One of the most common questions asked by young hunters and sometimes even veterans is which broadhead is best: Mechanical or fixed?
Fixed heads, of course, have been around for untold ages if you consider knapped stone heads used by primitive man and indians around the world. Once metal could be forged, hammered and sharpened, we had new options for bowhunting. And then mechanical heads, sometimes called expandables, began showing up on the market.
Today, we have numerous options for hunting. Heads have traditional single-blade designs, blades with smaller bleeder tips, three or four blades, large and small formats, or more creative designs, such as the Toxic or Badger broadheads. Expandable heads? Take your pick!
I figured having learned about bowhunting at the hand of Fred Bear that Ted Nugent might have a good take on the “broadhead vs. mechanical?” question. Nugent has hunted for more than six decades, used traditional and compound bows, and has eyeballed or shot just about every kind of broadhead possible to see which works best for him.
In my more than 60 years (60 years! YIKES) of nonstop arrow flinging and all around mystical flight of the backstrap arrow celebration, I do believe I have used pretty much every imaginable broadhead there has ever been,” he said. “From knapped obsidian to state of the art Rage mechanicals, some beast somewhere has fallen to these various heads. I have used the various world class Muzzy broadheads for many years now and stick to my indefatigable research and testing that there are no bad broadheads out there.
“The industy competition has forced manufacturers to produce strong, reliable, ultra-sharp, ultra-accurate heads and I am convinced that every bowhunter should try as many as possible and chose the head he believes in. Fixed or mechanical, it will always come down to shot placement for the backstrap dreams to come to fruition.“
If you’re starting out, have doubts about your current broadhead or just get the itch to switch, here are a couple of suggestions:
— Assess what’s wrong, if anything, with your current setup before changing. Are you just having broadhead envy or is there a real problem? Curiosity is cool, of course, but if you’re putting deer on the dirt and the broadheads are working then why make changes? Assess this first.
— Talk with your bowhunting friends, check online forums and visit your local archery shop. Take a hard look at what you’re considering switching to and study the details. Ask questions of others to get their opinions — good and bad — to narrow your choices.
— If you can borrow some heads from friends, shoot at a local range, archery shop or in your backyard to test their flight. Some archery shops with ranges have different heads they let bowhunters use just for this kind of itch-scratching practices, so check with them. They should be able to provide some insights about the heads, too.
Some bowhunters throughout the country right now, in the midst of our deer seasons, are thinking about making changes. It’s natural, just as some gun hunters are wondering if they need to try a new caliber or ammunition. Just do your homework and good luck.
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