Bowhunting Elephant

rinehart0050

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"Bowhunting elephant would be a dream"

I'm not so sure about that.
The elephant is just too big for an arrow.They can't be compared to buffalo and moose when you go stalking with a bow, they have just too much mass.
When I once hunted buffalo on the Gwayi River, an area with a large bow hunting scene, the Matabele tracker told me that elephants with good shots often take three hours to die.
At the table and in the forum no bowhunter tells anything about this long death.
Or do you want to bleed to death painfully for three hours until your end ?
I am not sentimental about the death of an animal that serves as food and can also provide a good hunt.When I kill an animal , it must be short and painless, just as I want to resign one day.
Only my 2 cents.
Foxi

My wife and I are just getting into archery and look forward to our first bow hunting experiences this fall. However, I don't think I would ever feel right about hunting an elephant with a bow. I'm with you Foxi- the animal needs to die quick. I can buy into bow for ungulates but pachyderms are a different story all together.
 

BSO Dave

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My wife and I are just getting into archery and look forward to our first bow hunting experiences this fall. However, I don't think I would ever feel right about hunting an elephant with a bow. I'm with you Foxi- the animal needs to die quick. I can buy into bow for ungulates but pachyderms are a different story all together.

@rinehart0050 ,

You will both love bow hunting. It is an addiction that will only get worse the longer you bow hunt.

I also wanted to comment on the statement about "the animal needs to die quick". It is interesting that I have heard this from both non-hunters and rifle hunters who are not yet bow hunters as an argument against bow hunting. It is a mindset that comes from perspective I guess? Comparisons have been made many times in regard to the lethality of a rifle vs. a bow, and I will concede that a rifle is more forgiving of a misplaced shot because of the percussion wave a bullet creates in the flesh. However, bow hunting is no more or less ethical or moral than rifle hunting from a practical perspective in my opinion.

The ethics and morality of hunting comes from the disciplines of the individual hunter who owes it to the animal to be extremely knowledgeable and well-practiced with the weapon of choice. The weapon of choice must also be appropriate for the job at hand which is also the hunter's responsibility. An animal can linger from a poorly placed rifle shot just as easily as one from a bow. By the same token poor results can be expected if the caliber is too small or the bow/arrow combination is not appropriate for the intended quarry. I don't know all the details surrounding the hunter featured by the OP, but I personally don't think that hunter is the best example of ethical elephant hunting given the fact that he even tried a frontal skull shot in the first place. Lots of elephants have been successfully and quickly dispatched by bow hunters using the appropriate gear and perfect broadside shot placement.

As a bow hunter one needs to accept two things and be able to live with both: The first is that animals hunted with bow & arrow are going to die by slow internal hemorrhage. They bleed out. PERIOD. Most bow kills may take several minutes or even several hours for the animal to expire. Secondly, I can promise you right now that if you hunt long enough, you are going to make a less than perfect shot, you are going to wound game, and you may ultimately loose an animal or two. Whether you are hunting a hog a deer or an elephant, these are the facts of bow hunting and if you can not get your head around these facts, don't even pick up a bow for hunting purposes. But, if can can come to terms with these realizations, and do everything in your power to hunt as ethically as possible with a bow, I can assure you that your bow hunts will be the most rewarding hunts of your life!
 

IvW

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Until they design a bow and arrow that can stop a charging elephant I cannot support it. Been there a few times and it never worked out with just one arrow. One took three days and many miles to find another 4 days and never found. A few others eventually killed by rifle.

No thanks.
 

firehuntfish

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Until they design a bow and arrow that can stop a charging elephant I cannot support it.

No bow that I know of can stop a charging moose, bear, buffalo, etc,... for that matter... So, by that sentiment are you suggesting that any animal that has the potential to charge should not be hunted by bow and arrow?
 

IvW

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No bow that I know of can stop a charging moose, bear, buffalo, etc,... for that matter... So, by that sentiment are you suggesting that any animal that has the potential to charge should not be hunted by bow and arrow?

Charging Moose? never heard of that. Only hunted one so no experience with that.

In particular Elephant.
 

firehuntfish

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Moose charges are very common especially in close quarters. Below is one example, but there are dozens of these on the internet.

So back to topic... You are only opposed to hunting an elephant with a bow because of the danger or you feel it is unethical?


 

IvW

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Moose charges are very common especially in close quarters. Below is one example, but there are dozens of these on the internet.

So back to topic... You are only opposed to hunting an elephant with a bow because of the danger or you feel it is unethical?



As I said all the Elephant bow hunts I have been on, have not worked out well.

A bow is not an appropriate weapon of choice for elephant.

Comparing a moose with an elephant is ridiculous.

Why would you hunt an animal the size of an elephant with a weapon that is not up to the task of dispatching it with authority and stand a good chance of losing that animal as a result? Be sensible, ethical and honourable to the animal you hunt.

Hunting elephant is not comparable to hunting any other animal and you should use a weapon that can deal with any eventuality and ensure that it has the ability to kill it effectively. A bow in my opinion is not such a weapon for elephant hunting.
 

jeff

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Alaska Bowhunting Supply posted a video of a complete pass through using their equipment recommendations.
 

firehuntfish

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As I said all the Elephant bow hunts I have been on, have not worked out well.

A bow is not an appropriate weapon of choice for elephant.

Comparing a moose with an elephant is ridiculous.

Why would you hunt an animal the size of an elephant with a weapon that is not up to the task of dispatching it with authority and stand a good chance of losing that animal as a result? Be sensible, ethical and honourable to the animal you hunt.

Hunting elephant is not comparable to hunting any other animal and you should use a weapon that can deal with any eventuality and ensure that it has the ability to kill it effectively. A bow in my opinion is not such a weapon for elephant hunting.

I assumed this is where you were going, but I did want to be fair and allow you to clarify before drawing any conclusions.... I obviously disagree.... So, by your measure of ethics and honor, are you claiming that every elephant that was ever hunted with a rifle has been a 1-shot kill thus eliminating any chance of a charge or no need for miles of tracking? o_O

I've seen our clients take several elephants successfully with archery equipment over the last 9 years with none of them lost, and I know for a fact that at least 3 of them were killed with 1 arrow. You can wound or lose any animal with any weapon. It's called hunting....

With today's archery equipment available and a new understanding of the physics of momentum, the right bow and arrow combination can absolutely ethically kill an elephant. As @BSO Dave eluded, it's the hunter's responsibility to ensure that the right equipment is in the right hands. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

I will concede that hunting dangerous game is not for everybody regardless of the weapon used. I will also concede that I have seen too many hunters make poor shots for any number of reasons including everything from bad luck to inexperience or even downright incompetence. I have been bow hunting for over 30 years and I have to take responsibility for my fair share of less than perfect shots.... But, in no way does that mean that the attempt was irresponsible or unethical..... I will likely never get the chance to do an elephant hunt myself, but if I did it would only be with a bow and arrow.
 

IvW

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As with anything each to their own and each person as long as it is legal, can choose whatever weapon he wants to use.

For me it is not a bow and arrow when it gets to elephant.

Yes many have been killed with a bow and arrow and yes elephant shot by rifle have been wounded and lost, this argument is just that-it is just a point that will get nowhere except talking around in circles. It is always brought up just to try and justify the chosen weapons inappropriateness, the same argument is used when there is a debate regarding different rifle calibers for different applications.

The point is that a hunter armed with an appropriate caliber rifle has a much better chance of killing an elephant cleanly and in the shortest possible time when compared to a hunter using a bow and arrow.

You seem to be a devoted bow hunter which is great and I respect that, it is your choice to do so. I however am not and have seen too many failures with bow and arrow when used on elephant specifically and for that reason cannot support it.

PH's carry appropriate rifles as back-up on these hunts, wonder why they do that? They should change over to bow's.
 

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IvW, I doubt that any bowhunter would question the superiority of a suitable big bore rifle in the right hands to keep one safe. I certainly wouldn’t. There was only one bowhunter crazy enough to insist on hunting elephants without rifle backup - Bill Negley. I don’t think he did it to prove the bow the equal of the rifle - he knew it wasn’t. I think he did it to prove himself. Or maybe not - it is poor form of me to guess. How many elephants did he kill with his heavy recurve and no backup? I think five? Plus another two with a rifle present (but not needing to fire). Then there was another he didn’t count because it tried to cross a flooding river after the shot, and disappeared under the water, never to be found. Bill also missed one at ten metres.

In my younger years, three times I got too close to buffalo without my rifle - just a longbow. Stupid of me.
 

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PH's carry appropriate rifles as back-up on these hunts, wonder why they do that? They should change over to bow's.

You were proceeding with a constructive, respectable reply until that facetious comment at the end.... But that's okay...We can still be friends...;) That's why I asked at the beginning if you were against hunting elephant with a bow because your opinion of it is that it is dangerous or unethical? I never debated the fact that it was dangerous.... Extremely dangerous... But, dangerous does not make it unethical.

A 85lb. plus bow and a 1250 grain arrow with a 2 blade, single bevel broadhead is the correct "caliber" for bow hunting elephant. Any lesser set-up is unethical and irresponsible just as it would be to hunt an elephant with a plainsgame rifle. This guy had the appropriate archery set-up and put the shot where it needed to be. The arrow disappeared into that elephant's shoulder. If you have seen poor results due to lack of penetration or bad shot location, that is on the hunter, and the PH, not the method... Like I said, some folks have no business dangerous game hunting with a rifle or a bow.


 

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I’ll never hunt ele with a bow - or a rifle, probably - as I can’t afford to and I’m not strong enough anymore. But I definitely support those who can do it responsibly and thoughtfully, with appropriate research and equipment selection - and practice.

I would bet that - like in all other animals - a single arrow to the heart and / or lungs would kill an ele just as quick as a single bullet in the right place.

The only things that can cause a long follow-up are arrow / bullet failure and / or poor placement. Folks talk about how tough buffalo are - and indeed they are - but they go down promptly when shot right. The only buffalo to go for miles and miles and require heaps of follow-up shooting are the ones poorly hit on the first shot - and then adrenaline kicks-in. Are elephant different to this? Perhaps they are, and if so I’d be very interested to get educated about it by those who know.

From reading this-and-that as an interested bowman over the last fifteen years, I know that some proud bowhunters do indeed tell porkies about killing the ele completely unassisted. However, there are many, many bowhunters being quite successful on elephant with their bows only.

One famous bowhunter declared it either impossible or irresponsible - can’t recall which, maybe both - to hunt ele with a bow, following his failed attempt about twenty years ago - maybe more. Since then dozens of people have been successful.
 

IvW

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You were proceeding with a constructive, respectable reply until that facetious comment at the end.... But that's okay...We can still be friends...;) That's why I asked at the beginning if you were against hunting elephant with a bow because your opinion of it is that it is dangerous or unethical? I never debated the fact that it was dangerous.... Extremely dangerous... But, dangerous does not make it unethical.

A 85lb. plus bow and a 1250 grain arrow with a 2 blade, single bevel broadhead is the correct "caliber" for bow hunting elephant. Any lesser set-up is unethical and irresponsible just as it would be to hunt an elephant with a plainsgame rifle. This guy had the appropriate archery set-up and put the shot where it needed to be. The arrow disappeared into that elephant's shoulder. If you have seen poor results due to lack of penetration or bad shot location, that is on the hunter, and the PH, not the method... Like I said, some folks have no business dangerous game hunting with a rifle or a bow.



I had to google the meaning of-"facetious"-treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humour; flippant.

Apologies if that was offensive but that is the way I feel about it.
 

firehuntfish

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Apologies if that was offensive but that is the way I feel about it.

No apology necessary and no offense taken... My skin is a bit thicker than that. We merely have a difference of opinion based on different experiences. It makes for good reading on these forums.
 
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jeff

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Big bore rifle hunters also have rifle backup!
 

mrpoindexter

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Well, it is getting harder to kill elephants with bows these days. They won't allow it in South Africa, Namibia and now Zimbabwe. (I was denied my bow permit last year). I was very frustrated, having purchased a full dozen 1,250 grain arrows from Alaska Bowhunting and working my way up to the maximum weight my Monster Safari bow will handle (90.2lbs based on the scale at my local archery shop). I am still looking to get something booked soon, as I am not sure how much longer my body will support pulling 90lbs and I still have three of the category 4-6 animals to get with my bow (Elephant, rhino, hippo). I have no idea where I will ever be able to hunt a rhino with a bow. I have no desire to hunt one with a bow under a rifle permit with somebody willing to turn a blind eye.

Given all the issues I have been having in Southern African countries getting a permit, I am looking at hunting a little farther north and just going for the forest elephant while I am there. Time will tell if I am successful.

As for the "suffering" comment, I see very little signs of suffering on animals hit with arrows compared to those hit with rifles. Death through blood loss is not necessarily painful. Watch videos of animals dropping from arrows - they don't make any noise. Hell, I didn't even get a death bellow from my Cape buffalo who died in about 30 seconds.
 

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Theres not many things in hunting i disagree with, i really don't like seeing cheetahs being shot though i still suport the right of others to do so.

But a sticking point for me is elephants with a bow. I think a good yard stick to any hunt is that if youre not willing to be backed up by the same weapon as what you're shooting i.e. hunt with a bow and being backed by a bow, you're admitting that what you're hunting with is inappropriate. Take that over to lion, griz or what have you.

Im yet to see a video of an elephant shot with a bow that has convinced me its an appropriate tool.

I will always advocate for hunting done ethically, but ethics dictate respect and a level of responsibility to the animal that it's dispatched quickly and without unnecessary suffering. Bows cannot do that with current technology in my opinion
 

jeff

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Theres not many things in hunting i disagree with, i really don't like seeing cheetahs being shot though i still suport the right of others to do so.

But a sticking point for me is elephants with a bow. I think a good yard stick to any hunt is that if youre not willing to be backed up by the same weapon as what you're shooting i.e. hunt with a bow and being backed by a bow, you're admitting that what you're hunting with is inappropriate. Take that over to lion, griz or what have you.

Im yet to see a video of an elephant shot with a bow that has convinced me its an appropriate tool.

I will always advocate for hunting done ethically, but ethics dictate respect and a level of responsibility to the animal that it's dispatched quickly and without unnecessary suffering. Bows cannot do that with current technology in my opinion
Watch Alaska Bowhunting Supply's video of a complete pass through on elephant using their products, also Neil Summers from Bowhunting Safari Consultants has personally taken elephant cleanly as has numerous clients of his.
 

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That a bow does not have stopping power to end a charge does not make it inappropriate to hunt with. The job of the back up weapon is different than that of the hunting weapon. The job of the backup weapon is to STOP A CHARGE. I am not stopping a charge.

When I am hunting a warthog, I want my PH to have a rifle because in Africa, a leopard is only a bad roll of the dice away from the next tree you are walking under. A bow also is a far lower rate of fire and in the rare but truly frightening prospect of a charge by multiple animals, such as the herd of elephants that charged Mr. Botha just last year, it could have ended even worse for their party had the rate of fire been lower. There is no weapon the guides can carry that can prevent hunting dangerous game from being dangerous, but it would be foolish to expose the your guide to put the entire party at risk by carrying a weapon that cannot stop a charging animal.

You are entitled to your opinion on bows and the ability of an arrow to dispatch large animals, but there are other well informed people who have different opinions. I don't want to get into an argument of ethics and fair chase and which is a more appropriate weapon to hunt with. That said, either a bow or a rifle could be inappropriate if they are not the right power. I would not hunt an elephant with a .300 Win Mag, nor would I hunt one with a 650 grain arrow from a 70lb bow.
 

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