Broadheads For Whitetail Deer
How do we wade through all of the hype and sift through the dozens of broadheads available today to find the right broadhead for our needs?
It is my opinion that most of the broadheads on the market today will get the job done on a whitetail deer. If your bow is launching the arrow straight and there is no contact with the fletching, then the broadhead selection is less important. On the other hand, once your arrow goes sideways and the fins of the broadhead catch the wind it can be off to the wild blue yonder. Compound bow manufacturers like to tout arrow speed in their product information, but a fast arrow speed makes good broadhead tipped arrow flight more difficult. The key is to find what works best with your bow.
Most hunters that I talk to tend to stick with the broadhead that has worked well for them in the past. The other thing that I think is common is for hunters to blame poor arrow flight on the broadhead when it is actually the set up of their bow.
It seems pretty well accepted in bowhunting circles that mechanical broadheads will mimic the flight of your field points. This fact alone could help enhance your confidence when you get your chance at a buck of a lifetime. There is something to be said for the mental part of the bowhunting game.
I have had and seen some problems with broadheads as well. Several years ago I used a fixed blade broadhead that had a relatively small cutting diameter. I lost a doe after shooting it with one of these broadheads. I think that the small diameter didn't cause enough damage and lessened the blood loss which allowed the deer to travel farther after being shot and made the blood trail much more difficult to follow. Now I try not to look for the smallest cutting diameters.
I did see one whitetail deer shot with a mechanical broadhead a few years back that took an interesting path. The deer was hit towards the lower part of the neck and the broadhead made a turn and ran up the neck, not exiting. The deer ran only 30 to 40 yards. I didn't like it that the broadhead didn't drive right on through the deer, but it did bring the deer down pretty quick. This was an older mechanical that isn't available today.
I also used a mechanical that used friction to hold the blades in position. I hit a nice buck with this broadhead and didn't kill the buck. The hit was a bit high and back, but we determined that the broadhead most likely didn't open when it went through the deer. We saw the buck up close a week later and it had a very small wound on it's side. You would have had to know that I had shot it to even notice the spot. So, broadheads that are held shut by friction are not on my buy list.
Bottom line, I would say that the large majority of broadheads sold today will the do the job nicely when shot through a straight shooting bow with a well placed shot. Personally, I'll stay away from friction mechanicals and the smallest diameters.
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