Believe it or not, archery season is just a month-and-a-half away. So it’s not too early to discuss broadheads, especially since many already shoot their bows and are getting ready for the upcoming season.
Broadheads are one of the most important pieces of equipment a bowhunter uses. They are the business end of your arrow and a determining factor of whether or not an animal gets recovered.
Many hunters use mechanical or expandable broadheads for the advantages they offer. They fly nearly the same as practice points do, reducing the need to ‘tune’ the broadhead to the arrow. They offer greater cutting diameter and can produce stunning blood trails, which make it easier to find downed game.
These advantages fool people into thinking the broadhead will kill the intended game, even if the shot is marginal. This is not true. The number one factor in quickly downing big game is shot placement — always has been, always will be. Don’t think these types of heads offer you a shortcut to practicing.
There are cons to using broadheads, too. Although years of improvements greatly reduce the chance mechanical broadheads will not open, there is still a chance. That will never go away, regardless of how slim the odds are.
Some mechanical broadheads are not meant to shoot through mesh netting on a blind. Trying to do so may result in blades deploying while passing through the mesh, resulting in a skewed shot.
There are also a few mechanical heads that do not perform well if they hit weeds or other flora, which can also result in blade deployment. There are some that are just flat confusing — like those that make you hook each blade under a snap, and so on. These leave you wondering if the blades will open at all.
Mechanical-type heads also take more kinetic energy to open the blades. That means less energy is delivered through the arrow. People shooting lower-poundage bows or those hunting huge animals or dangerous game should stick with fixed-blade broadheads. Ideally one would step it up even more to shooting cut on contact fixed blade broadheads, which drag the least amount of energy from a bow. Hitting bone also seriously reduces the amount of kinetic energy delivered and can result in less penetration. Pass-through shots are desired as they produce heavier blood trails.
I am not bashing mechanical broadheads, just pointing out they are not always a cure-all. They usually work very well and certainly have their place. Some brands are also a lot better than others, of course.
I also do not feel that they should be the only ones you consider. I do not feel comfortable enough shooting a mechanical broadhead. I tried them before and quickly went back to fixed-blade heads.
With that being said, I did switch to a new type of broadhead a few years ago. It is a hybrid between the two. The Dead Ringer Rampage broadheads caught my attention at a trade show and I have been Dead Ringer’s ever since. I currently use their new Nasty series of hybrid heads.
It is a mechanical broadhead that produces a sizeable cutting diameter if the blades fail to deploy.
My son Nick and I have shot several deer with them and were impressed. They do devastating damage and leave awesome blood trails. The hybrid design is what lured me into trying them. My satisfaction is what keeps me shooting them.
Everyone has their preference, and each type serve a purpose. Just do your part to see which ones you will really feel comfortable with this season.