Broadhead Question - clean cut or major damage

Discussion in 'Bowhunting Talk' started by pick00l, Jan 20, 2021.

  1. pick00l

    pick00l Weekend Warrior

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    I don't shoot a lot of deer so, like to get some facts and opinions of others for this question.

    Question: Do different broadheads do different types of damage, depending on where they hit? Why did one head clean cut through the liver and the other destroy it? Does a specific design to the head do anything different on impact and passing through a deer?

    Deer One:
    • Shot with Montec G5 fixed blade head
    • Mid to high liver shot, pass-through - from the ground
    • Broadhead damage was a clean cut through the liver with little to no other damage
    • Deer acted normal after shot, lived for about 2 hours before expiring
    Deer Two:
    • Shot with SERVR 1.5 mechanical
    • Mid to high liver shot, pass-through after 30/40 yards, from a treestand
    • Broadhead damage seemed to have absolutely destroyed the liver beyond recognition
    • Deer bolted, lived for only a couple of minutes before expiring
     
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  2. Mod-it

    Mod-it Weekend Warrior

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    On the mechanical, you say it was a pass through AFTER 30/40 yards. Does that mean it stayed in the deer for some of its death run? If it did the arrow swinging around while it ran would've had those blades swinging around all over inside the deer and doing massive damage.
     
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  3. pick00l

    pick00l Weekend Warrior

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    Broadhead appeared to pass through completely and fletchings were stuck inside for the run. From a shooter perspective, there was nothing showing from the near side of the hit after impact.
     
  4. wl704

    wl704 Legendary Woodsman

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    ^Potentially this^

    IMHO, it can be tricky for some subtle reasons (deflections, angle, anatomy, etc).

    But I look for one of two outcomes for a hopefully quick kill, with a (hopefully) well placed shot : 1) a sharp arrow that passes through leaving two holes (that don't close up) or;
    2) a sharp arrow that if it doesn't pass through its going to help cut organs/vessels resulting in an expedient kill. 2 hours is my preference.

    Some energy is lost for mechanicals to open. Mechanicals can open too early depending on brand /action. Some mechanicals can make wide cuts, but in doing so give up more energy from resistance. Some mechanicals seem to fly closer to field points with little effort.

    Some broadheads seems to catch (cross) wind more, like a sail. Some vents seem to contribute to some noise in flight. There are many configurations to choose from (blades, bevel, CoC or not)... Fixed seem to expose problems (equipment or maybe even form).

    Not sure there is a single answer, go with what works for you. I like fixed CoC with 3 or more blades, as it seems to reduce variables or things that (can or do) go wrong for me. I still have 1 mechanical in my quiver, if I need to take/attempt a long followup shot (maybe this is a placebo, but it helps my confidence). I also have 1 judo point...
     
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  5. bucksnbears

    bucksnbears Grizzled Veteran

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    2nd scenario, I liver (only) hit takes more then a "few minutes" too expire.
    You hit something other then just liver.
     
  6. Cannon06

    Cannon06 Weekend Warrior

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    A sharp fixed head gives me more confidence in getting through bone, particularly a shoulder hit, compared to most mechanicals.
     
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  7. BB1

    BB1 Weekend Warrior

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    Seems to me that both broadheads performed equally well...resulted in dead deer. (2 hrs on a liver hit deer is pretty quick in my experience). Shoot the type you have the most confidence in; for me that is a good quality fixed blade.


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  8. dnoodles

    dnoodles Grizzled Veteran

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    I don't know about that- my buck this season on a 25 yard shot slight quarter to, I hit back of nearside lung (barely) and destroyed the liver. He staggered and then slow walked maybe 30 yards...slowly laid down and was dead in less than 2 minutes.

    That was with a NAP Spitfire which I usually don't use on deer with a vertical bow. I usually save those for coyotes or my crossbow.

    But to answer the OP, yes different types of heads produce very different trauma. See Lusk's broadhead testing videos for proof of that. Some heads slice through the steel, others punch though it with holes that far exceed the size of the head itself.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
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  9. trial153

    trial153 Grizzled Veteran

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    If you hit the lung and the liver it means you punctured the diaphragm, created negative pressure that lead to respiratory arrest. Ie cellular hypoxia that leads to orgain failure and death.
     
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  10. dnoodles

    dnoodles Grizzled Veteran

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    copy that, but like I said I barely hit that lung.

    Entry point about here, exited slightly lower and slightly further back. I was lucky to not clip stomach.
    I couldn't believe he died that quick. I have shot deer like that before and lost them.

    The ol' "center punch." I hate this shot.

    upload_2021-1-21_0-28-27.png
     
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  11. Holt

    Holt Grizzled Veteran

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    I had it happen to me once. I was shocked. Perfect broadside and almost level shot. I hit high liver and nothing else. This was with 2" large cut expandable. I found him not 75 yards from shot and about 30 minutes later. But could tell he died on his feet and crashed. This was a 5 year old buck also. I don't shoot mechanicals any more for other reasons, but no doubt that head saved me that evening.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
     
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  12. pick00l

    pick00l Weekend Warrior

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    Appreciate all the replies. Few comments:

    - I am certainly not trying to compare. Only trying to understand (as dnoodles put it best), if the mechanical in this case caused trauma vs a nice clean cut. If so, the massive trauma of this particular shot is what lead to the short kill. Would the same shot with a fixed have caused the same damage/trauma or would it have made a clean cut instead?

    - Yes I feel both heads worked as designed.
    - I can confirm that I did not touch lungs or heart. Both fully intact.
    - The liver was destroyed as if a bullet hit it.
    - I can not confirm if I hit any vital arteries which may have been around the liver.
    - The body cavity was completely full of blood.
     
  13. pick00l

    pick00l Weekend Warrior

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    This is exactly what I am feeling. I believe I hit the high liver and nothing else. I'm wondering if the head saved me. Not because if was big, but, that is somehow caused massive trauma vs a clean cut.

    I've not studied a lot of marketing from broadhead manufacturers but what I have heard is big cuts, massive wound channels, and large openings. Not trauma vs clean cuts.
     
  14. dnoodles

    dnoodles Grizzled Veteran

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    Depends.
    Some fixed heads are designed to push tissue away. The new Annihilator and OzCuts come to mind as the most obvious ones. Also, big 3 blade mechs (like my NAP) also have a lot of mass and cutting surface compacted into a small area which also causes a lot of trauma.
     
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  15. dnoodles

    dnoodles Grizzled Veteran

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    Would you rather be stabbed by a 2" wide sword, or stabbed through with a 1.5" piece of rebar?
     
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  16. Justin

    Justin Administrator

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    I was going to give the same feedback. Not all hits are created equal - even within the same organ.

    One thing that isn't discussed often are the various veins & arteries that are hit along with the organs. Likely because they aren't nearly as easy to see without really looking for them. We can easily tell if there is a hole in a lung, liver, heart, etc. Identifying which arteries were severed along with it is another story. Rapid blood loss = quicker death.

    This is why some double lung-shot deer die in 10 seconds in under 50 yards and others run 150 yards and die in 2 minutes.

    As for the damage question - it's likely the design of the head itself. Many broadheads are pushing ferrules through ahead of the blades, which will cause a different type of damage to the tissue. You also have to take into account blade sharpness and angle as well.
     
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  17. dnoodles

    dnoodles Grizzled Veteran

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    @Justin
    Another good example that not all double lung hits are equal was this weeks' THP episode from Kansas. Dude made what initially looked like a good but slightly high double lung shot on a massive buck. The entry was almost identical to my diagram above but slightly quarter- away. You'd think dead deer in 150 yards with good blood trail.

    The deer was still alive almost 24 hours later, and if he hadn't gotten DAMN lucky and gotten another arrow into it the deer likely would have lived. Necropsy showed double lung on the initial shot through the top rear *of each lobe (just in front of the liver. )

    Guy was using a G5 Montec. No blunt force trauma and no big lacerations. Just a little hole exactly the same profile of that tiny head in each lobe. Something to think about.

    *see edit below- upon further review was more top front​
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2021
  18. tynimiller

    tynimiller Legendary Woodsman

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    My wife wasn't paying attention at all to the show, but saw the shot and even said "Isn't that a little high?" When I first saw the shot and given the distance I was worried - I suspected entrance lung was hit very high and forward (as the shot was farther forward than I think many are thinking) and the offside lung perhaps not at all. Given the location of the lungs I was worried that deer might never be found or recovered...and to be fair we may never know because that second shot he got in it was massively needed.

    Loved that they showed where that deer's lungs got hit, definitely not in a spot of the lungs to cause any sort of deflation...more or less they gave the deer a collapsed lung or punctured as we here about. It was NUTS.
     
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  19. dnoodles

    dnoodles Grizzled Veteran

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    Agree with all that especially the bolded. The diagram I used is not 100% anatomically correct as their shot was clearly farther forward in the buck's actual body; but the lung damage was more towards the top front lobes.
    (All visual images and content below are from The Hunting Public - apologies if that ruffles any feathers I am using them strictly for educational purposes.)




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    YouTube color filters

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    The shot was actually really good for 40 yards- he stroked it and got a near -full pass through. But the deer clearly jumped the string and drops by 4-5" before impact. Really shows why everyone should think twice before shooting at whitetails at or over 40 yards even in optimum conditions. The deer was calm and even distracted by both a hot doe and his own marking activity; and perfectly positioned at a slight quarter away. A dream scenario. He still drops almost half a foot at the sound of the shot.

    Had the impact been 1-2" lower that deer is certainly dead in less than 5 minutes- maybe nearly instantly. Instead it lived nearly 24 hours and had a very good chance of recovering. For those that haven't seen the video yet, they jump this buck from his bed late morning the following day and the deer is completely ambulatory. Guy gets lucky to get another arrow into him (won't spoil with all the details- watch the video.)

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    Last edited: Jan 23, 2021
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  20. Bowhuntr64

    Bowhuntr64 Weekend Warrior

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    Yeah, there are quite a few different broadhead design variables that affect the damage they cause. Of course shot placement is the most important variable. But with the broadhead itself, here are some of the variables:

    1. Cut size. What is the total cut size of the head? The larger the cut, the more the damage..if both penetrate the same amount or both are pass throughs. A smaller cut will likely penetrate more deeply, and this cause more damage in that dimension.

    2. Blade configuration. Two heads can have the same cut size but have differing impacts on tissue due to how those blades are arranged. I’ve found that a 2” 2 blade head tends to produce a better blood trail than a 1” four blade head. Both cut 2”, but the wider the cut, the more the blood...by and large. This is because wider cuts tend to stretch as the animal move whereas narrower holes tend to remain the same size and can more readily close up with fat snd tissue.

    3. Sharpness. The sharper the blade and the better the edge retention of that blade, the cleaner the cut snd the better the penetration and the more the blood letting.

    4. Ferrule size. This is an interesting one. Some heads have a thicker ferrule than others and a wider point. So as a result they make a much truer “hole” rather than 3 or 4 slits. The Exodus is one of those. It makes a real triangular wound channel. Whereas a Wasp 3 blade tends to make 3 slits. Tooth of the Arrow is another one—they make a perfectly square hole and not just 4 slits like a slick trick. So those types of heads will cause much more internal damage.

    5. Beveling. A good single bevel head or a head with offset blades will rotate within an animal and create more internal damage than a double bevel head.

    6. Mech blade deployment. An over the top opening head like a Spitfire will make a much smaller entrance hole than a rear deploying head like a Sevr. So they will cause more damage.

    7. Durability. If the blades bend or break, then that will not only impede penetration but will also impede the total size of the cut and thus affect the internal damage as well.

    There are many more variables like this. I talk about this a lot on my YouTube channel, which is a Lusk Archery Adventures.

    In your case, the Sevr 1.5 actually cuts more than 2 inches of tissue. The diameter of the blades is 1.5 inches and the tip is perpendicular to that and is 5/8”. The Montec, if it’s the 1 1/8” cut, has a total cut of 1.7”. So just that alone will make a significant difference in how much tissue is cut in the internal damage. That head is also the most durable mechanical Broadhead on the market. I have shot it into cinderblock three times and threw an elk scapula 13 times and through 22 gauge steel plate five times and had it hold up. No other mechanical has been able to come close to that. So that makes a difference in internal damage as well.

    Again, there are other factors, like every animal has a slightly different anatomy, and broadheads hit at slightly different angles...all those and other factors make big differences.

    But it helps to understand broadhead design and how it affects bloodletting and lethality, cause we can’t control a lot of things but we can control what head we use.


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