Just for fun let's pretend you've won a cosmic lottery allowing you to shoot a wide variety of game this coming season, all expenses paid, including the combination of arrows and broadheads best suited to each big-game animal. The only stipulation is you must use a single bow for all animals. Consulting with several major bow manufacturers, I'm told the average American male shoots a 29-inch draw length and 65 pounds of draw weight. The setup will be recommended accordingly. Major differences in draw length and especially draw weight can be adjusted by moving up and down group numbers. We're going to turn this single compound bow rig into a killing machine for all game by assembling various arrow/broadhead combinations.
Notes: Specific products offered as examples only. General arrow/broadhead combos are my personal opinions, and assembled with a worst-case-scenario approach.
Turkey and Javelina: A light, fast arrow weighing from 6.5 to 8.5 gpi to flatten trajectory and make range judging less critical, combined with wide-cutting mechanical broadheads with 1 1/2- to 2-inch cutting diameter for faster kills. Arrow Recomendations: Gold Tip Pro Hunter or Beman ICS White Out arrow. Broadhead Recommendations (100-grain): New Archery Products Spitfire (1.75-inch cut) or G5 Outdoors Striker Magnum (1.5 inches, 125 grains) for states where mechanicals are illegal.
Pronghorn, Desert Mule Deer, Coues Whitetail, Southern Whitetail: A relatively light, fast arrow weighing around 8 gpi for speed and flattened trajectory aiding in longer shots, combined with a streamlined head made for pin-point accuracy at speed. Arrows: Gold Tip Pro or XT Hunter 5575 or Victory VForce 350. Broadheads, Mechanical (100 grains): NAP KillZone (2 inches). Fixed Blade (100-grains): Wasp Boss or Wac'Em Standard (and similar "mini" designs).
Mountain Mule Deer, Midwest Whitetail, Caribou, Black Bear and Wild Hog: An arrow with a good balance of flat trajectory and energy-absorbing weight, weighing around 9 to 10 gpi, combined with rugged broadheads that can handle crushing bone hits while also flying true at speed. Arrows: Easton Axis 340 or Beman MFX Bone Collector 340. Broadheads, Mechanicals (100 grains): Carbon Express F-15 Expandable (1 3/8 inches). Fixed-Blade (100 grains): NAP Thunderhead Razor (1 1/8 inches), Muzzy MX-3 (1.25 inches) or G5 Striker (1 1/8 inches).
Elk, Moose, Bison: A heavy, low-diameter carbon, 11 to 12 gpi, made for deep penetration and rugged dependability, combined with a cutting-tip broadhead designed for all-out penetration and bone-splitting dependability. Arrows: Gold Tip Kinetic 300 or Beman MFX Classic 340. Broadheads (100 to 125 grains): NAP Deep Six Big Nasty (for Injexion), Wasp Sharp Shooter or Muzzy Phantom MX-100 and *4-Blade 125.
Editor's Note: This was originally published June 14, 2012.
Whitetails make the hunting world go round. Josh Honeycutt, deer hunting editor and "Brow Tines and Backstrap" blogger, knows a fair bit about killing mature deer. He was raised up hunting the river bottoms of Kentucky. And he still hunts there—among other places—to this day.
Follow along as he shares his adventures, experiences and knowledge of the white-tailed deer.