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Can You Kill A Deer With A 30 lb Bow? Logical Explanation!

Heavy-draw weighted bows are tough to hold onto, especially for younger hunters. That’s why many bowhunters want to draw bows with a lighter weight like 30 lb bows for deer hunting. 

But there is a common confusion. Can you kill a deer with a 30 lb bow?

Technically, you can kill a deer with a 30 lb bow as it gives you the standard kinetic energy needed for deer hunting. But the momentum is on the lower side, so if you are not an expert with bows, you won’t be able to kill a deer. Also, most states have restrictions on hunting a deer with this low bow weightage. 

Hang on, there is more you need to know before you start shooting with your bow. I have discussed all this matter in this article. Keep reading. 

Can You Kill A Deer With A 30-Pound Bow?

Yes, you can kill a deer with a 30 lb bow. You need around 25-41 ft-lbs kinetic energy to kill a deer with a bow. You can achieve it with a 30 lb bow with the right accessories. 

However, with a 30-pound bow, you will get decent momentum. It may not be enough to kill a deer if you are not expert enough. 

Here is the calculation of kinetic energy and momentum for a 30 lb bow.

IBO Speed = 225 FPS
Draw Weight = 30 lb
Draw Length = 28 inches
Arrow Weight = 350 grains

Kinetic Energy = (arrow weight * Actual speed2) / 450800

So, Kinetic energy = (350*2252) /450800 = 39.3 ft-lbs

Momentum = (arrow weight * Actual speed) / 225400

That means, momentum = (350*225) / 225400 = 0.35 slug FPS

Want to know from where I got these variables? Let’s find out in the next section. 

What Factors To Consider When Choosing A 30lb Bow?

Before deciding on whether you can kill deer with a 30lb bow, there are some factors you need to know, including kinetic energy, momentum, IBO speed, draw weight, draw length, and arrow weight. Let’s discuss those. 

Kinetic Energy:

When you shoot the arrow, the arrow gains energy for its motion which is called kinetic energy. To hit the major organs of a deer with an impact that kills the deer, you need a minimum of 25 ft-lbs kinetic energy. 

How much kinetic energy you will gain from the arrow depends on many factors including draw weight, draw length, and IBO speed of the arrow. Before we can come to a conclusion about how much kinetic energy a 30 lb bow can produce, there are many things to consider. 


Imagine that, a arrow comes with a force that is kinetic force, now this force needs to hit the deer targeting its vital organ. And if the hit isn’t forceful enough, the deer will be injured but won’t get killed. 

Moreover, it’s not always possible to hit right through an organ without hitting on a bone first. And to reach the organ after penetrating the bone, a powerful shot is needed. That’s why we need the right momentum. 

Momentum determines how hard it is to stop something. The higher the momentum is, the higher chance that your arrow will penetrate the vital organ of the deer. 

Arrow Mass:

Arrow mass is a variable that will determine the momentum of your shoot. This variable increases the momentum but also decreases the kinetic energy. We need both at a balanced measure. 

For a 30 lb bow, you need an arrow that has a mass of at least a 350-grain. So, let’s assume this is the mass of the arrow you are using. Anything heavier than that will decrease the kinetic energy. 

Draw Weight:

Draw weight is one of the variables which decides the kinetic energy of the shoot. In our case, we have taken 30 pounds of weight. 

Those who like to shoot with a heavy draw weight often find it confusing if they should go for a 60 lb bow or a 70 lb bow. They can easily decide by calculating the other factors like what we are doing here. 

Draw Length:

Draw length is how long you pull back the arrow before shooting it. The length depends on the height of the shooter. The typical draw length is 27-29 inches. The longer the draw length, the higher the kinetic energy. 

Let’s take the standard amount for our calculation which is 28 inches. 

IBO Speed:

IBO speed is the standard speed of a bow. Spending on quality, you will find bows with 320 FPS, 330 FPS, and 350 FPS. There are more bows with higher IBO speed than that, but those are insanely expensive and rare. 

The higher the IBO speed the better momentum and kinetic energy you get. This standard is set by measuring the arrow with a draw weight of 70 lbs, a draw length of 30”, and an arrow that weighs 350 grains. 

Of course, you won’t be shooting with these variables. And you will find the actual speed of your bow by calculating the IBO depending on those variables. 

Let’s determine the IBO we are going to work with. 

  • Let’s say, you have a bow with 320 FPS IBO speed. 
  • As you are going for a 30 lb draw weight instead of 70, you will lose around 17*4 = 68 FPS for an additional 40 lbs.
  • You are using a 350 grains arrow, so no loss or gain of FPS here. 
  • You are going for a 28” draw length. For a 2” loss in draw length, you lose 20 FPS. 
  • In the arrow string, you may lose around 5 FPS. 
  • And by default, due to human error, you may lose another 3 FPS. 

Now, the remaining IBO we have is, 

320 – 68 – 20 – 5 – 3 = 224. If you round it up, you get an IBO speed of 225. 

That’s how I determined the variables for calculating the momentum and kinetic energy of your shoot. And therefore, you can kill a deer with a 30 lb bow. 

However, you need a lot of precision as the momentum isn’t very high. A wobbling arrow is a bad idea to shoot with only this much weight. That’s why there are some restrictions around the country on shooting with a 30 lb bow. 

What About The State Restriction On A 30-Pound Bow?

Considering the moral issues some states have a restriction on the bow weightage. Killing a deer with a 30 lb bow is possible. However, as the momentum isn’t very high, there is a possibility that the deer will be severely injured but won’t be dead. 

Here are some states where you can hunt a deer with a compound 30lb bow. 

  1. Arizona
  2. Georgia 
  3. Huawei 
  4. Illinois
  5. Iowa
  6. Kansas
  7. Kentucky
  8. Louisiana
  9. Maryland
  10. Michigan
  11. Minnesota
  12. Mississippi
  13. Missouri
  14. Montana
  15. New Mexico
  16. Oklahoma
  17. South Carolina
  18. Texas
  19. Utah
  20. Vermont
  21. Virginia
  22. West Virginia
  23. Wisconsin

Here are the states where you can’t hunt a deer with a 30lb bow. 

Can’t Hunt A Deer With 30lb BowMinimum Compound Bow Weightage For Hunting Deer
Alaska40 lb
Arkansas35 lb
California40 lb
Colorado 35 lb
Connecticut40 lb
Delaware35 lb
Florida35 lb
Maine45 lb
Massachusetts 40 lb
Nevada40 lb
New Hampshire 40 lb
New Jersey35 lb
New York35 lb
North Carolina40 lb
North Dakota35 lb
Ohio 40 lb
Oregon40 lb
Pennsylvania35 lb
Rhode Island40 lb
South Dakota40 lb
Washington 40 lb
Wyoming40 lb

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What lb Bow Is Best For Hunting?

The 40 lb compound bows are best for hunting. They will give the right amount of momentum and kinetic energy needed for medium to big game hunting. 

How Fast Does A 30-Pound Bow Shoot?

A 30-pound bow can shoot up to 225 FPS speed while giving a moderate amount of momentum. This speed can be achieved from a bow with 320 IBO, an arrow with 350 Grains weight, and a 28’ arrow length. 

What Is The Hardest Bow To Shoot?

Longbows are the hardest bow to shoot. They are typically 6 feet long with heavy arrows that are very tough to hold and shoot with. These bows are mainly used for archery games. 


That’s all that I had to say about whether can you kill a deer with a 30 lb bow. Although technically it’s possible, I would suggest going for a heavier bow. Or, if you really want to do 30 lb bow shooting, practice precision first. 

Now, it’s time for me to go. Have a good day!

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