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Thread: Shots In Windy Conditions

  1. #1

    Default Shots In Windy Conditions

    I drew a Unimak Island bear tag and would like to take my bow, but I am concerned about the very windy conditions that we are likely to encounter. I have shot my fair share of animals with the bow, but looking back, never any in 30+ mph winds with much higher gusts. And in all my practice, I can't remember ever practicing in those conditions.
    So my question is how much effect does a head or crosswind have (I imagine its pretty substantial) and what are techniques to minimize this? Unfortunately, right now i am leaning more towards a rifle, so please give me opinions on if that is the right choice in very windy conditions!!!

  2. #2


    PS - I am currently shooting a Martin set in the mid 60's if that makes a difference

  3. #3


    For what it's worth...Joe Want held a seminar a few years back and said he didn't hunt bears in high wind or no wind. He said you have to wait for the right wind or you'll be wasting your time.

  4. #4
    Supporting Member Hoyt-Hunter's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    Mat-Su Valley


    Shooting a bow in high winds (20 mph +) is not recommended.

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    If you think you're free, there's no escape possible.

  5. #5


    I think you're leaning in the right direction.
    I've spent time on the Alaska Peninsula in both spring and fall you are right to be concerned about the wind!!

    After lucking out on the draw, I wouldn't take risk such opportunity on wind conditions. If you can bring both go for it - never know when you might get a calm day, I remember... one or two... but then again you may find a great bear but cant get within a comfortable bow range . I've seen how far a bear can go when hit hard with a high caliber rifle, an error in wind judgement could mean disaster on an archery hunt. If it was me, and I spent the money and time to hunt Unimak I would try to stack the odds in my favor as much as possible.

    Good luck and hope to see some great pics and a story after the hunt!

  6. #6
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
    Kenai Peninsula, Alaska


    Quote Originally Posted by MartinBow View Post
    I drew a Unimak Island bear tag and would like to take my bow, but I am concerned about the very windy conditions that we are likely to encounter. !
    But isn't that all a part of the challenge of bow hunting? Some guys would "like" to kill a brownie with an arrow, and some guys "have" to kill one with an arrow. Which are you? If you don't "have" to kill one with an arrow then by all means use your rifle. But if you really want to kill one with your bow, then start practicing now on windy(er) days. Of course you wouldn't want to try in 50 knot winds. but I would think you would have enough time to see how it works out in more wind than you're used If you find that you're not comfortable, then you're not comfortable.

    If you ask me the key to cleanly killing a big bear with any weapon is to get real close. You know you're going to have to get close anyway, and when I say close I'm not talking 50 yards. On a big bear, with an arrow, I'm talking feet more than yards. The closer you get the less of a chance the wind will be more of a factor. If you can kill a brownie with your bow by doing that AND possibly on a less than desirable windy day, then you will have pretty much achieved the ultimate in bow hunting.

    If you put in for the permit with the idea of killing a bear with your bow, then stick to it. I'd just hate to see you talk yourself out of doing something that you possibly may have wanted to do for who knows how long, on a "chance" that it may not be just the ideal conditions. Sure it probably will be windy, but you could get lucky just as well as not. And who knows if, or when, you may ever draw the permit again? If it was me and I was an avid bow hunter, then I would plan for hunting with my bow and bring along the rifle, rather than the other way around.

    Either way.........good luck...!!!

    Oh and btw......I saw a video of, what at the time was the #5 P&Y bear killed out of Wide Bay. It was one of the cleanest, quietest kills I've ever seen on a brown bear....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  7. #7
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Eagle River, AK


    Have you ever considered using FOBs instead of traditional fletchings or blazer vanes? FOBs do much better in crosswinds than other fletching styles.

  8. #8


    +1 on FOBs, up to 20 mph and under 20 yds fantastic.

  9. #9
    Member Trouthead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Where the wind is born


    The big problem I find to have in wind is the bow being very unstable to aim, not poor arrow flight (15-25) winds. Depending on wind direction, head/tail (possible) vs crosswind (not advisable) this can change. That is with a 290 fps compound. I havent noticed any difference between Blazers and FOBS from wind, but I havent shot fobs that much, didnt care for how they messed with my anchor pts and made arrows almost impossible to find. If you hunt into the wind and time between gusts you should be fine whatever you choose.
    Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.

  10. #10
    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011


    Practice, practice, practice. When it's horrible weather to go shoot it, go shoot. And make sure you get out and shoot up and downhill. Good buddy of mine refused to do anythign other than shoot at the range in nice conditions with no wind. Come goat season, missed every shot he took. I'mone of the guys 4mer talked about "having" to kill one with my bow, so I make make sure to go practice in the weather I expect to have hunting, not the weather I hope to have.

    Like the old lady in BeerFest said.... If you can drink Rams piss, well *&^% you can drink anything". If you can shoot in 60mph winds, well *&^&%, you can shoot in anything.

  11. #11


    Thanks for all the insight on this. To be honest with myself I am not that have to kill with a bow kind of guy….at least for this situation. For this hunt I want more of a within 50 yard opportunity at a truly unique dangerous animal, then a bow kill since I have never harvested a bear before. I practice a ton of different scenarios (angles, through trees, cold weather, rain, etc.) when I shoot my bow at home, but definitely need to make an effort to shoot more in windy conditions. I will try the FOB’s, but unless I get that 100 percent confident feeling, I will likely be taking a boom stick. Looks like I will probably do the Tred Barta (spelling??) “bow hunt with a rifle”

  12. #12


    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Sure it probably will be windy, but you could get lucky just as well as not.
    I would sure hope so, but after spending 10 days out in Togiak NWR chasing moose with the bow last September, and only having one bad weather, then drawign this permit, I have to think my luck is about to change

    But I know where you are coming from as anything can happen, just like I never thought I would get 9 beautiful fall days in SW AK


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