Contributors to this thread:
Minimums for the 29 species
I'm not trying to start any fights - just interested in what people think. There is no wrong answer. What do you consider the minimum poundage necessary to kill each species of North American big game - taking into account shot distant, animal makeup (light skinned, etc)? And what is your opinion on the range of arrow weights that would get the job done? Could a person stick with a 400 grain arrow and accomplish the task? Thanks for your perspectives.
Fred Bear said 45# was enough bow for anything in North America back when most bowhunters were shooting self bows. Even the traditional bows of today are significant improvements over that type of bow.
I tend to agree with Fred with respect to draw weight.
400 grains is enough as well. Have sent a number of arrows slightly heavier completely through elk that are one of the toughest critters in North America.
The more critical factor is putting a sharp broadheads in the right place. Do that and nothing in North America is off the list.
A friend with shoulder issues killed a moose with a 43# trad bow that he probably wasn't getting to full draw. Had an entrance and exit through the bread basket with a 4 blade head. I don't recall if/how ribs were hit.
I know that shooting mid 50# trad bows I wouldn't shoot heavier for anything in NA. Ditto what Treeline said as far as arrow weight. I prefer heavier arrows most of the time but if a lighter arrow ends up tuning the best it gets the nod. Great flight and good placement with a sharp head are the keys.
I would say 40-45 would get the job done if the broadhead is sharp and the arrow is placed in the right spot. Also, various states have certain poundage restrictions. . I live in WY and to hunt buffalo, elk, or moose the poundage has to be 50lbs.
I agree with HUNT and Nick.
In a compound I know 400 grains at 60lbs. would shoot through anything in NA with a sharp broad head.
400 and #60 would be fine.
The minimum legal requirements in each state/province are enough to get it done. To answer all your questions would take me all day.
Pretty sure Fred Eichler did it with 53-57# recurves.
Treeline, what is Nate Andersohn's set up? Nate just wrapped up the first NA 29/SuperSlam with his longbow a couple of years ago. I recall he shot Snuffers and normal carbon arrows (Not high FOC or heavy) out of a 50 some pound longbow but bet you have more exact details. His draw length isn't above average either.
My answer to the question is 50#s minimum and a 400 grain arrow will get it done as long as they meets the legal minimum requirement for the jurisdiction the hunt is taking place. Some states, provinces or territories may require more bow poundage or arrow weight (mass) for bison, big bears, moose, etc.
Nate has shot most of his critters with longbows from 55 to 60 pounds. He has been shooting higher performance - lower poundage bows in the last few years. He likes carbon arrows around 400-450 grains and 3-blade broadheads for most critters, but bumped up to 600+ grains and two blade broadheads for bison and I think maybe for the big bears.
Thank you everyone. I have no experience outside Whitetails and Wild Turkeys with a bow. I would be even more shaky if I were shooting a big bear with a 40# bow, but you guys are probably right - that with a properly placed arrow, 40# would do the job. Thanks again.
While I wouldn’t do it, I can assure you a 40# bow will kill a big bear just as fast as an 80# bow.
Nick, got the specs on your rig? Seemed to be effective this last year on a big bear.