Don’t Miss: A Guide to Shooting Elk with a Bow


Pursuing elk can be one of the most arduous and intense activities you can undertake. They are both intelligent and intimidating, and it can take great bravery, dedication, and perseverance to ascertain one’s whereabouts in the wilderness. Once you come face-to-face with the situation, anxiety and excitement can take over. You now have the chance, so go ahead and seize it.

You want to make sure that you have a perfect aim after all the effort you put into tracking the elk. By studying the multiple elements that play a role, understand what it takes to be ready to shoot an elk when the moment of a lifetime appears.

Where To Hit: Elk Vitals

When hunting an elk, aiming for the vitals for a swift and humane kill is advisable, giving you the greatest chance of success. The “essential” body parts indicate the key body parts of the creature, which would be the lungs and the heart.

Take a close look at the diagram of the vital organs of the elk.

The lungs of an elk are situated behind the shoulders and are the biggest area to be targeted. The heart lies in the middle of the lungs, towards the lower part of the body and is a much smaller target but much deadlier to hit. The elk’s respiratory and circulatory systems both work together to support the body, but they are situated just behind the shoulder joint. Therefore, any serious injury to this region can quickly take its toll if it is not quickly attended to. This is the elk’s kill zone.

Size of Elk Kill Area

Despite the impressive size of an elk, the portion of its body that is fatal to shoot is relatively small when compared to its overall body measurements. The creature’s vital organs are not necessarily tiny; it’s the fact that they are so well shielded that makes them seem that way.

An elk has among the hugest bodies among creatures found in nature. The bodies of these creatures have a tough hide, rock-hard muscles, and bones that are incredibly robust. The numerous safeguards mean that it is challenging for your bullet or arrow to accurately hit the vulnerable points, leaving little wiggle room for mistakes.

Due to these elements, two positions that the elk can take for a successful and efficient shot to be made are: when the elk is facing sideways and when it is slightly angled away from the shooter.

Where You Should Shoot An Elk With A Bow

Before you decide to hunt an elk with a bow, it’s essential to comprehend the way an arrow kills an animal since it is significantly diverse from a projectile. A projectile impacts an animal at high speed, resulting in shock to its system, as well as additional destruction and harm to the animal.

Unlike a bullet, an arrow will most likely not kill the animal immediately, but will slowly bleed out and die.

Broadside Position

If you’re an archer, then a straight shot is the ideal position to aim for. A broadside shot is one in which the animal is standing sideways to the observer, displaying its maximum width in their field of view.

When the animal is facing you in a side-on position, that is the ideal moment for shooting a vital organ for its maximum hit area. When aiming at an elk, you should put your pins just above the shoulder blade – this will facilitate an arrow going through the bones and directly into the vital organs, thus ensuring the elk is taken down swiftly and mercifully.

Quartering Away

The outcome of your shot is completely contingent on the direction the elk is facing away from you. Try to find an area between the hindquarter and the front shoulder of the elk that has a good distance; the larger the gap, the more successful the shot will be. If you believe that you are an accurate shooter, taking advantage of the opportunity you have in front of you, you should aim the pin of the shot at the creature’s front shoulder so that it punctures the vital organs.

Where to Avoid Shooting an Elk

It can be hard to take a shot since it is crucial to stay away from certain body parts of the animal. The animal is so large and strong that there isn’t much room for mistakes. Elk possess hardiness and have the ability to resist various issues which a great many other animals cannot, including being hit by an errant bullet or arrow.

Try to stay away from the bulging region above an elk’s shoulder blades. This area is composed of bulky muscle and heavy, solid shoulder blades. Putting an arrow or figure in the elk’s vicinity would not be very successful in doing any harm and certainly won’t cause its death. You undoubtedly want to aim a bit too high than a bit too low when aiming for the elk kill zone (it’s better to reach the animal and maybe put the brakes on its speed than to miss entirely), but if you hit it too high up, it won’t have much impact.

Shooting the elk in the backside will impede its progress but likely won’t be sufficient to bring about its demise. It is probable that you would cause serious injury, but this necessitates you to position yourself for numerous shots. It’s not certain that you will be able to reach a skittish elk for another chance to take a shot, so it is better to focus the shot in the area previously mentioned as the target area.

An alluring shot could be a frontal shot – when the elk is directly looking in your direction. You may believe it would be desirable to take a shot somewhere between the front legs and the neck to hit the vital area. However, that kind of shot is too narrow and doesn’t provide enough of a payoff for the risk taken. This region features the elk’s breastbone, and unless you get your shot placed precisely, it is improbable to cause the harm that you wish for.

Scroll to Top