Bowhunting Q&A: A 12-Year-Old Looking for Lighter Broadheads
Young Hunter Setups, Better Arrow Penetration, Kinetic Energy Questions
More Help For Young Hunters
Q: I am 12 years old and shoot a Bear Whitetail II bow. I use a Bear release and Fisher sights. I shoot Easton 2413 arrows with three-blade 125-grain Terminator broadheads. Will this setup work for white-tailed deer? Should I buy lighter broadheads?
-Jason Edwards, Hillsdale, Pennsylvania
A: Jason, unfortunately you did not provide your draw weight or draw length, which are two very important parts of the arrow shaft and broadhead weight equation to obtain a great setup. In most cases, the three-blade Terminator will work fine on whitetails. The best way to determine this is to shoot your bow with the shaft and broadhead that you plan to use while hunting and see if it flies true when paper-tuning. If you get good arrow flight, you do not need to go to a lighter broadhead. I prefer heavier broadheads for most hunting situations.
Solving Poor Arrow Penetration
Q: I shot a small buck squarely in the shoulder at 11 yards with my PSE bow using a Beman Carbon Hawk arrow and a 90-grain Muzzy broadhead. The deer ran away, and I found my arrow and determined that it only penetrated about six inches before snapping in two.
I have since bought a PSE Thunder Flite for hunting, and it is set at 65 pounds. My 29-inch arrows are now tipped with 100-grain Wasp SST Hammer broadheads. Will my new setup perform better than my last one, or are there other changes that I should make?
-Rob Bearden, Benton, Missouri
A: Sorry to hear about the buck, but I would venture a guess that, since you were unable to find him, he survived that wound. While you estimated six inches of penetration, I doubt that it was into the chest area. Otherwise you would have had a reasonable blood trail.
You didn't mention the speed or draw weight of the bow that you shot the deer with. I calculated the finished Beman carbon arrow at 422 grains and figured that the older bow might have been slow and possibly only generated 45 foot-pounds of kinetic energy. This is considered borderline for taking big game, but I have seen plenty of deer that were taken with less. However, many states require a minimum draw weight of 40 pounds for bows used by bowhunters.
The real question in this case is where exactly did you hit the deer? If it was square in the shoulder, you could have hit the heavy shoulder bone, and that would definitely affect arrow penetration. In addition, the arrow could possibly have angled severely on impact with the heavy bone. Yes, it wounded the deer, but they are resilient animals, and he should survive that type of injury. Consider waiting for a better quartering-away shot in the future. That helps to take the heavy shoulder bone and muscle out of play.
One final suggestion is to consider switching to 2315 Easton XX75s. Your local archery pro shop should have these in stock and can cut them to the necessary length. Your Beman Carbon Hawk shafts have been discontinued, and the shafts that I mentioned should perform better.
Questions About Kinetic Energy
Q: What is the minimum foot-pounds of kinetic energy needed to bag a whitetail? My compound generates 69.65 foot-pounds, according to my calculations. Will this work?
-Vernice Hanna Jr., Spiro, Oklahoma
A: Adequate penetration on deer depends upon more than raw kinetic energy. With an average-weight arrow of 500 grains and an average deer hunting broadhead with a medium-sized chisel-point nose, such as you will find on a Thunderhead 100 and Satellite Mag-100, I recommend no less than 45 foot-pounds of point-blank arrow energy.
With low-friction, cutting-nose broadheads like the Zwickey Black Diamond or Super Slam Spear Point, you can get away with slightly less kinetic energy, say 38 to 42 foot-pounds. With lightweight arrows (less than 350 grains) or high-friction mechanical broadheads, I prefer at least 50 to 55 foot-pounds to ensure deep penetration in deer. You'll find more details about kinetic energy on pages 80-81 in the April/May 2000, issue of NAH.