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Feathers VS Vanes
Just thought about this topic today. Arrows fletched with feathers seem to fully penatrate (blow thru) way better then those fletched with plastic vanes. Feathers will fold down to the shaft when going through an animal but plastic remains rigid and can/will impede penatration. I have a buddy that refletches my arrows with feathers on a bitzenburger jig if I buy shafts that come with plastic vanes. Old school. I just like feathers. Have never thought about this topic until today. I wrapped my hand around a shaft with feathers and one with vanes and slid it down to the nock. No question, the vanes would not penatrate as well as feathers all else being equal. No idea if this topic has ever been brought up before? (If so, I've never seen it)
Just a rambling thought I Felt had merit.
Yeah they penetrate a little better… but there are a few good reasons almost everyone shooting a compound uses vanes.
For what it’s worth.. I don’t believe I’ve ever shot an arrow with vanes… I know for a fact I’ve never killed an animal with them…
I’ve been shooting feathers most of the time for 45 years. And am fletching up some arrows right now, 3” four fletch. I have used vanes occasionally, but prefer feathers. I suspect your theory of better penetration is correct, to a small degree. I use feathers cause I like the looks and I believe they stabilize arrows a bit better than vanes. And they’re lighter, helping FOC.
I've shot both off my 60 #Frankenbow, never seen a difference in penetration on deer, hog or bear
I haven't shot feathers for many years. I prefer vanes mostly due to durability and the VAST number of sizes, shapes, colors, and materials.
If this is affecting penetration your setup is marginal. Better to add some arrow weight and maybe up your foc a bit.
Your assumption is likely technically accurate, and practically irrelevant In terms of making up material enough difference to justify feathers over veins on a penetration argument
I was a feather guy for a long time and then switched. It’s just so much less hassle and one less thing to worry about in adverse conditions.
I use both feathers and vanes. I practice exclusively with vanes and hunt mostly with feathers. I have both in my quiver but unless they are wet I use the feathered arrow. I feel that feathers provide better stabilization but that is not the main reason that I use them. If a feather touches part of the bow or a branch or grass it will collapse whereas a vane deflects. When vanes hit an animal, I believe that they alarm them a lot more and the animal may run harder and farther. Feathers collapse and if I am shooting a sharp fixed blade head the animal will not react as hard. Having the animal travel a very short distance and then stop to try to figure out what just happen can be very beneficial.
how can an animal differentiate between the event of the broadhead hitting them and the vane end passing through. the front and back of the arrow is two feet apart. the arrow is going at least 250 FPS. the time interval between head and fletching contact is < 1/100th of a second. I don't think they can separate the sensations of those two parts of the shaft impacting them. on a partial maybe there is some "hang up" but at that point the animal has bigger things on it's mind than that i suspect.
this sorta reminds me of the single bevel vs. double bevel broadhead. there is no discernible difference and yes, i have read ashby's report. if your choice makes you more confident, i am all for it.
but, no one left the woods or mountains with an unfilled tag because they used plastic vanes rather than feathers.
Bou"Bound I hope that I did not say that the deer can separate the impact of the head vs the fletching. What I am saying is that because the vanes are rigid, IMO, they impact harder than the feathers and therefore may cause a greater reaction. I also shoot animals with vanes and I am certainly not saying that vanes are not totally acceptable.
Just sharpen up the edge of your vanes and BOOM…. No more penetration issues. :)
I'm guessing PLENTY Ron. If stiff plastic vanes created extra (thump) and prohibit a complete pass thru and that animal takes off running with an arrow still in it, the "freak out" factor can lead to running farther. Been shooting feathers for 40+ years and hAve watched many deer run, stop and tip over with full pass-through. As in, ( didn't know what happened) . I have shot plenty of deer with vanes also and feel they just seem to run less hard when shot with an arrow with feathers. All else being equal. Maybe Lusk will see this and figger out a perfect penatration medium that he could test it?
I love everything about feather except hunting in the rain with them. That said, I used 3” 4 fletch feather because I believe it gives me the most stable accurate arrow. If someone has a suggestion for a lower profile vane for 4 fletch I’m listening-always love to tinker with my setup. Seriously considering heat vanes for next year but I really don’t hunt in the rain so….not sure it’s worth the change.
Feathers require thought and vanes not so much so it’s a no brainer for me.
Those are pretty much my thoughts too Rocky. Feathers are too high maintenance for my liking.
Simple.......Just use FlexFletch vanes.
I like feathers. With that said my arrows are longer than a deer is wide. There's an exit hole before the vanes touch the deer. May affect if the arrow is stuck in the dirt behind him or not, but both should have exit holes unless bone is involved.
Folks been using vanes for 60 or So years. Shooting them out of recurves/longbows, compounds of all generations and crossbows. On wood arrows, aluminium, glass and carbon. In fact until the resurgence of the popularity of "traditional" archery several years ago there were likely as many or more folks shooting vanes as feathers. For hunting and other uses.
If there were a significant difference in the reaction of animals hit with feathers as opposed to vanes, I think it would have probably been "studied" before now.
But that being the case you should use what you are comfortable with.
I use hairspray on my feathers. Keeps them waterproof.
If I have to depend on a feather or vane penetration to kill a deer I have bigger problems. For me vanes with the compound and feathers out of my recurve. Its all about flight not penetration.
White Rain from the dollar store or spray starch. I've used it for years when I felt the need.
"I'm guessing PLENTY Ron."
My guess is it is the same percentage as those middle age in good health that died from covid. statistically zero.
Shooting arrows over 65 years & taken a lot of various critters with feather & vanes. I use an arrow with a total weight of 500 grns & a 3 blade fixed head (45+ years now). I "expect" a pass thru into the ground or beyond. Feather or vanes is not a factor for me. I've bowhunted in every kind of weather you can imagine & competed in it too. Never water proofed a feather yet & no problems either. I prefer feathers for 2 reasons, I like them & I think they are more forgiving when "I" make a mistake.. I switch back & forth just because. I do build/repair all the arrows for myself & family (8 shooters). I also had a full time shop/lanes from 1964 thru 1982 & the mid 70s is when Vanes became more common. The 1st vanes that came out (I think Arizona) were extremely stiff & no flex "at all" . If memory serves me right my customers were about 50-50 in the 70s. I know I built 90% of the arrows for my shop & made equal of both. I also know I stocked several thousand feathers for sale in those days. It's still a personal choice. I know now a days at a tournament & a group of 4 I am usually the only one with feathers. Photo, 50 yds NFAA Target Nationals-my red feathers among the vanes. Oh Veins are for carrying blood. Vanes is for arrows. Oh, I had one run out of "gas". Black pink won the Nationals & red feathers were 2nd after 2 days of competition & 150 arrows.
If your vane deflects off of something, your fixed blade broadhead already did too. Switched to vanes when I still lived in Michigan because of weather and have just stuck with them. Feathers do definitely have better flight but if your rig is tuned I don’t think it’s a big issue. I do shoot feathers on all my indoor paper tournament arrows for the forgiveness.
For traditional shooter agree 100% feathers are king or for indoor 20yd stuff but with high performance compound speeds imo your asking for trouble those things whistle so bad in flight their is no way an animal is not gonna hear them coming and likely duck or react more potentially ending up with more high or marginal shots
Feathers are the girl you date. Vanes are the girl that you marry.
Feathers are just one more thing to worry about. High maintenance. Especially in a wet environment like the Pacific Northwest or Kodiak.
By the time the vein hits hide I’ve already got like 26” of penetration and if I haven’t hit the goods by then it’s a moot point. Just like the whole argument here IMO
I love feathers and have used them on and off for years. I just love how they look, especially the barred feathers, and they stabilize an arrow great. I've thought about the penetration thing and I think there is some merit to it. I don't buy the deflection thing. It might deflect less, but it will still mess up your point of impact significantly. I've been using Blazers lately just because I bought a bunch and they are great, weather resistant, and relatively cheap. Feathers are expensive. Feathers are great for the high FOC guys.
I use feathers because I shoot off the shelf. I use to use a Bear Weather rest at times, I'd take along a couple arrows with vanes in case of rainy weather.
If I did shoot a compound I'd still use feathers most of the time.
Seriously does penetration really matter when your all the way to the feathers.
Been shooting feathers oit of a compound for more than four decades. Choice has zero to do with penetration though. Fixed blade broadheads and helical feathers are an accurate combination IMO.
Don, I would think the arrow leaving the animal would allow for more blood coming out than having the arrow still in the exit hole. But I agree, with you that two holes is the most important thing.
With the arrow sticking that far out the other side of a whitetail there’s a good chance the deer will pull it out if it does not get nocked out running off.
“With the arrow sticking that far out the other side of a whitetail there’s a good chance the deer will pull it out if it does not get nocked out running off.”
Yup, and I bet that spooks the hell out of ‘em!
I’m not saying vanes would make any appreciable difference and I’m gonna shoot feathers (mostly) anyway. But JMO, feathers are more/just as likely to produce a clean pass-through due to settling the arrow more quickly than vanes (more drag through the air) than due to less drag inside the animal.
“ Don, I would think the arrow leaving the animal would allow for more blood coming out than having the arrow still in the exit hole.”
That, and they generally won’t run as hard after a full pass through. Some animals won’t stop if they feel (or perhaps see) the arrow. Better to have them run 50 yards, stop, and die right there than have a 200 yard death run with the blood sign more spread out due to their speed.
Only problem with a 50 yard dash is that if they aren’t completely expired, you can bump them just getting out of your tree, so mark the spot and hunt another hour…