As I sit here waiting for my Wyoming elk bowhunt (which starts two weeks from today), I have been watching (and re-watching) every elk bowhunt that I can find on Youtube. Some of the videos show the bowhunters holding for an impressive length of time before shooting. Just asking for opinions.....how long can you hold your bow at full draw, before you believe that your accuracy will suffer?
BTW, having never shot a cow elk....I have a question.....do they have ivory, or only the bulls?
Cows do have ivories just smaller and usually not as colorful. But they are there...
As for holding. Adrenaline can be amazing and surprise how long you can hold. I often find that my bow arm get tired long before my draw arm. So I and my wife practice just holding our bows up for extended time.
In all honestly I have never killed a bull that I have held for a really long time on. On the flipside nearly all my bulls have been killed on a fast smooth draw and shot cycle. As fast as I can draw and find my pin I shoot.
I feel most guys who hold a really long time draw too soon and at the wrong time. I also suggest that any elk encounter you get practice drawing and see what you can get away with. For example in CO we cant shoot spikes so any time we call in a spike we practice draw timing and letting down etc. We do this cow elk and deer etc. Never aim at them but we always experiment with what we can and cant get away with.
Yes, the cows have ivories. They’re pretty cool, too.
I haven’t tested myself lately, but I top out at around 45 seconds with my bows in the #52-#53 range. The new one’s about #62, and I did take a few shots with that after maybe 30 seconds or so; those were good enough for 8-ring hits on a deer target under 20 yards, but that’s not a complete loss.
I never tested myself to see how long I could hold a compound; I think I started to one time and got bored just standing there. But ‘twas my BOW arm that was actually tiring.... that thing weighed a TON.
“ On the flipside nearly all my bulls have been killed on a fast smooth draw and shot cycle. As fast as I can draw and find my pin I shoot.”
And that’s the other reason I don’t worry about it. The one time I tried to draw on an incoming animal, it was a nervous cow skittering along the trail towards me, and she picked me off from about 40 out, then stopped and stood there looking at me just long enough for me to decide that the angle and range added up to a no-go.
I can hold my bow for probably 20 seconds before accuracy is affected. A couple of recent threads have really gotten me to consider similar thoughts. Like hypothetically shooting 70 lbs when your max is 75 lbs. This would be like working out with your max weight all the time or like training at or near your race pace. Now we get the question of how long can you hold your bow. Well, there answer is not long enough! I know that a lot people don’t watch a lot of videos but I can learn time the I see a human interact with an animal.
I watch tons of videos and I have noticed that many people don’t know when to draw their bow. I hunt at a known disadvantage by hunting in an enclosed climber. I have shot one deer while being seated. I have not felt like I was disadvantaged because I always been able to stand and shoot.
I have found on many an occasion for late season whitetails I've had to do the 'ol hook the bow arm on the knee" deal. Still couldn't hold long enough. When I remember I try to work a long hold into a practise session. My elk kills have not been long holds. 5-10 seconds max.
If you find you got caught holding at full draw for a long time, You can simply wrap your thumb behind your neck to relieve some pressure, if your shooting a trigger release. Once you get the shot opp., you go back to your regular release point. Also, if you practice this, you’ll find you can get pretty good at holding for minutes at a time.
I don’t think you can do that with a back tension or thumb release.....So I guess just hold tight! :)
When in a blind, I've held for WELL over a minute before, and I think probably a couple of minutes a few times. However, when I'm forced to hold for a long time, and I'm in a blind so I can get away with a little bit of movement, I rest the bottom cam on my thigh so I'm not holding up the weight of the bow. It makes a huge difference on allowing you to hold for a very long time without shaking.
Watched my buddy (KHNC), hold on this bull for at least 1 1/2 minutes, I finally raked the ground, and got the bull to take a step, he stopped him, and the rest is history...39 yards, perfect shot placement! ;^)
Interesting topic. This one was approx 46 - 47 seconds holding at full draw. I know I've had longer years ago, but this is the most recent with a long hold. I had one or two where I never shot and had to let down.
My one elk I was at full draw from when he stepped onto the logging road at 70 yards, turned and walked toward me, shot at 6 feet as he passed me. No clue how long that was, but I felt steady on his chest the whole time in case he turned.
I practice holding at full draw for 1 minute and then when the timer goes off I give myself 2 seconds to release the arrow - trying to mimic an animal finally presenting a shot. I’d rather practice it and never need it than the other way around.
This year 45 seconds at full draw, it didn't even dawn on me it was for that long when in the moment, I could have held longer if needed! 65# bow. As the bull was coming my Son bugled right as he entered the trees, bull stopped to scan around, no shot, I held.
Along with resting the cam on the your leg/knee, I will tuck my elbow into my side. That helps to be able to hold even longer, IMO.
Also, in actual hunting situations vs at the practice range, how do you guys actually know how long you held? In those particular situations, I’m so keyed in on the moment, my guess on the actual amount of time would probably be way off, I’m betting.
t-roy, I have some of the shots on video, so I can go back and see how long I held. My recollection is that I held for several minutes one time on a huge warthog, confirmed by going back to the video. But again, I rested the cam on my knee which made it much easier.
At about 30 seconds you'd swear it was two or three times longer. As stated, the bow arm is what gets heavy. Elk are easy to draw on, if you're smooth on the draw you can pretty much draw anytime. Axis off the ground you're only going to get drawn when their head is behind something for the most part. Have had to hold an eternity on them at times.
I've held much much longer using a little trick. Works with duel cam bows and best if kneeling but have used it standing. Get to full draw and rest your lower cam on your leg or on the ground if kneeling/sitting. Takes all the weight off your arm (the bow actually props up your arm and rests it) and the weight on the cam holds it cammed over some, reduces the weight at full draw quite a bit too. Try it sometime, a minute or two is easy, in the bag.... more a matter of patience than strength. Then when time you only have to move just a bit for final aiming.... piece of pie..... =D
"Get to full draw and rest your lower cam on your leg or on the ground if kneeling/sitting. Takes all the weight off your arm (the bow actually props up your arm and rests it) and the weight on the cam holds it cammed over some, reduces the weight at full draw quite a bit too".
Forgot to mention...Kenny eventually used that trick, when he harvested that Monster bull I posted above. Since he told me about it, I've practiced it quite a bit, from a kneeling position. It's a great trick!
With a recurve I only ever hold it for a second or so. With my compound I've pulled it back and held it until I got bored. I think that the issue I have is that after I've held it at full draw for a long time, it is harder to make minor adjustments to where I am aiming. Not sure if that makes any sense.
1:52 on my bull last year, on video. He was coming in fairly quick, but my caller couldn’t see him and kept cow calling, every time he’d cow call, the bull would stop for 10-15 seconds. Eventually he came in and gave me a perfect broadside shot at about 10 yards.
GF Then you’re not going to be impressed very often. ;)
Look I’ve caught a ton of tarpon, bonefish, and permit on fly. But I have a lot of respect for skilled guys that fish the flats or slow pitch jigging with technical spin gear. Different skill Set but not less worthy.