Home Forums Campfire Forum Enough for Elk??????

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    • Stick n String
      Member
      Post count: 16

      I realize from the outset that this post has likely been repeated for perhaps a dozen larger, more densely-boned species across as many continents. I just want to hear your legitimate comments on the subject. I have hunted elk for a number of years, first with traditional gear, then with a compound, then again with traditional gear. I felt fairly good about my heavier set-up at around 60 pounds. However, I now primarily shoot a Black Widow PSA II that is around 46 pounds, give or take, at my draw. I shoot this bow better than any other bow I have ever drawn. This coming season I have debated taking it with me to the Colorado back country for our annual hunt, but have reservations that it might not be “enough” bow for elk.

      Does anyone have any personal experience shooting a bow of this weight for elk, assuming a well placed shot with a sufficiently heavy arrow and COC head?

    • Chris Shelton
      Post count: 679

      I have never hunted elk, but want to one day, so I will be watching to see what others say towards this matter! I know that alot of guys on here hunt elk, since they are so privelaged to live in the western US. Fred Eichler uses a 55 pound bow for everything! So I know that I will probably be good, but I wonder if your bow will do it!

    • T Downing
      Member
      Post count: 233

      I have hunted elk for over 25 years. A lot of time with trial and error. What has always worked for me is 55lbs and up. I think that 46lbs is too light for elk. Now I know that there have been bowhunters like Connie Renfro who have taken elk with 45 lbs bows. That said, elk are extremely tough animals when that shot is not perfect. You have a 50% chance of hitting bone every time you shoot at an elk. I have seen wounded elk do some incredible feats of strength. I respect the accuracy argument yet I take it a step further with big game like elk. Accuracy is paramount, add in 55+lbs, heavy arrows (650g+), and single bladed broadheads. That will get the job done especially when that shot is just not right. T

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      Stick — Thomas D. is among the finest, most experienced and successful tradbow elk hunters I’ve known, and I agree with all he says here. And he too BTW is a dedicated BW shooter. To take it a bit farther, yes of course you CAN kill elk with that weight bow or less, and even with poor arrow set-ups. But for those of us who feel strong respect for these great animals we hunt and for ourselves as hunters and humans, CAN doesn’t cut it. What we want is WILL. If you are limited for physical reasons for shooting no more than 46 pounds and are determined to hunt elk with that bow, then in my unhumble opinion the onus is heavy on you to study and follow Dr. Ashby’s recommendations on maximizing lethality of your arrow set-up. The lighter the bow, the heavier the arrow required, the higher FoC is necessary (25% or so), and the more important becomes a good strong, very sharp, long/narrow high MA 2-blade broadhead, like Grizzly, STOS, ABS, or Tusker for some prime examples. Also, you might look into buying heavier limbs for your BW riser, if it’s a take-down. Thanks for caring and asking and best luck. dave

    • Ed Ashby
      Member
      Post count: 816

      I can’t really add anything to what Dave said. Can it be done? Most assuredly. But, as Dave has already stated, the lighter your bow becomes the more critical it becomes that you take every possible step to increase the arrow’s penetration potential. Among a host of other factors that means using an arrow mass above the heavy bone Threshold (approximately 650 grains). With a light bow that limits your trajectory. How much of a problem that is depends entirely on you.

      If you are physically capable of using a heavier bow, then I would encurage you to do so. I’ve never heard a big game bowhunter complain that his arrow penetrated too much … and I’ve never heard one say, “I wish I’d used a lighter draw weight bow.”

      Ed

    • William WarrenWilliam Warren
      Member
      Post count: 1384

      From my perspective of one who has not hunted elk and the opportunity to do so would quite possibly be a once in a lifetime event, I would not hesitate to use the most effective equipment that I could handle. Knowing that my access to elk hunting is limited, I could not take the chance on anything less. The only thing worse than going home empty handed after an expensive hunt, is going home empty handed because an animal was lost.
      For these reasons I would follow Doc an Dave’s advice if it were me.

    • Stick n String
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 16

      First of all, I want to thank each of you for your comments on this subject. I do indeed care very much about the animals I hunt (regardless of what the antis have to say on the subject) and want to insure that my equipment does not limit me in the event something unforeseen happens – like I get rattled at having a 500 pound bull charge in at close quarters, screaming like a banshee – and make a less-than-perfect shot. Hey, stranger things happen every day in the woods.

      To answer your extremely reasonable questions, I am certainly physically capable of shooting more than 46 pounds. However, I have developed a comfort and skill level with that particular bow that gives me a far greater degree of confidence than I have experienced. That also means a great deal to me and I am one who consistently berate those who over-bow themselves to the equal detriment of the animals they hunt.

      I am leaning toward a “middle ground” approach based upon your collective advice on this subject: I will purchase 55 pound limbs for the PSA II and will follow Dr. Ashby’s lethality study advice (by the way, thank you for caring enough to have studied and chronicled this subject in an archery world now dominated by a mathematical misapplication in terms of kinetic energy).

    • Hiram
      Post count: 484

      More is always better! Unless of course we were discussing taxes! LOL:)

    • Bloodless
      Post count: 103

      Stick says: “[I] want to insure that my equipment does not limit me in the event something unforeseen happens – like I get rattled at having a 500 pound bull charge in at close quarters, screaming like a banshee.”

      Well first, as one who’s “bought that t-shirt” a few times, man it’s more like 700 pounds for your average mature screaming bull! A spike or cow will go 500 … so while I get your point, you need to up the ante even more!

      Brothers Stick and Duncan, you both sure got the essence of it! I guess it’s possible for a fellow to have so many elk in his “backyard” that they become nothing special … screw up and lose one, and you can go right on after another. I both feel envious and sorry for folks in that situation. But hey, like you say, most of us don’t get to chase elk very often, if ever. Considering all the planning and dreaming and driving and spending it takes to get us there, and the rarety of that great privilege for most of us, why cut corners at the crucial moment with an attitude of “maybe this will work, if everything goes just right” regarding equipment. I mean, what’s most important –stubborn personal opinion that what’s always worked for me with deer and pigs, will also work for me with elk … or “buying some insurance” to assure that the meat we bring home isn’t just our own broken hearts. Sure, like others have said, you can do it with 46 pounds — if you get every little other thing exactly right! But you can do it far more easily with 55 pounds … if you still get every other little thing right! Why bring a sandwich to a banquet! 😉

    • Str8arrow
      Post count: 32

      I’m going to take the other side of the fence in this issue. I’ve taken several elk with bows between 43 and 50 lb draw weight. I think that it is more than enough if you know how to build a lethal arrow and are willing to limit your shots to those you believe you can make. I would say shoot the bow you are more accurate and confident in vs a heavier draw that may make you miss more easily. When elk hunting I’ve been disappointed in my aim on occasion, but I’ve never wished I’d had more draw weight after the hunt.

      If you follow the general guidelines of using a minimum arrow weight of 650 gr., an EFOC weighted arrow and single bevel broadheads, I think it’s a lethal set-up on elk. When I shot mine, it was before I learned about the arrow lethality studies. They were very heavy, but did not have extreme FOC or single bevel broadheads, yet I was able to still have pass-throughs. With what I know today, I would have no doubt about it’s ability to reliably take down any elk on a decent shot. I currently shoot 55-60 lb bows, but only because that is what I’m comfortable with at this time.

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      Steve — I don’t believe anyone here is arguing that we should overbow ourselves. Your arguments are well made and well taken. d

    • Str8arrow
      Post count: 32

      David Petersen wrote: Steve — I don’t believe anyone here is arguing that we should overbow ourselves.

      Yes, I realize that. I usually prefer hunters using a bow they are most comfortable with, as long as the set-up is effective. I think it really boils down to just how much accuracy is lost on the higher draw weight bow. If it’s only a little bit, then sure, go with that one.

    • Don Thomas
      Member
      Post count: 334

      I think the real answer to this question is the same no matter what the quarry–shoot the heaviest tackle you can handle comfortably without sacrificing accuracy. As an aside, I would note the big regional differences in the definition of a heavy bow. Out west, anything under #60 is considered “light”. Don

    • Hiram
      Post count: 484

      Immense varibles exist in this area of tackle!
      Bow design and string material, along with shaft weight being optimum for your set-up, along with broadhead design and shot placement.
      Shoot at least 10 grains per pound
      Shoot a Bow that affords you the best accuracy relative
      Shoot a Bow that you can draw and comfortably hold for at least 6 seconds kneeling, standing and other off Vertical horizontal positions you feel you might add into your system.
      If you can raise your holding weight just five pounds, the increase in your arrows energy increases almost 10%.

    • MOUNTAINSLICKER
      Post count: 45

      If you can sit in a chair hold your legs straight out and come to full draw you are not overbowed.If not I will bet the farm your draw will be short after a long chilly wait. You will short draw to a reasonable weight for you. So what does it matter if it says 60lb at 28″ if you end up drawing 24″ Of course like all the others that’s just my opinion.

    • sapcut
      Post count: 159

      Shoot at least 10 grains per pound

      That seems like such a common statement among us bowhunters and I agree unless you are shooting less than 60ish lbs. At 40 lbs. a 400 grain arrow is too light, IMO. At 50 lbs. a 500 gr. arrow is too light, IMO

    • WICanner
      Post count: 136

      I like the thought about 60# being a cutoff point for out west. Part of the penetration issue besides all of the tackle requirements has to do with distance. It is sooo easy to misjudge distance out west, especially out in the open sage. 35 yards looks like 25, etc. So having the extra poundage can help with misjudging distance in keeping the arrow flatter, longer, and still getting the double lung shot you need for elk. Since you are starting out low, I’d get a pair of limbs, 53# and then 60#. Work your way up to shooting the heavier pair accurately. In a weeks hunt, you may only get that one shot opportunity. It has been awhile since I’ve bow hunted elk out west because of my job, but that’s what I remember about the experience. Good Luck.

    • epenfold
      Post count: 30

      While I don’t know the location of your hunt I do know that colorado says that 35# is legal, Personally I feel this to low. I have also not had the oppurtonity to take an elk myself but have assisted in the retrival of several shoot with bow in the 50-55# range and have seen two pass through shots, both of those animals still made it a signifigant distance after being shoot, and elk terrain is not the most freindly. I personally shoot 53# as that is all my shoulder can handle, I would opt for the heavier limbs.

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      Arrow weight,FoC, broadhead choice and other arrow setup issues collectively have more to do with penetration than does bow poundage. But CO’s 35# rule is an unethical abomination and I remind them of that every chance I get. It’s the result of lobbying and politics and has nothing to do with reality. Disgusting. dp

    • Chiloquin
      Post count: 56

      Str8arrow wrote: I’m going to take the other side of the fence in this issue. I’ve taken several elk with bows between 43 and 50 lb draw weight. I think that it is more than enough if you know how to build a lethal arrow and are willing to limit your shots to those you believe you can make. I would say shoot the bow you are more accurate and confident in vs a heavier draw that may make you miss more easily. When elk hunting I’ve been disappointed in my aim on occasion, but I’ve never wished I’d had more draw weight after the hunt.

      If you follow the general guidelines of using a minimum arrow weight of 650 gr., an EFOC weighted arrow and single bevel broadheads, I think it’s a lethal set-up on elk. When I shot mine, it was before I learned about the arrow lethality studies. They were very heavy, but did not have extreme FOC or single bevel broadheads, yet I was able to still have pass-throughs. With what I know today, I would have no doubt about it’s ability to reliably take down any elk on a decent shot. I currently shoot 55-60 lb bows, but only because that is what I’m comfortable with at this time.

      Good Point! there have been manypass-throughs on animals before we shot single beveled heads, and carbon. Its cool info to know but I do not think it is the end all, and we shouldn’t knock other arrow setups. a wood arrow in the right hands will kill an Elk faster than a carbon in the wrong hands!

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