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First bear hunt question....
I'm headed on my first bear hunt this spring. My question is fixed or mechanical broadhead? I have always been a fix blade guy shooting G5 strikers the last 5-6 years. This year for some reason I picked up a few packs of rage SS. (1.5" cut rage) I did kill 3 whitetails with them and they had good blood trails but only 1 of the 3 were a pass through. I guess I just got use to the fact that I all ways got a pass through with the strikers. In the rages defense I did hit off side shoulder blades on the 2 that were not pass throughs, though that never seemed to matter with the strikers. My question is given good shot placement will I see much, if any, difference with a 1 1/8 3 blade fixed vs a 1 1/2 2 blade mechanical on a black bear? I'm shooting a single cam bow pulling 60 pounds with a 28" draw length.
Sounds like you’re a darn good shot. Shouldn’t matter which one you use. Have a great hunt! It likely will be your first of many!
Since you asked no hit correctly heads won’t matter on the other hand hit bad a solid stay together multi blade is what you want IMHO ..I’d say use what you have the most confidence in and refer to BouBounds post in the “ favorite thing about bear camp” thread
Bears are easy to penetrate. Stay away from the leg bone!!!! Broadside or slightly quartering away.
That said, I would always choose a three (or four) blade head over a two blade for bears, mechanical or fixed.
I like to use at least a 3-bladed head. You want as much blood as possible. Unlike a deer,a bear's fur will soak up a lot of blood. A mortally wounded bear can make it a long ways before the first drops of blood hit the ground.
huntr4477 said it. Their fur can soak up a lot. I've managed 2 compound P&Y Bears, 1 spring & 1 fall (600#s & lots of fat) both pass thru, double lungs & dropped within 30 yds & shot one with 55# recurve, 3 blade. I've been in at least 15 Bear camp hunts & have helped trail a wide variety of hits (gun & bow). Use a fixed.
you need a good rain suit, a comfortable cushion to sit on, and enough clothes to stay warm. I took a 1 liter bottle to piss in also
I just usually pee on the bears
Go back to your fixed heads and don`t change anything else. A mechanical is just adding to the "what if" column. 2 holes are always better than 1.
Go fixed and do not forget a thermacell.
flyingbrass, what do you save piss for? Secret recipe?
Shots aren’t usually very far and you ate set up in a comfortable position so no need to worry about placement if you can stay calm. If you’ve never had bears up close at a bait site yourin for a treat. You’ll be pretty excited!
Use Permethrin on your clothes and bug suit.
To answer your question, assuming it's a baited hunt with a 10-20 yard shot I would shoot a big mechanical head like a rage, stay away from the shoulder. The difference between accidently shooting a bear in the paunch with a mechanical compared to a fixed blade head is remarkable, 90% of the time the mechanical head bear is dead within minutes, laying just 50-200 yds away with a great blood trail. A fixed head is almost always less than that.
I agree with mike recovery with Big mechanicals in camp the last 5 years have been very short track jobs
My biggest concern is to get hunters to shoot, broadside, and get comfortable with a lower stand for the shot angle,,,,,, I have seen devastating results with mechanicals but they were shooing heavy arrows, and the right poundage,,,,, put it thru the middle and it will be dead before you climb down
hard to beat the sharpness of them Strikers,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, either way you will be fine, but shoot with what your use to, I would not change up, it could be mental
I shot two bears with a 29” @57 lbs. One with an original rage and the other with the SS. Both bears died amazingly quick. But the SS had a much smaller blood trail. I’d run a 2” rage and keep if off the shoulder, and you will probably find your bear in under 50 yards.
As others have stated. Stay back a bit farther then you would on deer/elk and you'll be good to go. Let those bears come in to the bait and get comfortable, wait for a good angle. No need to rush once they get there, you have a little time. Good luck.
Like others have stated a good shot with either type and you can’t go wrong. I was a little torn on this subject this last fall and decided to go with a two blade rage. My bear literally went 5 yards after the shot. I waited for a quartering away shot and hit the off shoulder, I don’t think it would have mattered what broad head I was using with the shot placement but I was impressed at the size of the hole that the rage put in the bear!
10+ bears - all but one a Thunderhead & none went further than 25-30 yards - bears give it up very quickly. Stay with your fixed blade.
Clients have experienced great success with both Rage and fixed blade broadheads. Anything mechanical with moving parts is able to fail so even though chance of failure is slim I personally would not use them. Lots of great fixed blade heads that will work great on bears. I tell my hunters to use whatever they can shoot well and is SHARP.
I'm fine with mechanicals in camp. Most blood trails look like they were shot with an axe, the way the blood pours out and shorter blood trails generally. If it doesn't go in where he lives, doesn't much matter what you threw at him. Agreeing with Mike, we don't say it out loud, but if we're on the trail of a gut shot bear hit with a big mechanical, we know we're not going far.
very little experience here but I'll share what I have:
Me: 60# @ 28"recurve, 29" featherfletched carbon arrow, 3 blade Montec G-5 head. Well placed double lung from a 14' stand at a slightly quartering away bear. 80 yard recovery, death moan came less than 40 seconds after the shot.
My son: 50# recurve, 29" port orford cedar feather fletched arrows with Zwickey Delta 2 blade head. nearly identical hit, 100 yard recovery, no death moan. Obviously 3 blade heads are 20% more effective. lol
Fuzzy... great picture. As someone who hunted with a recurve all my life & watched my kids do the same, I can imagine how satisfying that hunt was for you in many respects.
As Fuzzy alluded, double lung your bear. A double lunged bear dies faster than a whitetail similarly hit. And they don't travel nearly as far. Conversely, a single lung hit will not be recovered. The fat and fur will soak up the blood and the trail will peter out long before the bear turns toes up. Just my experience.
Take a Thermacell.
Wait for the shot that you want. Don't let that string go if the Bear's position changes when you get to full draw. Let down and wait until it's the shot you want. It will happen!
lbow, thanks it was probably the most memorable and rewarding experience of my life.
Lots of great advice so far! Just one thing to add . It's already been said to stay back from the shoulder , about Midway between the hip and shoulder. What I have to add is to not aim low!! Stay up in the middle of the bear. Bears , especially spring bears , have a lot of hair hanging below their brisket. You can count on the bottom 6 inches of what you see as a miss or at best a flesh wound.a bit high is way better than a bit low . Also as far as the hunting part goes, be patient. A friend who has a guiding operation in Saskatchewan had four hunters kill four booner bears in a two hour period on the last day of their hunt!! Be still n quiet and enjoy the peace!!! Wish you much success!
I used a Magnum 4-blade SlickTrick. My two bears dropped in 5 seconds or less. One was under the stand, the other made it about 40 yds. If you want good blood trails, and great dependability, use a large 4-blade and make a great shot along the guidelines already given. Good Luck, and have a great time.
Lots of good advice. I have killed 10 black bears so far; 7 with longbow and 3 with a compound. I have never not gotten a complete pass through and have killed some big bears. I have always used a fixed, with last 3 using a QAD Exodus. Everyone but one died close, where I could easily see or hear the death groan. This year I may use a mech, either the Trypan or the new Muzzy HB titanium. I do have a 33"+ DL, so that helps.
I know some guys like to knock them, but there are some stone cold killers here on the BS who really like the Rage for bears. I personally use them for everything but elk, and I can tell you they have lived up to the hype for me. I am pulling quite a bit more weight than 60 lbs along with a very heavy arrow, but you would be fine to shoot them with your set up as well. (I would suggest upping to a 125 grain to help gain a little FOC)
If you stay away from the shoulder, which you should be doing on a bear anyhow, they are awesome. If you hit the sweet spot it won't much matter what you're shooting, but you'll like the blood trail. (You're taxi might not like the size of the hole in the hide;) If you hit them far back, you'll be glad you're using a Rage instead of a fixed blade. In the last 2 weeks I have talked with 2 different well known Bear outfitters here on the BS, and both sung the praises of the Rage. That says a lot. And by the way, I'm not a fan boy. I've shot stuff with a lot of different heads and I like most of the heads I've used, but the rage hypodermic just makes an awesome hole and has worked very well for me personally along with many other experienced guys I know of. It's kind of like bullets, not every one is made for the same application. You don't generally go with soft nosed lead on an elk hunt (although it will work) but they are fantastic on deer sized game. You don't use varmint tips on deer, but they work great on varmints. Conversely you don't generally hunt gophers with Nosler Partitions.
A couple other great heads (fixed) are the ram cat and the Exodus.
Also, to echo what has already been said, I like to explain shot placement on a bear this way: Aim for what would be a liver shot on a deer and you'll be in the chips.
I would agree with everything above except I can’t remember a pass thru with trad gear on a big bear 380 up body weights.But everything else great advice by knowledgeable people.
Rage heads have been great for us on bears. Also have killed two brown bears with rage heads. They do not go far, in fact I cannot think of many critters I've killed that have consistently went less than the bears I've taken... Conversely, when you make a bad shot they'll go a very long ways and you likely won't find them.
I've killed around a dozen big black bears all using a snyper 2 blade which is a 1 5/8", its the same head as the rage SS, unless i hit the far side leg bone I get passthroughs, I'm using a 60 pound bowtech experience with a fmj, and my draw is 28"s as well
There is a lot of good advise here....I have been fortunate to kill a lot of bears. The first broadhead I used was a two blade Rocky Mountain with an insert....Then Muzzys, then G 5's and the last many years i have used mechanicals ...the Spitfire being the mechanical of choice. That mechanical shoots the same as my field points, which is another consideration when you are deciding on the broadhead you use. I am not sure if this has been mentioned in this thread or not, but even if it has; it is worth repeating. NEVER assume that your broadhead of choice will fly the same as your target heads. Make sure you practice with the broadhead you are planning on using. Some mechanicals come with a practice head. It is a good idea to practice with that head. If you are shooting a fixed head, use one to practice with. Don't use it to hunt. Here is an example. About ten years ago, I took my oldest son on a fall bear hunt in western Manitoba. I insisted that he shoot his bow religiously all summer. He did just that. At this camp, the outfitters made us shoot for them. They put a target at twenty yards. My son was shooting lights out with his field tips. The outfitter was impressed with his accuracy. When we were done, I told my son to put one of his broadheads on and make sure that his accuracy was still there. He was convinced that he didn't need to do that. I insisted. He was shooting muzzy broadheads. They are a fine broadhead. I told him you will ruin the broadhead, but you must see if they fly the same. He put the broadhead on and shot . He was seven inches to the right at twenty yards. He panicked. I said shoot again. Still seven inches right. He really panicked. shoot again! The same seven inches. He thought the worst. Now was the time to adjust the pin. Once he did the adjustment, he was back where he was suppose to be. He must have shot twenty more times with that broadhead. He couldn't believe it. It was a great lesson learned. Two days later he killed his first bear. Shoot the broadhead you are going to hunt with at a target to see how the arrows fly. One more thing I believe about killing bears with an arrow. Only two shots that I will take are broadside and quartering away...period. That's it. You owe that to the animal. No other shot. Broadside bears usually don't go far. If the shot is true, it's over . They don't know what has happened. The quartering away is also a great shot. Sometimes they may go a bit farther if you hit the opposite shoulder. My thought is they are more aware of what has just happened. If that shot is true, it's still a dead bear too. One last bow kill observation. Many times a shot that accurately placed the bear will run straight and then hook right or left. That hook must be when the bear's lights go out. Lastly, you may or may not hear the death moan. The first time you do...you won't forget it. That usually seals the deal, but not all harvested bears let you hear the death moan. Good luck and be safe! Looking forward to numbers 35 and 36 this May and June.
Three of my 7 shot with a longbow were over 350, with two being just over 400 and 7' bears. Both Alberta bears on same hunt. I had to pull my arrow out of the dirt on all. BH was the Wensel Woodsman and all died quickly. 63# @ 32" longbow.
I’ve read all of the posts on this thread. Bottom line is listen to Grape. He is a guy who’s done it all & seen it all. An EXPERT bear hunter.