Moultrie Products
bow poundage for elk
Contributors to this thread:
bad karma 14-Aug-08
Rooselk 14-Aug-08
cb 14-Aug-08
Bigdan 14-Aug-08
Scott 14-Aug-08
Airborne 14-Aug-08
Cassman 14-Aug-08
bad karma 14-Aug-08
coelkbowhunter 14-Aug-08
neverdull 14-Aug-08
Huntsman 14-Aug-08
Barclay 14-Aug-08
mizzoukispot 15-Aug-08
Huntsman 15-Aug-08
promod1385 15-Aug-08
elknuts2 15-Aug-08
mizzoukispot 15-Aug-08
Idaho BH 15-Aug-08
razor 15-Aug-08
Nick 15-Aug-08
BWBOW 15-Aug-08
Jaquomo_feral 15-Aug-08
Africanbowhunter 15-Aug-08
Pharmvet@work 15-Aug-08
fen tiger 16-Aug-08
2-blade 16-Aug-08
fen tiger 16-Aug-08
Ermine 16-Aug-08
stickshutr 18-Aug-08
Huntsman 19-Aug-08
chip 19-Aug-08
MizzoukiSpot 19-Aug-08
Wapitik 19-Aug-08
HuntinHabit@Work 19-Aug-08
Jaquomo_feral 19-Aug-08
born2hunt 19-Aug-08
Toby 19-Aug-08
rose-n-arrows 19-Aug-08
IntruderBN 21-Aug-08
thesquid 21-Aug-08
Ward 21-Aug-08
Sage of the Sage 22-Aug-08
how many pounds do you guys shoot for elk. i am a pretty efficient shot to 40 yards, but i would rather not pull 70 pounds.

Thanks, Scott

From: bad karma
Shari Fraker killed more than 20 elk with a 50 lb bow. I always reduce it back to that.

From: Rooselk
There are many hunters - like Bowhunter Magazine editor Dwight Schuh for example - that shoot bows in the 55# to 60# range. A 60# bow is more than enough for elk.

From: cb
thought I was shooting 70 lbs. found out from the bowshop that I only have 60 lb limbs on my bow. It killed an elk with a complete pass through last year so I am not going to change anything. Besides its to nicer to practice with at 60 than 70.

From: Bigdan
I have shot 70+ for elk the last 20 years But after my hart bypass on june 5th .It looks like I mite be shooting 55 lbs this year. I mite get it to 60lbs I have three weeks before it starts and i'm shooting every day.

From: Scott
Tuned bows and sharp broadheads are more important than heavy poundage. Take good shots and you'll succeed!!

From: Airborne
I killed a mature cow elk in 03' with a 50lbs recurve shooting a 600 grain arrow going a whopping 172fps. Used a good razor sharp 2 blade Magnus--got through both lungs but was not a passthrough, she made it maybe 50 yards.

From: Cassman
What kind of broadhead did Shari use to shoot 20 elk?

From: bad karma
I believe that she was using the old Thunderheads, but I could be wrong.

She is a deadly accurate shot, and gave lectures all over the state on shot placement. Haven't seen her around for a while, but that may be my fault.

I'm a 60# guy.Shooting a Martin Slayer at 60# Easton Axis 500 camo arrow,tipped with a tight point broadhead.Sighted in to 70 yards.Let go hunting.

From: neverdull
I've only shot one elk, used a forge bow set at 50 lbs. 500 grain arrows with 2 blade magnus head and 29 inch terminator shaft. shot was broad side at 30 yards, the arrow passed through and about ten years past the bull.

From: Huntsman
I agree with Scott 100%. I only have a 26" draw length, shoot 58lbs, a 402 grain arrow tipped with one of those lousy non cut-on-contact Thunderhead broadheads. However, my arrows fly like little darts with no wobble or kick, and I've never had an arrow that didn't achieve complete penetration.

Tuned equipment, good shot placement, and the bow weight isn't a big deal. Then the only thing you have to sweat is the packing out...

From: Barclay
61# Diamond Marquis compound

53# Horne Traditionalist longbow

28" draw and I shoot Grizzlies and Stingers. I am trying 100 grain Slick Trick standards this Fall.

From: mizzoukispot
I agree with Mul Powr......I have a set up that shoots a 400 grain arrow at 305.......that makes for an easy decision to use the first pin out to almost 35 yards.

From: Huntsman
I find it entertaining to watch some guys at the range, or at shoots, that are trying to horse back too much poundage. Shoot a bow that you can handle easily, and by that I mean draw weight.

A great test is to sit on the floor, spread your legs into a V, hold the bow straight out in front of you so you’re splitting the V, and slowly draw it. If you can’t do it, if you have to grunt and groan, or lift the bow arm to get the bow drawn; you’re trying to hunt with too much draw weight.

From: promod1385
Its all about KE. Use the KE calculator here on bowsite and figure out if you have enough knock down power for elk.

Look at it like this. An old round wheeled PSE Nova at 60lbs has way less speed than a 2008 Bowtech 82nd Airborne at 60lbs. So its not necessarily about weight so much as the equipment and the KE it is producing.

From: elknuts2
For years I've shot my bow at 67 pounds and had great luck, but that's definitely more poundage than necessary. I've been at that weight because that was where I got a great tune, now I'm shooting a Mathwews Switchback at 65 pounds and it's still more than needed.

I'd have no qualms about hunting with a 55 pound bow, and am certain that with good broadheads on well tuned arrows, that I'd be fine with 50 pounds out to around 40 yards.

I think most of us shoot more poundage than we really need, but then most rifle hunters don't need .300 magnums, either.

From: mizzoukispot
"A great test is to sit on the floor, spread your legs into a V, hold the bow straight out in front of you so you’re splitting the V, and slowly draw it. If you can’t do it, if you have to grunt and groan, or lift the bow arm to get the bow drawn; you’re trying to hunt with too much draw weight." Why?

From: Idaho BH
I watched a friend of mine's wife shoot a bull moose at 30 yards with a 40 pd Hoyt bow. I don't remember what arrow she was shooting, but it was a 125 TH. She got a complete pass through after a direct hit on a rib on the entrance side.

From: razor
I like the 60# range. A little extra punch and is still fairly easy to draw at a slow, steady pace without making too much movement. If you can't hold your bow still while drawing it, it's too heavy and too much movement. I was once hunting with a friend who was new to elk hunting and insisted on using a 70# draw weight. He is a big fella a 6'3" and weights about 250lbs. After about 10 days of hard hunting he finally got a shot from the kneeling position, but was too weak to draw his bow after the miles of hiking and hunting. He literally could not get the bow back. I've never let him forget that one.

From: Nick
I make my decision based on Kenetic Energy, not weight of bow. Personally I shoot 91 footpounds of KE at 72#'s


KE is not all its cracked up to be. My KE is 41 half of what most of you guys have. But with my arrow weight and broadhead I can take any game in North America.

BWBOW: good point. The KE from my Kelley 57# longbow is 41, and it kills elk as efficiently as a .300 Mag. As efficiently as my cranked-up Mathews Ovation shooting rockets.

I've seen enough bad shots from "big bore" bows and guns to be convinced that placement trumps KE every time.

Colorado min is 35# a 35# Compound has more power than a 50# Trad Bows.

Sharp broadhaeds kill, not bow weight

Angie Ross recently killed an 1800# Eland with an arrow that went to the fletch behinds its front leg with a 43# Ross bow

On video TOO

"a 35# Compound has more power than a 50# Trad Bows"

No disrespect, but Im not sure I buy that statement!!

From: fen tiger
"Sharp broadheads kill not bow weight" Africanbowhunter, respectfully that assumes perfect shot, perfect conditions. Karamojo Bell killed 100 elephants with a .303 enfield so for 40 kilo ladies it should be the calibre of choice? But by the same token a .500 NE should not be the excuse for mitigating? the risks, or poor shots taken! A careful explanation of the risks of hunting should always be there and sadly sometimes poop happens! I am living with mine!

From: 2-blade
I think he shot all of those elephants with a 7/57mm mauser. I may be wrong but I may just be mistaken

From: fen tiger
2-blade. I believe his favourite round was the 7/57[.284 bullet] He killed literally hundreds of elephants/african game etc with .256 Mannlichers and other assorted small bore rounds. More African game up until the 70s had been killed? with the 303 [.311 bullet] than most probably any other round and wounded more! My point was that low poundage will work but with less margin for unforseen circumstances but shooting #90 safari bows should not be an excuse to take chances. Know your weapon, your limitations, its limitations and ask yourself do I have the self discipline to honour that under the excitement of the "chase". Most hunters have at least one shot they wished they had never taken! At least I do!

From: Ermine
I shoot 72 lbs. But 55 and 60 lbs kill elk

From: stickshutr
stick with what the legal limit is for your state..for examle:Oregon is 40# for deer and 50# for elk. I shoot a custom made 50#@28" longbow...I killed a P&Y bull with a 50# recurve....50#'s is more than enough, and a whole lot easier to shoot and better on your shoulder than a heavy bow wt....besides its not the poundage that broadhead and shot placement is what kills!!!!!

From: Huntsman

For several reasons. First, is the movement you create when you horse that bow back to full draw. If you’re drinking beer with your buddies and shooting the local 3D shoot then no big deal. When you’re inside 40 yards of a bull elk that’s all wound up, it is a big deal.

I’m sure that you don’t have a lot of sub-freezing hunts down in Florida, but another reason is being able to slowly draw your bow when you’re cold, and don’t want to alert the whitetail buck under your tree.

Another reason is that you’ll shoot a better arrow, and be more consistent…

From: chip
Ever notice in the fall how many geese are flying wearing flak jackets. This is as a result of them watching so many guys drawing their bows and pointing up in the sky as they come to full draw. They just can't handle the poundage.

From: MizzoukiSpot
I guess that I am handling my 70lbs very easy, compared to some others. I can draw it slowly, hold it for...what seems like an eternity.....but I would not sit on the floor and draw the bow with my legs spread. Seems like you would be asking for trouble with the low back.....but I see the point that you are making.

From: Wapitik
A guy in our camp killed a mature cow with his #35 recurve at 20 yards and I will be damded if he didn't have a pass thru.The elk went 30 yards and piled up. I would not shoot anything under #55 for elk unless your a female then #35 to #40 will do!

"I would not shoot anything under #55 for elk unless your a female then #35 to #40 will do!"

That makes no sense.

If 35 pounds is enough, then anyone can shoot an elk with that weight. If it's not enough, then no kid or woman should be flinging arrows at elk either.


"I would not shoot anything under #55 for elk unless your a female then #35 to #40 will do!"

I'm pretty sure the Libs in Congress passed a law requiring elk to die more easily for women. In the interest of fairness, of course, since most women shouldn't be expected to draw the same bow weight as men.


From: born2hunt
Yes, Afirmative Action for Huntresses. ;^)

It's the whole setup, including the hunter. I shoot 54 lb recurve driving a 600 gr grizzly tipped arrow @ 28 1/2" draw. Deadly for elk. My wife, with her 29 1/4" draw, shoots a 40 lb recurve with 650 gr arrows. Also deadly. My daughter just started hunting big game last year. She shot an cow elk with an old 45 lb recurve and 620gr arrows. With their setups, they get similar penetration as I do at close range.

We don't shoot long distances..........don't need to, and we stay in practice year round. I wouldn't have let my wife or daughter hunt with such light tackle unless they could drive tacks consistantly though.

I personally feel that a kids bow with good sharp arrows could kill an elk under the right conditions, but I would never attempt it nor advise it.

Good Hunting


From: Toby
I shoot 70 lbs, but my dad had shoot many big game with 54 lbs

I've killed an elk with a 43# Hoyt Rintec and one with a 50# Bowtech Equalizer. I shoot my bow year round and participate in a variety of tournaments so that I'm ready for hunting. Shot placement is key. Just make sure to know the regulations in the state you plan to hunt, as there may be different weight requirements.

From: IntruderBN
Range is extremely important too. You could get away with practically any poundage inside 20 yards. If you're stretching out 30 to 40 yards, that momentum (NOT kinetic energy) makes a HUGE difference.

From: thesquid
sharp and put in the right spot is the key -- shoot a weight that you can handle.

From: Ward
Im sitting here now with a blown out shoulder from shooting 80 lbs....Whats the ole saying?...take a fools advice...shoot whats comfortable or even a little less

My bow is set at 70#. I'm not a big guy, but I'm used to shooting it. The right side of my back, around my shoulder blade actually is larger from the muscle development from shooting a bow. You're going to think this is weird, but I like the higher poundage because I don't want to use more than one sight pin. I get them confused in the field and never have time to use a range finder anyway. My one pin is zeroed at 20yds, arrows only drop a few inches at 30, and about 6" at 40. I practice mostly at 20 yards so I'll be very familiar with that distance and easily be able to tell if an animal is farther. If it is, I just aim a little high and don't have to worry about which sight pin is set for what range, etc. The longest shot I've ever taken in the field, though, was on a muley at 34 yards.

I've actually been thinking about going more modern for a while now. My bow is an old Oregon Nitro Express. It's a finger bow (pretty long axle to axle) and I don't use a release. I've been considering buying a newer model, getting a release, and shooting it with a lower poundage. I'm a decent shot as it is, but I have a hunch my accuracy would improve with an upgrade.

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