Contributors to this thread:
Mike Turner's Link
For all you guys leaving to hunt elk, please watch this short video by Corey Jacobson. I did not take a 20 yard shot on a big bull in Wyoming over 15 years because I thought it was a poor spot to hit one, and still highly regret it! But I think its a great shot now, especially in shorter ranges. Good luck everyone!
Good information on the Danny Moore frontal shot. Not 25% of archery elk hunters are probably capable of being successful with this shot opportunity. It is hard to pick the correct aim point as the angle the bull is facing the shooter is critical. Any angle of the bull above or below the shooter closes the aiming point drastically. With a bull moving forget it. Hit the neck rather than sliding between it and shoulder, lost elk usually. Good luck.
I just prefer my windows of opportunity to be more like a bay window than a peephole in the front door. I lost one elk in my life. I found it but it was too late. If you’ve ever thrown an entire elk in a dumpster I guarantee you would never want to experience it again and would do anything in your power to avoid having that sick feeling.
Agree 100%! Don't like bringing a shot to high up into neck area into the equation!
The thoracic inlet is a small target, but fatal shot if hit. So would be any shot to the carotids, jugular, femoral, kidney, descending aorta, portal veins, pancreas, etc. I prefer larger targets such as broadside or quartering away to the chest cavity. No more fatal than other major organs ( fatal is fatal ), but due to the larger size of the broad side chest area there is a much higher percentage of hitting the tissues which will result into a fatality.
Things I wish he would have talked about are how much bow it takes to get through the neck and into that frontal vital area. Is it 100% lethal for a hunter shooting 50 pounds and a 27" draw length? Is it always lethal with a big mechanical? I've got a 29.5" draw length, but due to shoulder issues, I'm down to 50 pound bows. Will it work for me with my 486 grain elk arrow and a COC head?
A well placed Texas heart shot is fatal but still a poor choice compared to others for most archery hunters. I "probably" wouldn't take a frontal shot but I don't fault those who do.
I read about a Texan who started using a kidney shot for hogs because it avoided the shoulder shield and was apparently very lethal.
58 lb draw, 27" draw length with 425g arrows. 20 yd shot.
Doesn't matter if you're shooting a 70 lb bow with 500g arrows, if you hit the shoulder bone, it ain't gonna reach the vitals.
The neck meat can slow a arrow down so its not a shot for low poundage bows IMO, ive killed 3 elk and a moose with a frontal shot, its a great close range shot
"I just prefer my windows of opportunity to be more like a bay window than a peephole in the front door." This is how I feel also.
Where's TBM when we need him?
I'm not saying to go looking for this type of shot! But I feel your target is about the size of a volleyball, and I think that there is a high probability at making that shot 30/25 yards and closer. At least today I'm prepared to take it vs. thinking it is not doable at all.
Carcus, can you define low poundage bow. My 50 pound Impulse 34 shoots a 421 grain arrow in the 260s fps. Is that enough momentum/KE? It isn't much less than my 60 pound Synergy.
Hard to define low poundage really but I think you would be fine with most good fixed heads, a few years ago a buddy shot one with a recurve, bow was high 50s, 600gr arrow I think and a 2 blade COC, the broadhead just made it into the chest cavity, he clipped the carotid artery and the bull died but his setup wasn't enough for this shot
Dave: You have proven that it worked once. We already knew that. Congratulations on a perfect shot. But many have proven that a less than perfect shot at that angle can mean a wounded animal and no meat in the freezer.
It’s kinda like showing someone the lottery ticket you bought and won a million dollars with. Results may vary. When it comes to taking a life that makes me nervous.
I had a chance to take one about 20 years ago... I was standing behind not a STICK of cover, looking UP at this young bull, thinking he’d blow out any second....
But he turned and walked past me broadside. Patience pays!
Mule, How many guys have lost animals on perfect broadside or quartering shots? Hunting is cool because you can do it all your own way, or, you can keep an open mind and see that sometimes, thing other people do also may work for you. We all know there are lots of variables out there. All I'm trying to say is this a nice discovery as this shot is every bit as lethal as a broadside or quartering away, and I will try it, if the position and conditions dictate.
“every bit as lethal as a broadside or quartering away” ... Yup.....when all goes according to plan, anyway.
All about the margin for error.
Funny thing though; you almost never see a picture of a smiling hunter with an animal where something went bad.
22 yards and under, every day of the week and twice on Sunday....Great picture Dave!
Mike... see the post below yours from GF.
Broadside you can “miss” by 8-10 inches. Your margin for error is comparatively tiny on the frontal.
Like I said in my first post.... try throwing a rotting bull into a dumpster.... or never even finding it and see how you feel. Experiences shape people.
While cutting up a moose in the 90s I stabbed my buck sheath knife through the brisket. I don’t believe the thoracic inlet is the only shot from the front. While calling moose and elk they’ve often come directly to the caller or a shooter that makes some noise resulting in a close frontal opportunity. Just as long as the arrow is between tha ball joints of the shoulders it’s a large target and highly successful. As with all shots angle is critical and hard to judge under duress. My friends and family have had great luck with this shot over the years but I have had people get mad at me for this opinion. This is just my thought process and experience over many years.
"Dave: You have proven that it worked once. We already knew that. Congratulations on a perfect shot. But many have proven that a less than perfect shot at that angle can mean a wounded animal and no meat in the freezer."
This is too funny. The lethal shot window at the frontal angle is 8-10". Everyone is capable of making a bad shot, whether the animal is broadside or not. I've seen a lot of bad shots made on broadside animals and yet somehow, that's OK? If you can't hit an 8" window at 25 yds, you shouldn't be bowhunting. I see guys taking 60 yd broadside shots. I could argue that the likelihood for error is way higher in that shot selection than this one. Even at 30 yds, the margin for error on a broadside shot is not much more than 8-10". Pull that arrow toward the shoulder and it's gonna hit bone and not reach the vitals. Pull it the other direction and it's gonna hit liver. In addition to human error and sending the arrow off course, there's also the potential for the animal to step forward, duck the string, or the arrow to deflect off an unidentified branch, etc. with broadside shots. It happens. I'd argue that a pulled shot in the frontal angle is probably less lethal to the animal than a pulled broadside shot. Hitting gut or liver in a broadside shot is possibly going to result in a dead, unrecovered animal. Pulling a frontal shot is gonna hit the shoulder with little penetration and the arrow will likely fall out with a chance for the animal to recover. Not saying either one is "good" but to claim the frontal shot is more unethical is ludicrous. If you don't feel comfortable taking the shot, don't do it. But I will without reservation as I'm confident in the lethality of it and my ability to place the arrow where it needs to be.
I wonder how many would take the frontal shot if they had to punch their tag regardless if it worked or not
“I wonder how many would take the frontal shot if they had to punch their tag regardless if it worked or not”
I take a carload of crap about how many animals I have/have not killed over the years (from people who have no idea what the numbers might be) but JMO, that’s been the litmus test for every shot I’ve ever taken.
Yes, it has cost me several Gimmie opportunities when my confidence deserted me, but I’ve never left an animal to rot.
Just a thought. If the window is 8" to 10"...then the margin of error from a center punch is 4" to 5" left or right. What is the vertical window on an elk? Also...I think hitting a box or bag at 25 yards is a little different than hitting a live target at 25 yards. Like shooting a deer with a Montana heart shot, which I have successfully done every time, I'm personally reluctant to do those as a norm. IMO too many things have to be just right to successfully pull that off. For me this is similar to the running/walking shot thread that was going earlier. Yes it can be done if you practice it but I suspect most folks do not. I don't practice that.
As I got older one thing I worked on was patience on shot selection. If I think the animal will offer a broadside shot....I'll wait it out. That was part of getting past the buck fever phenomenon....at least for me. It sucks making a bad shot and wounding the animal and loosing it. I've admittedly done that too and it really upset me at the time because I knew better. Nowadays there is still success if I get some good vid footage from the stand even if I don't shoot. All my two cents....
Sure is a lot of "my way or the highway" especially from some that always proclaim that they hunt for themselves and others should do the same. Then add the usual "I don't care what you do or use" while snarkily condemning what you do or use.
Old men suck in their gut on the beach. Young boys stretch when getting their height measured. And older teenagers, in the showers after a game; well lets just say everyone wants to "measure up".
For bowhunters it seems some would like to restrict others to their "height".
I know there’s a whole lot less hang-time with a compound, so that factors in....
But the guy in the video was demonstrating a window of 7” wide by 9” high. If you don’t know the exact range, you have to make some allowances. I figure best case, that’s really a 6” bullseye.
That means if the target moves 3”.... I’m screwed.
By the way - here’s an amusing alternative...
Some are afraid of wounding a bull on this shot. What I like about it is you’re likely going to either make it in the cavity and kill the bull.... or not make it in and the bull is breeding cows the next day. A broadside shot and you miss the zone anywhere but the shoulder and the bull has a good chance of dying and not being found. With this shot it’s pretty cut and dry, the bull dies in less than 100 yards with lots of blood or lives to see another day.
That is unless a shaft is broken off along the ribs and scapula only to abscess and cause a slow death later. Seems like many are very tolerable of wounding.... trying to make a low percentage shot. Hell, shoot him right in the throat, deadly every time!
Seems to be about the size of the vitals on a whitetail, so I would probably take the shot if within 20 yards.
Not close to the size of a whitetail vital unless you are hunting keys deer. I believe Danny Moore described the width to hit as 4". The problem is getting the angle right which the elk has something to do with. An experienced elk hunter that is a very good shot can consistently make that shot on a stationary elk 20 yards or less facing at the correct angle.
A did my share of guiding. No doubt it affects my way of thinking. If I tell a hunter to take that shot and we don’t find the bull two things happen. He tells me he didn’t like that shot and only took it because I told him too which makes me feel bad... and responsible. The other is I feel responsible whether he says anything or not. I don’t care for either of those. The first words of this thread are “For all you guys leaving to hunt elk....” What it should say is “For all you guys who have experience killing and being up close and personal with elk and have the ability to stay calm ......”
So many hunters get rattled when a snot nosed bull is screaming in their face. It’s nothing like that block of foam in the back yard. Plus that foam doesn’t move. Between shaky knees and an unpredictable animal not everyone should be taking a shot that’s marginal.
It makes me sick to think that there will be first time elk hunters who watch that video and have their mind made up that without question they are releasing an arrow at any elk that comes in head on.
And then for some to say it’s ok if you don’t kill him because he’ll be fine if you just poke a hole in him. Come on man!
I know better than to hope to change everyone’s mind on the matter. But as long as some hunters want to promote a video like that and other’s want to give their opinion on how little it matters to wound an elk I feel it’s ok for some of us to explain why we choose to pass on a shot.
I also think some guys just get too hyped up to pass. They’ve watched videos all year long. They already have a spot picked out on the wall of the man cave for their bull. I get as excited as anyone at the thought of elk hunting but I’m confident that the elk will turn and give me the shot I want and if not I’m also confident that I can find another one. That’s one of the reasons I take 2 full weeks to hunt them instead of one. When you have time and confidence it’s a whole other way of thinking. Hunting without pressure is way more fun and I find I make better decisions while I’m out there. Decisions that won’t lead to regrets.
Not tolerable of wounding at all. That said if I had take take a choice of an arrow behind the scapula but outside the rib cage or a gut/liver shot I’d take the former. I guess if you weren’t so tolerable of wounding you wouldn’t shoot the broadside shot either. ;)
Mule I get your point but if someone’s going to get rattled and miss a 7” circle at less than 25 yards what’s that person going to do on a broadside shot of any distance? I’m not dismissing a bad shot but I don’t see what’s better about a scapula, high single lung, gut shot than an arrow that doesn’t enter the body cavity. Sure the margin for error is bigger on a broadside shot but if you can’t hit a frontal under 25 with the same regularity as you can a lung shot beyond that something is wrong.
I dunno... Pucker factor goes up exponentially with proximity. It can either focus your mind or blow you up.
The psychology of "aim small miss small" also enters in to it. Bigger target, (broadside) bigger tolerance, bigger miss? Same reason some screw up very close shots. It's the "can't miss at this range" so let'er rip syndrome.
And since you mention the pucker factor I’ve had guys tell me they’re stone cold killers steady as a rock at the moment of truth completely miss elk. The comment afterward goes something like I’ve killed a ton a monster bucks but that thing was a beast!
All opinions aside the bigger the kill zone the better. Even if you are Randy Ulmer animals still move and the bullseye might not be the bullseye by the time your arrow gets there.
To each his own I believe in that. I don’t care what others decide to do. I know that people are more inclined to post success stories than to want to talk about bad decisions and regrets. Maybe some people will read these posts and realize elk aren’t deer and think twice. Maybe not. But information is information and that’s what forums are for.
I certainly wish everyone here the best of luck this season. I have a huge respect for elk as all game animals and I wish them good luck too.
Good post Mule Power, respect for the game is paramount.
Two things. With todays equipment, even at low poundage. You should have no problem taking down an elk. BUT, there again it has to be the right set-up. (look at Pauls elk. Shot with 53lbs. ??) Second thing, a few year ago I go to chap with Bigdan. He gave me so much info that my head is still spinning. Even chatted with elknut1, he told pretty close to what bigdan said. Bigdan asked if I ever got an elk or came close. Told him that I came very close. I told him what happened, he said I would have shot. I told him that it was around 620 in the morning. Heading up this trail. Got to a high point an cow called. The bull was about 150 yards away. I moved down the trail, looking up the firebreaks. On the 3 break he was right there. Maybe 80 yards away. He bugled. I moved into place. BIG MISTAKE, I cow called right to him. On my knees and next to a pine tree. The bull ran and stopped about 10 feet from me. Looking right at me. Bigdan said that He would of had that elk down. He asked about my equipment. Onieda eagle bow, 62lbs. with 550 grain 2216 arrow and 125 thunderheads. He told me with that set-up an at that distance, you would of had a wrong way texas heart shot. Meaning the arrow would have come out between his hind quarts. But everyone always said go for the broad side shot. Bigdan then said you live and learn.
On occasion I’ve been blessed with that ideal broadside or slightly quartering shot on a completely calm and unaware animal, but that’s very often not the case. Over very many years of Bowhunting - developed a much better sense of my own abilities (in the field) and the game I’m pursuing. So, today I’m much more comfortable in knowing when a shot is “there” and when it isn’t. Frontal shot? Oh, Yeah!!! It is absolutely lethal. Not my preferred shot but certainly not afraid of it — especially at short range. Agree that the lethal area is larger than suggested in the video linked in this thread. Biggest mistake I’ve seen guys make on frontal shots is too high or low vs hitting shoulder bone.
Some species I’ve taken with frontal shot (all mature males): - Cape Buffalo - Canada Moose - Mountain Caribou - Whitetail Deer - Mule Deer - Red Stag - Rhonda Ibex - Beceite Ibex - Impala - Nyala
I am going again the grain a little. I like the frontal shot on game and have had great results with over the years.
Grabbed this picture from elk101.com. Pretty good image of what you're dealing with.
I still have a few of the ‘Stay calm, pick a Spot’ stickers that NAP used to include in their broad head packs...Still holds true today!
So, here's the irony and that pic shows it best. Should you miss center aiming point left, right or low, what do you hit? The same things you miss or hit when shooting a broadside animal--ribs or shoulder. Shoulder = limited to no penetration and low lethality(Same as when you hit them broadside). Ribs = lungs and pump room.
Bottom line, if you don't feel comfortable taking the shot, don't do it. Leaves more bulls for those of us who do.
Mule, Next time I write a thread I'll make sure to submit it to you to proof read and ensure my title is correct for everyone. In all your infinite guiding and hunting wisdom, I wouldn't want to offend you any more in the ethical shot placement on big game animals. Maybe instead of whining, you can write a story for the Bowsite crew, and you can title it, "The perfect broadside shoot, within 10 yards, on level ground, with no wind, for the perfectly calm hunter, but only if your 100% sure you can make it"! Good luck
Some of you need to get off the sidelines, get away from your computer and into the elk woods and kill more elk.
Quit spewing your so called gospel and telling people what’s right and wrong. There’s lots of good lethal shot opportunities on an elk other than broadside.
moral of the story. if you make a bad frontal shot your of questionable character and morally deficient. However if you gut shoot one broadside its because your hallo slipped off you head and screwed up the shot.
At least I have the decency not to make it personal like some people. The moral of my story is I like to hunt. I’m not desperate either. Carry on. Or is it carrion?
The kill zone on a frontal shot at an elk is larger than many are suggesting.
I will recant a story where I tried a frontal shot on a bear and pulled he shot right, as that can happen. Even though the arrow hit 6 or more inches to the right of my intended point of aim, it cut an artery and bear died in less than 50 yards.
If you cant make the shot then dont take it.
Funny how quickly some people can convert “I don’t like it because it’s lower percentage than the broadside you are reasonably likely to get if you’re patient” into “I’m a superior hunter and human being because you (scum that you are) are willing to take it”.
No such accusation or claim was made.
Yeah, you still hit pretty much the same undesirable stuff if you screw up, but you can’t argue the math. A 6” circle is a target just over 1/3 as big as a 10” circle. Also, a liver hit can be plenty lethal, and a not-quite-perfect frontal can go single-lung on you with a high entry and no exit.
And then there’s that pic of the whitetail that flinched a frontal into a headshot, which might not go so well on an Elk.
Worth thinking about before you find yourself faced with the decision....
And frankly, I think that’s all anybody is arguing for. Just think it through first, rather than monkey-see (on YouTube, where bad results never get posted) monkey-do (when you have to deal with the outcome, good or bad).
The shot is trickier than it might appear. It is not just a frontal shot. A broadside shot is a pick a spot, this is picking a pipe that goes between the neck and the shoulder leading to the center of the 2 lungs. And you have to figure up down angle. Any movement left right or up down changes or cancels the shot way more than a broadside shot. Not so easy to get by the neck. Do no want to preach but to explain the dynamics as I see them.
Well....the popcorn ran out but then so did the entertainment value of this thread. Brad....well said.
I'll take a 10 yard frontal over a 30 yard broadside any day. If you think the margin of error on a frontal elk shot is too risky, there's no shot you should ever take on a broadside coues deer.
Its just not that small of a target at 30 yards, have seen it done time after time in the last 40 years with hunters. However I have seen one limiting factor on big bulls at angles, or the strait on shot. Many ,many and I am being 100% honest, modern broad heads can not make the trip on the strait on shot. They are designed for the close range shots at White Tail Deer. The modern .166 or .204 shaft is a huge advantage when it comes to Wind drift, and very little drag after delivering the payload on the strait on brisket shot, as long as its in the dark mane hair between the shoulder knuckles .
Clearly some of you aren’t familiar with elk anatomy. The lethal frontal area is much larger than a 6” circle. Punching an arrow low thru the sternum is no different than thru a rib on a broadside shot. If you miss high, chance are good for a jugular or spine hit, both very lethal.
I’d say the actual lethal area is about 8” wide by about 12-16” up and down. If you can’t hit that target at 20 yards in the heat of the moment, you shouldn’t be hunting with a bow, IMO.