Contributors to this thread:
The Quiet Arrow
I've bow hunted my entire life. 36 years old - Killed my first on public land at 14 years old. What I love the most about bow hunting - is you can always improve, become a better shot, a better hunter, the equipment gets better.. On and on...
I'm satisfied 100% with my equipment - a newer Bowtech with all the good accessories - tuned to perfection and shoots great.
The point of this post is the prove that a deer can react to the noise of the arrow flight as much or than the sound of the bow going off.
On multiple instances i have had this exact scenario happen...
Up a tree 20' Still afternoon, doe at 23 yards, aim low in the arm pit, hit her good. The exit hole comes out higher than the entry hole - Indicating that the deer Ducked and Lunged away from the arrow. I think the deer could hear the arrow coming - other wise they would not go away from the arrow.
this is not a one off instance - i've killed alot of deer with a bow - and i'm a student on every single shot i take...
So i did some testing with a good video camera and a external microphone. shooting past the camera into the target. ( i only tested fixed blades - that's all i shoot) Vented Broadheads make alot of wind Noise in flight. Blazer vanes make alot of wind noise in flight.
This year i set out to make the quietest Arrow i could This was the winner
i Fletched with AAE stealth Max, and Silent knight vanes and paired with helix 150 grain right bevel broadheads - (unvented two blad) This set up was ALOT quieter than anything else i tested, it flies really really quiet - the only sound i hear is the thud of bow going off - and the target impact....
maybe i am going overboard - but i want the quietest set up that i can get - and i always want to improve as an archer and a hunter.
share your thoughts....
olebuck, are you talking about the noise from the arrow in flight or the noise from your bow when you shoot said arrow? It sounds like you're talking about the latter. I'm more concerned about the former- I want my bow to shoot the arrow quietly. Just looking for a little clarification...
How do you know the deer didn’t react to movement of bow limbs or string hand etc?
Anyone that’s stood down the firing line and maybe slightly forward of someone shooting knows that an arrow can be noisy. I don’t think fletchings are near as noisy as a vented broadhead. I like shooting solids for this reason. Vented broadheads sound like a Mack truck coming. Solids are comparatively silent.
I think it's also possible the deer can see the arrow coming. If I can see it going downrange, I suspect they can see it incoming and can react.
I really struggle with the arrow noise thing. I think by the time an animal can hear and determine the arrow noise is dangerous, it's too late. Bow noise on the other hand, I think deer absolutely react to and have experienced this first hand. I could possibly see on a long shot where a deer is not alarmed by bow noise, the arrow noise might spook the animal. But I question whether they could mentally process the arrow noise as dangerous and then react in time. I just don't buy it. I think the bow noise causes most reaction which is loud and sudden compared to arrow noise that gradually increases in noise as it approaches like a big bumble bee flying by.
The deer definitely hear the bow going off - and i believe they also hear the arrow approaching impact. the fact that in some cases the deer move away from the arrow implies the deer can hear it coming...
Its very important to have a quite bow - i believe its also important to have a quite arrow.
I shoot a heavier than required arrow for deer for this exact reason, a few extra grains of arrow weight definitely makes for a quieter shot. Not so worried about a flat shooting arrow, as most of my shots are within 25 yards. I also like unvented broadheads.
A quiet arrow can only be to your advantage. Assuming no compromises were made in performance to reduce noise. The sound of the bow firing comes from the same direction as the arrow so it is difficult to determine which sound an animal is reacting to. I tend to believe bow noise causes more animal reaction than arrow noise.
Stand downrange and listen to the arrow go past it is an eye-opener . Your on the right track Olebuck....
What Mpdh said above. And don’t over think things. Alert deer are often going to react to abnormal noise, like a bow firing. They are crouching to run, not dodge your arrow. Now go kill something.
When I let Scoot shoot an apple off my head, the arrow sounded loud to me LOL
That's the last time I let him use me as a guinea pig for a sound experiment...
I agree wholeheartedly. Also shoot solid fixed blades!
Jim, this is a great discussion question. The animal that I have experience the greatest "string duck" is an impala- even more so than a whitetail deer. I have shot 7 and have lost 3 due to "string duck" and missing the lungs (drew blood but missed lungs) I have also experienced that the larger the animal size , the less "string duck" is an issue. Examples that come to mind include elk, moose, bison and larger African plains game.
This reverts to the question that expands the question i.e. what is essential- a quiet arrow or a quiet bow or both or does it depend on the animal size?
Haha Carl, and that was after a 6 pack of beer!
Olebuck- the deer moving away from the approaching arrow is also moving away from the sound of the bow. Which is the deer reacting to? How can you tell given they are completely confounded with each other? Personally, i don't believe the arrow plays near the role that the bow does. Sounds like you disagree with that.
Yep, I am in the deer reacted to the sound of the bow camp. Speed of sound is pretty well established. I feel they react before the arrow is off the string. Usually the closer shots.
There are a LOT of free decibel-meter apps out there that you can use; they may not be properly calibrated to be absolutely accurate, but that should not prevent it from telling you how loud one arrow is compared to the other.
Anyway, it has to be more accurate than human perception & recollection. Just remember that dB are on a log scale, so the size of the gap may not seem like much on paper.....
It always seemed to me that the sound of feathers zipping through the air would not be all that alarming to a deer or Elk - birds must do it to them all the time - but then I shot a few arrows with “traditional” cut fletching that had the long, unsupported section in back and they damn near startled ME!
That’s why I’m getting fussy about tuning - the better your tune, the less drag you need, and drag is noise, so I figure a tuned arrow is a quiet arrow.
And I’m not a big fan of vented blades anyhow.
If you want a quiet bow, a heavier arrow helps. A heavier arrow is a slower arrow, but guess what? Drag increases exponentially with velocity. So speed is drag and drag is noise; so the quietest arrow of all is the one they walk right into....
I would definitely check out the dB meter app, though; I was at the club last week or so and my son was shooting one of my LBs, and I had NO IDEA how quiet that bow is until I heard somebody else shooting it....
Holding it in your hand, the perceived sound level goes WAY up.... Human perception....
I remember seeing a Bowhunter T.V. episode where one of the guys held up a deer target on a pole beside a building. When the other guy shot his bow he would lower the paper target simulating a deer's drop. It worked pretty much every time the guy was faster than the arrow. Seems like he was shooting around 270 fps. I am of the camp alert deer aren't good to shoot at now matter what your setup is.
Unless you're close. If you look at the slo-mo videos of deer ducking the string, they don't make the duck till the last moment. I just don't think that a deer in the 5-15 yard range out of a tree has much of a chance to duck the string. Some chance, but not much. Push that shot out to 30 and you can completely miss. I've had several Coues deer jump the string and at 30ish, it's a mile behind them. even at 15ish, you're still hitting high and back from where you aimed, but you're still hitting them.
That's why I use owl feathers....
Sounds like you wound up in a similar spot as I did. The only detail you left out was arrow speed and weight. If one shoots a heavy arrow with a solid fixed blade broadhead you’ll have night and day difference from the “average” speed setup. I suspect you got a good arrangement there
Yeah I am not of that school of thought. The reason being that I have shot self pose that are whisper quiet but have whistling feathers. The deer do not react, a little bit of extra noise on my recurve or the average compound different story.
We will have to agree to disagree at least on the whitetail deer I’ve had experience with in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri
To the guys that are in the don’t shoot an alert deer camp, do you ever stop a walking deer or shoot while it’s walking? I feel stopping a deer does more harm for my concentration then it does alerting the deer.
Anyone confused about deer reacting to arrow noise, pick up a trad bow. You’ll see it just fine.
Here is reality, modern compounds are very quiet in comparison to older ones. Deer can and will jump at the string noise. However, that isn’t the issue as much as it was 30 years ago.
Watch modern hunting shows where they do the slow motion follow ups. Often, you all an at ease animal not react to the bow noise if they are out past 25 or so yards. Instead, they continue feeding until they hear the arrow.
Hearing something and being able to do something to affect the outcome as a result in a fraction of a second are two different things
Bou, I agree. However, if your point is that deer can't duck a shot, then I disagree. I have absolutely, unequivocally seen it 1st hand multiple times.
Lots of good info here! thanks to you guys that chimed in on the discussion.
you guys that chimed in about "heavy arrows" and "tuned bow" are defiantly on the right track. these are the two most important factors in my opinion - after these two things - anything that you can do to get more stealth in your set up is a good thing - as long as you don't compromise your setup.
my bow is set at 74 lbs 28" draw - bowtech realm. shooting 490 grain .300 spine with 150 grain tips 4 fletch AAE Max Stealth - with 150 grain right bevel Helix broadhead shoots about 276fps ( been a while since i've chrono) Yoke tuned with bare shafts - right out of center shot - this bow is tuned well for my grip.
Its really really quiet at the shot and in flight.
Just a simple test you should try. set your Iphone below your target and record your arrow on its way to the target - do it with fixed blades, mechanicals, field points, and different variations and see the difference. shoot from 20 yards - then from 50 yards...
I feel like if i can hear the difference - then surely a deer can.
i don't know which causes the deer to react more - bow noise or arrow noise - but i know at times they do hear both.
“ Just a simple test you should try. set your Iphone below your target and record your arrow on its way to the target - do it with fixed blades, mechanicals, field points, and different variations and see the difference. shoot from 20 yards - then from 50 yards...”
Yep, and do it with a dB meter that records the data so you’ve got the numbers right in front of you....
If you think about the speed of sound, the deer is reacting to the bow rather than the arrow. If you've stood near a target and listened to the zip of an arrow, it's too late by the time they've heard the arrow IMO. I could be wrong, but that's what I've observed.
When your set up allows for the arrow to be faster than the speed of sound, then your onto something.
“ If you've stood near a target and listened to the zip of an arrow, it's too late by the time they've heard the arrow ”
I would like to agree with you on that, but their hearing is so much better than ours that I don’t think you can begin to compare it.
One thing that’s for absolute certain, though… The shorter the shot, the less reaction time they have. But you have to balance that against their propensity to blow up when there is a sudden, fairly loud, definitely unnatural sound inside of their comfort zone.
That’s one reason that I don’t quite understand the practice of getting them to stop with a grunt or whatever… even though it’s a relatively natural sound, it does put them on alert and focuses their attention in your direction.
I like my chances better swinging on a moving animal that might stop over aiming at a motionless animal that might blow up on me.
Seems like I read something yrs ago about a study done on this subject. I think it was decided that 20 yds was the best distance to take the shot. This was based on the noise level a deer hears when a bow is shot, and the time it takes for the arrow to hit.
Less than 20, the noise is louder but the arrow gets there quicker. Further than 20, less noise but more time for the deer to react before the arrow hits. I will say, this was done when compound bows were a little slower than they are now.
When does the animal hear the arrow and react? Is it loud enough as it leaves the bow? Is it alarming when it's within 15 yards of the animal? When? I think by the time instincts tell the animal "get the hell outa here!", it's too late. Bow noise however is different. They hear that right away. I believe the 20 yard rule. If they're outside 20, they can react.
Like the old half-joke about the advantage of a slow bow being that any deer that tries to get out of the way will have time to get ALL THE WAY out of the way before the arrow gets there...
Anyone actually have a shot clock per say on how long your aarow takes to go 20 yards? Quick math says 20 yards equals 60 feet your bow shoots 300 fps. Once the aarow leaves the bow it's already to late for the deer to react to the aarow noise. So I guess I'm on the quiet the bow down side compared to quiet the aarow down.
LOL.... There’s no way in hell any of my bows will shoot a hunting arrow much more than 180 FPS.... with a strong tailwind!
At 300 ft./s, 60 feet takes 1/5 of a second, and that’s assuming that your arrow is not slowing down AT ALL due to aerodynamic drag, which is of course not possible.
Humans have a reaction time about 1/10 of a second, so at that rate a deer has a 10th of a second to begin its reaction and another 10th in which to execute on it.
Which is not a lot, but it’s not nothing either...
Yes, and then there's the whole gravity thing. The deer isn't pulling itself down, it is merely dropping due to gravity as it lets its legs buckle under themselves. What is the acceleration of gravity equation?
Acceleration due to gravity is 32 feet per second squared
“ The deer isn't pulling itself down...”
You sure about that??
The same muscles that you use to do sit ups are muscles that a deer could use to yank the front half of its body down to the ground, and I think that if they are ducking some flying object, they would make a serious effort at it.
If a batter sees a heater coming at his ear, do you think he’s just gonna go limp and let gravity do the work??
I can only speak for myself, I guess, but I sure as hell wouldn’t!
This debate has been fought before
What??? On Bowsite???
Whatever will be next??
Besides; you brought it up. Literally. LOL...
The noise of the shot/arrow flight gets to a deer about 4X faster than the arrow does for guys shooting modern stuff. If we could deer hunt on the moon they wouldn't hear it coming.
I shoot a 45 pound Hoyt, a Ram Cat head, and a Easton shaft. It kills what I hit. Its that simple. also know 3/4 of the arrow hanging out, like on TV, not happening, the arrow just goes thru. Out to 35 yards, I have no issues on whitetails......
Do not over think it, deer have been killed for many years, just go hunt, and have fun.
The reason a deer can move at the sound if that unlike humans, they don't have to make an observation followed by a decision. They simply react.
In his very long bowhunting life my father-in-law shot two deer that simply looked up when the 2 blade broadhead went through their chest. Then they went back to feeding until they fell over.
You want a quiet arrow get a longbow and shoot 600 grains out of it.
Feathers are not the definition of quite. 600 grains arrows or not.
Feathers are definitely "quite". Quite loud, quite a pain in wet weather, quite light, and quite trendy in an old school sort of way. But they aren't "quiet". LOL