Hunting Elephant with a recurve?

Discussion in 'Bowhunting Africa' started by ch_FM77, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. ch_FM77

    ch_FM77 New Member

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    Hello all! This is my first post here on AH. I was wondering what the proper recurve bow setup would be for hunting elephant? I have done some research on what people have used before and have heard draw weight ranging anywhere from 90-120. Would a 70-80# bow be enough? or is more needed? I wouldn't have a problem working up to the right draw weight, but I shoot 70# comfortably.

    Thanks,
    Charlie
  2. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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  3. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    Welcome to the forum, Charlie, I don t hunt with a bow, but I m sure you ll get help from the bowhunters here.
  4. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    Welcome to AH Charlie.
  5. jeff

    jeff AH Senior Member

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    70- 80 is enough if your arrow is heavy enough 1500 grains and a good cut on contact broadhead put in the right place.
  6. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    The guidelines for hunting in South Africa do not show a minimum for Ele but Giraffe (the largest listed requirements) is 90ft/lb Kinetic energy with a minimum 750gr arrow.

    90ft/lb is acheived with:
    750 gr arrow = 255fps or so
    1500 gr arrow = 180fps or so
  7. Ole Bally

    Ole Bally AH Enthusiast

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    Charley, It has been done, but I honestly feel that it happened more by accident than by fine design. What speed can you get out of your recurve with a 600 gr arrow? Will it do 180 with a 1500 gr arrow? Even a 1100 gr arrow at 200 fps won't get it done! To get through the rib bone of an Ele including the skin...which isn't too thick just behind the elbow..is going to take some doing. Tie 2 fresh cow ribs one on top of the other - to make a 20mm rib bone simulation - and make a 'target' with them by bonding or tying them onto a piece of 20mm Marine ply which you then soak until it's flexible. If you can shoot through all that at 20m to at least the fletching, you may have a chance at getting enough penetration on an Ele.
    If it slips between the ribs well and good, but if it doesn't your going to have to pay the trophy fee for a 'not even irritating' flesh wound for a very expensive trophy.
    Howard Hill couldn't get it done cleanly with a long bow at 100lbs +. I know your Recurve is faster though! You have to try to simulate the hunt using materials at hand...err on the safe side!!
  8. 35bore

    35bore AH Elite

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    Welcome to the forum.

    As previously stated, Sure that some one has done it, but, kinda like going after a Grizzly with a toothpick...
  9. Don_G

    Don_G New Member

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    My 73# Bowtech 101st Airborne at 29" makes 86 ft-lb, my 80# Allegiance at 30" gets up to 94 or so.

    It would take a 100# recurve to even get close to the 90 ft-lb minimum, and I'm not sure that it'd make it even with a 1500 grain arrow.

    Subsistence hunters who don't mind wounding animals have killed elephants with traditional bows for thousands of years, but I'd give it a pass.
  10. Fritz Rabe

    Fritz Rabe AH Veteran

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    Any arrow of 1000gr with a premium two-blade cut on impact broad head like German Kinetics 210gr flying at 210 - 220fps will kill a bull Elephant reliably every time if the archer does his part and put the arrow in the right area.

    We have done it to many times with great results not to be true believers.
  11. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    Thats just slightly shy of 90ft/lb, right in line with recommendations. Thanks for he confirmation.
  12. Fritz Rabe

    Fritz Rabe AH Veteran

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    Be very careful to look at KE when preparing for a thick-skin hunt. Rather look at momentum. KE can be very deceiving and it will cost you a lot of money.
  13. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    I hear you. KE is a simple calculation which IMO is why it is so widely used, those in the know certainly trust a heavier arrow with a high KE over a light one, hence the 750gr minumum in the standard above. Still KE is a good and simple benchmark to at least let you know if you are in the ballpark and exceeding the minimums is always wise.

    I did find it starange that the SA minumum requirements stopped at Giraffe and made no mention of Ele though.
  14. Don_G

    Don_G New Member

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    Yep, you need the heavy arrow. 90 ft lbs on a 500 grain arrow ain't gonna hack it if you even touch a rib.

    1000 gr arrow at 220 ft/sec is 107 ft lbs, at 210 is 97 ft-lbs, 202 is the min required 90 ft-lbs.

    But it'll take one Hell of traditional bow to get that much energy.
  15. Ole Bally

    Ole Bally AH Enthusiast

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    How many "recurves" do you know that will put a heavy arrow like that out at that speed? I have some heavy kit, but I don't think they'll spit arrows out at that speed at that weight not that I have chronoed them! Just asking!!
  16. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    My bow delivers 90 KE with a 600 grain arrow, but I would never consider to use it on Elephants.

    A 1000 grain arrow at 200 fps will give you 88.73 KE and 0.8873 momentum.

    Don't think many people are able to draw and shoot with precision a recurve bow putting out those numbers.
  17. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    X2 but who ever said that everyone must be allowed to hunt Ele with a recurve? If you cant physicaly handle the necessary equipment then it is best to leave it to those who can.

    Just like I dont want a 100lb woman fire fighter trying to rescue me from a burning building, too wimpy of a bow would have equivalent consequences if reasonable requirements were ignored.
  18. ch_FM77

    ch_FM77 New Member

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    Sounds like I would need to work up to a 100# or more bow. I would rather be safe than sorry. Like I had said in my first post, I have read of it being done, but with much heavier bows. Bill Negley used a 102# Bear recurve bow for his first elephant hunt and I have also heard of someone using a 120# recurve for elephant. The lowest draw wieght I have heard being used was a 91# recurve used by Tink Nathan. I think it would be possible for me to work up to, it would just take a while. It has been a dream of mine to do this for a long time, and even if it takes a while it would be worth it to me.

    Thank you all for your information and input, It has been most helpful!



    Happy Hunting,

    Charlie
  19. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    I totally agree.

    To many times I see "hunters" trying to stunt it when hunting by using insufficient equipment for the job, and I think it is really good of ch_FM77 to come here and ask for advice about it.

    So as I understand it from Fritz, then as soon as ch_FM77 is able to draw and shoot with accuracy a recurve that shoots a 1000 grain arrow at 200+ fps, then he is ready for Elephant hunting with it :)
    If he doesn't manage to handle such a bow, he should focus on hunting something else with a recurve :)
  20. ch_FM77

    ch_FM77 New Member

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    Just like I already stated above.... I understand what I need to do to be able to hunt elephant with a recurve. Thanks again to all of you who gave me helpful info!


    Charlie

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