Hunting Arrow Considerations
Feature: Paul Maeda
Much like customizing your favorite truck or ATV, your archery hunting equipment can often be changed to fit your personal style and needs. There are many different facets of your archery equipment that you can tailor to fit your personal needs such as the draw length of your bow, your bow release and your bow sight set up. One critical piece of the equipment that lends itself to customizing is your hunting arrow. Customizing your hunting arrows to fit your specific draw length and purposes can not only increase your consistency and accuracy, but it can also ensure that you are getting the most kinetic energy out of your set up.
Although they may look simple, your hunting arrows are little more complex than you might think. Understanding how each part of the arrow functions can help you begin to understand how you might be able to adjust your specific set up to better fit your needs.
The Weight and Length of Your Arrow
Since the days of aluminum arrows, the white-tailed deer hunting industry and the archery equipment industry have tried to help balance the weight to kinetic energy ratio. The heavier the arrow, the more energy or “punch” it can deliver…if you can get it travel fast enough. Today’s modern archery equipment, with the addition of carbon arrows, have balanced this ratio. You now have the ability to send a larger arrow down range, with the speed and intensity needed to deliver plenty of impact at the target. That said, it is important that you know what length of arrow fits you and your bow the best. Once you have determined the appropriate length, you can begin to customize your arrows by style and weight.
Arrow weight is more critical than most archers realize in terms of optimal shooting performance. Ultra-lightweight arrows, such as those used by competition archers, will typically travel in a straighter line and group more tightly. There are lightweight hunting arrows designed for hunting that have similar characteristics. Heavier arrows will deliver more kinetic energy for better hide and flesh penetration on game animals while still retaining a good grouping.
The arrow weight for hunting is recommended for a total weight of 6 to 8 grain per pound of draw weight. It is important to never use an arrow with less than 5 grain per pound of draw weight with any bow; doing so could cause damage to the bow and cause injury to the archer, similar to that of dry-firing a bow.
Whether you prefer to shoot a traditional style of fletching or a “blazer” style of fletching, the way in which your arrow is fletched can determine both how your arrow flies downrange as well as a spine that your arrow may have. Each can impact your accuracy and consistency when it comes to shot placement.
Inserts and Broadheads
Your arrow inserts and knocks are likely one of the most underappreciated pieces of your set up, and although they may be undervalued, they can make some difference when comes to how your arrow flies down range and the energy it can deliver. The type of insert you use can often dictate the style and type of broadhead that will fit your bow. The weight of the insert will compound with the weight of the broadhead (regardless if you shoot fixed blade or expandable), all of which should be taken into consideration while customizing your hunting arrow.
Your Arrow’s Nock
The next area that can be subject to customization is your arrow nock. While normally dismissed, your arrow nock is the point in which the arrow makes contact with the bow (besides the bow rest). A nock that is too tight or too loose can affect the accuracy of the arrow. Ensuring the proper seating in the arrow shaft and the proper fit of the nock will result in better arrow flight. This is also where archers get a chance to upgrade their hunting arrows. Installing a lighted nock from Nock Out® lighted nocks allows you to not only shoot a lighted nock while hunting, but actively practice without wasting battery life. This allows you to ensure your hunting arrows are hitting their mark with the lighted nocks attached!
When adding any lighted nock, or anything different to your arrow always make sure you tune your bow again. Lighted nocks with differing weight and length can always affect accuracy, just like a new broadhead, learn how to tune lighted nocks here.
Don’t overlook the opportunity to customize your hunting arrows. They are truly where the rubber meets the road, and taking the time to give these few factors some attention can truly help to increase your success rate this fall.