Hunt Talk Radio - Look for it on your favorite Podcast platform

The frontal shot


New member
Dec 23, 2000
On a deer or elk ?
Most people say it's a bad shot, don't take it.
On another board, theres a long thred going, with a few people saying it's a great shot, if an animal is slightly turned. Aim the shot for the broadhead to enter the front of near side lung and angle into the back of the far side lung.
What do you think ?
I think theres a big difference between elk and deer with an arrow and the type of shots that will kill either.

I've shot a couple deer with frontal shots and went through some bone without TOO much trouble...still kind of iffy and I dont think I'd do it today.

On elk, I think anything but a good broadside or slightly quartering shot is a receipe for disaster, sometimes even those are a disaster. A frontal shot is great if you can slap a broadhead into the baseball sized target at the base of their neck and on into the lungs, if you dont hit it, you're in trouble. My experience with elk and arrows has been either really good or really bad, not much in between. I think the more things you can do to increase your chance of killing an animal quickly and cleanly the better, getting closer, taking high percentage kill shots, passing on iffy or difficult shots, etc.

I think its just like most other controversial topics, all what you're comfortable with.

I also know I had to learn the hard way, I suppose most others will too.
Well...the only animal I've ever lost bow hunting was with a frontal shot so it's something I just have to pass on. Was hunting near Stevensville, MT and had extra anterless tags. Doe popped through the brush and stood facing me in my shooting lane- slam dunk (I think) from 22yds...felt the shot was good, 75 yards later blood gives out, looked till past 0-dark-30, then it began to rain....blah....blah...blah....

...conclusion is Marv don't take that shot NO MO!

and I'd have to agree with Buzz on elk size game, you'd be setting yourself up for failure IMHO!
Fuzzy logic says the same size vitals area is available as a broadside shot. HOWEVER, add in extreme angle needed for pass through, additional heavy bone coverage, and deflection I'll grab the camera and hold off. Who know, if the deer hears the clicking, spots the nimrod up a tree with a camera stuck in his face he might mistake me for Walt Dizzy doing field research and step up for a profile!! :D

I've taken 4 head on shots that come to mind.

#1 cow elk @ 18 yards. Hit at base of neck. Complete lengthwise penetration. Recovery was about 80 yards with good blood.

#2 cow elk @ 12 yards. Hit below the chin (thats all I could see). Recovery 4 yards. Bled like a high pressure water hose.

#3 raghorn bull @ 25 yards. jumped string and completely swapped ends by the time the arrow got there. The broad head clipped his ear.

#4 california boar about a 125 pounder. Jumped string, pig caught it in the nose. Decent blood for 600 yards, then nothing.......that pig died a miserable death.

If given a shot at a calm animal at 20ish yards i'd take it. If animal is alert, I'll pass.
Thanks for the opinions. Common sense tells me to pass on that shot, unless it's point blank & perfect.
Acon, I dont know if you have seen the frontal shot debate on the bowsite, if not, check it out.

I'll take it if its real close range. Havn't had the opportunity yet though. I think a guy needs to shoot a heavy bow and a heavy arrow to really take that shot. With a good head too.
i shot a 10 pt. @ 17 yds. head-on..........long blood trail, but found him!!! :)

not the most ethical shot though........
The best chance I had on a bull this year was head on at about 20-25 yards. I passed, I never even thought of drawing on him, its just not worth the risk. If the animal was already wounded then I'd fire away, but at a healthy animal its not a shot for me.
How well this shot kills depends alot on arrow weight and the bow's draw weight.
With a heavy aluminum arrow and 70+ pounds of pull, combined with a good cut on impact broadhead and precise shot placement. You'll get your animal with a frontal shot and he won't go far.
I have never taken an elk with a bow(or anything else for that matter) so I don't know how it would be on that animal. As for whitetails; I have taken three does with the frontal shot and none of them went over forty yds. All three does were taken from the groud also. I am not sure I would be as quick to take the shot if it were from a tree stand, due to the shot angle and the compression of the vital area.
Just my thoughts on it.
If I've done this right, the attached photo is of a Whitetail I stuck December 13th. He was quartering hard to me at 30 yards, had not seen me, but had stopped abruptly as I believe he picked up my crappy human odor. I am shooting a pretty fast 410 grain arrow tipped with Muzzy broadhead (315 fps.). I aimed at the back portion of the front leg on my side. The arrow took a silver dollar size chunck out of a tree behind the buck. NO PROBLEM.

That being said, I have passed on this type of shot, as well as frontals, on many elk. I don't think I will ever take the frontal shot on an elk. I would not have taken this shot if it had been an elk. I just knew that even if I tatered this bucks leg, I felt 100% sure I was going to kill him pretty quick. There are some that indicate they have had great success with short tracking jobs by taking the frontal shot. I cannot argue with their success. Just don't feel comfortable with that shot on elk.

Thanks Bullhound;
First let me say thats a really nice whitetail and second, 315 out of a 410 gr arrow, wow, what kinda weight you pulling ?
A good friend of mine has taken about 15 bulls with the shot and has seen around a hundred taken that way and they have NEVER lost one with it and HAVE lost elk with the "perfect" broadside shot.

Knowing this guy personally and seeing pics and hearing stories for several years now, I believe him and the set up I shoot is similar to his. Heavy draw weight (80-90 depending on the year) heavy arrow (550-650) and cut on contact razor sharp head (snuffer/razorcap, Steelforce....) Like I said, I will take the shot if I think the elk is right for it. Close enough and not "on edge".

Many people will say this is the WORST shot in bowhunting, but I dont think so, not after hearing Bill talk about his experience with it.

75# Bowtech Patriot Dually. That bow throws arrows way way quicker than any Mathews, PSE, Hoyt, Alpine, name it. I've owned alot and shot more.
I say no, dont do it. On small game maybe if the animal is very close.
I saw a guy take this shot this year on a bull elk and it sounded like it hit a tree. The bull ran off with the arrow, found brite blood for about 75 yards till it started up hill. Then lost the trail and never recovered it. He was shooting a 70# bow with Muzzies. It's not a good percentage shot. Don't know about deer but I would not do it on an Elk.

Caribou Gear

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Latest member