Picking your shot
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
Woody 21-Feb-21
Glunt@work 21-Feb-21
GF 21-Feb-21
Rob Nye 21-Feb-21
midwest 21-Feb-21
Bowboy 21-Feb-21
Drahthaar 21-Feb-21
WV Mountaineer 21-Feb-21
Mike Ukrainetz 21-Feb-21
trophyhill 21-Feb-21
WV Mountaineer 21-Feb-21
trophyhill 21-Feb-21
wyobullshooter 21-Feb-21
GF 21-Feb-21
Mike Ukrainetz 22-Feb-21
Scoot 22-Feb-21
Brotsky 22-Feb-21
elkmtngear 22-Feb-21
wyobullshooter 22-Feb-21
GF 22-Feb-21
altitude sick 22-Feb-21
bowhunt 22-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 22-Feb-21
P&Y400 22-Feb-21
Cheesehead Mike 22-Feb-21
Dino 22-Feb-21
midwest 22-Feb-21
Ollie 22-Feb-21
P&Y400 22-Feb-21
GF 22-Feb-21
tobywon 22-Feb-21
Mike Ukrainetz 22-Feb-21
stringgunner 22-Feb-21
bowhunt 22-Feb-21
TD 22-Feb-21
Will 22-Feb-21
t-roy 22-Feb-21
Dino 22-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 22-Feb-21
Whocares 22-Feb-21
GF 22-Feb-21
mrelite 22-Feb-21
tobywon 22-Feb-21
Cheesehead Mike 23-Feb-21
From: Woody
21-Feb-21
Old time bowhunter here, but have been away 15 years. Thought I'd get back into hunting and at 73 y/o, bought a crossbow. Just couldn't get into it, not bowhunting to me. Anyhow back into shooting a compound again, now with a sight and release. Previously strictly barebow. From my start, what was always the chosen shot, was broadside or quartering away. All the bowhunter education classes preached that and I believe that's what bowhunters should stick to when hunting big game. Been watching a lot of youtube videos and am surprised at those who you would think are promoting our sport, take head on quartering or to0 shots. Obviously the ones posted result in game recovered. Not sure others might not have a happy ending. What surprises me even more are viewer comments on "great shot". Others proclaim head shots and neck shots are all good. Am I left back in the 20th century, and these are now considered good archery shots? It's always been my opinion that too many things can go wrong with what starts out as a good shot, than to take a poor shot.

From: Glunt@work
21-Feb-21
Critters haven't changed. A frontal or quartering towards shot has the same risk it always has. In general, I would guess avid compound shooters with newer gear can shoot a little more consistantly than they did 2 or 3 decades ago. Bows are silky smooth, stable and easier to become proficient with. It boils down to personal ability, risk tolerance and all the specific factors that are unique to each particular encounter. Its a deadly shot executed correctly and can be bad when not executed correctly...just like any shot. A frontal at 17 yards might be a higher percentage shot for a hunter than a broadside at 40 yards.

From: GF
21-Feb-21
JMO, you are still correct.

That said, modern wheel-bows store & deliver so much more energy than any Stickbow ever could that they open up opportunities on shot angles that have been all but Taboo for centuries. If you don’t compromise your penetration with a high-resistance BH design, anyway.

But as I’m sure you know, nobody ever made a “bad” shot on YouTube.

If I were you, I would not revise my standards of Good Judgment.

From: Rob Nye
21-Feb-21
Most of my elk calling is done solo in very thick woods so have passed up a few frontal shots at 10-20 yards with my longbow. If I was shooting a compound with sights I would be very tempted to let er rip. Watched a buddy shoot a moose head-on at 15 yards and it didn’t make it 30 yards, looked like a firehose pumping out of the wound when it turned and broadhead was out the ham. Blood trail was spectacular.

From: midwest
21-Feb-21
BB (Bill Allard) was killing animals with the frontal shot for decades before it was cool. When he first shared his success with the shot on here, he was nearly tarred and feathered despite having never lost an animal to the shot. The same for Bigdan....many dead animals with a frontal or hard quartering to shot.

They both preached close shots and a sharp, fixed blade broadhead. Since their education, I've shot 2 animals with a frontal. Both with spectacular results.

From: Bowboy
21-Feb-21
I've taken one frontal shot on a mule deer buck and he didn't go 30yds. Quartering to I've passed most of those shots. I prefer broadside or quartering away on my shots especially elk or moose type animals. I just prefer high percentage shots.

From: Drahthaar
21-Feb-21
I am old school too, 20 yards, broadside, or quartering away. too much can go wrong head on. Forrest

21-Feb-21
I’ve been shooting deer head on and quartering to since the 90’s. I can’t remember ever losing one or, having to look hard to find one. I can’t say the same for all the broadside and quartering to shots I’ve taken.

I switched back and forth from trad bows to compounds up through 2010. And, never hesitated to take the shot from the ground, when conditions were favorable. Meaning close and on an unalarmed deer.

I stayed with traditional equipment from 2010 to 2018. I never took the frontal shot because I went to wood arrows most of the time. I tried a slightly quartering to and broke the broadhead off in the knuckle of the shoulder blade and leg bone. So, I knew that was going to be a factor every time with a wood shaft. So, I stopped taking them.

I’ve alternated a compound back into the mix and I’ve taken several deer with frontals or quartering to since then. I killed everyone dead. Quickly. But, my penetration wasn’t there due to a light arrow of 430 grains. In comparison to my older weight of 525 with xx78’s.

I hunt on the ground a lot sneaking around. So, you take what you get if there’s an opportunity. Or, you’d rarely get any meat.

I told you all that to say, while I understand your feelings, I don’t share them. And, I’m not a you tube video maker either. I’m just a fella that likes to hunt and kill stuff. So, I learn what my equipment can do, then use it accordingly.

Congrats on the rebirth. Good luck and God Bless.

21-Feb-21
A head on or quartering towards you shot is simply a riskier shot to take than a broadside or quartering away shot. That’s a fact. If you think you are good enough, or close enough, to pull it off go for it but don’t pretend it’s somehow a better shot position than broadside?!

21-Feb-21
I’m looking for any pathway into the vitals. If that means a frontal? I’m taking it! Devastating kill shot!

21-Feb-21
A 15 yard shot on a frontal deer, has much more margin of error then a broadside shot at 35. You’d have to move the pin three inches or so to miss total plumbing demo. Three inches of pin movement at 35 yards means you miss by feet.

21-Feb-21
The way I see it is, there is no margin of error on any shot. Broadside, quartering away, quartering too, frontal. It doesn’t matter. Large margins of error are for rifle hunting where shock value plays a part

21-Feb-21
For elk, I prefer a broadside or quartering away shot, but when given a frontal 20yds and in, I’ll take that shot every time. The sweet spot is larger than a grapefruit. If it’s much more than a slight quartering to shot, I’ll pass. Head, neck, and Texas heart shots are a no-go for me.

From: GF
21-Feb-21
Maybe the difference is in the individual’s ability to read the body angle?

Not everybody has the ability to see/think in 3 dimensions, so a slam-dunk for one is a disaster in the making, depending on the shooter.

I passed up about a 5-yard frontal on a bull maybe my second season. I was hitting tennis balls routinely at that point at 30-45, so maybe I should’ve taken that one. But he walked right past me a minute later, so sometimes patience will pay off...

22-Feb-21
A head on or quartering towards you shot is simply a riskier shot to take than a broadside or quartering away shot. That’s a fact. If you think you are good enough, or close enough, to pull it off go for it but don’t pretend it’s somehow a better shot position than broadside?!

From: Scoot
22-Feb-21
"That’s a fact."

This has been debated a million times on bowsite over the past couple decades. Mike, please explain to everyone how that "is a fact". I wouldn't think such an obvious fact would have so many successful hunters totally disagree with you! Also, I realize this is the internet, but simply because someone firmly believes something doesn't make it a fact.

From: Brotsky
22-Feb-21
I wouldn't say a frontal shot within the archer's ability is any better or any worse than a broadside or quartered away shot within an archer's ability. It's just another angle into the bread basket. It's up to the individual archer to know what's within their ability to pull off.

From: elkmtngear
22-Feb-21
I'll take a frontal under 20 yds on elk. It's a grapefruit sized target, depending on whatever slight angle is present.

Being able to "see the internal anatomy" from any angle, is a big plus !

22-Feb-21
"A head on or quartering towards you shot is simply a riskier shot to take than a broadside or quartering away shot. That’s a fact."

You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but please don't try to pass off that opinion as fact. It is not. As other have said, I'll take a 20yd and under frontal shot over a 40yd broadhead shot any day. If someone is uncomfortable taking a frontal shot, then they definitely should not take that shot. However, if someone isn't capable of maintaining their composure and executing the shot to the extent they can keep their arrow in a grapefruit -sized target under 20yds, then I'd question if they could execute their shot any better on a basketball-sized target at 40yds. I've lost track over the years about how many threads have been started with the same theme: "I hit a _____ (fill in the blank) and I can't find him/her. No blood or anything. It was a broadside shot and I hit him/her perfectly".

Things can go south after a shot whether it's frontal, broadside, or quartering. No shot angle is exempt. It's our responsibility as hunters to take only high percentage shots, those that we have supreme confidence in executing. There are certain shots, whether it's shot angle, distance, etc, that most would agree are low percentage, unethical, or whatever other word you want to use. A close-range frontal shot is not any of those, and have been shown to be tremendously effective by many experienced bowhunters over many, many years.

The last thing I would do is try to convince everyone that a close-range frontal is a great shot for everyone, but for those that are fully capable of maintaining their composure to execute that shot, it is a great shot. What Brotsky posted is 100% spot-on..."It's just another angle into the bread basket. It's up to the individual archer to know what's within their ability to pull off".

I should add a caveat. My experience is based on elk and moose and sometime I take for granted that's understood. On other species, my opinion may very well differ. Taking a 20yd frontal on a tightly wound WT or Coues is an entirely different animal, literally and figuratively.

From: GF
22-Feb-21
I dunno, Brots...

You’ve gotta get past those damn ribs. If you manage dead-center, you miss ‘em all; anywhere else, they line up like a picket fence. Broadside, you can occasionally get through without clipping ANY of them, from an angle closer to head on, at some point do you have to clip through just about ALL of them. Or at least three or four anyway… And you have to cut through on the deep section, rather than the shallow; so you have to get through about 2X the “depth” of each one. And at that rate, just the orientation of the blades can translate into a pretty huge difference in how much resistance to penetration your arrow will encounter and just striking a few mm to one side or the other on a single rib can send your arrow deep into the chest or perhaps send it sliding along the outside of the ribcage all the way down.

How big a deal those considerations turn out to be will vary depending on whether you’re shooting a Stickbow, a compound, or a crossbow, because KE.

22-Feb-21

altitude sick's embedded Photo
altitude sick's embedded Photo
I agree WyoBull. Most assume because they have always shot a 65# bow with 450 grain arrows that a whitetail shoulder blade is an impenetrable bone. And that no one shoots a setup can can reliably get through. And so that angle should be avoided. I am currently shooting a lower pound bow that I would not want to hit a shoulder.

But in the past have shot compound setups that blow through both shoulders with ease. And was not afraid of any deer angle.

From: bowhunt
22-Feb-21
If your worried about your arrow getting through ribs on a deer, elk, or black bear it is probably time to rethink your hunting set up.

If you don’t have faith in your setup or shooting ability to shoot a an elk chest on at 5 yards, that is not definitely not a good shot for YOU.

22-Feb-21
I have never taken a frontal shot but from what I am reading a guy with a scoped modern crossbow should be able to routinely make this shot at 50 yards, or even further.

From: P&Y400
22-Feb-21
I don’t care if you are shooting a 30.06 or a compound bow shooting 400 FPS a frontal shot is in my opinion a risky shot. I’ve seen one lung hit elk go for miles and never be found. To me one lung is almost always at best what you are going to hit with a frontal. As for comparing it to a 40 yd plus broadside, yeah I’m not a fan of that either. I guess I am a little from the old school and would just rather not take a chance on wounding an animal by taking a less then ideal shot. I see what I would consider bad judgement shots being made all over YouTube and even magazines all the time and to me it’s a bad message to be sending to the masses who believe that just because they can make shots at 70 yrds on their very dead targets during practice sessions all summer long, that they can do it on spooky game animals. Bad idea in my opinion.

22-Feb-21
I've also killed a few bull elk with frontal shots and won't hesitate to take that shot again at close range. Shooting through the ribs in front of the shoulder on a slightly quartering to elk is no more difficult than shooting through the ribs on a broadside or slightly quartering away elk. When an elk is facing you and turned slightly the ribs on the front portion of the ribcage don't line up in a row, rather they are side-by-side similar to the position of the ribs on a broadside or quartering away elk.

Something to consider is if an elk is facing you directly straight on and you miss left or right and fail to penetrate the ribcage, the wound will most likely be non-fatal. If you miss left or right on a broadside elk there's a chance you'll hit guts which would be fatal but very difficult to recover. You'll never hit guts on a full frontal shot without passing through vital organs and/or vessels first.

From: Dino
22-Feb-21
Good points for sure Cheeshead. Here's some cool, and raw video of a bull I killed last fall. He was chest on at about 22 yds. He was dead in seconds, and on the shot, I heard the air come out of him...deadly. https://youtu.be/mQ9nQ9suPms

From: midwest
22-Feb-21
"To me one lung is almost always at best what you are going to hit with a frontal."

There are a whole bunch of goodies the arrow has to go through to get to that one lung on a frontal.

From: Ollie
22-Feb-21
I agree Woody. They were bad shots then and are bad shots now. Yes I know, they sometimes work out ok.

From: P&Y400
22-Feb-21
What shot angles do they teach to be ethical shots in bow Hunter education courses even regular firearm Hunter education for that matter? At the end of the day, if you want to take that shot, power to you but to say that it is as good as a solid broad side shot I think is alarming.

From: GF
22-Feb-21
But of course if you limited yourself to broadside/quartering-away angles and at distances where you’d be confident on a frontal...

From: tobywon
22-Feb-21
Frontal shots are no good, it will never get you a 9 for a score on the bloodtrail challenge!!!

22-Feb-21
It’s so funny how the frontal shot debate gets so emotional. You’d think we were discussing politics!

No personal insult meant here but I’m not sure that anyone who disagrees with what I wrote even read it?!

I said, “A head on or quartering towards you shot is simply a riskier shot to take than a broadside or quartering away shot. That’s a fact. If you think you are good enough, or close enough, to pull it off go for it but don’t pretend it’s somehow a better shot position than broadside?!”

I never said you can’t kill animals with a frontal shot. Of course you can. I’ve done it myself several times. But do you really think it’s BETTER to have a frontal shot?! I do agree that at 15 yds a frontal shot might be better than a 35 or longer broadside shot but at the same distance a frontal is better?! You would rather have an elk facing you than turned broadside?! Really?

Everyone’s close kill shot stories here illustrate my point perfectly, it’s a RISKIER shot so only do it up close.

From: stringgunner
22-Feb-21
Times for pictures....where would you aim threads again. Watched Cory Jacobson take a frontal on YouTube the other night, camera angle made it look iffy but the blood spray was immense. The full frontal is no brainer at close range, the shirt pocket shot that some talk about is still one I am always thinking through.

While thinking of it, who wouldn’t desire a full frontal to broadside or quartering away anyway?

From: bowhunt
22-Feb-21
100 percent agree frontal shot is a smaller target than broadside. I prefer broadside or 1/4 away shots hands down if I could choose.

I’ve shot a pretty good amount of animals with my bow, and the amount I have shot with a frontal is very very very small.

It seems like the most common scenario a see on Bowsite is guys calling elk

I’m lucky to always be elk hunting with a buddy. We always set up so the elk is being called PAST the shooter, not TO the shooter. We want the elk to walk Past the shooter 20-30 yards away depending how thick it is. Where we hunt is thick crap, and this nearly alway provides the shooter a broadside or 1/4 away shot under 30 yards. Calling the bulls in like this pretty much eliminates the frontal shot scenario. We also get shots at a pretty high percentage of the bulls that get into bow range since they aren’t even looking in direction of the shooter. If you are calling the bull TO the shooter, you have a lot higher chance of frontal shots, and getting busted.

It seems like a huge majority of encounters where I think a frontal may be a possibility, in the end the angles aren’t right and I end up passing on the shot.

If you know how to shoot well, and you know animal anatomy well, it is definitely a very effective lethal shot.

If your not feeling 100 percent confidence in your self it’s a great shot to pass on, just like any other shot!

From: TD
22-Feb-21
Who said old time trad bowhunters only took broadside shots????

Folks not seeing or just plain ignoring history? These guys named Hill and Bear and dozens of other beginning from the days of Pope and Young? Even further back, gut shots were preferred by native Americans as tied on stone heads don't do well on even ribs. They knew the animal would most often quickly lay down and die in short enough time. They had lots of time....

Frontals aren't aiming for lungs, you're aiming for the bundle of vessels over the heart. It's what I'm aiming for even a broadside or quartering away. WRT angles alone, there are some angles I won't take given they are hidden by either heavy bone or feet of tissue. But not many.....

As with all shots..... you have to make the shot. As with ANY shot, if you can't, don't shoot. Butch up a broadside shot.... it's still a butched up shot. Been on tons of "I hit him perfect!" trails..... broadside and unrecovered. Do you blame the angle taken? Or the shot? Personally I prefer "must have hit a stick...."

Pie plates are for baking pies..... not determining how far you can shoot, that it's a good shot to take or if you are "proficient" with sharp sticks. Make the flippin' shot.... or as Chevy Chase would say, be the arrow....

From: Will
22-Feb-21
You can not go wrong with broadside or quartering away to about 45 or so degrees. Save the quartering towards you shots for others. (Personally I dont like them, even with 800grain arrows and insanely sharp single bevel heads)

From: t-roy
22-Feb-21

t-roy's embedded Photo
t-roy's embedded Photo
t-roy's embedded Photo
t-roy's embedded Photo
I’m not seeing anywhere where the above frontal shot advocates are saying it’s a better shot vs broadside shot at all. Just that under the right situation, it’s just as deadly.

Up until a few years ago, I wouldn’t have even considered taking a frontal shot on an animal, but after reading several credible and successful bowsiters: BB, Big Dan, Cheesehead Mike, etc, and seeing their (consistent) results with it, I’ve changed my mind on using it in the right situation. So far, I’ve only taken it once on a critter, but it was deadly.

From: Dino
22-Feb-21
That’s bad ass T-Roy! Nice work. Cool photos

22-Feb-21
There are many deadly hits, brain, posterior vena cava, carotid arteries, Jugular veins, descending aorta, kidney, renal arteries, portal veins, iliacs, femorals, etc. They are deadly, but not necessarily high percentage.

From: Whocares
22-Feb-21
Nasty heart shot! That'll do it!

From: GF
22-Feb-21
“ It’s so funny how the frontal shot debate gets so emotional.”

No different than anything else here: you make a general observation and somebody is bound to go out of his way to take it personally and get “butt hurt” over it. (I’m not really certain exactly what that means, but I gather it’s a bad thing! ;) )

From: mrelite
22-Feb-21

mrelite's embedded Photo
mrelite's embedded Photo
mrelite's embedded Photo
This is a better pic
mrelite's embedded Photo
This is a better pic
This shot was 30yds slightly quartering to, mid bugle and slightly down hill. I know many would get all worked up with this shot and I am not advocating for people to take a shot like this but was I lucky? nope, I hit exactly where I aimed and it took him out with a vengeance. The arrow exited thru the joint of the scapula and Humerus. An unrecovered animal can happen at any shot and for a plethora of reasons, even on a broadside shot. Be proficient, look for a good shot that you can make and have fun.

From: tobywon
22-Feb-21
I cannot recall ever reading on this site or anywhere else for that matter about a frontal shot that went wrong. I agree with Mike U. It has its place, but no one can deny it’s a riskier shot with a smaller margin for error.

23-Feb-21
It may be a smaller target, but I don't know that it's any riskier.

How many of us have shot at a broadside animal and had it take a step just as we shot and ended up hitting farther back than we intended? I'm guessing a few of us, me included. If you're taking a frontal shot and the animal happens to take a step it's usually stepping closer to you and at about 20 yards or less it won't change where your arrow impacts very much. In my experience with frontal shots, I think all but one was locked up standing perfectly still looking at me. One advantage of a frontal shot may be that you don't have to swing your bow and try to follow them or stop them. If you're at full draw and they're walking straight at you, you can hold your pin right on them until they stop or run you over.

For me personally it's a lot more stressful when a bull is walking past me in the timber and I'm trying to pick out a shooting lane and figuring out when to stop him for a broadside shot.

I'd actually rather have a bull walking straight at me. I just draw and hold until it gets within 20 yards and it sees me and stops.

I'm not trying to talk anybody into the frontal shot if you're not comfortable with it but it has worked for me and it's probably more common when you hunt solo.

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