Broadhead Question - clean cut or major damage

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

  1. Justin

    Justin Administrator

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Posts:
    9,539
    Likes Received:
    4,288
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Algonquin, Illinois, United States
    I watched this episode and thought to myself, boy, it would have been nice to have a big hole from a mechanical broadhead right about now.....:evilgrin:

    Yet, the comments section of that video was null and void of any commentary about the broadhead's performance. I love what THP is doing, but the sac riding from their followers is far beyond anything I've ever personally seen. Whether they are purposefully taking poor frontal shots on animals, or simply encountering a less than perfect shot like this one, it's nothing but rainbows and praise for the ghillie suit brigade. Yet, I can nearly chop a deer's heart in half, have a 60-yard blood trail that can be seen by passing aircraft, and get a bunch of comments from YouTube warriors about needing to rethink my arrow and broadhead setup.

    Welcome to 2021, my friends! :beer:

    And you better be careful telling people not to shoot whitetails over 40 yards. I've been flying that flag for a few years and have taken more than a few shots from the peanut gallery. Don't you realize everyone on the internet shoots better than Levi Morgan? Pounding golf balls at 60 all day, son.
     
    cantexian, Mod-it and Okiebob like this.
  2. Justin

    Justin Administrator

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Posts:
    9,539
    Likes Received:
    4,288
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Algonquin, Illinois, United States
    I would also like to go on record as saying shots like the one we saw on the THP episode are what give rise to the "my broadhead failed" comments we see so often. The hunter believes they witnessed a "perfect shot - maybe a little high, but right behind the shoulder" and the only explanation for them not recovering the animal was that the broadhead failed. In spite of the fact that the deer is never recovered so they never know what really happened, and many times the arrow and broadhead are not recovered either. Or, when they are recovered, the blades on the mechanical head have shifted position so people falsely believe a mechanical failure leads to their unrecovered animal.

    Having filmed my hunts for the last 15 years, I can tell you that quite often what we see with our eyes and remember in our brains is not exactly what happened.
     
  3. Justin

    Justin Administrator

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Posts:
    9,539
    Likes Received:
    4,288
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Algonquin, Illinois, United States
    The doe I shot 3 weeks ago was almost the same shot - maybe 2 inches further back than this. One of the blades on my broadhead nicked the very bottom of the spine and dropped her on the spot. I got a complete pass thru with the arrow laying on the other side of the deer, and put two huge holes in the tops of both lungs. She was dead in seconds without the need for a follow-up shot. I showed the interior of the ribcage when we cleaned her out, but not the lungs themselves.

    On either one of these shots, I would take the mechanical head 10 out of 10 times. The bigger the cutting diameter, the larger the hole, the better chance for a quick, clean kill.

    A deer's chest cavity is maybe 10-12" across at best. You don't need much penetration to poke a hole in both of those lungs. And, as I've said before, everything that happens after those 2 holes are created is just for show and to make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. Extra penetration has zero effect on how quickly that animal dies or how easily it is recovered.

    Here's my shot for reference:
     
    pick00l and camo75 like this.
  4. Fix

    Fix Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2016
    Posts:
    6,147
    Likes Received:
    7,032
    Dislikes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Western NY
    I don't know who you are but stop trying to get likes on the YouTube's and try participating in a few conversations
     
  5. dnoodles

    dnoodles Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2012
    Posts:
    8,631
    Likes Received:
    10,022
    Dislikes Received:
    12
    Location:
    People's Republic of IL
    FTR, I am a fan of heavy set ups and fixed heads. That being said, I usually shoot mechs or at least hybrids on deer. However, on this big sucker in question it may not have made a difference depending on the orientation (vertical/horizontal) of the blades on a mech upon deployment. Or (not knowing this dude's set up) a mech may have only penetrated into one lung.

    Heck, now that I think on it; given the long shot, shallow angle, and curvature of the upper part of the ribs, a mech *may* have deflected up and over the lungs completely; like what happened to my buck from this season. 38 yards, he ducked at the shot, and hard. High hit, blades deployed and the arrow deflected up and rode the rub cage under the skin then ricocheted out the top of the deer's back without penetrating into the cavity. I watched as arrow tailwhipped hard at impact then appeared to almost tumble as it passed through. When I found the arrow it was laying in the grass a few yards beyond the impact spot was slimed in hard fat.

    We tracked pin drops of blood for 70-80 yards and then nothing. I only know exactly what happened because I killed him the next morning as he was still chasing does around, without a care in the world.

    As to getting dragged on opposing 40+ yard shots on whitetails; all I can say is live and learn. I try not to argue with idiots, and am man enough to admit at one time I was one such idiot.

    On the range, I can 10 ring all day out to 80. When I first got back into bowhunting I thought that was good enough to take pretty much any shot I would ever be presented with in the woods. A couple lost deer later and hundreds of hours watching BHOD and THP; I know better now. Too much videographic proof exactly like illustrated above.
     
    pick00l and cantexian like this.
  6. Justin

    Justin Administrator

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Posts:
    9,539
    Likes Received:
    4,288
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Algonquin, Illinois, United States
    I've seen a lot of deer shot with mechanical broadheads using arrows ranging from high 380's to low 500's, and I've never seen one hit a deer broadside or quartered-away that only got enough penetration to take out a single lung. Not saying it can't happen, but it would be a very unique set of circumstances.

    I believe many hunters have a skewed idea of how much arrow needs to get into a deer to puncture both lungs.

    You can play that game all day. A big mechanical also *may* have taken out the spine, an artery, or twice as much lung tissue and resulted in much quicker kill. I would venture to guess that is the more likely scenario.

    Again, I've seen a lot of deer shot with both mechanicals and fixed blades. I've seen more fixed blade heads ride on the outside of a rib cage when shot at steep angles than I have mechanicals. It could simply be chance or bad luck, but that's my personal experience.

    Guys that used fixed blades to prevent deflection are like people who drive around with masks on to avoid getting Covid. It makes you feel good inside but really doesn't accomplish anything. :D
     
    dnoodles likes this.
  7. mt fighter

    mt fighter Weekend Warrior

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2010
    Posts:
    101
    Likes Received:
    5
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    ohio
    Let me preface with not arguing or debating, but I have had mechanicals fail and is why I’m switching to heavier and fixed. One example was a broadside buck, hit a little too far forward and got shoulder. Arrow only went in a couple inches and fell out as it ran away. I know for a fact on that one that if I had a fixed Broadhead with heavier arrow it would’ve zipped right thru. I know mechanicals can be just as devastating and be great, I just personally don’t have confidence in them anymore. But that’s just me.
     
  8. gran

    gran Newb

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2015
    Posts:
    23
    Likes Received:
    13
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Wouldn’t that answer depend on the type of armor you are wearing?
     
  9. Justin

    Justin Administrator

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Posts:
    9,539
    Likes Received:
    4,288
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Algonquin, Illinois, United States
    That's a completely rational decision on why you would want a heavier arrow and fixed blade head. I get it. However, it's not an indication of the failure of the broadhead itself. Mechanical broadheads simply aren't designed to be shot directly into shoulder blades and provide maximum penetration.

    My rebuttal to this thought process is that the shoulder blade covers a very small surface area of a whitetail's body. The only time I want a fixed blade over a mechanical is when it hits the heavy part of the shoulder. And, even then, there is no guarantee of a quick kill. Or any kill for that matter. The idea that all heavy, fixed blade setups will "zip right thru" a shoulder is, in itself, misguided. You have a better chance, yes. But it's far from a given outcome.

    Anywhere outside of that, which is the vast majority of the deer's body, I would rather have a larger cutting area to inflict more damage. That's my personal preference and reasoning for my decision.

    When it comes to broadheads, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. You can build a setup that's geared towards max momentum and penetration, but sacrifices cutting size, or you can build a setup that's designed to inflict massive damage through the size of the hole it creates, while giving up some penetration potential when impacting bone. Unless I've missed it, nobody has come up with a setup that accounts for both situations.

    The guy shooting a mechanical that hits solid shoulder wishes he had a fixed blade. The guy shooting a fixed blade that shoots one low in the guts wishes he had a big mechanical. It's an impossible situation to predict.

    I'll stand by this quote that a very experienced deer tracker told me this fall. "Tell me where you're going to hit the deer, and I'll tell you which broadhead is better."
     
    pick00l likes this.
  10. Fix

    Fix Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2016
    Posts:
    6,147
    Likes Received:
    7,032
    Dislikes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Western NY
    I love that quote. It SHOULD end all silly debates on this subject.

    Now for my nonsense.
    I was seeing deflection using Mech and wanted to go fixed and crazy heavy as is the trend but I ended up just increasing my weight by 130 up front and my mech works great now. I am thinking about fixed now but it's the off season and one gets antsy to rebuild from the ashes when one can't kill.
     
  11. tynimiller

    tynimiller Legendary Woodsman

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    Posts:
    11,929
    Likes Received:
    2,549
    Dislikes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Northern Indiana
    Yup loved you showing the shot spot on this episode as well! I think grossly too many don't ever think to check or see what can be learned. Yes, Justin this is a shot location where your wider cut heads, either mechanical or fixed do assist cutting into more of the primary part of the lungs with out question.
     
    pick00l likes this.
  12. tynimiller

    tynimiller Legendary Woodsman

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    Posts:
    11,929
    Likes Received:
    2,549
    Dislikes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Northern Indiana
    Amen, goes back to my previous statement in that so many don't even care to learn if they find their buck by treating it like an autopsy chance.

    Justin is spot on here, arrow deflection in a riding a bone case is driven far more by the tip design and the arrow build - mechanical or fixed doesn't bestow a special ability one way or another merely by that distinction.
     
  13. Shocker99

    Shocker99 Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Posts:
    4,854
    Likes Received:
    5,002
    Dislikes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Southwest Illinois
    3484B4A7-DE90-410E-BE90-825F408CDE4E.gif
     
    cantexian likes this.
  14. dnoodles

    dnoodles Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2012
    Posts:
    8,631
    Likes Received:
    10,022
    Dislikes Received:
    12
    Location:
    People's Republic of IL
    I know what happened to me this year was a fluke... especially given that in both situations I encountered this season happened to be on the same buck in back to back days. A fixed head probably wouldn't have made a difference on day 1 and certainly wouldn't have been optimal for day 2.

    Day 1 the Muzzy HB head hit at an odd flat angle directly over a curved rib and sheared upwards along the slope of the rib. That caused the tail of the arrow to whip downwards broadside along the animal which then made it mule kick and flip right out. I probably couldn't do it again in a hundred attempts if I tried. The following day when I actually killed it, I hit a touch back of where I was aiming and on a very slight quarter away angle, but the Spitfire just shredded the near side lung and liver. That is a perfect real life example of a marginal shot being significantly aided by the use of a big mechanical.

    I will say this though, there's a decent chance that on Day 2, I wouldn't have gotten a pass through if I wasn't using a 535 grain total arrow weight set up. Those big 3 blade Spitfires take a lot of KE to punch all the way through a big mature buck...or doe, for that matter. (Graf's Trophy Doe at 7 yards comes to mind. ) Of course that was right in the boiler room and a passthrough wasn't make or break; but on my shot... every inch of penetration was that much more vital organ damage.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
  15. bucksnbears

    bucksnbears Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2014
    Posts:
    3,339
    Likes Received:
    2,851
    Dislikes Received:
    22
    I've been in a couple bow kills in my life.
    No Mech head is allowed in my camp.
    Been there, seen horrible outcomes.
    I see Zero reason for them even though some of you have tried.
    Carry on.
     
  16. dnoodles

    dnoodles Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2012
    Posts:
    8,631
    Likes Received:
    10,022
    Dislikes Received:
    12
    Location:
    People's Republic of IL
    @Justin -

    do you have a total number of deer your team has shot over the years and the total number of those not recovered? Having watched nearly every episode, I can't think of much more than a handful. I also know the majority of all those deer (recovered or not) have been shot with mechs. Have you guys ever broken all that down by the numbers?

    I think other than maybe Midwest Whitetail, you guys have probably killed more deer on film than any other group (altho THP is coming on hard due to the fact they are mostly under 30, single, and hunt almost every day for 4 months straight in multiple states.)

    I trust you guys to be more honest than Midwest Whitetail about equipment used and the results thereof. Nothing against Winke, but historically his show has been a bit more...corporate than yours; and has been so for a longer period of time. Let's just say I have seen at least a few kills on MW that originated with a marginal shot in the evening and then cut to an AM trophy pose.

    I gotta say that if mechs were not ethically capable of routinely killing deer and completely trusted by your team, A) you guys wouldn't use them; and B) we would be able to see the results for ourselves.

    Does that mean all mechs are created equal? No, and neither are all fixed heads.

    I think we have gotten a little off-topic from the OPs question. "Clean cut" is not a mutually exclusive term in regards to mechs/fixed heads. Rage Hypos and NAP KillZones produce pretty damn big clean cuts. But so do fixed heads like Solids and Iron Wills. On the other hand; Muzzy (classic version), SlickTricks, and Thunderheads produce a "slug hole" trauma type of effect, but so do three-blade mechs like SpitFires and Dead Meats.

    To that end, my favorite heads for whitetails are Muzzy HBs. Best of all desirable features- big wide expandable cut, dependable fixed blades, tough steel ferrule, and trauma-inducing "trocar" tip.
     
  17. mt fighter

    mt fighter Weekend Warrior

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2010
    Posts:
    101
    Likes Received:
    5
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    ohio
    whats your reasoning? I’m simply curious. Bad experiences with mechanicals? Great results with fixed? Thanks
     
  18. Fix

    Fix Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2016
    Posts:
    6,147
    Likes Received:
    7,032
    Dislikes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Western NY
    He doesn't like change.
     
  19. Mod-it

    Mod-it Die Hard Bowhunter

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2019
    Posts:
    1,014
    Likes Received:
    1,316
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Idaho
    This is an easy one for me, can't use mechanicals in Idaho so the choice is removed. But I hunt elk 99% of the time (discounting turkey), which don't tend to move before the arrow arrives. Not nearly the same as a whitetail. If I hit them poorly it is solely on my shot execution.

    I read several horror stories about some of the early mechanicals not deploying. I think a good question for bucksnbears would be, "how long ago was it that your opinion of mechanicals was made?"
    You don't hear near the amount of stories these days of mechanicals that didn't deploy properly, yet the amount of people using them has gone up drastically. They are much better than they used to be.
     
  20. bucksnbears

    bucksnbears Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2014
    Posts:
    3,339
    Likes Received:
    2,851
    Dislikes Received:
    22
    Bottom line is, I've just seen to many deer and bear get away.
    Poor penatration and lack of bloodtrail.
    A buddy shot a big SD buck about 5 years ago. Sshot was about 20 yards and slight quarter.
    I drove 2.5 hours to help him as the bloodtrail was horrible.
    We tracked that buck along way on pin drops before finally loosing it.
    He was shooting a 67# bow and Rage hypodermic.
    He said it was a perfect shot but the arrow only penatrated 4_5".
    He shot that buck later with a rifle and took pics of the inside cavity and lungs.
    1 lung was black and looked like a ripe banana.
    The entrance was picture perfect. 1 rib was broke.
    He swore right then he'd never shoot any mech head again.
    I asked why he decided to try them in the first place after killing over 200 deer with plain old muzzles and Thunderheads.
    His answer was " they looked cool"

    This debate will go on forever.
    I will not shoot them when my current set up has worked for 40+years.
     

Share This Page