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bitmasher's picture
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bullets vs arrows

I recently read that a government elk research lab in Oregon (starkey lab) found that 29% of animals shot at by archers were wounded but not taken while 7% of firearms hunters wounded but did not take the animal.

The study was done on hunters that were harvesting the game under normal conditions except the facility is fenced in, making it possible to figure out fairly accurately what percentage of elk are wounded during the hunting season but not taken.

Taken at face value, these numbers mean that bows are less efficient (muffed shots) at killing elk than firearms. I.E. more get away from archers with wounds.

I'm surprised by this and not sure that this can be right. Although I have never hunted by bow, I just assumed that archers had fewer animals get away after a shot gone bad than rifle hunters. My reasoning is simply that archers need to get very close and make a near perfect shot, so they practice a lot more and don't "reach" as much to "pull out" a bad shot. I assumed that rifle hunters, having a lot longer range would take more poor shots and then would miss the animals (or wound but not fataly more). More this doesn't seem to hold up with the research numbers...

What do you all think? Does this research make sense? From personal experience have you had more get away with a bow than a rifle?

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bullets vs arrows

Hello Bitmasher,

I suspect that maybe the lower harvest on wounded animals for archers may have something to do with "getting a second shot".

Usually bow hunters only get one shot, while a rifle hunter will probably be able to reload quickly and get a second shot at a visibly wounded animal.

My 2 cents...

[ This Message was edited by: moderator on 2002-07-15 11:20 ]

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bullets vs arrows

This is like trying to compare apples and oranges.
An arrow is traveling at lets say 200-250+ ft per second vs a bullet at what, 2000+ ft per second. An arrow is impacting the game at 50-60 lbs kenetic energy, while a bullet is 1000+ lbs (lot of variables). There is no "knock down" type impact with an arrow, it works by simply cutting like a knife.
Because we all are human, not all archery shots are perfect even at those close distances. You think your heart beats a little faster looking through a scope? Try being 20 yards away with a bow and keeping your cool. Nothing like it in my opinion. Just like with a rifle, practicing in the back yard or at the range is nothing like the real thing.
I don't have any statistics to back this up, but I've read many times that an animal is far more likely to recover from a badly placed arrow, than from a bullet wound with the damage it causes.
I am somewhat surprized by the statistics you mention however. I wonder if they match the numbers of the various Game and Fish Departments? Anyway, maybe some of the things I've mentioned have something to do with it.

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bullets vs arrows

The numbers quoted appear in the back (page 138) of the July-August 2002 issue of Bugle (rocky mountain elk foundation publication).

The particular paragraph I hit on is as follows:

"Over the past dozen years of tightly monitored public hunting on Oregon's Starkey Experimental Forest and Range, rifle hunters wounded and lost 7 percent of the elk they shot. Wounding loss for bowhunters ran 29 percent."

The article goes on to say:

"Back in 1987, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks surveyed bowhunters about their wounding rates. By their own admission, they shot 1,735 elk and recovered 850." That is a wounded loss rate of 51% (1735 - 850)/1735 * 100.

I'm not saying that bowhunting is not more challenging than rifle hunting. I do believe you would have to be any ijit to carry that point.

However the numbers mentioned above seem to suggest that bowhunting is so much more challenging (as you hint at Unit5a) that it leads to a higher wounded loss rate. I'm not trying to start a flame war and suggest that bowhunters are sloppier or something like that...

It would be interesting to see, as Moderator suggests, if "second shots" have anything to do with lowering the wounded loss rate.

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bullets vs arrows

I didn't mean to sound offended or anything. I think I was tending to agree/support that the loss rate would be higher for archery somewhat, but not that much. Partly because an arrowed animal may travel further on average than a bullet shot one and get lost in the tracking game.
I've seen a lot of hunters over the years that have shot at game at longer distances than I believe they would be consistantly accurate at. Is it possible that the hunters polled believed that they had missed, thus not reporting it lost? I know that several times after a shot I have been asked "did I hit 'em?". I've even wondered that myself a couple times, and when I couldn't find any blood assumed I must have.
One thing is for sure when archery hunting, you KNOW if you hit it or not.
Man, that just seems too much of a difference?
Maybe bowhunters are just more honest? Kidding.:smile:

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bullets vs arrows

Quote:


On 2002-07-17 22:48, Unit5A wrote:
I didn't mean to sound offended or anything. I think I was tending to agree/support that the loss rate would be higher for archery somewhat, but not that much. Partly because an arrowed animal may travel further on average than a bullet shot one and get lost in the tracking game.

That is a good point. I imagine that a wounded animal from an arrow will on average go farther (be harder to find) than a wounded animal from an arrow.

Quote:


I've seen a lot of hunters over the years that have shot at game at longer distances than I believe they would be consistantly accurate at.

I have seen it too many times.

Quote:


Maybe bowhunters are just more honest? Kidding.:smile:

:smile:

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bullets vs arrows

Unit5a,

Yes that is a good point that perhaps bowhunters may not have known that they hit the animal.

From experience, it seems that if you place a good shot on a deer/elk in the chest area with a bullet, it will immediate "hunch up" from the impact and immediate bleeding.

The "cutting action" of the arrow doesn't always cause this hunching and it is harder to determine immediately if you have hit it.

Joined: 12/30/2002
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bullets vs arrows

I agree with moderator, in the cents that rifle men can pull 2 or maybe even 3 shots off before the target is to far to hit or out of site.Also a gun has a lot more "knock down power" which could stun the animal just enough to get a good clean shot through. An arrow however you get only 1 chance and after that to bad...So I agree with the test results.

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bullets vs arrows

People need to practice in realistic hunting conditions versus at the range. In addition, especially with archery, people need to be proficient in judging distance and patient in accepting "no shot" situations. It's frustrating as hell to have a deer especially a nice buck hang up just out of range, with a rifle, in the midwest, if you can see it you can shoot it. Obviously with a 20-30 yard max range, archery presents new challenges. I agree with the results, unfortunate as it is, as a whole, the sport of bowhunting is less proficient than rifle. I practice with a 3D target at various ranges and angles and hang all my stands within 20 yards of the game trail I'm covering. I also mentally prepare myself to accept "no shot" situations. It usually makes for good camp conversation anyway.

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bullets vs arrows

Greetings:

I did a graduate study on the basic ballistics comparison of archery to firearms and the results were quite surprising. I determined that the hunnrs I polled in the lower Midwest lost more deer to bullets than arrows. The glaring reason was simple shot placement. Remember that an archer is close and is focusing on a boiler room shot to assure a kill. Often times a rifle hunter will shoot with the confidence of knowing that he or she has follow-up rounds and with this in mind the concentration factor of the average person is different with a gun in hand. I have never lost an arrowed deer but I have had good hits with a rifle that it took a while locate the animal. The study I did was an independent research for a university prof. here in the lower Midwest and although I hunt with both bow and gun I am sure that on the average archers seem to be more conscience of great shot placement and therefore I am somewhat skeptical of that study. Just my opinion and it don't mean much. Thanks all.

Schoolmaster

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bullets vs arrows

While the numbers in the article seem a bit high for lost game hit with an arrow, I do believe that your average archer loses far more game than a rifle hunter. Having hunted with both traditional archery equipment and rifles, I have personally seen both sides of this issue. I think a big problem with todays archers is that they think that their new compbound bows are another form of a rifle. They think that just because they can hit a target on the range at 60+ yards, they can do the same in the field. There are too many factors that impact the flight of an arrow (slight breeze, a small unseen twig, a less-than perfect release or anchor point, etc.). Also, when you squeeze the trigger on a rifle, the results are instantaneous. You've never heard of a deer or elk "jumping the trigger". Archers, however, have to realize that the animal can hear the arrow or string before the projectile reaches them. I have had deer drop to their stomachs between the time I released the string and the arrow reached them at 25 yards. The also jump and dodge. Shooting an animal with reflexes that quick is bound to create bad hits even though the shot its was perfect. BTW archery hunters are always more honest:)

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