What Draw Weight

I''m living in the UK where bow hunting is illegal. The majority of the shooting I do is on a target range or field (targets) I enjoy bow hunting and am planning a few trips in the US. I may want to hunt Elk or Bear in the future. My question is I am now looking at the new Hoyt Alpha Max 35 and I am not sure what pound draw/weight I should get.

I was considering 50/60Lbs or 60/70lbs?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Great question, and one we get a lot.  What draw weight bow should I get?

A lot of bow hunters buy bows at the very max of what they can draw.  That is a mistake!  What you should consider is too factors.  First what draw weight can I comfortably draw and hold.  Now, I think by working out you can increase the weight you can easily handle, but not many of us have the discipline to do that.  If you take the time to shoot your bow accurately, the draw weight is not nearly as important. 

The advantage to a heavier draw weight is that the arrow will shoot a little flatter and where distances are not known, will provide a little better margin of error.  The other advantage with more weight is kinetic energy.  The faster the arrow, the more kinetic energy, given the same weight.

Let's chat about hunting bear.  If you hunt bear, you will be hunting from a tree stand or over dogs and at very short distances - likely less than 30 yards.  Although bears sound big and tough, they really aren't.  The bear's I have killed all died closer to where I shot them than most deer I have shot.  A bow with a draw weight of 55 - 60 pounds would be plenty of bow for any black bear.

Elk is a different matter.  With elk you will probably be facing shots out to 50 yards or even 60.  A flatter trajectory will help with elk.  Likewise elk are 700 lbs or more and take a lot more kinetic energy to get a good double lung shot.  I wouldn't hunt elk with less than 60 lbs, and would prefer 65 lbs.

So it boils down to two things.  What can you handle comfortably, weight wise, and what are you going to hunt?  If you can easily handle 65 or 70 pounds then go for it.  But I see a lot of guys who have 70 pound bows and have to go through real gyrations to get their bow back.  I guarantee their accuracy suffers - and accuracy is the most important consideration.

This is a great question.  Post it in our forums section too, and see what kind of response you get.

Happy hunting.