Contributors to this thread:
There's a very interesting article in current issue of QDM Magazine regarding a rather large study at a military property with a very closely managed archery hunt . The data on fixed vs mechanical broadheads is worth the read if you're interested.
I'd be curious which base the paper was based on and the time period covered.
I remember a similar scenario discussed here once upon a time. Post the link.
Camp Ripley in Minnesota? Large study was done there 10 plus years ago. That study was fairly widely reported at the time.
Yep, mech head recovery rates were higher than fixed.
I know Andy Pedersen, the guy who put up that data in that story. He did my qual for hunting on Indian Head NB. He is a great guy. I never hunted there because the rules are too restrictive or intrusive. Some restrictive rules are from a militant-type, big horn philosophy, some by overbearing Navy regs. I have some pics of very large bucks there, but IMO the headaches aren't worth the hunt. If you shoot too small of a buck, you're in trouble. I suspect the restrictive regs may influence the data to some level. I would rather see data from a less restrictive environment used for the study on fixed vs mech used.
Is the 2014 article the one referenced in QDM, or is it a different one?
On deer size and smaller game I would venture to say that the mechs will always have a higher success rate. Better accuracy/placement, bigger holes/better blood trails (shorter) = Better recovery rates.
I think the study proved less about the effectiveness of each style of broadhead, and more about how few bowhunters truly know how to tune their bows.
Sample size for mechs vs fixed, was over 4 times less.
Statistically Invalidates the findings.
Used Muzzy's for about 15years and finally was talked into trying mechanicals. Ordered a set of Schwackers for 2017season. Sure enough the biggest buck of my life shows up at 20yards quartering away right behind a doe. Stuck him perfect and the arrow didn't go in 6inches. Compound bow pulling 60lbs with a Muzzy would have blown right thru that buck. I might try Rage someday but will never use Schwacker again.
Very few people with open minds will not see the advantages mechanicals have over fixed on deer sized game. I was a late convert, but I removed my biases and actually started trying mechanicals on deer. You should too.
I've tried both. Give me a solid one piece fixed blade that I can resharpen and re-use, any day.
I use both, I have killed big deer with both, I'll continue to use both ... Heck, I'm even going back to the good 'ol Rocket Sidewinder's this season, because they served me so well back in the day and I'm running low on my supply of Steelhead XL's, I will also have Wicked Tricks in my quiver ..
Every deer I lost w/ fixed bh was my fault, the one deer I nearly lost w/ a mechanical was the BH's fault. I'm all for terminal performance, but the cost/replacement ratio of mechanicals vs fixed along w/ the volume of deer being shot in some areas is reason enough [for a guy like me] to stick w/ fixed.
I’ve used rage and sevr on antelope and the results were incredible. Stunning blood loss. On elk size game I’m still convinced fixed is the way. I love when my arrow blows through and there’s a two hole blood trail.
+1 Bowfreak, too many advantages to ignore. I've only shot a few deer with them but the results have been spectacular.
My son shot this bear in the fall with a mechanical only got around 6 inches Of penetration shooting 70 pounds never found it. Those fall bears are full of fat like shooting into a sack of flour. In my mind I think a magnus would have whistled right through him. But I guess who knows.
It would be nice to here from the bear outfitters what they prefer mechanical or fixed if they keep track of what wounds more
I just watched one of Levi Morgan's "Bowlife" episodes on TV, yesterday. They were hunting deer in alfalfa fields. The four shots I recall seeing on that program all had similar characteristics. They were all over 50 yards. None of them hit their mark (1 miss, 2 spine shots, and 1 liver shot). All were using mechanical blades, and none of them got more than about 1/4 of the arrow in penetration. I wasn't impressed.
^From speaking with a few different bear outfitters, they were more concerned about shot placement (bow and gun) than BH style. On my last bear hunt, one lady drew blood but never recovered her bear. She used a fixed BH. Her hubby got his bear with a fixed. I got my biggun with a Rage.
I always have at least one mechanical in my quiver. Lots of great Broadhead choices out there . Sharp and accurate is what I want. Hunt
I love mechanicals for deer and bear
I have moved to rage on some animals as well.
The reality is most "big game " kills in the US each year are not "big game" . probably 85% of big game kills are deer and the average on all deer kills is not 150# when you figure in antlerless at well over 50% of the take and the high young buck take.
The average bear is 200#, the average antelope is, what, 120#. Boars are about the same. Even goats and sheep are not really big animals. Cats are almost never 200#
You are left with elk, moose, caribou (if you stretch it), bison, muskox and the big bears as something above 500#.
mechanicals work fine on most of the loose definition of "big game" taken, but if you are going for big "big game" you may want to reconsider.
I’ve been bowhunting 42 years, and have not used any mechanicals. So you know my bias. One of hing that I think supports my bias toward a good fixed head is that some of the outfitted hunts I’ve been on strongly discouraged mechanicals, especially in Africa. Those African places see lots of bow shot game, from 100 pounds to 7-800 pounds. Some of my hunting buddy’s use mechanicals. We hunt together and don’t try to convince each other to change.
I’ve used both. At my draw length (27”) I lean towards fixed blades. But I can see where mechanicals can come into play (possibly more forgiving, use in the wind, etc)
I will say when I used mechanicals I had two what looked like perfect shots on animals and weird reactions (not dying right away etc.). So I’m a little Leary if that. Every animal I’ve hit with a fixed blade has died and died quick
At least it's nice to see how civil these threads are compared to 5 years ago. Used to be every month we'd have a fixed vs mech firestorm. I like both as well. If I want to shoot a deer in the guts I use a big mech and when I wanna shoot a moose in the lungs I go fixed.
I also keep both in my quiver. I'll use the mechanical unless there's very little wind. There's just no comparison which produces better bloodtrails. No or low wind situations usually mean it's more likely for the deer to hear the shot and possibly move at the release. Then I want a solid fixed head in case I hit an odd bone or odd angle. Because there's no comparison which penetrates better.
I think most of the perceived advantage to mechanicals is they are less critical to proper tuning, especially at longer distances. Guys can shot mechanicals with a less than perfect tune and still hit what they are aiming at. Fixed blades take a little more tuning prowess and patience. Otherwise, I see no advantage to mechanicals.
I like to punch two holes in elk and deer, and find my arrow embedded in the ground on the other side. With the vast majority of mechanical hits I've experienced , the arrow stays flopping around in the animal as they run off.
This is from a guy who has given mechanicals an honest attempt to earn my respect. So far, they haven't.
Did you try mechanicals because you can't tune?
I always find it amusing that the one time a person tried a mechanical the largest buck they ever saw walked out and they make a perfect shot with hardly any penetration. It seems to be a common argument against mechanicals I always hear on the internet, but never in person. Weird.
No, I tried them because I was looking for short cuts to proper tuning. I found none. YMMV.
I have gave mechanicals an honest go. The first well over 20 years ago was the Pucket Bloodtrailer. To be fair the were not an over the top opening expandable. People will remember them. Garbage, I shot 4 deer with them amd was lucky to recover two. Next was the first NAP Spitfires which was 20 years ago. Shot 8 or 10 deer with them and to be honest did well with them but rarely got a passthru and lousy bloodtrails. Shot placement was the key. I than shot a Steelforce 4 blade for at least 10 years. Killed over 50 deer with them than decided to try a Rage when they first appeared 8-10 years ago I think. Shot maybe 8 deer with them, again same issue as the Spitfire, did ok with them but penetration was never good but blood trails were better than Spitfire. I have shot 175 grain VPA for close to 10 years and never an issue with penetration or blood trails. By the way shot a 90# PSE Fire-Flite way back when and shot 70 plus pound Mathews through all the expandables. With the VPA I started at 70#s and this year due to a full shoulder replacement will be shooting 62#s. I have no doubt they will perform well. Shawn
I typically shoot fixed Ramcat 100gr and they are devastating. When Ramcat came out with their mechanicals, I gave them a shot. Although a way smaller sample size, they were equally devastating. They are both in my quiver.
APauls...^^^^ amen man.
I use both and the same mentality as Bou states.
My belief, and it’s only opinion is, when both hit where they are supposed to, both are deadly.
I also think the choice plays on ones mind. For example, the last five bear hunts, I shot Rage, finally had an opportunity at a great bear... and wouldn’t you know it... lost him, bad shot.
A fixed was at the end of my arrow this year. A relatively small, super tough head.. heart shot, dead bear.
Have a great season all.
Blows my mind the amount of ppl that dont get passthroughs on deer with mechanicals. I wont call anybody a liar, but i just dont understand it. I will admit, i like a perfectly broadside shot vs quartering away so im double lunging thru the ribs, but ive killed all my bow deer with rockets or grim reapers and over a dozen with the rocket buckblaster, which is 3 blade 2-3/4” cut. Every deer i can think if but 1 with the buckblaster was a pass through. Ive certainly had some deer that i didnt pass thru and stick in the dirt, but always was an off shoulder and a short, heavy bloodtrail took me to the deer IF i didnt see it fall in sight.
Having said that, tho ive killed a pile of deer with mechanicals, i am thinking about trying slick tricks this year just to see myself if there is a difference one way or another....
I think mechanicals are great, IF, you are shooting the correct arrow and bow weight for energy,,, but those dissatisfied with them above, their proof is shown weekly on TV hunting shows, with 3/4 of the arrow sticking out...
dead is dead, but film is edited etc, so I believe a lot of those on TV have no idea on what they are doing
I will agree that theres a lot of it with mechanicals on tv. But i have to believe they r shooting bad setups for them or something. I dont get crazy about FOC and all that stuff. I just use the arrow recommended for my draw length/weight and hunt. It just seriously surprises me. Thats all
stick I agree,,, I have worked in deer and bear camps, wow, them mechs did a great job, but again, the archers knew how to set up the bow to use them..... I never did simply because I do not shoot enough weight, prior to my situation I only shot about 54lbs, not enough.......
However they can be devastating, seen enough kills to know that..... I was most impressed with the Vortex, head, that thing just plain kills
Looking back at using Puckets, G5's and Rages.....not getting a pass thru was the rare exception. The times I didn't were 2 or 3 spine shots and one low front shot on a caribou....everything else was a pass thru including bear. The bow was never set lower than 63lbs, most of the time 70lbs and a few 80lbs. I'm thinking if a shot is well placed it will hit the vitals and then exit.
I think the tv shows that can’t get pass throughs with mechs are due to some combo of light draw weights short draw length and light arrows and possibly poor designed mechanicals.
^^. You’d think on TV they’d all be easy pass throughs, because guts are soft.
“Smoked him!! Just a bit back.”
Not all mechanicals are created equal. The same goes for fixed. There are a few of each I would use, and a lot of each that are junk.
“Smoked him!! Just a bit back.”
Ha! Alot of truth in that.
I used to shoot a lot of mechanicals but always carried a couple of B Stingers for penetration on big boar hogs. Since going to lighter poundage it’s 100% fixed.
I've shot 50 something deer in my lifetime starting in 1987. 2/3 or more were with the popular fixed heads of the time, Super Razorheads, Razorhead Lites, and a popular replaceable 3 blade head. The last 1/3, until last fall, were with Rocket Steelheads. I can honestly say that every animal I shot with the Steelheads were pass throughs and these were used with moderate speed bows at 60 pounds, 29" draw length. Hoyt Vectrix XL (314 IBO), Hoyt Maxxis 35 (319? IBO), and an Elite Synergy (325). All were with arrows in the 400 to 421 grain range. I've since gone down to low 50s pound range so I switched back to fixed heads. But I did not experience poor penetration with the 100 and 125 grain Steelheads (smaller cutting diameter heads).
How do you practice with mechanicals? Does it destroy the long blades when shot into a target?
Most of the deer I have shot with mech's see the arrow sticking 10" into the earth. Then again I shoot a shade over 90# of KE... So I could probably put a judo point through a deer.
My sense, is that in today's day and age, both styles of head work great and are generally very well made for the task. Both can and do work great for folks, consistently. Hit non rib bones, and most would rather a fixed head... Hit soft spaces and a mech with a bigger hole is likely better... hit where you want and any head works fine. Try to do the latter :)
Just use a head you like, that you have confidence in, and enjoy it!
Rick, no problems with my Trypan blades bending or breaking when shot into my Rinehart target. So far, no bent or broken blades shooting through an animal, either.
Now do a study on the "failure rate of a mechanical vs. fixed".
Just the term "mechanical" should be enough to deter you. Anything that is dependent on moving or activating is where failure can happen.
When you build a house the first thing that needs servicing are the moving parts. Why would you take that chance when hunting a live animal.
People loose animals with fixed heads, people loose them with mechanicals... I feel there is a place for both - in my 6 arrow quiver the last 6-7 years normally has 3 fixed and 3 mech in it while hunting... They both have their advantages and disadvantages. Back when mechs started to become popular I would tell people "I'm a fixed guy" but as I've started to shoot more and more over the years, I started to change my tune... Everyone will come to their own conclusion but on average I would say mechs fly better and the recovery rate has been stellar for me on everything from Turkey to antelope, whitetails, mule deer and even several elk...
Hasnt been an issue in my experience. Technically, i guess my bow could fly apart as im shooting at a deer and affect the arrow flight. I dont try to stab them with my arrow because if that fear.
Franklin, how long does it take to get to your stand by horse? I’m assuming you don’t trust a car to get you there.
Ambush, horses have moving parts too that can fail. He prob stands atop a big stone wheel and logrolls it to his spot
Define "failure rate". If defined by "failure to recover the animal", according to the study above, looks like fixed blades have a higher failure rate by a significant margin.
No, I tried them because I was looking for short cuts to proper tuning. I found none. YMMV.
It makes total sense now. Sense you tried to use them as a band-aid, everyone else must have done the same.
Snyder and Bill from ironwill had a good discussion about this in the latest Kifarucast.
Embry: The Rage stuff comes with a practice head that is not sharp and is ergonomically designed for easier removal. Very nice actually
I started shooting muzzys then I decided to give mechanicals a try and went with nap blood runner and shot them for probably 6 yrs. I did not experience blades braking off in the deer or ferrules being bent, like I did with the muzzy. When I made the change to the blood runner I didn't want any bands or collars holding the blades closed. I went with open on impact. Unless I change to a recurve bow a fixed blade will not be in quiver. The heavy short blood trails just can't over looked. Last year I decided to try grim reaper mechanicals, these things are amazing. Look them up on YouTube. I would hunt elk with them
Pat had an interview with Frank Noska a couple years ago - maybe 2018. Under "what equipment are you using" part of interview, Pat asked him what BH he was currently using - Frank said Rage (and I'm pretty sure he knows how to tune a bow 140 plus P&Y/B&C records). If I remember correctly, he said he was shooting his bow at 65#'s and he took both a grizz and brown bear with a Rage (Trypan). He went on to say he would not use on a musk ox, buffalo etc due to the long hair.
Personally I have been frustrated with the blood loss/blood trail's even with heart shots from FB's, never even considered expandable's. It wasn't long after that interview I tried my first mechanical (Rage), and I'm extremely impressed with the blood loss. Now I use both expendable's and FB depending on the animal.
Generally speaking the largest naysayers of mech heads have never shot them. Closed minded loudmouths that barf the "moving parts" argument all over the internet as they fling their fixed heads off a drop-away rest and wheeled bow. Comparing a house to a broadhead is like comparing people with common sense to a gerbal. Gimme a break.
Set up my Wife with mechs (grim reaper) for a turkey hunt, and watched an arrow bounce off a gobbler's wing butt, at 10 yards. I couldn't believe my eyes, blades never opened, no penetration. Bird flew off, unscathed!
It was my first and last experience, I'm done with mechs.
The study does not address issues such as shooting accuracy of fixed blade users vs mechanical users nor does it address sharpness of broadhead used. Some guys cannot sharpen a fixed blade if their life depended on it. I know of some hunting camps where mechanicals are banned because of high wounding rates, according to the outfitter. Interesting study nonetheless.
There is nothing scientific nor conclusive about this study due to the number of uncontrollable variables.
The conclusions are valid because it does include all the variables that occur in actual hunting conditions, which is what matters to hunters.
If we all used Hooter Shooters and hit all animals in the same spot every time, then no, the study wouldn’t be valid.
So you’re saying the findings are repeatable? How many other studies support this one?
Certainly all hunters included were of equal experience and ability shooting the exact same archery equipment.... how many xbows were used? Was the avg shot distance the same for both styles of BH? Did the MBH outperform the FB every year or was it only cumulative? Did each and every setup produce equal energies? BH styles, were MBH forward or rear deploying? How many animals were recovered the same day they were shot? Distribution of FBH vs MB over the years relative to technological advances? Fingers vs release? Trad vs cmp vs xbow... etc etc. Please further explain to me how this study is significant.
If you’re going to hang your hat on “real hunting scenarios” then we all know shot placement is most critical and will account for 80%+ of a successful recovery. Does the study address shot placement relative to BH?
I also subscribe to the opinion that mechanical broadheads are really for people who are too unskilled or too lazy to tune fixed heads properly. I'm sorry to have this idea since I recognize many whose archery knowledge I respect here in the mechanical camp.......but it's only because everyone I have met in real life that uses mechs essentially admits as much right away in conversation.
It addresses the variables encountered by hunters hunting and shows a trend over its course. Of course if someone has one bad experience, then that IS enough evidence.
But we’ve covered all this ground before, with no change in perspectives for most, so “over and out”.
PS: straight arrow, that’s a broad brush you use. And it’s painting quite a bit of brown.
You cannot propose objectivity based on subjectivity regardless of the topic.
The topic will always be debated and never be conclusive.
Back to the old tater tot/All the other lesser forms of potato conundrum.
Interesting study. While not scientific, the data is illuminating and contradicts what many will tell you is just "common sense".
I always find humor in guys who shoot compounds, likely with a mechanical rest, pooh poohing the mechanical aspect of certain broadheads.
Very true, stick n string. I subscribe to the opinion that people who eat potato chips are simply too lazy to get out an oven tray, turn on their ovens, and set a timer. You can take this as a matter of fact, and I'm an authority on this topic, because almost every person I've ever spoken to while eating a bag of chips, has all but admitted so to me.
Tots must be a PA thing, I'll take my extra crispy hashbrowns every day over a tot.
ohiohunter….what kind of crispy hashbrowns we talking here? I think that may be like a cousin to the tater tot, if I'm thinking of the same kind you're speaking of. I'm here in the east, while you're way out in the west, so our lingo may not be matching up. :)
Yeah it seems to me that tot and hash brown could be a left twix right Twix situation. Or if you’d prefer, potato/potato
Well it’s quite clear we have some obstacles set before us such language and the geographical disadvantage of being in PA :-D
Do a study of "mechanical failure rate" between a mechanical head vs a fixed head. Then get back to us with the results. PS.....we already know the answer...lol.
A fixed broadheads failure is due to the archer....not the broadhead.
I always thought it was potato/po-tot-o! ;-)
"Do a study of "mechanical failure rate" between a mechanical head vs a fixed head. Then get back to us with the results. PS.....we already know the answer...lol."
And yet the recovery rate is significantly higher with MBH's than fixed BH's. That data suggests you are focused on the wrong thing.
"A fixed broadheads failure is due to the archer....not the broadhead"
That's not true in the least, there are lots of demonstrated instances where fixed blade BH's have failed - bent or broken blades and ferrule or broken welds.
There is a difference between failure and damage, let’s not forget user error. I don’t think you understand the difference Matt. Since there is such a high occurrence of failed fbh could you please present them to the panel? Much appreciated.
I don`t think anyone really cares what other hunters use for a broadhead. But don`t try to use some cockamamie study to back your choice.
It would be virtually impossible to do a accurate and fair study on which broadhead has the most "recoveries". There are about 500 variables that go into each and every shot on a wild animal and most can`t be replicated to even do a test.
Use what you are most accurate with and what you feel will give you the cleanest, quickest kill....for the animals sake.
"There is a difference between failure and damage, let’s not forget user error. I don’t think you understand the difference Matt. Since there is such a high occurrence of failed fbh could you please present them to the panel? Much appreciated. "
I don't think that you understand that the fact the fixed blades can and have failed is not the same as "such a high occurrence of failed fbh". But thanks for playing.
"I don`t think anyone really cares what other hunters use for a broadhead. But don`t try to use some cockamamie study to back your choice."
Deal. Then don't make assinine comments like "A fixed broadheads failure is due to the archer....not the broadhead", because you and I both know that isn't true because fbh can and have failed.
Something tells me if the study had come out the other way (fixed with higher recovery rate), it would have been a very valid and scientifically sound study.
Is that even a sentence? or did you put marbles in your mouth and try to type what you said? I'm asking for proof of these "failures" you site, similar to Russia...
12, there is nothing scientific about this study, if anyone were defending this had a clue... anyway... its just like the stupid BH tests that conclude nothing b/c they did not control variables, or if they do control most variables there's always a hick in the crowd that wants them to shoot an animal or put a bone in it. Which only illustrates the pure ignorance [matt] of some. Again, its elementary and not hard to comprehend.
Furthermore, a BH can fail and still result in a recovery, or vice versa, so the terms are not synonymous nor are they interchangeable.
As was inevitable, it has now turned into a "religion" argument.
This is the proper time for someone to post the scene from Monty Python's "In Search of the Holy Grail" where the monks are clunking themselves on the forehead with planks.
Im just saying. Tots4lyfe
I can't believe I'm going to say this, but...................................................I agree with Ohiohunter- on the "tot" thing....................................NOT on the BH thing! ;-)
I've hunted with both Fixed heads and expandable and without a doubt as others have stated... A quality shot with either head resulted in a dead animal.
The piss poor spine shot which I put on a stud buck last year and the the clean miss followup shot before it got back up and ran away had nothing to do with the expandable head I was trying. I flat missed the shot.
To the OP's point I believe the study may say more about tuning than anything else. The expandable heads may make it easier in the moment to have proper form and make tuning issue more negligible than a fixed head.
Also this debate of Fixed vs Expandable will never be settled.
ohiohunter, I'm trying to understand why it is not a scientific study. I'm trying to think back to my biometry days back in college and grad school. Do you really have to control all variables for a study to be scientific? Because in my field of fisheries science, we call a lot of projects science when we are studying something, say, like walleye recruitment in a lake, when there are a lot of variables that are not controlled. We still call it a scientific study regardless. In this wounding study, all archers are required to pass a proficiency test. Therefore, those using fixed and mechanical heads are all probably fairly similar in proficiency. And if the sample of bowhunters is large enough in each group, you should be able to draw some conclusions that reveal significance. I don't know what the sample size would have to be, but hundreds of bowhunters may be enough. I do believe this went through peer review as well, but don't quote me on that.
Here's my "study". I'm going to shoot what I want, draw from my experiences and shoot what works for me. I "religiously" use both fixed and mechanicals and even been known to shoot a "hybrid" now and then.
I'm astonished this thread is about 2 weeks old and not over 200 posts. Heck, the season is only like 6-7 weeks away or less for most on here I bet... How are we not parsing the blade angle and whether mech's should be single bevel? What happened to Bowsite? It's the kinder and gentler Bowsite now :)
(I'm kidding, but also being serious.... this is a relatively tame and balanced fixed / mech thread compared to most I've seen on here over the last, I dont know, over a decade that I've enjoyed the site. That's progress. :))
X2 Kota.....I don`t know why the issue comes up. I don`t know any bowhunters who care what other hunter use. Maybe people are looking for validation in their choice.
it's all a bunch of crap iv been bowhunting for close to 40 years with both compounds & trad bows I first used the razorbacks with the blade cartridge that spun then wasp then thunderhead & killed deer with all of em then someone gave me a pack of zwickeys & I enjoyed sharpening & glueing them on & discovered that with different adaptors I could have the same head at almost any weight I wanted & have used them zwickey or similar for 30+ years & yes iv tried spitfire-tekins-rage & a few other mechanical heads but I always go back to fixed 2 edge & it still amases me how quickly a wicked (scaupul) sharp two edge will kill a property hit animal
Here are the facts gentlemen.
1. "A Comparative Study on the Effectiveness of Fixed and Mechanical Broadheads" was peer-reviewed and published in Journal Southeastern Fish and Wildlife Agencies" in 2014. I gave presentations in 2013 to the SEAFWA Annual Conference in Oklahoma City, and to the 2014 Southeast Deer Study Group annual meeting in Athens, Ga, where I answered questions from wildlife professionals about the nature of my research.
2. Lindsay Thomas of QDMA wrote an article in 2014 about my presentation to SEDSG on the QDMA website, and I agreed to answer questions posed about the Study (re Midwest Link above).
3. QDMA published my article "Does Broadhead Choice Really Matter?" in their Aug/Sept 2019 magazine, "Quality Whitetails" (re the OP). This recent article incorporates 6 more years of deer recovery data into the original published data. There is no electronic version of this magazine article to my knowledge.
4. Here is the condensed version of this latest article: 181 bowhunters recovered 1320 of 1560 hit deer from the 1989 through 2018 seasons. I analyzed the recovery data after the fact and found that bowhunters who used fixed blades (1989 – 2018) recovered 82.3% of 1131 of the deer they hit. Bowhunters who used mechanical broadheads (2007 -2018) recovered 90.7% of 429 of the deer that they hit. There is no room for error or opinion in these statistics. Hunters report deer being hit, and the deer is either recovered within 24 hours (and so recorded in an independent Harvest Log), or it is recorded as not recovered (even if located days later). Note that the recovery rate for fixed blades users did not change for the two periods, 1989-2006 (recovering 82.3% of 908 hit deer) and 2007-2018 (recovering 83.0 % of 223 hit deer).
Because of the large sample sizes, It is difficult to imagine how any of the myriad of uncontrolled variables (arrow energy/momentum, hunter skill, shot angle, wait time before tracking, tracking effort, bow tuning, etc) could have biased the recovery results towards one broadhead style or the other. (Were fixed blade users the only ones to use dull broadheads?) Since all bowhunters had to pass an annual pre-season proficiency test with broadheads, none of the hunters were incompetent. The average shot distance (from 2007 and on) for fixed blade users was 17.0 yds, and mechanical users was 19.9 yds – this difference is not statistically significant. The Quality Whitetail 2019 article further breaks out how bow choice (compound or crossbow) affected recovery rates. The QW article also lays out the data management – I doubt that the Study could ever be duplicated, as the unique circumstances of getting a bowhunting program established in a sensitive military explosives production facility required strict control of who hunted, when they hunted, and the monitoring/documenting of all hunting activity, including wounded deer tracking. The strict rules do discourage participation (re JL post), but the rules were necessary to establish bowhunting as an alternative to sharpshooters.
Thanks for responding, fshafly2.
Curious, do you know what the proficiency test consisted of?
fshafly2 - thanks for posting up your info! Very cool to have the PI check in on a random internet board to talk about the study they performed!
I'm curious, was there any follow up to the "not recovered" deer? IE, were hunters asked where they think they hit the deer etc? I suspect that's to subjective and inaccurate to be used in research, but I'm still curious.
Thanks for the update fshafly2
When this study was brought up a few years ago in another thread, several people insisted that if the study carried on the numbers would reverse. When asked why they thought the trend would reverse, they just said “ well, it has to because mechanicals are no good and prone to failure”.
And as someone above said, if the stats were reversed the same haters would proclaim it as irrefutable gospel.
Thank you Andy Pedersen (fshafly2) for explaining your study. I was hoping that you'd come along to comment.
Like many others, I have found that mechanicals have advantages on smaller "big game" such as deer. I was also late to the game, mostly because I only shot traditional for a long time and now have been shooting compounds also.
Without comprehensive controls such as....years bowhunting....# of animals harvested with a bow....make and year of bow....make and weight of arrow....FPS of arrow....momentum of arrow....time of day of each shot....how many times experiment was run with duplicating data...etc etc. this really means little.
It`s scary that this was presented to anyone as being a factual....maybe for the fans but not the players.
Franklin, your attempt to make yourself seem knowledgeable is having the exact opposite result.
Yup+1. Through the years, it’s become obvious the difference between those that can back up their opinion with experience, and those that try to do the same through something they’ve heard or read.
From a scientific standpoint this "experiment" is nothing more than a poll or a survey. It`s actually quite funny that someone presented this as some kind of "study".....I think the scary words "peer reviewed" were even used somewhere.
Shoot what you want but don`t try to blow smoke up people`s rearends….lol
There are a lot of people who don't want to get it right. They only want to be right.
Franklin, please explain what years bowhunting, time of day of each shot, # of animals killed ( I prefer that vs your use of harvested , since I’ve never considered animals a crop). Also, please explain how make and year of bow is relevant if you know the speed/weight of the arrow.
You want to poke holes and criticize someone that took the time and effort to actually try to provide useful data, but provide only meaningless “improvements”.
Before you even go there, this is coming from someone who has never, nor ever will, use mechanicals.