David Petersen wrote: It’s so strange that some of our most informed and vital members, like Daniel, Doc Ashby, Kingwouldbe and Sharpster for examples, are either here every day in full force, or else disappear entirely for months at a time. Ed is plagued with serious medical problems, while Daniel (I hear) is massively busy in his profession, as is Sharpster/Ron Swartz. Still, it sure would be nice if these and other experts in their fields could check in with us monthly or so, as does Fletcher. I miss ’em. :?:(
My apologies Dave, Robin and to all. Yup, guilty as charged.
Now to see if I can add anything even remotely useful…
“How sharp does a broadhead need to be to kill”? That’s easy- not sharp at all. Any animal can be killed with a target point if it punctures both lungs (bi-lateral pneumothrax). The reason a broadheads level of sharpness is so critical is not so much to up the odds of a kill (although it certainly does). The level of sharpness plays a huge part in upping the odds of our actually recovering that animal. (and that’s the real goal, right)?
There are many benefits and no downside to getting the absolute sharpest edge we can on our heads. As the level of sharpness goes up, the level of drag/resistance on the head from slicing soft tissue goes down, result… increased penetration. Translation- A crazy sharp BH requires and uses far less energy to penetrate hide, hair and soft tissue than a semi-sharp head of the same design/weight does. So a shaft with a super sharp BH will have used up considerably less of its limited energy when the BH reaches the off side of the animal and will have a much greater likelihood of continuing through and attaining a full pass-through than a shaft with a pretty sharp head will, even when bone is encountered.
The biggest benefit of a surgically sharp broadhead is in its ability to dramatically up the odds of a successful recovery of the animal. This is accomplished in two ways. Foremost is the impact on the bloodtrail. All else being equal, the best bloodtrail will always be produced by the sharpest broadhead. Not the biggest BH or the one with the most blades but the sharpest BH. Few things in bowhunting are set in stone but in my mind at least, this comes close.
Another often overlooked and very under-discussed benefit of blazing sharp broadheads (particularly 2 blade) is the amount of flight response triggered in the animal at the shot. In other words, the animals reaction to being shot. If we can zip an arrow right through an animal in a flash, (without hitting heavy bone) often they’ll jump and look around like “what the heck was that” and not even realize that they’re injured. This is exactly what we want because an animal that doesn’t know it’s been shot frequently doesn’t run. They just casually walk away with blood pouring out both sides and fall over in sight. I used to think the best bloodtrail was the one a blind man could follow but I’ve changed my mind, the best bloodtrail is without question, the shortest bloodtrail.
When heavy bone is hit, that animal instantly knows that something very bad just happened and he’s headed for the next county at hyperspeed. Even with a perfect double lung hit it can take 90 seconds or more for the animal to succumb, and we all know how much ground they can cover in that short time. In this case the level of sharpness becomes even more critical because we’re not hounds, and we can’t scent track. The only hope we have of recovering the animal is to follow the bloodtrail, and the sharper the head, the more blood there will be on the ground.
I’ll be the first to admit that a super sharp BHD will never make up for poor shot placement. The complete recipe for consistant game recovery is: 1) Shot Placement
2) Penetration, and 3) BHD sharpness… and we need all three ingredients.