*Article from the December/January 2009 issue of North American Hunter magazine.
GREENHORN HUNTS WHITETAILS
Q: I'm a greenhorn to the bowhunting scene, and I have a few questions. My bow is currently set with a 70-pound draw, and I can draw it easily. Should I start at a lower draw weight because I've never hunted with a bow? Will it affect my shooting by beginning at a high draw weight? Also, what's the correct arrow and broadhead combination for hunting whitetails? I'm planning to shoot Easton XX78 arrows tipped with G5 Montec broadheads.
–Chris Glennon/Crestline, OH
A: With archery technology changing every year, we're all greenhorns. First, don't worry about how many pounds you can draw: Instead, consider what draw weight you can comfortably draw and hold. You might need to hold that draw on a nervous whitetail for 30 seconds or more. That said, if you can comfortably hold the 70 pounds your bow is set for, you're ready to tackle most big game found in North America. If not, drop the weight down to a range you can easily hold and still produce accurate hits. Most modern compound bows produce ample kinetic energy for killing shots on most big game animals with bows set as low as 50 pounds when matched with the proper arrow.
Your choices in broadheads and arrows are also good. Just make sure you choose an arrow with the proper spine to match your draw weight and draw length. Failing to do so will result in erratic accuracy. My good friend Al Kraus at Black Hills Archery has shot numerous animals with G5 Montec broadheads and swears by them. As for Easton XX78 arrows, I have just one name for you: Chuck Adams. If you're hoping to pick up some speed and possibly more kinetic energy from your setup, try a carbon arrow. Any knowledgeable archery technician can help you with arrow selection and bow tuning. –Mark Kayser
Q: In what situation would a four-blade broadhead be better than a three-blade or two-blade model? I'm assuming that hemorrhaging would be more profound with more blades, but how would those extra blades impact arrow flight from high-speed bows? If I shoot carbon arrows, what would be a good arrow and broadhead combination, including grain and weight, for use on Midwest whitetails? What's a good starting point? –Jarred Maynard/Via E-mail
A: The one and only purpose of a broadhead is to cut a hole through hair, hide, muscle and internal organs, inflicting as much organ/tissue damage and creating as much bleeding as possible. Therefore, the largest hole you can cut into an animal is the most desirable. The qualifier, of course, is that to first create this damage the broadhead and shaft combination must be accurate enough to hit the animal in the intended spot.
Because a broadhead's blades can catch air, they can also steer the shaft off-course unless adequate fletching is used. Today, few compound shooters use a fixed two-blade head. The most popular weight of broadhead sold is 100 grains, followed by 125 grains, with three-blade models far and away the most popular, and four-blade models second. The most popular cutting diameter sold is 11/8 inches.
Three-blade heads offer a great combination of aerodynamic stability and cutting surface area for all North American big game animals. As far as your own hunting arrow's total weight, assuming you're shooting a compound bow with a draw weight of 60-70 pounds, a total arrow/broadhead weight of 350-410 grains will give you plenty of kinetic energy to pass through even the largest white-tailed buck. –Bob Robb
RELEARNING THE RECURVE
Q: I haven't shot a bow in many years, and archery has changed dramatically since that time. I plan to restring and use my old recurve bow, but I need to get different arrows. Is it safe to shoot anything but wooden arrows from a wooden recurve bow?–Derrick Moore/Via E-mail
A: I have a number of recurve bows that I still shoot regularly, and I've shot aluminum, fiberglass and carbon arrows from them with no problem. However, you must shoot feather-fletched arrows off an arrow shelf rather than plastic vanes—vanes simply cause too much deflection.
Trust me: I've tried many different options, and feathers are the only fletch I'll shoot from my recurve setup. Most archers now shoot carbon or aluminum arrows through their recurve bows. You can find a good selection of carbon, aluminum and composite arrows through outlets such as Cabela's (cabelas.com; (800) 237-4444) and all varieties of arrows, including wooden, at 3Rivers Archery (3riversarchery.com; (888) 329-9872 ). I hope this helps. –Judd Cooney
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