Bowhunting ELEPHANT Best Setup

Discussion in 'Bowhunting Africa' started by Dr.FrankB-Mimic, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. INGOZI

    INGOZI AH Enthusiast

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    It is true that most shots will be close, but I am also of the opinion that one should not get too close. The reason for this is simple, the arrow, and in this case very heavy arrow, needs a couple yards to stablize in the air, for the fletching to introduce proper control over it's flight, therefore I would suggest shooting at between 20 and 30 yards, no less and no more, which has proven the best distance for optimum penetration. For shot placement I would suggest taking a very carefull look at the hide of the Elephant when up close, literally pick the smallest and most precise spot you can identify and shoot for that. Regardless of the size of the animal it is crucially important to "pick a spot".
     

  2. Dr.FrankB-Mimic

    Dr.FrankB-Mimic AH Member

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    Engee,
    very good suggestions.
    You are confirming me a thing I was wondering about, this concept of "minimum shooting distance" in order to achieve the max possible penetration. My field tests underlined a minimum dist. of 15 mt., not far from your 20 yards.
    Probably, going a bit longer, about 20-25 meters, might give us a little less psichological pressure, increasing accuracy ... and safety.
     

  3. Dr.FrankB-Mimic

    Dr.FrankB-Mimic AH Member

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    Engee, I finally had, after more than 2 months from shipping, my Big five. It is simply fantastic, and a pleasure to shoot. The only problem I have is speed: it is around 216 fps at it's peak weight of 99#, with the 1108 grs arrow mentioned above.
    By now, I confortably shoot it at 90#, and speed is 207 fps. Energy is over 105, and Mom slightly over 1.
    I am afraid that, bec. of this incredible 2 months of waiting for delivery (Fault is ONLY of USPS, NOT of Athens, they have been perfect !), I will not be able to get the top poundage safely under hunting conditions...
    Do you all think it will be enough ? Better remaining on the 1100 grs arrow, as I would, or going down a bit to 1000 ?
    Thanks guys !
     

  4. Dr.FrankB-Mimic

    Dr.FrankB-Mimic AH Member

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    By the way, the man on the video, if I well understand, says he shot a 1100 grs arrow at 240 fps ? I can not understand clearly the speed...!
     

  5. Rocco

    Rocco AH Member

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    I would like to know " Dr " what does that stand for ? Are you a medical doctor ?
     

  6. Dr.FrankB-Mimic

    Dr.FrankB-Mimic AH Member

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    No, I am a criminal lawyer, and a forensic expert in the branch of Legal Medicine called wound ballistics and reconstruction. When I hunt (better, after a successful hunt), I use to take lots of records, measures, pics etc, in a forensic style way, making a sort of field authopsy, in order to understand in the best way the performances of bullets or arrows-broadheads. Friends and PHs, that after some 30 minutes become a little nervous, always kid me and invariably start calling me Dr. Frank or Doc. This is the reason of the nick.
    When I work I do the same on humans, but it's a bit more sad... No people laughing and beers.
     

  7. Rocco

    Rocco AH Member

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    Dr. Frank
    With the questions that you have been asking in this forum, It seems that you don't have much bowhunting field experince. I suggest you bring a rifle as your back up weapon.
    I don't think an arrow weighing 1000 grs compared to an 1100 grs will make a huge difference in final performance. What truly matters is shot placement.
    P.S. I Bow Hunted Elephant and planning to go again but I will bring both a bow and a rifle because if I don't get a chance on a perfect shot, then I'm going to use my rifle.
    The Elephant is one of the most beautiful and intelligent animal in the world and it deserves respect.
     

  8. Dr.FrankB-Mimic

    Dr.FrankB-Mimic AH Member

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    Thanks, Rocco. I definitely do not have any bowhunting experience with elephant, while I have some in european animals and Africa plains game; the deep respect for elephant, moves me to ask and ask; then, in this subject, it is to remark that opinions vary so much, to be disorienting.
    On my experience with other animals, I found that the correct setup is vital; of course, shot placement is always the final key, but in the real hunting ground there are a couple or variables that are not under your complete control, and can heavily affect terminal performance.
    Studying and also with the help of this site, I set some fixed points:
    arrow shaft will be FMJ Dangerous Game;
    broadhead will be the Aschby 315.
    Now, the doubtful part: how much KE AND Momentum I need to be on the safe side ? This considering I am not used to shoot 100# bows, and variables are the arrow weight and it's speed.
    My XLR8 at 71#: 950 grs arrow at 218 (KE 100,3; M 0,919), 1000 grs at 208 (KE 96,1; M 0.923):
    My modified PSE Axe at 81#: 1108 grs arrow at 207: (KE 105,4; M 1,018)
    My brand new Athens Big Five at 90#: 1108 arrow at 208: (KE 106,5; M 1,022)
    Same bow at 99#: 1108 arrow at 216: (KE 114,8; M 1,062).
    The easy reply might be the more, the better, but...
    I.e.: with the XLR8, I can hold it aiming at full draw confortably for 2 minutes, shot thousands of arrows, hunted extensively etc.
    Wth the Athens at 99#, the let off is fantastic either, and I can open it under ideal conditions (it is only 5 days I got it delivered !!!), but after maybe a heavy week of hunting, a 5 hours walk in the heat, while maybe affected by some intestinal desease, etc. ?
    The PSE is a great and fast bow, but it's let off is really aggressive, and after some 40 seconds aiming at full draw I start shacking.
    I would really be happy to have the experienced opinion of You all, just bec. I respect You AND the animal.
     

  9. Ole Bally

    Ole Bally AH Fanatic

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    OK I understand this is now a bit late but for anyone else thinking of doing the same thing... the issue is the 'energy' not the poundage of the bow! When we put the original (zimbabwean) legislation together (1990), we only had compound bows doing about 230 fps. max with 530 gr arrows! Seeing as nothing had really changed in quite a few years, it seemed acceptable to put a draw weight down too. I had a custom 130lb Continental bow made that was shooting 1100 gr arrows (made up by sleeving a 2400 Easton carbon shaft with a 1916 Ali shaft. and a 150 gr broadhead at 200fps...way enough for Ele. But hunting with clients later (2007) using a 70lb bow he shot through both sides of a Buff at 30 yards with 600gr arrows doing about 260fps (he said)! Technology has indeed moved along. If you can get the 1000gr arrow moving along at 200 fps+ you can safely figure on killing an Ele. Shot placement is of paramount importance and ideally quartering away slightly and tucked in behind the near front leg as it steps forward on that foot. A solid cut to the front 2 balded broadhead with the point filed off to a little 1/8th inch chisel tip to prevent it from curling on hitting bone. Pete Shepley is in very good company when one talks of wounded - some lost and some recovered Elephant.
     

  10. Tam Dl

    Tam Dl AH Senior Member

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    Never been to Africa, but have 50 years in archery. Pete Shepley has been mentioned here with some respect. I did one of his shooting schools under George Chapman and they have a rigorous process for determining whether you are overbowed. When I went through it in '97 30 of 33 competitive shooters failed the test. I was shooting 70 lbs at 30 inches with 65% let off. I'm 73 inches tall and a mesomorph. In this case rigorous does not mean they set the bar high, it means the determined scientifically exactly what being overbowed is, and implemented that standard.

    The course is set up to deal with two issues. One is the standard, but the other is sneaking up on participants so they don't see what they are facing until they are presented with incontrovertible evidence. Almost all hunter are overbowed, and almost none of them recognize it. I would be shocked beyond belief if Shepley showed up overbowed. It was his course I attended, under Chapman.

    African game departments that want to see humane kills need to implement real, scientific standards. The Chapman standard is the way to go. If you have guys coming on here saying they shake apart after 40 seconds, it isn't their fault, but that is BS. The best shot in my course was a pro, and he managed only 13 seonds on target before he lost it, with a target bow (prob 70 pounds in the day). It is a myth you can be under control for 40 seconds, or as some say 2 minutes. Unless you have a major international title and are build like a tank, well prove it.
     

  11. Tam Dl

    Tam Dl AH Senior Member

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    It is a myth that you need specially spined arrows with a compound to get good penetration. One of the features of the system is that you can shoot overspined telephone poles through it with no ill effects. Almost all compound shooters today use releases, and shoot through rest that would allow you to shoot a steel rod with good flight.

    Underspined arrows are not good, but those seem a little unlikely at the weight and toughness level required. Consider that if you spine arrows weakly enough that they paradox normally that is what will happen when they hit the wall of a hard target, you will get a lot of shaft flex even with high FOC arrows, so it ought to help if they are as stiff as possible, though I am guessing on that point.

    You can shoot bullet holes in paper from a few yards, you certainly don't need 20 yards to settle the system down. It can be the case that it is a better compromise to have some tail high and left for a RH shooter Use a rest system that is bomb proof, and allows you to have some reasonable fletching .

    One thing that is often overlooked is the arrow assembly. Make sure it is not held together with questionable stuff like the RPS system. Though specifics should be sorted out from people with experience on African game. Problems show up on deer sized animals, so one needs to be sure.

    The actual single bevel head used by Ashby was the Grizzly type, what is now the Kodiak. Attempts are being made to upgrade that design with CNC solid construction, which if not RPS, seems like a good idea. But these new heads keep coming out, and testing them other than on looks is going to take a long time.
     

  12. Tam Dl

    Tam Dl AH Senior Member

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    "I can't say i agree to hunting elephant with a bow,it seems pretty inhuman to me.In fact,some of the old white hunters thought bow hunting was inhuman and they were instrumental in outlawing bow hunting in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania."

    The inhuman part is just silly. Most physically productive adult males have been cut, fewer have been shot, at least not seriously, and survived. People just don't like the idea of cuts, but in the hunting context it is by far the most humane method, so long as something substantial is done to insure accurate arrow placement.

    Not to mention that early gun hunting didn't have such a wonderful record. Bow hunting has taken a while to develop, it would be a problem if every few years some new form of stunt hunting came forward whose efficacy had to be worked out. But both the hardware and software of archery hunting are progressing.

    Not inhumane, but archery hunting large African game is still a puzzler. If you aren't using a weapon that is capable of stopping a charge, then not only did you not hunt the animal, that was left up to staff, but you cut yourself out of the main action on the shooting of it. What is the average number of guns in a party these days, even with rifles? In some of the video half a dozen shooters seem involved. It is a curious evolution.
     

  13. Tam Dl

    Tam Dl AH Senior Member

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    Lastly, it is curiously First World centric for a country like Zim. to ban real bows. What does that say about early African archers going back to the dawn of time.

    A lot of guys just aren't that accurate with sticks and strings, but that has changed to an incredible degree with new techniques these last 5 or ten years. Methods to create a Big Five recurve do exist, though maybe it will still far short, but certainly moving up from where we are today would be easily done.
     

  14. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Cut yourself out of the hunt? Not hunt the animal? o_O
    Get better at hunting with a rifle or bow.
    Sneak in and place the arrow effectively. It avoids the charge all together by just killing the animal.
     

  15. Tam Dl

    Tam Dl AH Senior Member

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    I am talking about the foreign hunter here. In the sense that you aren't getting off a plane in Colorado, and doing the whole hunt, possibly solo, from beginning to end. The average hunter in NA, actually hunts, he does not use a professional or outfitter to find animals, for tactics, for anything. Most of our most respected hunters are total solo acts like that, or maybe have some friends or family to consult. I have deer moose and bear on my property. None of my relatives or social group hunted. I had to "teach myself" from the ground up. That is a total contrast to a 1 week junket in a foreign country with world class hand holders. And I am not criticizing any format. In deep tradition there are various forms of "hunting". Some are called hunting, some are called, stalking, sitting. shooting. If you get put on the animal for the shot, that is what it comes down to. Local hunters who are domiciled in Africa will experience different mileage.

    "Sneak in and place the arrow effectively. It avoids the charge all together by just killing the animal."

    Absolutely, you are making my point. Sounds humane to me. That is quite possibly the best way to get some leather for my HH bow grip. So in that case you are down for some stalking and shooting. My post on this was about the old hands and their feeling that hunting with a bow was not on. I believe part of traditional objections stem from the fact that apelation "Big Five" relates to their potential for violence. You can find plenty of folk who want to shoot animals from the safety of 500 yards with their Barrett 50 cal, or use 45-70 levers, or bows. But that isn't what made these animals famous.
     

  16. Tam Dl

    Tam Dl AH Senior Member

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    In evidence, of a sort, when Howard Hill tried to kill his first elephant he tried the frontal brain shot, but it fell short (might have worked with today's gear as legend has it he nearly penetrated the vault). Even if that is not true, it makes the point of what they thought that escapade was supposed to look like.
     

  17. siml

    siml AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    I will rather hunt an elephant with an experienced bow hunter than a inexperienced client with a double rifle in his hands.
     
    Lee M, jeff and BRICKBURN like this.

  18. firehuntfish

    firehuntfish AH Fanatic

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    I will give you the benefit of the doubt that Shepley is a knowledgeable guy. I am admittedly not a fan of PSE bows. They collectively have the nastiest draw cycle of any of the major brands on the market. And as a general rule, they all have very short brace heights making them very unforgiving. It's fitting that he offers a shooting school because his bows are extremely difficult to shoot accurately. He has opinions that work for some, but not for others. Lots of very good archers disagree with many of his opinions on form and practice. I am one of them.. I would not say he is the "go to guy" when consulting about dangerous game with archery equipment. He also happens to be the owner of a major bow manufacturer with an agenda to sell bows.


    With respect, I completely disagree.... Under and over spining causes yaw (fish-tailing/nose diving). Yaw causes drag....Improperly spined arrows will not achieve near perfect flight. Without near perfect flight, you will loose both momentum and kinetic energy which are two of the most critical components of the penetration equation. You may be able to shoot a steel rod through any compound bow, but it won't fly straight....

    I too am confused by this statement... Why is the ability to stop a charge a requirement of a dangerous game archery hunt? Are you suggesting that the common sense safety measure of backing up the DG archery hunter with guns makes the hunt less challenging or a lesser accomplishment? Are you also suggesting that by being guided and backed up by a team of professionals is a lesser hunt than a DIY hunt in North America? Get back to me with your opinion after your first African safari...
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2016
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  19. jeff

    jeff AH Legend

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    I have spent countless hours paper tuning and have never had a good tear with improperly spined arrows, many times all I've needed was a stiffer or weaker shaft and I can get it tuned to bullet hole. If it isn't flying straight it's wasting energy!!
     

  20. Ole Bally

    Ole Bally AH Fanatic

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    Zim hasn't 'banned' real bows as you put it... All bowhunts now require a 'special permit' to be bought. ( the last word being the operative one. ) The Statutory Instrument legalising Bowhunting still stands. Quite why a 'special permit' is required for a bow hunt is anybody's guess.... it isn't gazetted. ( actually its a way to draw more money from the hunting sector). A practice which has effectively snuffed out Zim as a bowhunt venue for lots of folks.

    Tam.. the below aren't directed at you nor anyone in particular..

    Regarding the poundage and arrow weight comments made in this thread, Back in the late 80's when we (yes me in specific) put together the regulations for poundage etc, there wasn't an easy way for 'officials' in our third world country to assess KE at a glance and so poundage was used on the basis that at the time a ninety to one hundred pound compound bow would push a 1000gr arrow out at over 200 fps all things being equal. On the trials done this was found to be sufficient to penetrate to the fletches through a rib right behind the 'elbow'. Understand we didn't shoot have the opportunity to shoot a whole bunch of Elephant to reach the conclusion at the time. In fact what turned national Parks into Believers was the Elephant shot by late Alistair Travers with a 90 lb bow shooting about 900 gr arrows.. I still have the raw footage of that hunt.
    But it served the purpose at the time...later I saw elephant hunts go wrong using that criteria. We live and learn.

    Bows have 'evolved' since then but I still think if you wanna hunt Elephant be prepared...very prepared and yes... a little afraid too! It's a massively intimidating animal to walk to within 20m of.

    Obviously the KE method with arrows 800 gr plus are the way to go in terms of assessing what'll work. Ed Ashby did good work on this.

    Trying to frontal brain shoot an Elephant with a bow isn't clever. It defeats all the reasoning we bow hunt... stealth, concealment... the perfect ambush...shooting animals that are not aware we're there. I honestly don't believe there's not a bow and arrow combo built fast enough yet that will frontal brain shoot a Sable bull that's aware of your presence! Besides the chance of screwing up is way too high for a shot like that to be considered ethical in my humble opinion.
     

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