A recurve bow can kill a bear with the right draw weight and well-placed shot. It is important to note that bears killed by using recurve bows even made it to Pope and Young records.
Bear attacks are rare, but you can’t help getting scared if ever it chooses to attack you because of simply missing to hit it with your arrow. In addition, the chances of you defending yourself with a bow against a bear don’t promise a happy ending.
Hence, it is only understandable for most hunters to figure out which bow type can inflict lethal damage to one of the scariest animals on the planet.
Recurve bow is among the oldest bow type used by hunters, and using them gives off an ancient historical feel. For bowhunters considering using recurve bows in hunting a bear, you will be glad to know that recurve bows can kill them.
Moreover, recurve bows these days are more advanced and deadly than the ones used decades ago. As a result, rest assured that modern recurve bows have enough power and specifications to aid you in your bear hunting.
Another good news to ease your hesitations is that there are several bears killed using a recurve bow that made it to the Pope & Young records. For instance, a Behemoth brown bear shot by the infamous Fred Bear in 1962 was the most notable recurve-killed bear of all time.
Also, some new bowhunters placed themselves in the top ten of Pope & Young’s record book using a recurve bow.
Despite this positive note, bowhunters have no reason to let their guard down. Killing a bear successfully takes more than choosing a recurve bow suitable for you.
The number one aspect you have to look into is the draw weight needed to kill a bear. Let’s face it, killing a bear with a 35-pound recurve won’t do the trick.
A recurve bow with a draw weight between 50 to 65 pounds is sufficient to deliver an ethical kill. Especially with killing a grizzly bear, you would need at least a 65-pound draw weight.
Below are the things to keep in mind if you will be using high poundage recurve bow:
- You need to shoot heavier arrows with at least 600 grains with a greater draw weight.
- The range will be shorter because of the arrow’s weight, but it is only necessary to kill the bear fast.
- Shooting at shorter ranges is advantageous because tracking it down as it bleeds won’t be difficult.
- Use broadheads that are solid, tough, and able to penetrate deep through a bear’s skin, bones, and muscles.
However, remember that heavier draw weight requires more strength to draw back the bowstrings. Thus, if your draw weight doesn’t reach at least 50 pounds, it is best to work your way up by exercising rather than owning a recurve bow you can’t pull back.
You will not only find it hard to draw the recurve bow back fully, but you will only end up exhausting yourself fast. Furthermore, it sacrifices your ability to deliver an ethical kill to the bear, thus, defeating the purpose and goal.
Another essential thing to note is that bear hunting is not for everyone. Indeed, it is not for beginners who haven’t even tried bowhunting a deer or small animals yet.
Situations like this can turn into a messy and dangerous adventure wherein the hunter can quickly become the hunted instead. Remember that grizzly bears can promptly kill a moose with a single strike.
Where do you hit a bear with a bow?
In hitting a bear with a bow, prioritize aiming for a double-lung shot rather than the heart. You can achieve this by doing a broadside shot placement on the bear.
Like other animals, the heart and lungs are the primary vital organs hunters must aim at to deliver a humane kill, and bears are not exempt. However, if you look at a bear’s anatomy, placing a shot on the heart is more challenging than aiming at its lungs.
Among the different shot placements, the broadside shot is your best chance because it results in the following:
- Double-lung hit
Hunters suggest proceeding for a deadly double-lung shot in bowhunting a bear, and you can access it by doing a broadside shot placement.
The bear’s lungs are in a vulnerable spot where you have a larger target to strike and are far away from large bones that could stop your arrow. Because of this, a double-lung shot gives you better chances than aiming for its heart and, most of the time, leads to a quick kill.
You must know that bear blood trails are challenging. Because of this, you must prioritize placing an entrance and exit wound, also called a pass-through shot.
The bear must be at a broadside angle to get a pass-through shot. Thus, you will have to do no other than a broadside shot placement.
Please note that opting for other shot placements decreases the chance of a pass-through shot. For instance, a quartering shot placement only results in a single entry wound, which means you cannot inflict an exit wound that would help you track the bear’s blood trail.
Therefore, tracking the bear will take you hours or days before you can see where it laid its rest.
Besides the broadside shot placement, here are the other things to take note of when aiming at a bear:
- Unusual body structure
Bears have an unusual body structure, allowing them to contort in odd shapes. For instance, it can stand on two legs, sit on its rump like a dog, or sprawl out lying on its belly anytime.
Therefore, waiting for it to move at a broadside angle requires extra patience.
Difficult to track
Compared to other animals, bears are well-known for being difficult to track because of the following reasons:
- They have thick fat that helps in minimizing blood loss. Bears’ thick layer of fat makes it challenging for broadheads to penetrate deep. Hence, they need considerable blood loss before succumbing to their injuries.
Moreover, tracking a wounded bear is dangerous and poses a more significant threat than pursuing a healthy bear.
- Bears have a loose-fitting hide that minimizes external blood loss. Once the bear runs, its loose-fitting coat will move and prevent a blood trail.
- Bears have four inches long massive fur, which absorbs large quantities of blood, making it hard for hunters to track their blood trail easily.
Never shoot too low
The most common mistake among bow hunters is that they shoot bears, similar to how they shoot deer. Bears and deers are not alike, which is evident in their anatomy, which means that the manner of shooting them is not the same.
Shooting a bear low than the advised spot could send the arrow flying straight to its belly fast, which does not end well. It will only result in a wounded bear and a lost bear, and it is unethical to kill it that way.
If shooting too low works well for a deer, it doesn’t work similarly for a bear. That’s why you must diligently practice knowing where to strike precisely to avoid any inhumane kill.
By observing the right way to aim at a bear, you are giving it a favor to end its suffering quicker and more humanely.
How do you bow hunt bear?
You must have the right equipment, learn the bear’s anatomy, practice where to aim, use calling signals, and choose which hunting methods to use to bow hunt a bear successfully.
Bowhunting bears can be unique since they don’t share similar physiques to moose and whitetail deer. That’s why it is essential to identify and follow steps in bowhunting them successfully:
- Have the right equipment
Before the hunting game, it all starts with having the right equipment to aid you in your bowhunting activity. Whether you prefer to use a longbow, crossbow, compound bow, or recurve bow, you should be able to classify the purpose of the weapon you will be using.
If bowhunting bears are among your plans, you should have a bow with enough draw weight to kill a bear. In addition, it would be best to check first with your state’s bowhunting regulations for any imposed minimum draw weight you must follow.
To kill a bear ethically, a draw weight of not less than 50 pounds would be sufficient. Selecting the correct broadhead and arrow is equally crucial since you have to maximize your bow’s effectiveness using heavier arrows and tough, deep penetrating broadheads.
Opting for cheaper equipment should never be an option since your safety is also at an edge here if you fail to deliver a deadly shot to the bear and instead decide to charge at you.
Learn the bear’s anatomy
Besides purchasing a high-quality bow and finding the right arrow and broadheads to use, learning the bear’s anatomy is the next step.
As mentioned, a bear’s physique isn’t similar to a deer’s and moose’s, which requires a different approach and strategy from hunters.
You can educate yourself by finding bear body diagrams online and studying where its vital organs sit. Although the bear has a sizeable kill zone, it doesn’t excuse you from shooting sloppily.
Another task to consider is knowing the bear’s actual size and age. Hunting in the woods can surprise you, especially in a bear’s habitat.
It may seem odd, but some hunters try to visit a local zoo to observe a bear and judge its size better. Nothing beats seeing a bear in its actual presence and size.
If you have no time to visit a zoo, you can try visualizing by watching bear hunting videos on the internet.
Practice where to aim
Practice will always be an essential aspect of bowhunting and target archery. After knowing the bear’s anatomy and where to aim, it is time to apply what you learned.
You can start it by practicing shooting 3D bear targets or joining 3D target competitions nearby. It is the closest experience you can get before the actual bear hunting.
Practicing your aim at 3D targets of bears can help you tame your emotions and help you get completely focused. You will also be able to continually assess yourself by aiming your shot better and identify what causes your shooting inaccuracy.
Remember that visualizing how a bear will approach you is not enough, and you have to train your body on what to do in case the bear is now within your effective shooting range.
Use calling signals
After rigorous practice, it’s now time to put all your preparations into place as you start to locate your target. Other than identifying the areas they are most likely to be found, calling signals are another way to try.
Since bears have a short attention span, you can ring the calling signals, preferably for 45 minutes to an hour. There is a high chance that they get easily distracted, and too short calling signals don’t make them pursue you and instead feed on the berries along the way.
Here are the following calling signals you can try:
- Electronic call on an audio loop
- Distress calls like cub-in-distress calls
- hand call for a more realistic approach
You can try any of these as long as you are on high alert and prefers to stand hunt than stalk hunts them.
Choose a hunting method to use
Some prefer to stalk hunt, while others prefer to wait by calling signals. It all depends on what hunting method you are comfortable executing and works well with your bowhunting style.
For stalk hunting, it is vital to note that bears stay in the general vicinity. Hence, if you return to where the bear was last seen and didn’t see it, it won’t likely be too far away.
It gives a great advantage to stalk hunting method bowhunters because sneaking up on bears won’t get too tricky because they get so focused on their food. Maintain enough distance before shooting it at its vital organ.
On the other hand, the stand-hunting method works on killing bears, but you have to make the wind to your advantage. Besides using calling signals, be aware of the wind direction. Ensure you are in the right spot and don’t let the bear attack you.
Stay focused on the sound of whatever is moving toward you and remain in position until you see the bear responding within your effective shooting range.
It takes much longer than the stalk hunting method, and you might have to be more patient as you wait for the bear to be on a broadside angle before shooting.
Bowhunting bears are pretty challenging since they belong to the big game hunting season category. Nevertheless, success is pretty evident if you follow the steps mentioned above.
Recurve bows can take down massive predators like bears with proper draw weight and equipment. Learning their anatomy is also a crucial factor you must not take for granted, no matter how often you hunt deer.
Thus, bear hunting requires hunters to exert a different approach in killing them with a bow.