A Cut Above
A good broadhead can save your hunt. Here are six you can rely on.
By Scott Bestul Using the right broadhead is so critical to clean bow kills that Wisconsin trophy whitetail guide Ted Marum turns away clients who shoot poorly made ones. "I'm on more blood trails in one season than most guys are in a decade,-¿ Marum says. "And I've learned which broadheads work and which don't. So when a guy calls me to book a hunt, I ask him what head he shoots. If it's a model I've had trouble with, I tell him to either switch or find another outfitter.-¿ A bad broadhead can cost you a deer when a broadside animal takes a step quartering toward you just as you shoot, when your arrow nicks a rib on its way to the vitals, or when you make a slightly shaky shot. Quality heads are not a fallback for shooters with bad form, but they do provide every possible advantage. Field & Stream Online Editors
Before choosing a broadhead, you need to understand the pros and cons of the three major categories: Fixed-blade broadheads are the oldest and simplest design. Most feature a cut-on-contact tip that penetrates better than any other head, making them ideal for tough-skinned game like elk, bears, and big whitetails. Disadvantages: You need to resharpen them, and their flight can suffer on some fast-shooting bows. 3Rivers Archery Wensel Woodsman
(260-587-9501; wenselwoodsman.com)
Number of Blades: 3.
Weights: 125 and 150 grains.
Features: High-carbon-steel construction, Teflon-coated for smooth penetration.
Price: $27 for 6.
The Skinny: Tough enough to handle the biggest game, the Woodsman also flies well, thanks to its 3 to 1 design ratio (it’s three times as long as it is wide)-“all for a very attractive price. Field & Stream Online Editors
G5 Outdoors Montec
(866-456-8836; g5outdoors.com)
Number of Blades: 3.
Weights: 85, 100, 125, and 140 grains.
Features: One-piece stainless-steel construction, cut-on-contact tip.
Price: $30 for 3.
The Skinny: The Montec flies superbly, and its threaded ferrule eliminates gluing the broadhead to an adapter. Field & Stream Online Editors
Replaceable-blade broadheads tend to fly well out of most bows, and when the blades get dull, you simply replace them. New tip designs have dramatically improved penetration and flight characteristics. Disadvantages: They’re usually more expensive than fixed blades, don’t penetrate quite as well, and are slightly less durable. Wasp Hammer SST (860-283-0246; wasparchery.com)
Number of Blades: 3.
Weights: 75, 85, 90, 100, and 125 grains.
Features: Stainless-steel blades and Trocar tip, aluminum ferrule.
Price: $30 for 6.
The Skinny: Perfect flight and outstanding penetration make this head a top choice for budget-conscious bowhunters pursuing any big-game animal. Field & Stream Online Editors
Muzzy MX-4 (770-387-9300; muzzy.com)
Number of Blades: 4.
Weight: 100 grains.
Features: Aircraft-aluminum ferrule, Trocar tip.
Price: $35 for 6.
The Skinny: Muzzy’s heads are known for their superior toughness, flight, and durability, and this model is no exception. The MX-4’s cutting diameter is 1/8 inch wider than that of the company’s standard four-blade design. Field & Stream Online Editors
Mechanical (or expandable) broadheads offer superior flight characteristics, making them the best choice for finicky bows. Quality models have outstanding penetration, assuming the game you’re shooting at is thin-skinned and standing perfectly broadside. Disadvantages: Penetration and performance can suffer on deflections, or if the head enters at a sharp angle, making disciplined shot selection essential. NAP Spitfire (800-323-1279; newarcheryproducts.com)
Number of Blades: 3.
Weights: 85, 100, and 125 grains.
Features: Snap-locking blade system, stainless-steel blades, high-carbon-steel tip, micro-groove ferrule.
Price: $34 for 3.
The Skinny: Spitfires are a top seller for good reason: Tough and dependable, they create a large wound channel. Field & Stream Online Editors
Rocky Mountain Snyper (715-395-0533; rockymtbroadheads.com)
Number of Blades: 3.
Weight: 100 grains.
Features: Cut-on-contact tip, stainless-steel Cam-Action blades.
Price: $30 for 3.
The Skinny: The Snyper’s cutting tip means better penetration. At the shot, the blades of this smartly designed broadhead slide rearward to eliminate kickback. Field & Stream Online Editors
Bow Hunting Guide: 2006
Buy the Right Gear
If you need bow hunting gear, this is the right place to start. We’ve got reviews and field test reports on the latest bows, boots, broadhead, tree stands, and more.
Gear Review: New bows for 2006 We test six new bows from Hoyt, Matthews, PSE, Diamond, Bear, and Reflex, and break down the pros and cons of each. If you’re shopping for a bow this season, read this article. Click here for the story
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The Best New Boots for Bow Hunters Happy feet will keep you hunting longer. So don’t lug hefty “all-season-¿ boots into the warm early-season deer woods. Instead, keep your feet cool with lightweight, breathable models. Here are six great choices. Click here for the story
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The Best Broadheads of 2006 A bad broadhead can cost you a deer when a broadside animal takes a step quartering toward you just as you shoot, when your arrow nicks a rib on its way to the vitals, or when you make a slightly shaky shot. These six models, when used correctly, should help you avoid these problems. Click here for the story
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Tree Stands: This year’s best fixed-position models Fixed-position stands have not been considered particularly stealthy in the past, but today’s portable hang-ons, with vastly improved fastening systems, can be put up in virtual silence. Here are six great models: Click here for the story
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Gear Review: Two high-tech solutions to cold blood trails The Gerber Carnivore uses LED lights to make old blood appear brighter in low light. The Game Finder scans the woods for your downed deer’s body heat. Keith McCafferty reviews both. Click here for the story
Field & Stream Online Editors