June 30, 2009
Mechanical Broadhead Debate
By Scott Bestul
“Mechanical” or “expandable” heads are a relative new kid on the broadhead block, but it looks like they are here to stay. I have used them—with varying results—on turkeys, but I have never launched one at a deer. Last year I vowed to shoot a doe with one in order to get some gauge of their performance, but for a long list of reasons that aren’t important, it never happened.
You can get some good deer camp debates going on the effectiveness of expandable heads. Bowhunters argue about broadheads like rifle hunters debate the best bullet. I have a couple friends who will shoot nothing else, claiming awesome blood trails and quick recoveries. Another buddy, a former guide/outfitter, eventually banned expandables from his camp, saying he had never followed so many blood trails that led to unrecovered deer. He lost some business after he enacted this policy, but didn’t care.
The trail camera photo above was from last fall, and depicts a nice buck supposedly wounded by a mechanical broadhead. Obviously, even the best broadhead (or bullet) that hits a deer in the wrong area will likely result in a wounded animal. Conversely, assuming you could penetrate hide, you could zip a field point through a buck’s lungs and he would not be long for the world. So what I’m asking is this: If you shoot expandable heads, do they perform well on shots that should result in a dead deer...even those less-than-perfect hits? I’m interested to hear you weigh in on this one!