Best Arrows for Elk Hunting

Elk are large game animals and it takes a greater amount of penetration for the arrow to sink deep enough into one of these animals that it kills the animal in one shot. A one-shot kill is more humane and what most hunters are after.

The size and weight of the arrow that you are using are going to play a large part in determining the amount of kinetic energy the arrow has when it is shot by your bow. Another determining factor will be the amount of speed per second the bow is capable of sending the arrow out at.

We asked expert marksmen and bow hunters to tell us in their opinion what the best arrows for elk hunting were. They gave us a nice list and then told us how to determine if an arrow is a good candidate for hunting these larger game animals.

Best Arrows for Elk Hunting

1. Gold Tip Hunter XT Arrows


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These arrows are factory fletched and have a straightness tolerance of plus or minus .003” and a weight tolerance of plus or minus 2 grain. They are super tough and durable. They can easily shoot through a mattress and leave the fletching unharmed.

At fifty yards the majority of shooters find these arrows to be accurate and lethal. They are hard to break, and will even tolerate misfires that land them in tree trunks or logs. They are 400 grain and come with vanes that are installed straight. They fly really fast and their trajectory stays on course. You will get a lot of repeated use out of these arrows.

2. Easton Full Metal Jacket


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These arrows have carbon shafts that make them very strong and durable. The insert and knock are included with the arrow package except the insert and knock are loose in the package and not on the arrow. You get a glue tool with the purchase to set the depth of the insert and an abrasive tool to adjust the insert end. The arrows are 31” in length.

They are an excellent hunting weight and can easily bring down a large game animal like an elk, moose, or bear. You do need to add your own fletchings because the arrows do not come with fletchings. There are a dozen arrows in the package so you will have plenty of ammunition on your next hunt.

3. Carbon Express Maxima


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These arrows have dynamic spine control and they come with easy to see red shafts so you will not have a hard time finding your arrows. They are made of carbon materials which makes them stronger than many other arrows and allows them to also be lighter while retaining the same penetration depth and strength.

These arrows have a tendency to be extremely accurate and fast flying. They give excellent penetration and they are very strong. You will use them over and over again without noticing any difference in accuracy or penetration abilities.

The arrows can easily be shot from a bow with a sixty to seventy-pound draw weight and make a kill on a large game animal in one clean shot.

4. Pointdo 30” Carbon Arrow


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These arrows have a shaft length of 30” and they are perfectly capable of being shot from a recurve or compound bow with a 25 to 60-pound draw weight. They fly true and they fly fast with little drop.

The nocks of the arrows are not glued in place so you can customize and make adjustments according to your personal preferences. An o-ring is included so that after you make your adjustments you can lock the screw tip in place. They are a brilliant green fluorescent color so you will have no troubles locating them after they have been shot.

The fletchings are made of a rubber-like material that is bonded onto the arrow tightly so they do not easily get damaged or removed.

5. Musen 30” Carbon Arrows


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This is one dozen arrows that are fletched with black and white vanes. They are best suited for shooting from bows that have a draw weight between 30 and 55-pounds. They are excellent when used with recurve or compound bows.

These arrows are perfectly straight and they are feather light. They have perfect balance and accuracy, and will allow you to improve in your skill and make the best possible shot time and time again.

These are durable arrows that are hard to damage and easy to become attached to. They are anti-corrosive and offer immense target penetration that increases your chances of bringing home the trophy.

What Makes an Arrow Great for Elk Hunting?

The main thing you have to remember when hunting for large game like elk is that your bow is only as powerful as the arrow you load it with. The bow or the arrow alone cannot guarantee you a kill shot. These two pieces of the weapon work together to bring down the animal.

You need the straightest arrow that you can find. The straighter arrows are usually more expensive.

You need an arrow that is kind of heavy if you want to penetrate large game. 400 to 500 grain arrows are normally acceptable, especially if you pair them with a bow capable of 70 pounds of draw weight.

Your arrow should not have light colored fletchings. Light colored fletchings reflect the sun and can alert the elk that the arrow is on its way.

Make sure the arrow has a greater amount of wind resistance on the back end than it does on the front end.

Can Any Arrow Be Used for Elk Hunting?

You cannot simply use any arrow to bring down large game like elk. The arrow that is not as heavy will likely not go deep enough into the animal to create a kill. An arrow that is less than straight will likely not travel quickly and precisely to provide you with a one-shot kill, or with a direct hit. An arrow that is shiny and reflects the light well will also alert the animal and cause you to lose the chance at a shot.

Buying Guide of Best Arrows for Elk Hunting

If you are serious about hunting elk then you have to get serious about using the right equipment during the hunt. You need a bow that is capable of producing a minimum of 60 foot-pounds of energy. You also need arrows that are built for the job.


The weight of the arrow makes a big difference in the strength of the arrow and the amount of kinetic energy the arrow will have. You need to make sure that an arrow you choose to take on a big game hunt is not less than 400 grains and 500 grains is probably the optimum weight.

If your bow shoots an arrow at greater than 300 feet per second you can possibly use a 300-grain arrow with good results. A good determination in arrow weight is the foot per second the bow shoots at. If the fps is less than 280 then you need a higher arrow grain and if the bow shoots at greater than 280 fps you can use lighter arrows with possibly the same results.

You should always remember that when you are in doubt choose the heavier arrow. A heavier arrow is always going to have deeper penetration and strength than a lighter arrow.


The FOC, front of center, plays a big role in the trajectory and penetration of the arrow after it is shot. You want a front of center that is equal to about 13%. You can go as low as 12% FOC but I would not go any lower than that.

Nock Strength

You need the nock strength of the arrow to be able to withstand the force that is created by a bow that delivers the arrow at a high draw weight. The nock has to fit your bow string properly, and the throat has to be deep enough to allow the arrow to stay in position on the string when you let the string down.

You can use a nock that is not quite as deep by using a D-loop.


The accuracy of an arrow is determined by the straightness of the arrow shaft, the uniformity of the arrow spine, the consistency of the fletching, and the consistency of the weight of the arrow. You need to be certain exactly how much your arrow weighs and you need to know that one grain of difference in the weight of the arrows you are shooting can impact the accuracy of the arrow by as much as 5/8”.

You need your quiver loaded with arrows that have been tested for accuracy, tested for weight fluctuations, and are each exactly the same.

Arrow Speed

Many archers want the fastest speed they can possibly get from their arrows. This need for speed usually begins to change as the archer matures and develops a strategy of action that works better than speed.

Fast arrows travel farther in shorter amounts of time. Slower arrows have a greater amount of accuracy. At one time each archer is convinced that faster is better because a faster arrow is going to hit harder and penetrate deeper.

When you begin to know the exact draw weight you need a bow to have to make your arrow powerful enough to make the kill, then you can worry less about speed and start to focus on consistency.

The slower arrow is quieter as it is released and travels through the air. The slower arrow is more effective for older shooters because the mature shooter has learned that the distance that the arrow needs to travel matters a great deal. If the archer uses a range finder and knows the exact traveling distance then they can send a slower arrow and be sure that the arrow will penetrate deep enough, and be effective enough to make the kill.


We all know that specific lengths of arrows are needed for specific bows. By size I am referring to the diameter of the arrow itself. The diameter of the arrow may very well alter the amount of penetration the arrow has. The arrow that has a smaller diameter has less resistance when it comes into contact and it can slide inside the animal faster and with greater force.

A smaller diameter arrow maintains its speed better for longer distances. They lose much less speed that the larger diameter pieces because they create less resistance and friction as they fly through the air.

Calculating FOC Before Buying Arrow

Calculating FOC Before Buying Arrow

The FOC is the front of center on an arrow. The FOC for elk hunting is recommended to be at 12 to 13%. The following method of calculating front of center will allow you to choose the right arrow time and again.

To obtain a front of center that is zero percent the arrow would need half of the shaft to be in front of the balance point and half of the arrow to be behind the balance point. Front and center is the point that the arrow is truly balanced and not the exact center of the arrow.

If you have an arrow with a balance point located three inches in front of the center portion of the arrow you are looking at about a 10% FOC.

You get a higher front of center when the point weight of the arrow is increased. So anytime you are adding weight to your arrow make sure to add the additional weight to the front of the arrow and not to the rear.

You can also increase the front of center by decreasing the weight of the fletchings. Lighter fletchings let you have a higher front of center.

Frequently Asked Question

Where Can I Shoot an Elk with an Arrow?

Broadside is by far the most agreed on placement for a shot that will bring the animal down quickly and humanely. Half of the distance up on the body of the animal where their shoulder forms a crease. Frontal shots can do massive damage to the animal but they also are more difficult to get the right penetration for.

How Much Draw Weight is Needed to Kill an Elk?

Older weapons did not have the power and force that the newer compound bows deliver. With an older weapon if you had 70-pounds of draw weight you probably could not bring down an elk or bear because you would only have produced about 40 pounds of kinetic energy. The newer weapons of today can bring down a bear, a moose, or elk with as little as 50 pounds of draw weight.

How Many Grain Arrow for Elk?

This is a much=debated questions. Some people say that you need 400 grains while others recommend 500 grains or more. I say that about 420 grains are plenty to bring down an animal of this size and stature.

Is 400 Grains Enough Arrow Weight for Elk Hunting?

Yes, the 400-grain arrow can bring down an elk if the arrow is shot by a powerful bow that has a draw weight that is greater than 50 pounds. The draw weight of your bow will produce higher feet per second flight for the arrow and this can make the lighter arrow more effective and deadly.

How Many Arrows in Your Quiver for Elk Hunting?

For the most part you want to have at least five arrows in your quiver. Of course, the optimum hunt will bring the elk down with the shot of just one arrow but you always want five so you could bring in one buck and three does and leave one arrow for mistakes.

How Much Kinetic Energy Does It Take to Kill an Elk?

Thirty pounds of kinetic energy can kill an elk, but if you have 40 or more pounds you are almost certain to get the kill. Figure the kinetic energy by taking the feet per second that the bow will shoot and multiplying it by itself then multiply that number by the grain weight of the arrow. Now divide the answer by 450,240 and that is how many foot pounds the arrow is creating.

Final Word

Every archer wants the fastest bow, and the most powerful bow so they can bring down larger game animals with just one arrow. Often, we forget that the arrow we choose can change the dynamics of the shot and can either increase our power or decrease our power accordingly.

Shop carefully for your arrows and accessories so you always have the best equipment for the task at hand.

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