Contributors to this thread:
Turkey feathers on a compound?
I hunt with a compound, shoot regularly with a recurve for fun, and have always planned on hunting with my recurve one day. Because of that and to keep my gear somewhat uniform, I use the exact same shaft for my compound and recurve, but Blazers on my compound arrows and turkey feathers on my recurve. I always figured that just in case I run out of arrows during hunting season, I'd have my recurve arrows as a backup.
I've done this for the past few years, but never shot the turkey feather fletched arrows out of my compound till a few months ago. My Blazers are on a 3 degree helical and of course the turkey feathers are fletched helical, but I don't know the degree. I have Lancaster put together all my arrows because I hate doing it myself.
Anyways, I cant believe how well my arrows fly with the turkey feathers. Both arrows appear to be equally tuned and hit in the same location with field points and BHs (I use a VPA 125 grain unvented 3 blade), but my groups are tighter with the turkey feathers. It's most noteable after 40 yards. My 45-60 yard groups are fantastic. While I'm very happy with my groups at longer yardages with the Blazers, I'm absolutely drilling bull's eyes with the turkey feathers. I figured the turkey feathers would slow down my arrows significantly that they'd hit lower than the Blazers, but that doesn't seem to be the case out to 60.
They're much quieter too. I often have my dad shoot my bow from 40 and stand behind a tree close to my target and the combination of the feather and the unvented BH is very quiet.
The thing is, I've never hunted with turkey feathers and I'm worried about the beating they'll take on the kinds of hunting I do. What are people's experiences with both turkey feathers compared with plastic heads and also back country hunting trips and turkey feather durability?
I've used both for years hunting & targets. All my hunting & target arrows have feathers now. I used a offset Gateway Razor (2 1/2") & 125 gr. 3 blade Rocky mountain Ironheads. Last year my 3-D & paper arrows had 3" parabolic feathers. This year target arrows are a 2" shield feather. All are offset about 2 degrees. I hunt in light rain & snow if it happens & never really worry about my feathers. If you keep your hands off them when wet they are fine. In 2016 I shot the NFAA Target Nationals & it was monsoon type rain & winds.. Mine are the RED feathers. 50 yards. I had one run out of gas.
I shoot both 4-4in feathers and 4 blazers. And put as much helical as I can get. My experience w/ accuracy and point of impact is exactly as yours. And I usually have both in the quiver, unless it is raining more than a mist, then I just use blazers. I have a love -hate relation w/ feathers. They take more time to fletch, and due get noisy when they start to show wear. (but are quiet when first used) But with that said I have killed my last 4 deer with feathers, and my last elk. One of the positives to me is that with 4-4in in bright colors I can see them in fight easily, so I see no need for lighted nocks. And to me they just look good. Don't be afraid to try them. Also one of these days when it is raining hard I want to take them out and see how they shoot wet. I believe I may get more than enough control to shoot broadheads well. Greg
I've used both out of compounds and recurves (flipper rest and a button). I love the durability of vanes but feathers fly really well too. Used to think they were quieter until seeing Iron Will's sonic testing. Vanes are much quieter approaching the target. The measured difference is pretty dramatic although the sound may be out of most human's hearing range.
If you do go with feathers, do a couple good coats of silicone, like Camp Dry, a week or so before you hunt. Makes a huge difference in moisture management. You can shake the rain off. I also use baby bottle liners - thanks Fred Asbell - to keep the fletches dry in the quiver.
I hunt hard and have hunted with feathers in some rough places in US, Canada and Australia in all the worst conditions. Don't worry about the durability.
I don't have a lot of experience with a fast compound and feathers but I have been hunting with feathers from a trad bow for decades. I used to treat them to keep them dry but haven't for years. By the end of the Fall my quiver usually has some beat up fletching but I haven't found it to make any difference. I shoot with some terrible looking fletching at the range through out the year. If running the minimum you need to get great flight, it may be a factor.
Seems someone we all know well here shoots feathers from his latest great compound and manages to fill a tag or two...
I have only used feathers since 1986.
I have done alot of chrono testing. Feathers are faster than vanes. Feathers are noiser than vanes. When i had 5” feathers, squirrels would hear the feathers coming and jump out the way, recurve of course.
Today i shoot 4 inch. Always spiral. I do use the same brand and spine arrow between recurve & compound but different lengths.
You should buy you a Jo Jan monofletch jig and RW helical clamp. Get you a pint of denatured alcohol at the hardware store and get some Bohning fletch tite platnium glue.
Lancaster won’t sell feathers in small quantity. 3 Rivers archery will. Also Eagle Archery will.
Feathers may be a bit more fragile, but a feather with a bit torn off will still fly well. Tear a vane, you're out of luck 'til you replace it. Feathers forgive.
Shot feathers out of compounds for 15 years. Same experience as above. Get yourself a flething tool and you can replace the feathers as needed. They are lighter, more accurate and more forgiving IMO.
I've been shooting 4" feathers out of my compounds for many years. IMO, feathers are actually more durable that vanes...i.e. when I shoot through a target, the feathers just lay down and pop right back in place on the other side. Just be sure to treat the feathers for hunting in wet conditions.
and then just wash off the blood and they are good to go again
and then just wash off the blood and they are good to go again
my experience feathers shoot well through a Whisker Brisket, and without much wear over time. Coues deer hunting in AZ
turkey feathers repel water better then processed feathers because of oil in them feathers will always fly better then vans. WB and 4" wild turkey feathers for 10 years would not dream of changing.
Here's the thing with feathers. They can get the crap beat out of them & they will still fly great. Heck you can have some of the feather missing. Plastic vanes won't do that! I've always shot feathers & have a bunch of real turkey feathers that I had cut from a bunch of wings off the turkeys I killed over the years.
I think feathers pass through an animal easier too. I hunted with feathers out of my compound for many years. Switched the last couple years to Blazers and they work great for sure. But I still like feathers. I did buy a 6" brace bow and I can't use my feather fletched arrows out of it. The feathers run into my QAD.
Just use a shorter feather.
Jaquomo nailed it. Spray the feathers with silicone and make sure they are completely dry before handling. In a backcountry situation they can handle about two solid days of rain before they will be matted (haven't tried the baby bottle liners yet but I will now) but they will still fly well even matted. Feathers are durable, as long as you don't shoot through a whisker biscuit a thousand times.
I have shot some ratty looking feathers over the years and they still fly quite well. They don't have to look pretty to fly well.