BRIAN JOHNSON ON OUTDOORS: Broad head basics
If you are going to bow hunt for big game animals, you will have to have an arrow tipped with a broad head.
A broad head is a razor sharp arrow point that is designed to penetrate and cut with extreme efficiency. Most states require that the cutting diameter be a minimum of 7/8 of an inch. Broad heads come in various shapes and sizes and have different flight characteristics as well.
One type that has become extremely common over the last decade is the mechanical broad head. These are a favorite of many hunters for a variety of reasons. One is that many of them have field point precision. By this, I mean that you can unscrew a 100-grain field point and screw on a 100-grain mechanical broad head, in most cases they will hit the exact same spot. This eliminates the need for broad head tuning.
Another benefit of mechanicals is that they typically have larger cutting diameters than fixed blade heads. This larger cutting surface means a larger hole in the animal, which leads to better blood trails and a quicker recovery.
With these two advantages, it would seem that everyone would shoot mechanicals. However, there are many who question the durability, penetration, and reliability of mechanical broad heads opening properly upon impact.
Another type of broad head is the four blade fixed broad head. These are typically fairly tough and usually have a cutting diameter for 7/8 inch to as much as 1 1/2 inch with most being around 1 inch. Some of these will fly the same as a field point on a particular set up but most will not. As a general rule, the larger the broad head, the more likely that it will need to be tuned or you will need to adjust your sights. These four blades heads are a staple for most bow hunters and have been chosen for their durability as well as multiple cutting surfaces.
A final type of broad head that many hunters use is a single blade cut on contact broad head. This head has less cutting surface than either of the above mentioned, but it is by far the most durable and has the best penetration.
This is the head that is often used when hunting extremely large or dangerous game animals like the Cape buffalo. With a perfect shot this head is extremely efficient.
Regardless of which broad head you choose, shot placement is crucial. Be sure to practice with your broad heads out to the distances you will shoot while hunting. Pay attention to the impact point as well as the flight of the arrow. An arrow that flies true with a sharp broad head is as deadly as any bullet.
The key is making the perfect shot. Remember that practice makes perfect.
Brian Johnson, originally of Port Neches, is pastor of First Baptist Church of Winnie, owner of DuckDogTrainer.com and outdoors writer for The News.
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