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Bowhunting Elk


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#1 firewalker3373

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 11:00 PM

I shoot a switchback with a 60 # draw, 28" draw length, 400 grain Easton axis ST with 100 grain Rage or 100 grain Muzzy's. This setup shoots 243 fps the way it is. 30 yard max shooter. arrows drop to much after 30 yards. Is this Elk worthy? Do i need a heavier broadhead or arrow?

#2 Rowdy Yates

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 07:25 AM

First let me welcome you to our forum.
Your setup is enough but two things should be looked at if you're hunting elk and the first one is the Rage broadhead. It may not be legal in some western States and on the heavier bones of an elk the construction of the Rage might be too light and will breakup to easily. Secondly it's been my experience and I have none LOL actually hunting elk out west that the shots maybe close like under 30 yards but you should be practicing for a longer shot as well. Personally I'd be wanting my proficiency out to 50 yards so at 40 yards shot if presented to me it would be a done deal. Just my Posted Image

Good luck and where you going to hunt elk?
"Keep the sun forever at your back, the wind forever in your face, and may forever God bless you out there on the trail."

#3 McBruce

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 07:41 AM

Looks like a good set up, I'd go with the Muzzy if that is your two choices, Personally I shoot the G5's cut on contact. 100 gr.
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#4 firewalker3373

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 09:52 AM

First let me welcome you to our forum.
Your setup is enough but two things should be looked at if you're hunting elk and the first one is the Rage broadhead. It may not be legal in some western States and on the heavier bones of an elk the construction of the Rage might be too light and will breakup to easily. Secondly it's been my experience and I have none LOL actually hunting elk out west that the shots maybe close like under 30 yards but you should be practicing for a longer shot as well. Personally I'd be wanting my proficiency out to 50 yards so at 40 yards shot if presented to me it would be a done deal. Just my Posted Image

Good luck and where you going to hunt elk?


Hey thanks for your two cents. How is arrow penetration out at 40 and 50 yards? i would be worried about wounding them. it seems that my arrows just drop out of the sky after 30 yards. there is like a sharp two foot drop. cant imagine it has much ummph at that distance. Remember im cursed with a 27 1/2 - 28 "" draw length. The only thing i would change about my mathews is i wish i would have gotten the higher poundage bow, otherwise i am sooooo pleased with it. I am not interested in buying a new bow. ever. I did plan on using the Muzzy's for elk anyway. i have heard western states dont like the rage for some reason. I dont know why, it works great for whitetail. Maybe ill try a lighter arrow to get some more distance? or 85gr broadheads? I am still in planning phase of hunt. I do know it will be a DIY. probably CO or MT. I would just be happy to get out there and see a few at least. get some experience see how much i like it and get to know the area i want to hunt. anyone with any ideas of where to go i would be greatful.

#5 Rowdy Yates

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 12:35 PM

I too shoot a 28" draw Mathews Switchback bow and like you I don't want to sell it. I own two other Mathews bows right now but the Switchback is still being kept as back up. I shoot a 70 #er that is set down to 68# for the tuning purposes. I could easily set it up higher but I don't need to.

If yours is a 60#er and you max it out it ought to go up to 62#, almost all Mathews bows maxed out will be over by 2#. If it doesn't get there then you might have to have put back into specs at a Proshop. Mine wouldn't and it was my strings and cables stretching that made it go out and it was a simple tightening of the strings that corrected it.


The heavier arrow is what I'd recommend for elk and get better pentrations with it. The head weight should be fine and a verp sharp cut on contact head like a Muzzy should be more than sufficient. The 40 yard shot does loose a small amount of efficiency but not enough to be worried with if you are accurate and hit the kill zone. I'd still recommend you practice that 40 yard shot even if it does appear the arrow drops like a rock. You simple have to make the pin adjustment on the sight to get it to fit the arch of the arrow with a broadhead on it. Here's an article on long range shooting and bowhunting the western part of the U.S..
http://www.bowhuntin...Range-Bow-Kills

I'm practicing that same distance right now and my arrows do stick fairly deep in the foam of a block and my 3D antelope target. My arrows are dropping pretty good compared to a 20 yard shot.

Now there are some guys on here that bowhunt elk and could add a ton more info. and better stuff about elk than what I have added. Posted Image

Edited by Rowdy Yates, 06 August 2009 - 03:15 PM.

"Keep the sun forever at your back, the wind forever in your face, and may forever God bless you out there on the trail."

#6 firewalker3373

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 04:56 PM

I too shoot a 28" draw Mathews Switchback bow and like you I don't want to sell it. I own two other Mathews bows right now but the Switchback is still being kept as back up. I shoot a 70 #er that is set down to 68# for the tuning purposes. I could easily set it up higher but I don't need to.

If yours is a 60#er and you max it out it ought to go up to 62#, almost all Mathews bows maxed out will be over by 2#. If it doesn't get there then you might have to have put back into specs at a Proshop. Mine wouldn't and it was my strings and cables stretching that made it go out and it was a simple tightening of the strings that corrected it.


The heavier arrow is what I'd recommend for elk and get better pentrations with it. The head weight should be fine and a verp sharp cut on contact head like a Muzzy should be more than sufficient. The 40 yard shot does loose a small amount of efficiency but not enough to be worried with if you are accurate and hit the kill zone. I'd still recommend you practice that 40 yard shot even if it does appear the arrow drops like a rock. You simple have to make the pin adjustment on the sight to get it to fit the arch of the arrow with a broadhead on it. Here's an article on long range shooting and bowhunting the western part of the U.S..
http://www.bowhuntin...Range-Bow-Kills

I'm practicing that same distance right now and my arrows do stick fairly deep in the foam of a block and my 3D antelope target. My arrows are dropping pretty good compared to a 20 yard shot.

Now there are some guys on here that bowhunt elk and could add a ton more info. and better stuff about elk than what I have added. Posted Image


very interesting article! thank you for sending it!

#7 Phil

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 06:50 PM

When folks from this forum put together "E2" (group archery hunt in area471) back in 05 I was blessed to participate. I'd always hunted mostly for Whitetails with a long bow but had some experience with a compound. I practiced all summer at 20/30/40/55 yds with my McPerson that was set at 60#. Broadheads were a huge concern to me as a rookie elk hunter so I tried 3 blade Thunderheads & Wasp, 2 blade Shockwaves, ....and after reading an interesting article by Chuck Adams, gave some old Fred Bear 2 blade in 100 grain a try at the mentioned distances. Surprizingly the old style fixed 2 blade & Shockwaves(mechanical) consistantly gave me the best groups out to 40 yards. After that the Shockwaves outproformed the Bear Blade but not by much. Of the 4 types I noticed that the best penetration was the fixed blade, averaging 1 1/2"- 2" deeper into the block target that any of the others. Not being an archery wiz...I figured that slight avantage in penetration just might mean the difference in severing a vital organ and also having a better entry wound. The other advantage in reseraching broadhead design was that the slightly rounded point tends to glance off heavier bones(shoulder bone, etc) and still keep cutting resulting in a better wound channel rather that sticking into the bone as a sharp point might. Funny that the design of the first hunting tips chipped by the earlier known archers are still effective thousands of years later. A lot of improvement has evolved the past few years in broadhead technology and there's a weatlh of knowledgable hunters here who'll give ya great advice but you might be surprized by some testing of your own with shooting a lighter draw weight. The best tip McBruce gave me about archery hunting for elk...."They always stop with something covering their vitals"....I found this to be gospel on the couple opurtunities I had that AWESOME WEEK !Posted Image ....ain't nothing like being pinned down by a sneaky elk. Best of Adventures in your preparation!!!!

Edited by Phil, 06 August 2009 - 06:54 PM.

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#8 Whistle Pig

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 08:43 PM

Do you have the option of replacing the limbs to up your SB to the 60-70lb range? I'm not sure if that's a possibility, but it could give you that extra punch you're concerned about.
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#9 firewalker3373

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 08:42 AM

Do you have the option of replacing the limbs to up your SB to the 60-70lb range? I'm not sure if that's a possibility, but it could give you that extra punch you're concerned about.



I have to check on that. i suppose they would do it but would it cost as much as new bow? Probably.

#10 Whistle Pig

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 09:13 AM

I typed 'Switchback 60-70 limbs' in google and this was the first thing that came up.

SwitchBack Limbs Ebay Listing


I really don't know what labor would run though...

Edited by Whistle Pig, 07 August 2009 - 09:15 AM.

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#11 mudduck

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 09:43 AM

I think your set-up is fine. I shoot 64 lbs. with a 27 inch draw, 3 blade 100gr muzzys. Was thinking about your comment about the arrows dropping so much after 30yds. Are they low and left or right? It could be you are dropping your bow hand and "peeking" for the impact

#12 ricfirefighter

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 12:00 PM

I'm not sure about other states but here in SD mechanicals are eligal for elk. I shot the same 2 broadheads you do just have to use the muzzy if I ever draw an elk tag in this dang state.

#13 TerryfromAR

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 10:11 PM

The biggest obstacle to over come is yourself, if you are confident in your equipment and yourself then you will be fine, add a pin and sight for 40.... there is a considerable gap between my 30 and my 40, about twice what the gap is between my 20 and 30. In previous years i shot ALOT of 3D tourneys my bow is a 70# draw but it's far from the most powerful bow out there..... I learned to appreciate my arrow puller real fast... on a 40 yd shot on an Elk 3D I typically got 8-10 inches penetration. I don't know how much you've shot 3D but this was a Mckenzie target... They're TOUGH if you get 6" of penetration, you're most likely gonna lose an insert and tip.... In short, practice with your bow... if you've shot whitetails with it and have gotten passthroughs at 30, then 40 shouldn't be a problem with Elk

And remember, the heavier the arrow the greater the inertia, you know an object in motion tends to stay in motion etc.... just think about it this way... semitruck going 45 mph hits a brick wall, and a corvette hits an identical wall going 55 which wall will be messed up worse?
Semper Fi




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