a deep, confusing abyss of information on the internet regarding 2023’s hunting arrows, much of which leaves questions unanswered. We hope to cut through the noise and lay out everything you need to know about hunting arrows as clearly as possible.
We’ve provided a few different options and price points for all the crossbow and recurve hunters who are chasing deer, elk, turkey, and everything in between. We’ve also explained some of the technical considerations of hunting arrows like spine, fletching, weight, and more.
Because life’s too short to hunt with crummy arrows.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents: Best Hunting Arrows of 2023 [Show/Hide]
Before you select an arrow, you must first know what exactly it’s meant for. Using the same arrows for small game and big game may work for some, but it isn’t ideal for most. That’s why we’ve made arrow recommendations for several different categories of hunters. We want you to find the right arrow for the job.
All-Around Carbon Arrows For Compound Bows
Back in the day, hunters shot with aluminum arrows. They did the job, but they were heavy and easily bent. We love carbon arrows with modern compound bows because of their high velocity and the fact they don’t bend or waver. Our recommendations are the best that 2023 has to offer.
Hunting Arrows for Deer, Elk & Other Big Game
Taking down a formidable beast requires a beast of an arrow. This section is where you’ll find the strongest and most formidable shafts around. We have included our top choices and a solid budget option.
Arrows are getting smaller and smaller and flying faster and faster. Having a good set of micro-diameter arrows when hunting is a must among anyone looking for pinpoint accuracy with their shot in harsh conditions.
Arrows For a Recurve Bow or Longbow
Traditional archery hunters can rest assured that the sticks we recommend here will get the job done. Considering how hard it is to even get within shot range with a recurve bow, we know how important a trusty arrow is to get the job done.
Flu Flu Arrow For Turkey and Small Game Hunting
Flu flu fletching adds more feathers/vanes to the back end of your arrow, which dramatically slows its flight by creating drag. These arrows usually don’t travel more than 30 yards or so, making them perfect bird hunting arrows.
If you’re looking for the best flu flu arrows for squirrel, turkey, and other small game hunting, our recommendation is ready for action.
IMPORTANT: If you’d like to know more about arrow sizes, specs, and other important considerations that will be mentioned in this post, click here to skip ahead to our glossary.
What better way to get the list started than with our two favorite carbon hunting arrows for compound bows. These two trusty sticks are a staple of the bowhunting community and have collected praise long and far. They’re versatile, balanced, powerful, and can get the job done across countless hunting applications.
Materials: Carbon fiber
Straightness: .001, .003
Nock: Bohning A-Nock
Fletching: 2” Bohning blazer vanes
What We Like: Reliable, durable, balanced, packs a punch
Black Eagle brand arrows have been synonymous with quality for many years. The Rampage line is their tried-and-true arrow that performs day in and day out. I know a hunter that has used these arrows on seven straight elk harvests, and he refuses to change it up and swears by these bad boys.
To take accurate and ethical shots, you need to rely on your equipment to perform consistently. And it’s consistency you’ll find when you line up a Rampage from Black Eagle on your compound bow.
What makes this stick unique in our eyes is the “balanced” approach that Black Eagle took when creating it. It has a tremendous spine-to-weight ratio, and it is still very durable for a small diameter arrow. This makes for a fast arrow that still packs a serious punch, taking down almost any animal it makes contact with.
Straightness: ± .003
Nock: GT Series
Fletching: 2“ Raptor vanes
What We Like: Budget-friendly, reliable, durable, great for 3D shooting & hunting
We’ve gone ahead and included this tried and true shaft from the trusted Gold Tip brand for one reason: consistency. This arrow has been dropping animals from Africa to the Rocky Mountains since 1997.
Not only is this arrow a solid product that won’t let you down, but it is, in our opinion, one of the best hunting arrows for the money. This budget arrow is laser-measured for consistency in the factory, so you know every shaft is sure to perform in the field.
This arrow is perfect if you are an economical hunter who doesn’t want to skimp on quality. Time and time again, the Gold Tip XT Hunter can be relied upon to take down game, from turkeys to elk, and beyond.
If you are a regular ol’ hunter like myself, you probably cringe when thinking about how much a big game hunting trip can cost. Expenses add up quickly between all the gear, time off work, gas, processing, etc.
That’s why you must make the most of every opportunity when in the field. Having a top-notch arrow that punishes that deer or elk efficiently is incredibly important and will give you all the confidence you need when pulling back to take the shot.
Materials: High-mod carbon
Nock: Black Eagle 8-grain micro nock
Fletching: 2“ Bohning blazer vanes
What We Like: Accurate, durable, great for long-range shooters
X-Impacts very well may be the best nano diameter shaft on the market. Black Eagle sure thinks so, and so do their happy customers. Many swear by the Black Eagle Brand, and for a good reason: they make a variety of quality archery products that regularly be seen on the top shelf of pro shops. This is one of the highest-rated shafts on the internet.
The X-Impact has a super lightweight shaft that can make for a highly accurate and deadly shot on a deer or elk when paired with a heavy point or broadhead. This fact is especially true on long-range shots.
In our opinion, these are some of the best arrows if you anticipate the possibility of taking a long-distance shot this next season. You need pinpoint accuracy for long shots, and these shafts meet the mark.
Materials: Carbon fiber
Nock: Launchpad nock
Fletching: 2” blazer vanes
What We Like: Penetration, penetration, penetration!
These are the best arrows for hunting elk and larger big game animals because of one reason: penetration. These Piledriver arrows are a seriously heavy option for bowhunters who need the most power they can get. Carbon Express created the Piledriver to give hunters that little bit of extra “oomph” during their shot.
If you’ve ever fallen victim to a shot that didn’t hit the mark with much power, then you understand the value of every millimeter of penetration your arrow provides. Give yourself every advantage you can get on your next hunt, and grab yourself a set of these.
“Made with Dual Spine Weight Forward Technology, these carbon shafts deliver unsurpassed penetration by managing the energy as it transfers from the bow to the arrow. Dual Spine is the combination of two carbon materials that add strength where needed, allowing the arrow to recover faster from the paradox and retain more speed.” – Carbon Express
Materials: Carbon fiber
Nock: Preinstalled x-nock
Fletching: 2” blazer vanes
What We Like: Reliable, versatile, tough, moderately priced
Which arrows did I use during my 2021 archery elk hunt? The Easton Axis 5mm. I love the punishing strength and penetration they provide. When you purchase Easton hunting arrows, you’re getting a sure thing backed by unquestioned quality and reputation. I prefer the pre-fletched shafts, but you can also buy these raw (without fletching).
These are match-grade carbon composite arrows that fly true every time. Consistency every time out gives you mental and performance-based advantages in the field, when it matters most.
Furthermore, this do-it-all carbon shaft is among the best hunting arrows for deer, elk, AND moose. Easton also has a variety of point insert options to customize this arrow to your specific hunt.
The smaller the inner diameter of your arrow is, the straighter it’s going to travel. The flatter and straighter the travel, the more accurate you are. Save those thick boys for target shooting and get yourself a thinner diameter arrow if you want to give yourself a quick and nimble option to take down wild game in the field.
Materials: Carbon fiber
Straightness: ± .001”
Nock: Standard Victory
Fletching: Hand-fletched blazer vanes
What We Like: Strong, fast, more inertia, great penetration
Victory arrows are among the top-rated and widely-used arrows in the field, and the VAP Elites would make perfect micro-diameter arrows for your quiver. These shafts shoot fast and fly straight and are known for their deep penetration.
If you’re the type of hunter comfortable with 50+ yard shots and are looking for an arrow you can rely on even in windy conditions, then these are the shafts for you.
In our opinion, what sets these apart from the competition is the nano-particle coating they use on the shaft, which allows it to slide into an animal with even less friction than most other arrows on this list.
Straightness: ± .003”
Nock: GTO nock and collar
Fletching: 2“ Raptor vanes
What We Like: Heavy for diameter, less wind draft, expertly crafted
True archery professionals do not get to where they are with guesswork; they lean heavily on trusted brands and products. Easton is one of those brands and their Injexion Deep 6 Series arrow is one of those products.
These are some of the best small-diameter arrows on the market and have been for several years. Don’t just take my word for it. I think this Amazon reviewer Jacob says it best:
“I honestly feel very cliche writing this, but I don’t normally write reviews, in fact this is my very first review, but these arrows are of such quality I felt it was deserved. The shaft is the smallest diameter I’ve ever seen and holds a crazy amount of GPI for its size (10.1 grams per inch). I am more than happy with this product and will be sticking with Easton in the future as long as they continue to make arrows of this caliber. If you are questioning purchasing this do it. It is more than worth the money.”
Straightness: ± .0025”
Nock: GTO nock and collar
Fletching: 2“ raptor vanes
What We Like: Flies true in wind, tough, great penetration for small diameter
A solid arrow is only as good as the components it’s built with. This is why I love Gold Tip Arrows. They’re expertly crafted from the insert to the fletching, which means they leave nothing to chance.
This specific stick from Gold Tip is one of the top micro-diameter arrows on the market, in our opinion. I have noticed when using these that they have way less wind drift than the competitors and often give me the tightest groupings when shooting over 50 yards.
Hunting requires accuracy and reliability from your arrows in all weather conditions and distances. This set from Gold Tip is rigid and sturdy and will hold up to rough conditions time and time again. It’s versatile, flies true, and is built for the tough shots.
People have been hunting animals with sticks and string for, well, eons. It’s likely ingrained in our DNA. (I know it’s rooted in mine anyway.) With that said, some hunters urge to harvest animals in a much more traditional manner, such as with a longbow or a recurve.
If you’re one of these purists, you’re also probably looking for the best recurve or longbow arrows you can get your hands on for your upcoming hunt. We came up with two recommendations, one with a carbon shaft and one with a wooden shaft.
Nock: Bohning Classic Index Nock
Fletching: Turkey feather
What We Like: Straight, heavy shafts, stunning and classic
When it comes to traditional archery set-ups, look no further than these super-stiff cedar shafts from 3Rivers Archery. This brand is on a tier of its own when it comes to wooden arrows.
From the beautiful feather fletching to the tip of the shaft, these arrows are sure to impress with their stunning looks and their high-end performance.
3Rivers shafts are perfect right out of the box and work efficiently for hunting everything from hogs to elk. They are the straightest arrows we’ve come across, which means far less fuss getting them tuned in. These arrows are indeed a work of art.
Materials: Carbon fiber
Straightness: ± .001”
Nock: Bohning “A”
What We Like: Easy turn-key arrow, accurate, bone-crushing with good broadhead
Coming in under-the-radar are these recurve arrows from GrizzlyStik. Holy cow, I tried some of these out at the 3D range recently, and let me tell you, when you need to make that shot count, you can rely on these arrows.
Traditional bowhunters like yourself work harder to get close the distance between animals than any other hunters. You’re well aware that means you need to make the most of every shot. These arrows are razor-edge straight and pack a serious wallop.
We love to shoot wooden arrows too, but when it comes down to performance, carbon arrows are hands-down our top choice when hunting. For a widow-making setup, pair them with these Silver Flame Broadheads.
We’ve included a widely-used suggestion for those small critter hunters out there. Whether you ambush turkey in the spring or shoot squirrels in the fall, it’s critical to have a top-notch accurate flu flu arrow to take your shot at short distances.
Straightness: ± .006″
Fletching: Rubber flu flu
What We Like: Short travel, easy to find, accurate at short distances
When you are shooting at smaller critters, you must be an accurate shot. Also, you want an arrow you can trust to slow down and not sail into the distance on you.
These are the creme-de-la-creme of small game arrows. They fly accurately and can take down all sorts of small game, from turkeys to squirrels. They’re also very versatile and can be used with a recurve or a compound bow.
I always have one or two of these in my quiver, even if I am on a big game hunt. You never know when a grouse will present itself to you and offer itself up as a tasty meal at the end of the day.
It’s critically important to choose arrows that work with your bow setup. Professional form and proper techniques can be undermined by choosing the wrong shafts. You could have the best bow money can buy, but if you can’t sling sticks accurately to their target, what’s the point?
When choosing an arrow, there’s a lot to consider, including what materials they’re made from, their length, spine, fletching, weight, and what nocks you use. While this post isn’t intended to educate you on all of these factors, note that these are all important elements when choosing your arrows.
The perfect arrow for a bow setup will be different from hunter to hunter. This is why before purchasing arrows on this list, you should know and understand the following factors:
What arrow weight are you looking for? The heavier an arrow, the more inertia it provides. I run a heavier shaft because I hunt Rocky Mountain elk and don’t like to leave my shot to chance. Weight is measured in ‘grains.’ 350 grains is on the super lightweight side, 425 is average, and some big game hunters shoot up to 600+.
Arrow length is specific to your draw length and adjusted to a custom size at a local archery shop. This is measured from the throat or string hole (bottom of the “u” shape) of the nock to the end of the shaft, excluding the broadhead or point. You’ll need this measurement when ordering arrows.
This is the measurement of how flexible your arrow is. The heavier poundage you shoot typically will call for a stiffer spine. Arrows will be labeled “300” or “600,” etc. The lower number, the more rigid the shaft.
The best arrows are typically made of a carbon aluminum hybrid material. These are expensive and not extremely durable but do increase accuracy when compared to aluminum.
Composite and wood arrows are also more classic options that will take down game just the same. Again, which type of arrow works best will be determined by each hunter, their budget, and their experience.
What is fletching? It’s the fin-shaped stabilization device that’s attached to arrows which helps them spin.
The bulkier the fletching, the more stable and accurate the arrow is on a short shot. The less fletching, the better the arrow will travel at longer distances. It will have less wind resistance and drag issues to throw it off target.
Consider the terrain you plan to hunt and your abilities on taking a long shot when choosing fletching. Synthetic vanes on your fletching are preferred, but some hunters swear by traditional feathers.
Making sure you have the right tools for the right job is common sense, so why would choosing the best arrow for hunting be any different? If you’re anything like us, you’re the type of outdoorsman that likes to leave nothing to chance. You’re well prepared, and you know what to expect from each piece of your gear.
If you want to make sure you’re 100% prepared to take the most accurate and ethical shot you can, then make sure you put in the work beforehand. Grab a few of the selections from this list and, most importantly, practice with them. You’ll find that you’ll probably gravitate to a particular shaft more than others on this list after you’ve put them through their paces.
It’s better to purchase a few different sets of arrows now and figure out what works best for you rather than leave it up to a roll of the dice during your hunt. You’ll likely put in a lot of hard work, time, and money to get in a position to make a shot this upcoming season.
Make that shot count.
Did you find the arrow you were looking for? Great! Now, check out the best broadheads for elk hunting (if that’s what you’re after).
If you have any questions we didn’t answer, leave a comment below or take your bow into an archery pro shop and pick their brain about arrows.
Let’s say you shoot the exact same bow as your buddy. It’s safe to assume that you both would use the same shafts, right? Well, not exactly. If you have any variance in your draw weight or length, you may need a different set of sticks.
Sometimes, in-person help is the best way to go, and good bow shops will be able to tackle complex questions like these better than any website ever could.
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