Contributors to this thread:
Can you make the shot?
First, a special thanks to BB for the 'perfect pic' for this situation. after a few emails, he had just the one for this scenario.
Opening morning of your 9 day hunt. The unit takes 6 PPs. This bull is 37yds away. No wind. As you can see, there is a small tree obscuring vitals from your POV.
What do you do? Shoot? Wait?
If you're shooting, where do you aim?
How far is the tree from you
I’m waiting. Looks like this elk is calm and will likely take a step clearing the tree. Hard to argue with those choosing to shoot. The tree is blocking the shoulder where you don’t want to hit
I would wait tell he clears the tree then he's dead.
I’d be comfortable shooting, slight quarter away, just enough room to slip one in the boiler room at 37 yds. However if the wind was absolutely steady and he was as calm as he looks I could wait 3 steps and shoot him at 40....
From the looks of it the tree is far enough away from the Elk and with the speed of my bow I could aim at the vitals and the arrow would arch over the tree and hit where I aimed. Many years ago I had a brother pass on a buck because of a situation just like this except it was a branch in the way. A couple years ago he shot a very nice buck and said to me remember the buck I passed because of the branch? I remembered what you said and on this one I aimed at the vitals and watch the arrow go over the branch and hit right where I aimed.
Looks like that tree is half the distance to the elk, if that’s the case and my 20 yard pin is clear of the tree and then 40 is dead nuts. That shot it easy. If he was pointing the other direction I would take it before he heads into cover. However with him moving into an opening, why not let him take a step or two,.
My bow is slow enough that depending on the location of the tree I can put my pin right where I need and the arrow may arch right over the tree... hence Archery
Shoot now!. He's slightly quartering away and looks calm. Wait till he walks, you mew to stop him and now he's looking right at you, wide eyed, ready to explode!
Besides, I shoot a big mechanical and I have it on excellent authority that guts are gold in my case.
I either wait or take one step to my left while at full draw and shoot. Tree does not appear to be right next to the elk so a quick step should open it up. If that's not an option then i wait for him to take a step. Bull looks calm and is well inside my comfort range. Plus the couple extra seconds should give me time to calm down.
Based on the demeanor of the bull, I agree there’s no need to risk an “iffy” shot. I’d wait for him to take a step or two.
"From the looks of it the tree is far enough away from the Elk and with the speed of my bow I could aim at the vitals and the arrow would arch over the tree and hit where I aimed."
Bingo. Remember the 'arch' in archery.
37 is a long shot for me but at 175fps the tree is no issue. Opening morning and 6PP makes no difference for me. Would have to be there to decide. If I have to decide now, then no, too far.
That arrow is in the air the nano second my pin settles on any hunt anywhere !!! Cheers, Pete
That’s a long shot for me. Would probably be sitting next to the tree and shoot him at 15 yards...
Tree is half way. I shoot a slower bow arrow set up. I am going to let er’ fly.
No need to drop it in. Aim right here and he’s dead.
I’m no elk hunter, but for the experienced guys: do you think he will take two or three steps and stop and with his close side leg forward? Do you plan to stop him?
I plan to start elk hunting this season and I really hope to have to answer this question in real life!
Once this bull moves you don’t know what will happen. He could turn 180 and go right back where he came from. He could start walking and you may not be able to stop him. He may take 2 steps and when you stop him he could turn and look at you.
Way too many variables if he moves. I have those T shirts.
I’m shooting him right there.
I'd wait a few seconds for him to clear the tree, he will likely offer a clear shot and plenty of time to shoot.
Shoot him now. Aim right where Uscdryder shows.
"Can you make the shot?".
Yes. Not a lot of thinking involved here. Time to get the pack bloody. Even if the arrow trajectory didn't allow me to aim right where I want, the high lung shot is wide open.
My 20 yard pin is above the top of the tree and my 35 yard pin is just a tad higher than where I want it ideally. I wouldn't think twice assuming that tree is between 20-25 yards. If its 30, I might wait for him to step or try to lean or step to the side. Depth is difficult to tell in 2D.
James X 2. Arrow will arch right over that limb
kill him now, in a real situation, I could see the distance I am from the tree and him to the tree .... I used to set up tougher shots on my old clubs 3D course when I was the safety officer/Rangemaster there...
Arrow on its way. Unless I yank the shot, the tree isn't even in play. One of the benefits of a shorter draw length and moderately heavy arrows....
I would shoot now. Tree isn't a factor that I can see.
I'm shooting. As others have said, the tree is not really an issue as it's not in the way of the actual flight of the arrow. If you wait he may not stop or he may be more alert and he will certainly be a little farther away. All reasons to shoot now.
I had a very similar situation on a calm feeding 320 ish bull in unit 15 NM. It was a limb though and it was closer to me so the arrow would have been at its highest in its path. I thought I could arch it in there. But was patient and waited for him to take a few steps. Well he turned 90 degrees and went down hill. I followed the herd and worked ahead and dogged him for quite a while and never got a shot. I replay that and wish I would have shot.
Shooting 3d a lot and it looks like that tree is half way. I know my arrow is going to sail over the top of that tree. If I aimed so my my arrow would hit the tree, and if the tree really was not there I would shoot low missing under. Yes he's calm right now and standing. He could wind me or start walking and not stop if I wait.. Arrows on it way. 10 seconds later I'm looking at a downed elk. I smoked him,, right Paul?? :) Me bad!!
It doesn't matter what day of the hunt or how many PP's I burned. My arrows arc plenty. I am drawing, settling and dropping the string.
I’m waiting for a bigger bull. I’ve researched this unit thoroughly and know there are better bulls in the area, plus, from the looks of the bull in the pic, the rut is jus getting ready to kick into full swing.
Plus, the way all these western states change the p points rules halfway through the game, I may never draw this unit again in my lifetime.
I'd just step left and kill him.
Yup, Troy, there are always more than a few that end up with tag soup!
Even in units that take double or even triple the number of years it takes to get a tag!
That is a shooter in a 20 point unit... Relaxed, good angle, not out of range, that tree is not an issue, shoot that sucker!
Take the first good shot you get! Aim right where you need to hit. Even a really fast bow with elk weight arrows over 310 ft sec will clear the tree.
I'm shooting. The tree is not in the way with my set up. When I used to set the extreme range for the CBA Jamboree, I always tried to set a 40 yard shot with an obstacle at 20 yards (preferably a rock) that blocked the kill for an average hight person. Yo could see enough of the target to know where to aim. Used to really mess with the guys shooting fast bows. I've made a couple of shots over the years that were similar on elk.
I’m shooting. But not gonna lie, I’d probably mess it up. Had a similar situation with an earthen pond dam and a stalked warthog once. While I knew my arrow would clear the dam, apparently my subconscious didn’t agree. Held too high and shot right over the bastard
I hate warthogs
Longbow/recurve, I’m good for that shot. At least if you hadn’t told me the range ;) ... But if I’m feelin’ it? I’m in.
And in my usual area, there’s about a zero percent chance of getting a clean shot on a nicer bull. It really sucks to end a hunt on the first day (BTDT) but that’s a great bull for most public land, and I can always “guide” my nephew or go fishing.
First day on a 6-point area, I might actually pass it up.
There are other considerations, of course.... Is he alone? Trailing a herd? Leading one? What are the chances I’d be able to track him by hoofprints alone if something were to hit the fan? Is there thicker cover above him? Below? Private property lines I can’t cross?
But that tree is a non-issue. I’m holding for the slightly darker patch of hide just above the tree, and at 180-190 fps, that tree might as well be a gopher.
I shoot a recurve, I would aim at top left of that tree and the arrow would arc right over and in the boiler room. The bull looks plenty calm.Yum backstraps baby.
Those that are "sending it" cab you put a mark on your ideal pol? Jeff.
Shoot where it stands. Plenty vital area exposed. Yumm, backstraps for dinner.
"Those that are "sending it" cab you put a mark on your ideal pol?"
Id prob use my 40yd pin and it would look something like this....
only a slight shift once full drawn needed to make that shot - kill him
I have to wait....I`m shooting a 520 fps state of the art crossbow...no "arc" involved...lol
Range the tree. Use the pin that corresponds to that distance and place it on the vitals. If the the pin is on the tree it’s a no go. If it’s clear send it. The arrows trajectory will be over the tree.
Of course you still need to range the animal and use the correct pin on the vitals. Ranging the tree is only to see if you’ll clear it,
Poudre has the right idea. With his "spot" on the pic you are only dealing with that little tiny branch to the left. Put your 40 pin on that spot and he's a dead bull. Gives a little margin of error in case the arrow goes slightly right.
Now all that ranging stuff makes no sense at all!
Hell, if you start stepping off your range down there, he’s gonna haul butt and you won’t have elk in the freezer. Just kill him for Gawd Sakes! JEEEZ!
Count steps to where he was after you put a stinkin arrow thru his ribs!
Wheelie bow shooters! Think about it too much and eat tag soup:-)
I always aim for the 10 ring on the FAR side for angle shots. Looks slightly down hill too so the red dot is close. And I practice shooting over and under limbs ( read fir twigs ) at various distances so I have a good sense of the arc and what will clear. One should know the difference between LOS and arrow path.
That string is getting loosed!!
Head shot is wide open. It’s a no-brainer
I love tagging out first day! Dead bull.
My arrow would clear that tree by several inches.
And to the people saying they'd pass this size elk... most people would not pass this size elk. That elk is bigger than he appears at first glance just because it looks like his 4ths aren't huge. That bull has HUGE main beams - he wants to grow G6s and had plenty of room for them. His 5ths and 3rds are good. That's a good bull.
Cnelk, At the risk of briefly hijacking your thread, I'd like to hear some estimates on what this bull might score....
Nope! Too far for me. Needs to be at least 10 yards closer.
To far for me and the Old School Recurve but with my wheels bow, I would shoot for the top of that lil tree/into the lungs and the Arch of the arrow flight should clear the tree top.
Jake---------> from the photo angle I would estimate in the high 200's but I am not seeing him breaking 300...….
Good luck, Robb
I had nearly this exact same scenario last fall. The bull was 38 yards, the tree limb was 30 yards with the tip of the limb covering the heart. I put my 40 on the sweet spot and turned it loose. What I did not figure on was the width of the branch. The branch with laterals was nearly two feet wide and the far side of it (side closest to the bull) grabbed my arrow and sent it into the stratosphere. So, don't forget that 3rd dimension. I would take this shot in a New York minute.
I'm with Rob, high 200's, maaaaaaybe 300ish...
But, I am drop the string, I love the big whale tails,, and the meat even more! Hell it takes me 5 or more years to get drawn in a mediocre unit here in AZ. Dead elk!
JMO, but I think a lot of people don't shoot/ practice in open terrain with rollers and can't judge things like arrow arc, and actually LOS distance. I watched my friend pass on a great buck because of this exact thing. Afterwards we shot a few arrows similar to the scenario, and he would have easily made the shot.
Left of tree and he's dead. Had a very experienced guide once tell me "middle of the middle" (Like Rob Nye says for bear) and an elk is dead. Always concerned me to do that with an elk, but this one you can be just right of "middle of the middle" and he's dead.
Shots like that are rare for most hunters. MY ARROW IS ON THE WAY.
I would kill him where he stands and I think he is every bit of 320ish and probably closer to 330 then 320......imo
All you guys passing for a better shot...thank you! I hope you’re hunting close to me!
Probably not a lot of 200" something bulls running around out there with beams and 5ths like that. I'll take the over on 300" and am aiming for Poudre's spot while holding like Cnelk
Are there two questions here? I first read it as "...take the shot" which might be different than "....make the shot".
I looked at this picture and my first thought was If I saw the tree I wouldn't take the shot. My reasoning is simple. If my focus is the tree I will not concentrate on what I want to hit. In all honesty I couldn't predict what I would unless placed in the position where I had to decide this second and live with the consequences.
If you watch outdoor shows. You should wait till facing straight on or at least strongly quartering too. They always seem to nearly 100% recovery rates.
Good point greenmountain. I would not hurry this shot. I would pass it if I didn't have the time to think it through, at least a few seconds. I'd want to be at full draw and then have some time to think it through.
Mick, you’ve been watching the born and raised guys haven’t you. Haha
I’d shoot if I could range that tree. I have the benefit of having a meager 26” draw an low draw weight.
From: fisherick - “I shoot a recurve, I would aim at top left of that tree and the arrow would arc right over and in the boiler room. “
DON’T DO IT!!!!
If a pinshooter gets the correct pin for the range, he’ll NAIL that shot.
If you shoot without sights and you hold on the top of that tree, you’re gonna hit the top of that tree.
I told Treeline this story: my first deer with a bow, there was a dead lodgepole twig at 20 which pointed directly at the 12-ring on the deer, but he was at 30. Sho’ ‘Nuff, I ticked my arrow off the tip of the twig, and it was only a heavy (2018) shaft and generous fletching that buried the arrow high in the lungs just ahead of the diaphragm.
Poudre’s spot is perfect. Not looking at anything but the bull, and we know the tree is below the line of flight, so we can ignore it.
FIRST you make sure you’re clear, THEN you ignore anything that’s of no consequence.
JMO, a good, split-finger Tradshooter is way ahead of a pin-head on this shot, because there’s nothing to think about and no time lost with ranging anything or anything but laying one in there.
My groups run about 4”-6” wide at 40 yards, and that’s NOTHING.....
You shoot twice that distance several times a week.
"My groups run about 4”-6” wide at 40 yards, and that’s NOTHING."
Yeah but, if the groups are six feet high, what does it matter?
Speaking only for myself.... My groups at 40 average about a foot high. Less than the height of that bull’s ribs.
That’s why tracking conditions matter; if I screw up high/low just enough to draw blood without killing clean, then it’s on me to finish the job or prove beyond reasonable doubt that the animal is going to recover Just Fine.
Which raises an interesting point. Some would not shoot so far at the START of a Hunt, but they would near the end, when they feel it’s Now Or Never...
But if it’s pushing your limits, it’s actually much better to take that chance when you have all week to dedicate to the follow-up, rather than having to give up after a few hours because you have a plane to catch down in town.
I am NOT advocating EVER pushing your luck or your own limitations, but JMO it’s vastly more Ethical to take ANY shot early on than at the closing bell when your schedule or the season dates could put a stop to your recovery efforts before you’ve seen it through.
Some folks will take Last-Minute chances that they would never even consider on Day One, and as Pat said about hiring an Outfitter, they’re going about it backwards.
If you’re down to your last 30 minutes, you’d better be for G## D#### CERTAIN that the animal will be IN YOUR POSSESSION before those 30 minutes are up, or you need to let the animal walk away.
A PLANNED failure to follow up on your shot the next day (because it was time to go home) is every bit as egregious a violation of your responsibility to follow up as if you simply couldn’t be bothered in the first place.
Fail to Plan; Plan to Fail. A rotting animal lost in the woods is the same either way.
That either troubles you or it doesn’t.
You have to remember, arrows are over 2 feet long, they're not an inch-long bullet. You ought to know the distance from your shot that the arrow starts falling at all ranges you shoot at and remember that all 2+ feet of the arrow have to clear anything you shoot over. The only way you know this is by shooting over obstacles.
And if you're turned forwards, backwards, kneeling, etc, and your arrow cork-screws at all, you have to account for that in a hunting situation as well.
If you only shoot at a static target that's on the same X axis as you are with no obstacles between you and the target, you owe it to yourself and your prey to go into the woods with a target and shoot some arrows in different positions and through different levels of cover at different elevations than you are. Your eyes will open at how horrible of a shot you really are.
One more reason I’m glad I’m free of the compound!
I NEVER went stumping with it because it was way too easy to lose or trash a perfectly good shaft.
WAY more fun to launch an arrow through the trees when it’s not likely to cost you 10 bucks!!!
At some of our outdoor 3D shoots there is sometimes an optional stake called "Extreme Shot". These shots always incorporate one or more obstacles to a good shot or form. You have to stand on a small diameter stump or twist around a tree and quite often shoot past or over a limb or tree trunk, within inches, to hit the ten ring. When shooting past a vertical tree trunk, your mind subconsciously often chooses to stay well away from the trunk and other times to basically aim right for what you really want to miss. One drops your score, the other costs you an arrow as well.
I agree with Codya and Idyll on the size of this bull. I'd say his mains are a solid 50" and 5ths are good. Rest of tines are not huge, but none are really weak either. Hard to guess width at that angle, but it looks pretty average from what you can see. I'm guessing 320.
I'm shocked at the number of folks waiting.....
Arrow doesn’t have to clear tree if aim point is the opposite leg which would be my choice to stay away from shoulder and tree at the same time. I am with ambush I would kill him where he stands.
If you shoot a lot of 3D in the summer you get shots like this all the time. I'd bury my 40 yard pin right in the tip of that pine and send it. My heavy arrow would go right over the top and right into the 12 ring as long as I do my part. Knowing the entire arc of your arrow along it's flight path is something all archers should learn intimately. I've killed a couple deer over the years that had branches in the way from a visual perspective but they caused zero issues for my arrow on the way.
The bull is intently focused on something directly ahead of him, you can probably get away with a slight shift in position, lean or take a half step to the left and the tree is a non-issue. It took me a long time to learn that you can't wait for the animal to create the perfect shot for you...
I'm a west MI whitetail and turkey hunter, not an elk hunter.....so that looks like a stud to me. Since I shoot out to 50-M60 during the summer for form and continue out to 40 during hunting season, that is a reasonable shot at a pretty large target. I would be at full draw and consider a careful step to the left, but holding a bit over the branch is not an issue with a well tuned setup and good form. My arrow would likely be on the way...
If the tree is 10yds or so from the elk. I hold dead on top of it and arrow will clear and drop right in perfect. Shawn
I sent it before I thought about it.
LOL at cnelk! I'm shooting. Pretty sure I can get it in there and I'd be paranoid of not getting a shot for some Murphy's Law type reason.
Out of my range, i tried to get to that tree too.
It is sailing over the tree and life is good!
Easier than most shots I have made. Closer, calm, looking away and almost totally clear.
I'm killing him where he stands with a high double lung pass thru and watching or hearing him do the death moan ;) I killed my first bull at that distance and had a tighter window to shoot thru than that
Did you take it out with a helicopter and drop it off in front of your house, trophyhill? ;-)
Ha ha I found out that day how much work it can be hunting solo. The previous elk (cows) we're pretty much down hill to the truck ;)
Well, since the "hamblaster" is even more covered than the heart/lungs area, I'm just going to let it fly at the red spot. If I execute my shot correctly, that's a quick kill.
This brings back nightmares for me as I had an eerily similar situation to this in CO this past fall. Day 3, 40 yards. It was a little bit tighter window than what is pictured...........but this is what happened. Clean pass thru on the branches.....but the arrow deflected up and over the bulls back! :(
If he's stopped and standing...... arrow is on the way. If that tree turns out to be an issue...... you screwed the pooch miserably and would have missed or lost him anyway, tree or no tree......
That is my point on distance. Arrow is on its way.
I’m with WapitiBob, if I’m at full draw, take a set left and shoot him.
I’d take the shot... one step left and everything is open.