Can You Hunt Elk With A Recurve Bow? [Elk Hunting Techniques]




My friend Jack is new to hunting. Once, we were hunting together in a deep forest with my 50 lb recurve bow.

Suddenly, an elk of about 700 to 1000 lbs passed away by our side. Jack asked me, can you hunt elk with a recurve bow? I answered,

Can You Hunt Elk With A Recurve Bow.

Hunt Elk With A Recurve Bow

Yes, it is possible to hunt elk with a recurve bow. The best weight for elk hunting with recurve is 60 to 70 lbs within a distance of 40 yards. It is also possible to hunt elk with 45 lbs recurve if you can aim at the vital organ accurately from a closer range. Always check the rules in your area before hunting elk.

Wait, there is more to share! Follow along, then!

Key Point

  • You can hunt elk with your recurve bow from 40 to 80 pounds, depending on your skill and maintenance ability.
  • The best recurve weight for elk hunting is 60 to 70 lbs, and the distance is within 40 yards. 
  • The minimum weight for elk hunting varies from state to state. So, always follow the rules & regulations in your hunting area.

What Is The Best Recurve Weight For Elk?

The best recurve weight for elk hunting is 60 to 70 lbs, and the distance is within 40 yards. The best weight recurve bow for hunting depends on several factors, such as your skill level of shooting, comfort with the weight( how much you maintain), and from what distance you want to shoot.

What Is The Best Recurve Weight For Elk

For almost 25 years, I have been an elk hunter. You know that elk are larger animals than deer, and their weight ranges from about 600 to 1000 grains.

For me, 50 pounds and up has always worked. An elk shouldn’t weigh 45 pounds. I think, less than 45 lb recurve for elk seems excessively light. Every time you shoot an elk, there is a 50% chance that you will hit a bone because they have enough bone and muscle to hide the vital organ.

But, if you are a highly skilled archer and can take your shot from a closer distance, it is also possible to hunt with a 40-pound bow. But recurve draw weight for elk. Without closing my eyes, a 50 to 70-lb bow for elk is the best weight for your comfort.

Note: More than 40 pounds is how much poundage(45 to 80) you can maintain consistency and shoot perfectly; it is perfect for making a lethal shot.

What Animals Can You Hunt With A Recurve Bow?

The recurve bow is one type of the most popular traditional archery elk hunting. The traditional archers mostly use these. It has been increasing among the shooters who enjoy the challenge and skill required to use it efficiently. But what types of animals can you hunt with your recurve bow? Let’s see:

What Animals Can You Hunt With A Recurve Bow
  • Whitetail deer: It is the most popular animal hunted by the archers with a recurve bow. Whitetail deer need hunters to be accurate and quiet because of their superb senses of hearing and scent.
  • Wild Turkey: It is pretty tricky and needs high skill to hunt with a recurve bow. They have excellent eyesight. So, it will be effective if you need to be patient and well-camouflaged. 
  • Black Bear:  These are also hunted with a recurve bow. Bears are elusive and cautious, so hunting them takes a lot of patience. In some states, it is illegal to hunt. So, first of all, check your local regulations.
  • The Elk: In my 25 years of archery experience, I have hunted it the most time with my heavy limbs recurve bow. You know that elk are very strong, large and fas. As a result, it is need to high skill to hunt the elk.
  • Small Game: You can also hunt small game animals with light limbs like rabbits, squirrels, etc. This will help to check your archery skill with a recurve bow.

Can You Hunt Elk With A Recurve Bow?

So, can you hunt elk with a bow?  Yes, you can hunt Elk with your recurve bow. Elks are comparatively larger than deer, and large bones and muscles cover their vital organ( liver, kidney, heart). So, it is pretty challenging.

Can You Hunt Elk With A Recurve Bow

In most cases, I hunted Elk with my recurve bow. I have always gotten the best result with a 50 lb bow for elk. Is a 45-pound recurve for Elk good? 

It is good, but it is comparatively lighter in weight. If you can shoot within the range of 40 yards and aim ideally, it is enough to kill an elk. But if you want to hunt deer with the same arrow, then it would not pass through.

Also, the arrow weight and arrow speeds come into consideration for elk hunting. Use well-tuned 550-grain arrows at speeds of 150 to 160 fps with a double-blade broadhead. You can also hunt pheasant with your bow.

A single blade is also effective. If you use a 4-blade or cut-on contact broadheads, it will provide you with extra cutting efficiency and help you make a successful hunt. The skilled archer prefers a 60- to 70-lb bow to ensure a successful and quick kill of the animal.

Note: The more the poundage of the bow, the more influential the kill. But the more the poundage of the bow, the more challenging it is to maintain its balance. 

If you maintain balance and shoot consistently above 55 pounds with your recurve bow, it will be more effective for deer hunting with your recurve bow.

Minimum Recurve Bow Draw Weight For Elk By State

The minimum draw weight for elk hunting varies from state to state. Each of the states has specific rules and regulations in the case of hunting. There are restrictions on the maximum percentage of let-off in some states.

Haven’t understood the let-off? While you are at full draw, it makes it easier to hold your bow longer.

Here is a chart of the minimum draw weight for elk hunting by state: 

Name Of State Minimum Draw Weight
Alaska 50 lbs
Arizona 40 lbs
Colorado 35 lbs
Idaho40 lbs
Montana No specific recommended weight
North Dakota 50 lbs 
Nevada40 lbs
New Mexico No specific.
New York 35 lbs 
Oregon40 lbs
Washington 40 pounds 
Wyoming 50 pounds.
Mississippi No specific draw weight 
Arkansas 40 lbs 

How Far Can You Shoot An Elk With A Recurve Bow?

When it comes to elk hunting with your recurve bow, the effective range of shooting can vary depending on your hunting experience with recurve bow.

In the case of skilled archers, The effective shooting range is up to 40 yards. But are you a novice archer? Then, the range should be reduced for you.

How Far Can You Shoot An Elk With A Recurve Bow

For large game hunting like elk, a 20 to 30-yard shot is needed to make a successful and quick kill of the animal.  Just you can get a perfectly hit deer shoulder with right arrow weight.

Your bow type also greatly influences the shooting range for elk hunting. A lighter bow could have a shorter shooting range, but a stronger bow with a heavier draw weight can shoot longer.

Remember: It’s essential to keep in mind that a successful hunt requires not just a shot’s distance but also your ability to approach and track the elk.

Special Techniques For Successful Elk Hunting With A Recurve Bow

In this section, I will discuss some special recurve advice and techniques that will help you to make a successful elk hunt with your recurve bow.

Techniques 1: Get Closer To The Elk

In the case of recurve, compared to compound or any other bow, you will require a shorter range. I always take this as the main advantage of the recurve bow. 

Since your bow requires a shorter range to shoot effectively, for a successful shot, you will need to follow your target (elk) and approach within 20 to 30 yards.

But it is pretty tricky to do. So, you need to be quiet, patient, and conscious about your environment.

It will be best if you wear a camouflage dress, move slowly, and blend in with the surroundings.

Techniques 2: Practice Your Shooting Skills

When it comes to shooting a recurve bow, you will need different techniques than other types of bow. 

When using a custom recurve bow, you must draw the bowstring back with your muscles and maintain it there until you release the arrow

But is it easy to do like others? Obviously not! You will require lots of practice to increase your power, reliability, and accuracy. 

So, increase your shooting skill so that you can aim at the vital organs of elk. As a result, it will help to make you a humane kill of the elk.

Techniques 3: Must Use A Broad head 

You know, broadheads are the blade-type arrow tips that are generally attached to the end of the arrow. Make sure that a heavy arrow can influence the arrow flight.

Broahdeah has a larger cutting diameter and causes a larger wound channel to the elk. Broadheads for recurve bow hunting should be determined based on the draw weight and length of your arrows.

There are mainly three types of broadheads available and they also available two, three, and 4 blade broadheads. For elk hunting, a single-blade head is enough, and make sure that it is a razor-sharp broadheads.

I suggest using a heavier arrow or a 125-grain broadhead for better penetration to the elk for a successful hunt.

Technique 4: Learn The Anatomy Of The Elk

It is crucial to know the anatomy of the elk because it is the most effective part of making a successful elk hunt.

Understanding the anatomy of elk will help identify the ideal shot placement to ensure an ethical and clean kill.

So, with your recurve bow, if you can shoot at a vital organ such as the heart, lung, and liver of the elk, it will ensure a quicker kill of the animal (elk).

Technique 5: Be Patient & Ethical 

Since you have to shoot from a closer range with a recurve bow, you must be patient while hunting elk and, as an ethical hunter, must minimize the unnecessary suffering of the elk.

If you don’t feel confident, never try to make your shoot because it can lead to unnecessary suffering for the animal.

Note: Always respect the rules and regulations in your area before hunting elk.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

What Is The Minimum Draw Weight For Elk In Colorado?

The minimum draw weight for elk hunting in Colorado is 35 lbs, and the maximum lett-off is 80 percent.

Is It Harder To Hunt With A Recurve Bow?

If you can practice well with a recurve bow properly, it is good to hunt. In general, it is quite challenging to hunt compared to a compound bow.

Can Recurve Bows Be Used For Hunting?

Yes, recurve bows are the most traditional bow used for hunting. The main advantage of this bow is you have to shoot at a closer range than a compound bow, and it helps to aim directly at the vital organ, which makes an ethical kill.

Closing Thoughts

So, can you hunt elk with a recurve bow? Yes, you can hunt, but the most important thing is to ensure a minimum draw weight with accurate shots for ethical hunting.

Always be careful about hunting elk rules & regulations in your hunting area. The broadheads are razor-sharp. So, always be careful during hunting because it leads to harm for you, and that’s all for today!

Bob Magic

Written by

Bob Magic

Meet Bob Magic, the archery maestro. A National Champion, “Coach of the Year,” and gold medalist. Bob simplifies archery, ensuring your bullseye success. Whether you’re a newbie or a pro, let Bob’s magic guide your arrow.

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