Dialing In Your Archery Equipment for Bow Hunting Elk

Is this the year? Did you finally draw the tag? If so you are approaching success and one heck of a high or potentially a worst case scenario low. Elk hunting is hard, and there are no guarantees. If you are looking to make the challenge even harder by bow hunting elk, or it proved to be the best way to get the tags, then you have some work ahead of you! In order to prepare, again prepare not succeed (it’s not guaranteed), you will need to not only dial in your archery equipment for elk, but dial yourself in as well!

Bow hunting elk is not an easy task, shows like Into The High Country with Jason Matzinger, SOLO HUNTER with Tim Burnett and Remi Warren, Team Radical, GrowingDeer.TV, and many more TV staff and partners of G5 Outdoors do it well and make it look easy! If you are gearing up for bow hunting elk, chances are you want to see how the hunts goes, we took this into consideration and put in some bow hunting elk videos below just for you. Be sure to scroll below and read the real meat of this article on how to setup your archery equipment and yourself for bow hunting elk!

Bow Hunting Elk: Monster 6X6 O.T.C Tag | D.I.Y Colorado Elk Hunt
(Video)- Not only was this Steve’s first bull it was his first trip out to Colorado elk hunting. On the final day after walking blistering miles Steve and camera man Justin were able to make it all come together on a GREAT public land O.T.C Do It Yourself elk hunt. It was a trip of a lifetime. Fighting the heat, steep mountains, and silent elk finally paid off. Truly goes to show persistence pays off! 


SOLO HUNTER 5.6 Time Burnett Part 2 | Bow Hunting Elk September Rut
(Video) – Bow hunting elk in the September rut with host Tim Burnett of SOLO HUNTER TV.


Bow Hunting Elk: Find Food, Cover, Water (#304) GrowingDeer.tv
(Video) – Bow hunting elk with the GrowingDeer.tv team! Setting their sights on bow hunting elk the team has some close encounters and tag a nice bull! One of the best ways to bow hunt elk in Southern Colorado is to locate the scarce resources of food, cover, and water. Watch this online video featuring challenging elk hunts and beautiful scenery in southern Colorado!


The Right Bow and Poundage?

bow hunting elk archery equipment setup elk | G5 OutdoorsWhen first time elk hunters think of bow hunting elk, they instantly think, big, heavy, and hard to bring down game. Is that true? Yes and no, just don’t let the thought of bringing down an elk with a stick and string psych you out! When you are setting up archery equipment for elk, think accuracy and penetration…

A 60-70 lbs. bow that is fast, dependable, and accurate is plenty enough to bring down a bugling bull. Still, elk and especially big bulls are large and strong willed animals. The best advice is train and go in drawing the heaviest weight you can handle without sacrificing accuracy or what you are comfortable with. You have to be precise but you also need your arrow energy to be at its maximum when it reaches the elk. This means being able to have 60-70 lbs. draw weight and accurately shooting 40 yards consistently. Yes bow hunters can, and will shot elk at farther distances 40-60 yards out, but 40 or less is your ideal distance. Beyond distance, when discussing arrow energy and more importantly penetration, considerations go far beyond the basics of your compound bow.

So when it comes to setting up your archery equipment for bow hunting elk, the most important things to consider are penetration and accuracy. After the initial setup of the bow, it comes down to using the right broadhead for elk.

Which Broadhead for Elk?

If the two most important things are penetration and accuracy, which broadhead should you pick? Is one broadhead style better for elk than another? Should you offer up accuracy for more cutting diameter, or the opposite, is there a medium? When it comes to picking the right broadhead for elk all of these questions will pop into your head. It like most things in archery equipment, comes down to personal preference. However, each style broadhead for elk that you choose will have certain advantages and disadvantages. What is the best broadhead for elk? At the end of the day no matter how many articles or expert opinions you see, you will decide which is best for you.

Fixed Blade Broadhead

bow hunting elk archery equipment setup elk | G5 OutdoorsMany elk hunters that pursue large game with a bow do so with a G5 Montec or G5 Striker on the end of their arrows. Why? The reliability. Penetration is one of the most important considerations when you are bow hunting elk, in turn some hunters will choose to go with slimmer broadheads with less friction and drag like they may get with certain fixed blade broadheads. But, when it takes a lot of work and time to plan, prepare, find, pursue, and create an opportunity with a bull, you want to be sure that if you make contact in the right place the elk is dead.  Fixed blades get the job done, they have for a long time. There is no opening, deploying, its straight cut on contact reliability and guarantee that if you put it in the right spot it will do its job! Broadheads like the Montec are reliable but fly straight, are deadly accurate, incredibly sharp, and steel tough!

Mechanical Broadhead

bow hunting elk archery equipment setup elk | G5 OutdoorsAgain the aspect most elk hunters shot for is penetration, and when talking about penetration you begin to dabble in the discussion of forgiveness. Today’s mechanicals offer extreme cutting diameters and a slim design for ultimate accuracy. However, some mechanicals have left a bad taste, with either poor penetration, mechanical failure, or simply poor performance. Some mechanicals receive this bad report due to taking significant energy out of the arrow on contact and deployment. But the most recent mechanical broadheads like the G5 Havoc have a cut on contact design, reducing the amount of energy lost upon contact, still providing plenty of accuracy, penetration, and forgiveness and quicker expiration with a large cutting diameter.

If you’re still undecided because of the ongoing, and endless debate between Fixed versus Mechanical, dive into more of the discussion and debate to get more information with the blog below.

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bow hunting elk archery equipment setup elk | G5 Outdoors


While you might have extensive experience slinging arrows at whitetails, bow hunting elk will come with significant differences. While you might be pumped for elk hunting, and think that you will get plenty of practice in before the trip, chances are you will not be practicing for bow hunting elk as much as you need, or with the right training or specifics that you should consider.

Difference 1: Shooting Position

One big consideration you need to take into account is your shooting position, while whitetail hunting you will more often than not shoot in ideal conditions, or the normal shooting position from an elevated position. However, elk hunting with a bow means anything can and will happen. Steep slopes, difficult terrain, and varying habitat and vegetation means you never know what kind of shot will be on your plate. When you practice before the trip, try and simulate these shots. Find some steep terrain, practice shooting standing up, sitting down, on your knees and other shots that might have you off guard or you comfortable on with a slight slope. You should also try shooting in and around brush. As a hunter you know what is and is not an ethical shot, practice what is acceptable, with a tree or grass covering up half the elk or target.

Difference 2: Distance

While most whitetail shot opportunities will generally be between 10- 30 yards when bow hunting, elk will present fewer but father shots. 40 yards or less is again ideal, but you should practice for far more. Practicing consistently around 60 yards with some shots at 50 and 40 every time you practice will have you feeling extremely comfortable at those distances. When a larger target, AKA the big bull, shows up at 40 yards (closer than you are practicing at) you will be very comfortable at the presented target.

Difference 3: Shooting Conditions

Besides shooting position, your shooting condition will be different than whitetail hunting. We are t talking about the slope, terrain, habitat or your stance, but instead your physical and mental state. When you are bow hunting elk you will be beat, exhausted, worn out, and possibly not even in the right mindset for the shot when it does happen to present itself. Getting in shape for elk hunting is another entire discussion, but you should practice shooting out of breath and in a tired, worn out, and beat state. After you work out, after you train, or after you run or work on cardio, grab your compound bow and practice shooting. This will allow you to learn how to calm your body down, control your breathing and make the shot.

All you can do is prepare and plan, it is up to you to be ready for success when the opportunity presents itself. At the end of the day regardless of missed opportunities, seized opportunities, success, or failure, just remember that you got to partake in a great hunt, in god’s country, and made unforgettable memories in the great outdoors.