For those who have bow hunted brown bear ….

WTNUT

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For those of you who have shot a brown bear with a bow or guided someone who has harvested one, what are you thoughts on broadheads? I am a fixed blade guy for big game, always have been and will never change. For whitetails, I will shoot a expandable my favorite being the slick trick hybrid. Now back to brown bears ….. my big game approach is to always focus on accuracy and penetration from a reputable head. I have taken a ton of big game animals with quite a few different heads. For quite some time (many years) my go to is the slick trick 100 called the Standard. The cutting diameter is only 1 1/8”, but it is deadly accurate and has never done anything buy kill like an assassin.

Candidly, I don’t even know anyone who has shot a brown with a bow. But, being an internet star ha ha it seems like they go down fairly quickly with a good shot.

I looked on hear and several posts noted that penetration is easier than you might expect.

I will not be shooting the distance I shoot elk, and was considering the Slick Trick Magnum for just a little greater cutting diameter.

All information appreciated in advance.


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Arrowed a brown with a Rocky Mt Titanium 3-blade replaceable blade head. 1-1/8” cutting dia on an arrow weighing 475 gr shot from a 62# bow. 25 yd shot low in the heart. Bear made it about 225 yds. Penetration was to the far side of the rib cage. Hairy tracking in the thick willows.

Also arrowed a large polar at 30 yds with a 3-blade 1.5” expandable NAP original Spitfire. Bear was dead in 8 seconds and moved ahead one step. Top of heart arteries and lungs hit. Had 29” penetration to far side of chest cavity where it hit off-side shoulder. 65# bow and 475 gr arrow.

Grizzly was a 13 yd shot with a 65# bow. Broadhead was a 2-blade 1.5” expandable Ulmer Edge. Arrow hung by fletch out far side of chest cavity. Bear went 150 yds but left little blood. Not a fan of 2-blade heads.
 
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A big brown bear is thick. I used an Iron Will with bleeders. The arrow buried to the vanes, I liked fixed if it stays in, a lot of bleeding. This one worked it’s way through the bear to come out the opposite ham

CA172840-5A3D-459F-B0E7-D07BF82A0408.jpeg

Went 40yds, not much blood though.

I shot a polar bear as well, took a few shots but blood is a lot easier to see on snow!

D8437925-63A5-4777-843A-14ECDE4C9151.jpeg

Fastest kills and most blood has been on black bears with mechanicals though. Definitely want to stay off the shoulder on a really big bear. That said I hit this one close to the shoulder with a mech, only got half the shaft penetration but watched the bear die in 10yds!

C7DA98A3-C5FD-4903-9B65-F13E0CD558F5.jpeg

I still need a Grizzly, maybe this year.

Do you have a brown bear hunt planned?
 
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WTNUT

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Arrowed a brown with a Rocky Mt Titanium 3-blade replaceable blade head. 1-1/8” cutting dia on an arrow weighing 475 gr shot from a 62# bow. 25 yd shot low in the heart. Bear made it about 225 yds. Penetration was to the far side of the rib cage. Hairy tracking in the thick willows.

Also arrowed a large polar at 30 yds with a 3-blade 1.5” expandable NAP original Spitfire. Bear was dead in 8 seconds and moved ahead one step. Top of heart arteries and lungs hit. Had 29” penetration to far side of chest cavity. 65# bow and 475 gr arrow.

Grizzly was a 13 yd shot with a 65# bow. Broadhead was a 2-blade 1.5” expandable Ulmer Edge. Arrow hung by fletch out far side of chest cavity. Bear went 150 yds but left little blood. Not a fan of 2-blade heads.

Well that is experience. And, you got nerve - polar bear and expandable!


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WTNUT

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A big brown bear is thick. I used an Iron Will with bleeders. The arrow buried to the vanes, I liked fixed if it stays in, a lot of bleeding. This one worked it’s way through the bear to come out the opposite ham

View attachment 562628

Went 40yds, not much blood though.

I shot a polar bear as well, took a few shots but blood is a lot easier to see on snow!

View attachment 562629

Fastest kills and most blood has been on black bears with mechanicals though. Definitely want to stay off the shoulder on a really big bear. That said I hit this one close to the shoulder with a mech, only got half the shaft penetration but watched the bear die in 10yds!

View attachment 562630

I still need a Grizzly, maybe this year.

Do you have a brown bear hunt planned?

Yes, my hunt is booked and will be next May around Cold Bay.


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Well that is experience. And, you got nerve - polar bear and expandable!


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Inuit guide said my bear was the fastest kill he’d ever witnessed in 20 years of guiding polar bear hunters.
 
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WTNUT

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Arrowed a brown with a Rocky Mt Titanium 3-blade replaceable blade head. 1-1/8” cutting dia on an arrow weighing 475 gr shot from a 62# bow. 25 yd shot low in the heart. Bear made it about 225 yds. Penetration was to the far side of the rib cage. Hairy tracking in the thick willows.

Also arrowed a large polar at 30 yds with a 3-blade 1.5” expandable NAP original Spitfire. Bear was dead in 8 seconds and moved ahead one step. Top of heart arteries and lungs hit. Had 29” penetration to far side of chest cavity where it hit off-side shoulder. 65# bow and 475 gr arrow.

Grizzly was a 13 yd shot with a 65# bow. Broadhead was a 2-blade 1.5” expandable Ulmer Edge. Arrow hung by fletch out far side of chest cavity. Bear went 150 yds but left little blood. Not a fan of 2-blade heads.

Having that experience what would you go with today? That hair is like a sponge sucking up your blood trail for sure.


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WTNUT

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A big brown bear is thick. I used an Iron Will with bleeders. The arrow buried to the vanes, I liked fixed if it stays in, a lot of bleeding. This one worked it’s way through the bear to come out the opposite ham

View attachment 562628

Went 40yds, not much blood though.

I shot a polar bear as well, took a few shots but blood is a lot easier to see on snow!

View attachment 562629

Fastest kills and most blood has been on black bears with mechanicals though. Definitely want to stay off the shoulder on a really big bear. That said I hit this one close to the shoulder with a mech, only got half the shaft penetration but watched the bear die in 10yds!

View attachment 562630

I still need a Grizzly, maybe this year.

Do you have a brown bear hunt planned?

Same question what would you use on a brown today? Another IW?


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Same question what would you use on a brown today? Another IW?


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I really like the Iron Will. So sharp and I know I will get the penetration. If you can get the Iron will wide to fly well that may be the option.

I don't mind mechanicals, but the penetration may be an issue.... not so much on black bears or smaller grizzly, but a legit brown bear is a big beast... As mentioned stay away from the shoulder!

On my first bear hunt I lost a Booner 7' black bear on POW with a fixed head- wac'em that hit tight to the shoulder on a quarter away shot. I got about 15" of penetration but never found the bear. Since then I have opted for the "Middle of the Middle" shot and have had good luck
 
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I’ve been hunting “everything” with NAP 1.5” original 3 blade mechanicals (made in USA version) for past 8 seasons. Sharp as heck, fly great, good blood trails. Centered a rib an a moose last fall. Big loud smack as it cut the rib off and penetration to the far side of the chest cavity. Moose dead in 35 yds…maybe 8 or 10 seconds. 65# bow, 475 gr arrow. Excellent results so I keep using them. Moose, elk, polar plus lots of black bears, deer, caribou etc.

That said I’m going to Australia in a week hunting a water Buffalo that can weigh up to 2500 pounds. Built some 610 to 660 gr arrows….depending on the head I use. Same 65# bow. Will use a fixed 2-blade VAP and / or Zwickey 4- blade head. Shot my biggest black bear a month ago with the Zwickey 4-blade Eskimo at 45 yds. Perfect results but I already had lots of good results with them 15 thru 40 years ago. Proven entity. The small but tough 2-blade VAP flies great but no personal hunting data with it.

Shot placement is more important than the head on bears. WildWilderness is giving you good advice.
 
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WTNUT

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I really like the Iron Will. So sharp and I know I will get the penetration. If you can get the Iron will wide to fly well that may be the option.

I don't mind mechanicals, but the penetration may be an issue.... not so much on black bears or smaller grizzly, but a legit brown bear is a big beast... As mentioned stay away from the shoulder!

On my first bear hunt I lost a Booner 7' black bear on POW with a fixed head- wac'em that hit tight to the shoulder on a quarter away shot. I got about 15" of penetration but never found the bear. Since then I have opted for the "Middle of the Middle" shot and have had good luck

Wildwilderness:

All great advise and reminders. I will all joking aside from another post, I will see what flight I can get out of the Iron Wills. I was an olympic cal archer what seems like a lifetime ago now so I can generally tune a straight head. My biggest reluctance is with replaceable blade heads, I shoot every arrow/head combo that is going on the trip many times. Then, before I leave I put new blades in them. As most know, each arrow/head combo even with the same arrow and same head can shoot differently or at times not at all. With the Iron Wills you would have to sharpen that head before going. I just don’t have any experience sharpening that type of head, and not real sure I am super confident in getting it “factory sharp”.

THANK YOU for the middle of the middle reminder. That can be a tough one for those of us use to hunting a lot of other game. In the 90s I did a lot of bear hunting and was told shoot at the middle (top to bottom) of the middle (front to back). I assume that is what you are talking about. I will do more research before the trip - promise.


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WTNUT

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To add to what WW said, and for those who may be lurking and have not hunted brown bear, he is right a true coastal brown bear is a beast. I have only been once previously and it was a rifle hunt. That was 29 years ago and I still remember vividly some of the beast I saw. Wow.


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WTNUT

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WW has me looking. Based on what may be very inaccurate anatomy drawings on the web, looks like middle of the middle is from neck to rear and from back to sternum.


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A bear’s chest cavity really wedges down in the front. The spine drops low there too. Not a great place hit a bear. Bow (or even rifle) you are way better off with a lung hit than hitting just meat and bone too far forward. The bionic big bears I hear about were typically hit too far forward with a big rifle (.338 Winchester Mag) and hard bullets (copper). With the bow the claim and blame is lack of penetration. In both cases the issue is shot placement.

Lots of discussions, photos x-sections available with an internet search. Aim several inches behind the shoulder/leg half way up and bears penetrate quite easily and die fast. Hence I stand by my use of small 3-blade expandables…razor sharp of course….flying straight….with no detectable broadhead run-out (misalignment) on a properly spined shaft.
 
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Then, before I leave I put new blades in them. As most know, each arrow/head combo even with the same arrow and same head can shoot differently or at times not at all. With the Iron Wills you would have to sharpen that head before going. I just don’t have any experience sharpening that type of head, and not real sure I am super confident in getting it “factory sharp”.
Technically the Iron will is a "replaceable blade" there is a T6 screw that holds the blade to the ferrule. You can put a new factory blade in without moving the ferrule off your arrow.

As to sharp and damage look at that thread where the guy cut is leg with the Iron Will! not only scary sharp, it STAYS sharp!
 

SDHNTR

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Blade angle matters when you want penetration. Btw, the standard ST is 1” and the magnum is 1 1/8”. Personally, I wouldn’t hesitate to use either one. Great broadheads.
 
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WTNUT

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Technically the Iron will is a "replaceable blade" there is a T6 screw that holds the blade to the ferrule. You can put a new factory blade in without moving the ferrule off your arrow.

As to sharp and damage look at that thread where the guy cut is leg with the Iron Will! not only scary sharp, it STAYS sharp!

Thanks for the info on Iron Will never looked that closely - but should have.


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