I'd like to know which kind of arrow would slow down or kill a bear, which vital spots should I aim at, which kind of bow should do the job, more specifically, against black and grizzly bears?

  1. "What is the lethal zone of a bear?"

  2. "What is the minimum weight of a bow to bring down a bear."

  3. "Which diameter and broadheads to use for bears?"

Set aside legal issues and concerns for the purposes of the question and assume it's legal where I am.

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    You really need to split this question up. For example: 1. "What is the lethal zone of a bear?" 2. "What is the minimum weight of a bow to bring down a bear." 3. "Which diameter and broad-heads to use for bears?" Also, as already said, you have to specify a bear or at least a group of bears (grizzly etc.).
    – OddDeer
    Mar 8, 2016 at 12:02
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    Please don't get frustrated from the responses. You have valid questions in there but you really need to split them up. :) Check out this question for reference: outdoors.stackexchange.com/questions/9984/…
    – OddDeer
    Mar 8, 2016 at 12:23
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    @Mr.Derpinthoughton: This is just really not gonna happen, unless you are the second coming of Legolas. Attacking bears have been known to keep attacking even when hit with several shots of man-stop ammo. You might get one arrow off, if lucky, and maybe hit the bear, but it will not stop it. If you have time for a nicely aimed shot, then you're in a situation where avoiding conflict is the better option in 100% of the cases.
    – fgysin
    Mar 8, 2016 at 13:18
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    All - As the question has been improved based on comments, I have re-opened the question and cleaned up any comments that no longer apply. Mar 8, 2016 at 13:40
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    @RussellSteen Thank you so much sir, and thanks to the community for helping me to improve my question
    – Kyle
    Mar 8, 2016 at 14:05

1 Answer 1


To answer this I need to split up your question a little bit.

I'd like to know which kind of arrow would slow down or kill a bear

Every arrow with a broad-head (= hunting point) attached. It doesn't matter whether it's made out of wood, aluminium or carbon, if the arrow fits you and your bow.

Which vital spots should I aim at

The lethal zone which is in that case the heart and the lungs.

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As there was the request for a more scientific anatomic picture, I've added one here. However, it's a little bit gross and that's why I put it behind a spoiler "carpet".

This image is a little bit gross Scientific example You hopefully can identify the heart which is the thing to aim for. The lungs are kind of around but more above it. enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

You can see here where the arrows should "sit":

Arrow hit

Which kind of bow should do the job

Just like the arrow section: every bow on earth can do the job if it's strong enough. Nowadays you would choose a compound or recurve bow. If you like to shoot a long-bow it doesn't matter either. The problem is that it has to be incredibly strong. Too strong for most untrained shooters. That leads us to the next point...

What is the minimum weight of a bow to bring down a bear

Okay, let's start off with the kinetic energy you need to "put in the bear" in the worst case (full featured grizzly bear). It's 70 ft. lb. or 95 Joule.

Check out this chart for example from Big Game Logic:


Let's take an arrow which weights 500 grains. It's something one would use to stand against something like a grizzly. To get the energy of 70 ft. lb. it needs to travel with at least 250 fps (feet per second). We need to find a bow which can accelerate a 500 gr arrow to 250 fps.

A Bear Archery Grizzly with 48 pounds manages to accelerate a 503 gr arrow to 140 fps. So approximately you'll need at least 65 pounds. A Bear Archery Grizzly isn't even build with this poundage :) However, back in the days Grizzlies were shot with a 55-60 pound Grizzly-bow (that's why the name).

I'm a well trained archer (about every second day) and would overestimate myself even with a 50 pound bow.

Which diameter and broad-heads to use for bears

A small diameter since you need penetration. Shafts like the Axis should do the job. I would recommend three-bladed broad-heads cause bears have quite thick skin and you want them to bleed, don't you?

P.S.: Just a safety advice: a bear isn't something to f%!§ with even with a gun =) An untrained (in terms of archery) person is never ever able to bring one down even with a perfectly set up compound bow.

  • It would be nice if you could back up your figures a bit, especially the 70tf./lbs or 95J... Mar 8, 2016 at 15:42
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    "a bear isn't something to f*** with even with a gun" - I don't want to f*ck with 'em +1
    – Kyle
    Mar 9, 2016 at 11:16
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    @ErikvanDoren -- "For the target area please consult actual veterinary sources rather than hunting sites" -- It is my experience that reputable hunting sites generally give accurate information for the best place to aim. Vets may know where the vital areas are but when hunting you have to take into account a number of other factors. Hunting resources are the preferred source for information on targeting when hunting. Mar 9, 2016 at 14:38
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    @ErikvanDoren -- Anyone can be wrong. I can go on the internet and find <insert group> being wrong. Yes, vets may know where organs are. That doesn't mean they know jack about hunting. And I have known vets and non-hunters to make completely ridiculous statements about how to bring down an animal in the wild. I don't got to vets to tell me how to hunt any more than I'd go to a doctor to tell me how to be a soldier. Mar 9, 2016 at 15:28
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    @ErikvanDoren - Snark and flippancy do not make your point, nor do they make for a good discussion. This has gone beyond the purpose of comments. If you want to continue, move to chat. Mar 9, 2016 at 17:22

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