I killed my Coues deer buck with a mechanical this January, and now this Pronghorn buck. I will be using a fixed VPA bh for elk next month.
I had poor penetration from that same head on a whitetail doe, but an incredible blood trail. That head bounced off the next doe I shot at. Buddy killed her a few weeks later. You could see the old wound. The shot couldn’t have been placed any better. Back to slick triks for me.
Was, and still am, a big fan of the old school Snuffer glue on broadheads in the heavier weights (145 gr and up). They are almost 1 1/2” diameter. That extra mass up front and no energy wasted to flop the blades open helps penetration and the bigger ones were tough enough to hold up for critters up to moose. They tried to make smaller weight ones by removing more metal to get down to 125 and 150 screw ins and those were just too flimsy. Killed stuff with them but usually trashed the head.
The 1 1/4”, 3-blade VPA’s have performed very well for me lately. They are solid and much stronger than the old Snuffers. Have used both the 200 and 250 grain points. Although I have had complete pass thrus on deer, antelope and elk with the 200 grain 1 1/4” VPA, I really like the profile of the 250 grain and the 300 grain is even better for penetration.
Three blades tend to leave a standing open hole that puts a lot of blood on the ground.
If I shot a compound, I would set up and tune my arrows around 300 grain point weight and probably shoot the 300 grain, 1 1/4”, VPA 3-blade for about everything from Coues to moose.
Would consider 300 grain, single bevel 2-blades for bison, buffalo, elephant, hippos or other big-boned critters. A big 2-blade off a compound would certainly take any guess work out of elk killing. I would expect complete penetration, end to end, through an elk including busting the shoulder blades or even a femur if it got in the way of that kind of arrow setup…
Still cannot understand why most compound shooters are so hung up on ultra-light broadheads and arrows…
A compound bow is very easy to tune to different arrow systems and most people have sight pins to provide aiming points for longer shots.
Although more speed allows for less error in range estimation, those light weight arrows can hurt penetration and add to the noise of the shot. They are also harder to tune for broadheads due to the high velocity - causing people to go to the mechanical heads that provide better accuracy for the light spine/light mass arrows.
A heavier arrow and broadhead system will be easier to tune and provides a lot of advantages in hunting situations. Quieter off the bow and increased penetration. With the right kind of broadhead, bones are not an issue for even a large animal like an elk.
With sight pins to allow for arrow drop, why wouldn’t compound bowhunters flock to heavier arrow setups that would be more lethal even when the impact on the animal is less than perfect?
Trying out the mechanicals, "just to see and test" for my own research, but will stick to COC for elk and others. Yep, no tracking when they fall in place. Thanks for the reply and pic. Paul
“THe shot was high ( I shot high or the buck dropped or both“
Treeline, as you've surmised modern day compounds have more than ample energy to achieve required penetration. The largest problem a bowhunter has isn't usually achieving desired penetration it's more of getting an arrow into the heart/lungs of said animal. That's why most of us wheelie hunters will place more emphasis on maximizing the ability to hit the animal where it counts while still having enough jam to get it done. All the penetration achieved beyond a pass through is uselessly wasted energy. Why not take that energy and tighten your pin gaps and give the animal less time to respond? Makes you more accurate, and the animal has less time to move. Two ways to make sure the arrow gets to the right spot.
In contrast to shooting a trad bow (the limited amount I have) basically all that matters is noise and penetration. A trad bow is so slow in comparison that it really doesn't matter if you drop 30 fps from 170fps to 140fps. Either way, if a deer hears the shot, they can turn around at 20 yards, flip you the bird and watch the arrow impact where they were standing. Then laugh and bound away.
With a quiet compound, I feel like it's next to impossible for a deer to duck me at 20. Any additional speed achieved takes that "impossible" range from 20 to maybe 23 or 25 yards? Besides, once the arrow gets there, it's still going to do the trick.
As for Paul's buck. It stopped, flopped and rolled. Would it be cool to cut the spine in half, and then exit the ham? I guess so, but seeing as his shot was a smidge high, one can surmise that the buck may have dropped at the shot? Add 300 grains to that arrow, and if the buck was truly dropping that arrow with reduced velocity is over the back. All the peno in the world won't help you if all you've got is air to penetrate :)
In this case, the speed may have made the difference from having an antelope to take home to not having one. And dead is dead. He had ample peno to spine the bugger. There's simply no denying the massive blood loss from wider cut mechanicals, or aded advantage in a gut hit. They are worse on a shoulder for sure though.
For me, in the cost/benefit analysis I'd give up my extra penetration, or my "worst case" penetration in favour of increasing my odds of hitting the right goods in the first place. but that is a personal decision to every hunter.
I've been shooting 400 or less grain arrows for about 5 years now, 99% of the time with a mechanical of some sort on the end. They work really well for me and the way I hunt/shoot when I do my part and make an accurate shot. I've lost more animals with a fixed blade head and a recurve in the last 3 years than I have with a compound in 10. That has nothing to do with the equipment, but it absolutely has to do with accuracy.
Some good looking Bucks fella's,
Have you shot the Hypo NC?
So what performance were you not be happy with?
Fair enough. In my experience, pronghorns aren’t extremely tough animals. I had a friend who mistakenly used a field tip to kill one once. So, choice of heads isn’t too critical.
However, if you make the same hit on an elk, with that same head, I think you’re going to be disappointed in the outcome.
I don’t mean to offend the mechanical fan boys. Like you, I gave them a honest try, and went back to fixed blades after a few bad experiences with them.
BTW….I’m not a mechanical fanboy by any stretch, but after the results on my grizzly hunt, I’m coming around!
If the animal is hit with a mechanical and not recovered, it's the broadhead's fault. If the animal is hit with a fixed blade and not recovered, it's the shooter's fault.
If the animal is hit with a fixed blade and recovered, the shooter made a good shot. If the animal is hit with a mechanical and is recovered, the shooter is lucky.
I think a liver hit on a elk is going to be a tough recovery no matter what head you use. In that unfortunate situation, I’d rather have the arrow pass thru, instead of it acting like a whip to make the animal keep running.
The debate will linger, but I’ve made my mind up, without doubt, after using both.
Don’t get me wrong. Mechanicals have their place for some. Just not in my quiver.
Congrats on the Goat Paul
Just curious, does the angle of the arrows in your pics represent the shot angle? They both look like hard quartering to shots. Was that the case?
In slow-mo the buck did begin to drop slightly, but not more than 1"-2". M y arrows are 30" long, so there's at least 20" of penetration into lungs. I did not expect him to drop like a stone, but I'll take it. I killed another pronghorn this year nearly same shot and he ran maybe 80-yards and laid down and died.