Listed below are general recommendations for making a suitable choice. Keep in mind, everybody is different. You are advised to apply your good judgment in this case and interpret this data with due regard to your own age, basic shape, and Body Mass Index (BMI). If you are brand new to the sport, I highly recommend you looked over additional discussion material on picking an ideal draw length and weight.
Very Small Child (55-70 lbs.) 10-15 lbs.
Small Child (70-100 lbs.) 15-25 lbs.
Larger Child (100-130 lbs.) 25-35 lbs.
Small Frame Women (100-130 lbs.) 25-35 lbs.
Medium Frame Women (130-160 lbs) 30-40 lbs.
Athletic Older Child (Boys 130-150 lbs.) 40-50 lbs.
Small Frame Men (120-150 lbs.) 45-55 lbs.
Large Frame Women (160+ lbs.) 45-55 lbs.
Medium Frame Men (150-180 lbs.) 55-65 lbs.
Large Frame Men (180+ lbs.) 65-75 lbs.
Higher poundage bows require heavier, firmer arrow shafts. So whilst they will be able to deliver added momentum at the intended target, they may not realistically deliver faster arrow speeds at IBO standards. Lower poundage bows are able to use lighter, more limber arrow shafts. IBO standards allow 5 grains of arrow weight per single pound of draw weight. So a 70# bow has the capability to shoot an arrow (safely) as light as 350 grains. A bow set for 60#, no less than 300 grains and so on. That being said in reality, when set for IBO minimum standards, many bows are merely fractionally faster in the 70# version vs the 60# variation. Considering the fact that a 70# bow has to shoot the heavier arrow, the reduction in arrow weight offsets the reduction of power storing during the powerstroke. So successfully set-up for best speed, a 60# version of most bows will perform within 10 fps of the heavier 70# variation.
A number of states will require a compound bow to meet specific minimums if you want to hunt good sized game like Whitetail Deer. You should always follow the rules and regulations with respect to lawfully harvesting game in your state. At the same time, it should be kept in mind that a number of these rules have been in effect for quite a while, and do not necessarily consider the present-day technological changes in archery production. The standard bow of 15 years ago was basically struggling to shoot 230 feet per second, and even at these rates a great deal of bowhunters got clean pass-through’s on large game for example Whitetail Deer. In these modern times the common bow is shooting over 300 feet per second at 70# draw weight and 30″ draw length. As a result even bows in shorter lengths and smaller draw weights could still present fantastic velocity to penetrate the ribcage of a Whitetail Deer as well as other sizeable game. Today’s singular cam bow with a 50# maximum draw weight and only a 26″ draw length will still zip arrows well over 220 fps. Keep in mind that, if you are going to hunt a larger size game such as Elk or Moose, or if perhaps you’re planning to take shots from longer ranges, you must have increased kinetic energy to obtain complete penetration and greatest probability of a humane harvest. Typically, a 40-50# provides acceptable energy to harvest deer and a 50-60# bow will furnish good enough energy to harvest much larger elk-size species. Except in cases where you are intending to hunt enormous animals like Cape Buffalo or Musk Ox, a 70+ pound bow really is just not needed. It is possible to be just as competent with a more acceptable draw weight.