RonD wrote:Firecloud, I looked at the photo on the archery forum of the deer you hit with the mechanical broadhead. That expandable sure tore a large hole in the deer going in and would have made a very large exit hole had the head not hit a bone as you suggested. What was your draw weight, draw length, and brace height on the bow you shot it with? I particularly liked the statement you made, "....consider anything within a 6 inch circle of dead center to be a decent shot." The reason I like it is that it reflects the reality of bowhunting with traditional bows. I have witnessed the frustration on the part of trad shooters at 3D shoots and some during stump shooting who were upset when the arrow did not hit dead center with every shot.
Ron, I have not tried bowhunting for hogs but am very eager to do so and might get the chance this weekend or next. Any pointers would be appreciated for sure.
I carefully researched test reports about various expandable broadheads and decided the results for the Grim Reaper were as good as any and superior to many others, which is why I decided to try them. One big reason was exactly what this "after" photo shows....the damage done by this head is quite large going in.
However, my belief, which was confirmed by my experiences last year, was that due to the absorption of the kinetic energy as the blades and arrow slice through about 14" inches of a typical deer body, the exit wound has less visible damage than the entrance wound but not by very much. It is the reverse of a gun bullet which makes a smaller hole on entry and a much larger exit hole. Arrows just don't work that way.
It all makes sense if you realize the maximum energy is delivered by a mechanical at the point of initial impact so the wound is worse there. Tests show that the heads expand as the point penetrates the skin so that by a mere inch into the deer the head is fully expanded. It locks in an open position after that and simply looses force as it goes further through the deer. Thus, the size of the area cut is the same all the way through the deer's body, but the degree of damage is greater at the entry point than the exit point due to the higher amount of energy still carried by the arrow at that point.
I agree with you that tuning your equipment is of great importance. That is why I mounted the mechanicals on Easton A/C/C arrows which have a relatively light weight in grains per inch. The stiffness of this arrow is well matched for my bow, so that part is good. Just stay within the Easton chart and you won't go wrong with anything they specify. Due to the lighter weight arrow, I can certainly tell that the arrow speed is higher, which is very much needed for the mechanical to function at its best. However, I don't think the speed improvement would chronograph more than about 20 fps more than with the arrows I shot previously, which is not really enough to make the mechanicals work that well from my traditional bow.
While on the subject of the arrows, I highly recommend the A/C/C arrows for a traditional bow. They are tough arrows, have excellent flight characteristics, and are superior to either an aluminum arrow or a carbon arrow. It is incredible how "flat" the trajectory of these arrows are. I love that part, but they are NOT cheap arrows for sure. Fully decked out with a good broadhead, you are flinging at least $25 at a deer with each shot! I believe these arrows would be perfect 3D or for smaller game animals but, as you say, a heavier grain arrow with a heavier fixed broadhead does still seem to be the best combination for use on deer and larger game with traditional equipment. I believe it was Fred Bear who years ago stated that was the "ideal" combination and I don't think he has been proven wrong yet.
The specifications for my bow are 52" length with a 50# draw weight. Despite being a very short bow by traditional recurve standards, the fiberglass limbs do not "stack" and the draw is clean and smooth at any distance up to my 28 1/2" draw length. I have my arrows cut 1" longer, of course. The arrow rest on this bow is cut almost to center and the brace height is 8 1/8" on this bow with the correct length recommended string. Next time I restring, I may try a slightly longer string, thereby reducing the brace height a little and see how that affects the bow. A shorter brace height would be better, I agree.
One more thing on the subject of arrows. My arrows are fletched with 5 inch turkey feathers in a 5 degree right helical pattern. I am convinced the longer feathers and the twist pattern help stabilize the arrow in flight. Plus the turkey feathers are just overall superior in my opinion.
Finally, after you have shot zillions of arrows from a traditional bow over decades of time, you will have seen nearly everything that can possibly happen occur. It teaches you that the reality of archery is you simply cannot control all the variables all the time. Some situations will simply occur, for any of dozens of reasons, where your final results might not be what you had intended. You have to keep in mind that instictive shooting a traditional bow is like wing shooting birds. Even the very best marksmen find it challenging with any live target in the wild.
At times I swear the deer smirk at me while I am trying to hunt them with my bow! I shot at one doe once who actually played a game with me. I was sitting under a tree when she came walking through the woods. I shot at her while kneeling, missed her, and she trotted over a crest of the hill and stopped. I eased to the top of the hill so I could get her a view of her again as I reloaded another arrow. When I came into view, she reversed course, trotted back over the crest of the hill to the other side, but moved about 10 yards further away into the thick woods, and stopped again. To get another look at her I had to once again cross the crest of the hill. We did this game for at least three or four crossings of the hill but each time she moved farther into the woods, never presenting me any opportunity for a clear shot. I am certain I saw her grin at least once or twice as she contemplated my futile attempts to get an arrow in her.
You just have to hang in there and keep hunting. The deer win nearly all the encounters with traditional archers, but some days, you will win a few. And that is when it is all worth it!!