Where To Shoot A Bear With A Bow (Shot Placement Tips)

By Andy Ryan


Updated at
bear in the forest

For any hunter, shooting a bear is the ultimate prize. The tricky part is, bears are not an easy target. You need to know their most vulnerable spots to make a clean shot and injure them or get a clean kill. 

If you’re eyeing the ultimate prize but don’t know where to start, read this guide to learn some helpful placement tips that would help you during your next hunting trip.

We’ve also got more bow hunting tips that you can check later on.


We go through shot placement tips and teach you the best vital areas to shoot a bear with a bow. You can find everything you need in this guide, including tips and faqs for everything from anatomy to advice.



How to Plan your Shot – Shot Placement 


Bears are easily one of the most powerful creatures in the world, and that is why bringing them down with just a single shot can be tricky. However, with certain tips and tricks, you can easily bring bears down. The important thing is to know your target inside out. Here are five things to keep in mind before going on black bear hunts.


Understanding Bear Anatomy 



One of the mistakes that most hunters make in bear bow hunting is using their deer-hunting experience and knowledge to shoot at this bulky and ferocious creature, which is wrong, not to mention, a dangerous way of hunting black bears.

Bears’ height ranges from 4 feet to 10 feet, they have powerful bodies that are thick in the middle with massive fur to protect vital organs which may make it hard to determine certain areas. Bears can weigh up to 1,500 pounds so you need to make sure you get the kill shot before the animal has time to react. 

Bears walk on the soles of their feet rather than their toes which is something that makes them distinct from other carnivores. (1)


Knowing the Vital Spots to Shoot



A lot of people wonder, “where do I shoot a black bear with a bow. ” Just like any other creature, a bear has some vital spots, or weak spots on its body, which should be predominantly targeted for a good shot during black bear hunts.

One of the points where the bear would receive most damage is on the circle behind the bear’s front shoulder, approximately 8″ behind.

If you have some experience in hunting as a bear hunter, you could try the broadside shot for proper penetration inside the creature’s organs, inflicting enough damage to take it out of the game. Once you’ve identified the spot you want to target for maximum damage, wait for the right moment to make a move.


Considering Going for a Double-Lung Shot



A double-lung shot is a result of a slightly quartering shot in bear hunting. It is one of the most lethal ways of bear hunting. It’s a high-risk, high reward shot, which, if placed accurately, could win you the prize without effort. It’s even better than the heart shot, which most hunters appear to choose during the black bear hunting season (check out the bow hunting season schedule here).

The reason why we advise a double-long shot is that a double-lung shot has a higher chance of killing the creature quickly while black bear hunting. Additionally, you also get to shoot at a larger target, so hitting the bull’s eye becomes relatively easy. However, you’d need patience for a broadside shot, as bears have an unusual body. They can twist and turn in different ways, unlike a rigid body structure like that of a deer.

Another spot to make a fatal shot is the high-shoulder during the bear bow hunt, but a double lung hit is still the one we’d suggest for black bear hunts. 


Trying a Pass-Through Shot


The one thing that you should aim for is to shoot the arrow in such a way that you get both an entrance and an exit wound. Prioritize penetrating through the organs of the animal, so you inflict maximum damage. For this whole thing to work, you should also pay attention to the angle of the shot and its placement. It’s when the bear is broadside that you should prepare for a pass-through shot during black bear hunts.


Or Maybe, the “Middle of the Middle” Shot


Another way to ensure that you wound the target is if you take the classic “middle of the middle” shot, but with a little tweak. In this, aim for a region at the center mass of the bear’s body cavity. If you could, aim about 4-5 inches back from the creature’s shoulder.


Helpful Tips While Hunting a Bear with a Bow



During your black bear hunting trip, you might want to avoid doing certain things for a better black bear hunting experience. Here are some tips that can help shoot a bear more effectively.


Don’t Aim Too Low


Bears and deers react differently to a low shot, so shooting low may not be the best course of action, as it would be in the case of deer hunting, rather than aiming too low and running the risk of shooting the fat or fur, level things up to aim at the chest cavity of the game animal. 

You may check out our articles for bow hunting deer tips.


Scan the Fur of the Bear Before Choosing your Target 



The thick fur of a black bear can make it tricky for you to pick the regions with vital organs before you take a shot. While looking through the aiming apparatus, you might end up tiring due to all that black fur staring at you since the bear coat is easily 3-4 inches long. This makes it important for the bear hunter to first scan the body of the bear before aiming to gauge where the shoulder and vital organs might be located.

Take your time in scanning the bear, and once you’re positive that you’ve picked the right target, take the shot. Ensure you make the fatal blow the first time around while hunting a black bear.

If you just marginally hurt the bear, the tables could turn against you, and you could find yourself in a very dangerous situation. 


Shooting from a Treestand


Shooting a bear from a treestand would allow you to make a high wound, which inflicts maximum damage. The only downside of this kind of shooting is that the bear would not bleed as much, and it would become difficult for you to follow the blood trail if the initial shot does not kill the animal right off the bat. If you’re good enough, consider trying this on your next hunting trip. 




Which kind of arrow would slow down or kill a bear?


Hunting bears is a lot different than hunting any other kind of animal. If you’re hunting with a bow and arrow, as opposed to a rifle, you need to be careful about which arrow you choose for the shot, as to ensure that you kill the bear, or at the very least, wound him enough to take him out of the game. To guarantee to slow a beardown, any arrow with a broad-head attached to it should do the trick. Be it aluminum, carbon, or wood-made; all should get the job done if your technique and timing are right. (2)


Which kind of bow should do the job?


Not just an arrow, but picking the right bow is also essential while going for a bear hunt. The crucial factor here is not the type of bow but the strength of the bow.

Choose any strong Recurve or compound bow, or even a long-bow for that matter, and it should do the trick just fine, but make sure the bow is strong enough.  


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


The minimum weight of the bow that could bring a bear down is about 65-70 ft. lbs. As we mentioned above, the bow’s strength has a huge role in killing or at least slowing down the bear, and the weight of the bow factors in too. So make sure you choose a bow with an appropriate weight to get the strength you need to make a fatal blow.


Which diameter and broad-heads to use for bears?


A three-bladed broad-head should get the job done. 



Bear Hunting with a bow can be as easy as deer hunting if you know what you are doing. These shooting and placement tips will help you navigate your way around a bear’s body, and help you in picking the organ that would cause the bear to get fatally injured, or killed instantly. 


(1) Anatomy – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248743
(2) rifle – https://www.britannica.com/technology/rifle