Your bow, arrow, and broadhead don’t matter when you shoot an elk within the fallacious spot. Whether or not you spend three grand or 200 bucks in your setup, the end result would be the identical: a number of drops of blood that results in nothing however disappointment. It’s the accountability of all elk hunters to work on their archery abilities to make fast kills through the season. Nevertheless it’s additionally our accountability to know precisely the place to shoot an elk—and the place to not. 

John Dudley, has a protracted archery resume, however amongst his {qualifications} is a protracted monitor report of profitable archery elk kills—together with seven within the final two years. I talked to him to get his greatest recommendation for archery elk shot placement and a few archery gear recommendation. Right here’s what he needed to say. 

Broadside Shot Placement

Where to aim on a broadside elk with a bow
Crimson areas are hazard zones, inexperienced space is nice shot placement, and blue dot is the aiming level. John Hafner

Dudley affords easy recommendation for taking pictures a broadside elk. “You need to observe the again of the leg up till you’re on the midway level of the elk,” he says.  

The broadside shot placement on elk doesn’t differ a lot from the place you’d shoot a broadside deer. Settling your pin on the above blue dot ensures your arrow penetrates the lungs whereas maintaining it away from the hazard zones and non very important areas. 

Quartering Away Shot Placement

Elk Hunting photo
The blue dot represents the place you’ll purpose on this quartering away elk. Wesley Aston / NPS

A quartering away shot is arguably among the best pictures on an elk as a result of it’s simpler to attract your bow with out being seen and it affords a forgiving aiming space. 

“A broadside to quartering away shot offers individuals the chance to do loads of harm to an elk,” Dudley says. “Their lungs are fairly large; it’s virtually like taking pictures a pillow.”

For a quartering away shot, visualize the place the broadside aiming level is on the alternative aspect of the elk. Then purpose in a spot that will trigger your arrow to hit that spot because it exits. 

Learn Subsequent: Greatest Searching Arrows

Frontal Shot Placement 

Elk Hunting photo
The blue dot represents the place to purpose for a frontal shot. Danita Delimont / NPS

A quartering-to shot affords a small aiming space with a better chance of hitting one of many hazard zones, and exhausting quartering-to pictures ought to be averted. Nevertheless, pictures the place an elk is going through you straight on, could be very deadly. 

“I’m a fan of the frontal shot and I’ve killed loads of elk with frontal pictures,” Dudley says. 

He says that the realm the place the bull’s darkish lengthy hair meets the sunshine tan is even simpler to penetrate than the ribs. In accordance with Dudley, the kill zone for a frontal is in regards to the measurement of a milk jug. Whereas the frontal shot may be very lethal, he warns that the frontal shot shouldn’t be tried by anybody who has considerations about arrow penetration or arrow velocity. Additionally, frontal pictures ought to solely be taken at shut vary.  

“When you’re taking a frontal the animal is almost definitely going to be you and as quickly as that arrow goes off they’re going to be reacting as a result of they’re going to listen to a sound and see a motion,” Dudley says. “If that elk is wherever previous 20 yards, that, in my view, is turning into an unethical shot.”

Dudley additionally says bowhunters shouldn’t take frontal pictures from elevated positions as a result of to hit the vitals you’d need to penetrate the dense neck meat, which is extraordinarily powerful. 

Learn Subsequent: Greatest Broadheads

The place To not Shoot an Elk

Elk Hunting photo
The pink strains point out giant bones close to the kill zone. Michael / NPS

Elk are large animals with large bones. Even heavy arrow weights and excessive FOC received’t assist you penetrate the leg bones, backbone, and the thick portion of the scapula, Dudley says. 

“I’m taking pictures roughly 80 kilos and with a 530-grain arrow and if I shoot the useless middle of a leg bone on an elk, even with a few of the greatest mounted blade broadheads I’ve had, the penetration is like hitting a 4×4 publish,” he says. “For elk, the lungs and actually every part ahead of the diaphragm may be very large … The issues that you just actually need to keep away from are the leg bone and the place the leg bone connects to the underside of the scapula. And the ahead a part of the scapula the place it has the excessive ridge on it and the entrance a part of the plate is extra dense. Something in there’s a hazard zone.”

The non-vital areas, just like the abdomen and hind quarter, ought to clearly be averted as properly. 

Tips about Arrow and Broadhead Choice for Elk

Elk Hunting photo
Dudley has killed seven bulls with a bow within the final two years. Nock On Media

Heavy arrows are a present development, however Dudley believes a mid-weight arrow is good for looking. 

“Do you want a massively heavy arrow? Actually it’s going to assist penetration, however I haven’t seen very many broadheads undergo the arm bone of an elk,” he says. 

He likes a middle-of-the-road arrow weight as a result of it strikes a steadiness between penetration, and a forgiving trajectory. 

“Let’s say you vary an animal and he’s 40 yards. You then draw again and undergo your shot course of, however the elk takes two steps as you’re on the point of shoot. When you’re taking pictures an arrow that I’d take into account extraordinarily heavy, over 600 grains, these two steps (about 4 yards) are going to grow to be a significant factor,” Dudley says. “I attempt to decide on an arrow that permits me to be off by about 2.5 yards with minimal variation.”

Relating to selecting a broadhead, he says all of it relies on your setup. When you’ve got lower than a 29-inch draw size and are taking pictures a decrease draw weight. Dudley says that it is best to select a broadhead that excels at penetration above all else. In case you are taking pictures a setup just like Dudley’s (30.5-inch draw, 80 kilos, 530 grains) you possibly can select a broadhead which may not penetrate the very best however flies exceptionally properly and cuts a bigger gap. 

“I feel as bowhunters if we take note of the accuracy, the shot placement, after which be sure that we’ve a head that can get the penetration we’d like based mostly on our draw size and poundage, then that’s the very best recommendation I can provide them,” he says. 

Last Ideas on The place to Shoot an Elk with a Bow

Shot placement is crucial with all recreation, and it’s particularly necessary with critters like elk, that are recognized for his or her toughness. Now that the place to shoot an elk, you’ve acquired to have the ability to execute the shot correctly. Research elk anatomy, observe good shot placement, and select a broadhead that correctly matches your bow setup. With these containers ticked you’ll be in your option to making a superb shot within the mountains in September. 



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