How Many Hunting Arrows are in Your Quiver?
Preparing for your hunt takes careful preparation. Deciding where you should sit, what wind direction is correct, what buck you should target and how to approach your stand takes up most of the decision-making process when it comes to deer hunting. However, one key question many deer hunters skip in this process is simply deciding on how many hunting arrows they should have in their quiver. This question is typically an afterthought when preparing to head out the door for a hunt. However, any bow hunter knows that once you climb up in a tree there are several situations that beg that very question. So how many arrows do you need for a hunt? We want to find out that answer! We asked our pro staff and some top notch hunters with plenty of experience behind a bow this exact question. However, once we dove into this topic, supplied information, and received answers, we quickly realized that the number of hunting arrows you should have in your quiver is a far more in-depth answer than previously thought!
One Question Turns Out To Be Four!
Originally we wanted to ask the question “how many hunting arrows should a hunter have in a quiver?” but this quickly turned into three more additional questions. As any bow hunter knows, a hunting arrow is not simply an arrow, but a finely tuned tool composed of several parts and uses. All of these parts mind you, require money to purchase and time to tune depending on the situation they are used for! In realizing this, the questions quickly became more detailed to steer bow hunters in the right direction.
Question 1: How many hunting arrows should you take when deer hunting?
Question 2: Do you have arrows for different situations (doe vs. buck) and species (squirrels and coyotes)?
Question 3: If you have these different types of arrows, what kind of broadhead is on each arrow?
Question 4: How many or do all of those arrows have lighted nocks on them?
The sections below dive into each one of these questions and some very real scenarios that you have and will find yourself in. Take the time to read and think about what goes into deciding your arrow selection. After that, check out what our pro staff team and hunting experts said about their arrows!
Determining How Many Hunting Arrows You Need in Your Quiver
Planning your arrow choice starts in the off season well before you have to choose how many arrows to carry. The amount and type of arrows you need will depend on what you are hunting and your specifications such as draw weight, length, and personal preference for arrow performance. Are you most concerned with penetration, speed, or increasing your kinetic energy upon impact? Optimizing your arrow to increase your probability of success is as much a part of the responsibility of being a hunter as it is based on the desire to tag an animal. So ask yourself…is your heavy or light arrow perfect for your bow and shooting situation? Are you picking the most trustworthy broadhead for your arrow? Will you invest in lighted nocks? These are the essential questions to begin figuring out what types of arrows and how many you need.
One other key aspect regarding this question is the quiver itself. You can always add more arrows, but not arrow space! Bow quivers for carrying your arrows typically gives you options for taking three to seven arrows (average). If hunting as minimalistic as possible is important to you then hunting with three arrows dedicated for deer is your most efficient option. A minimum of three deer specific arrows should be in your quiver in order to be able to make a second or third follow-up shot. Hunting within a mile of your truck or cabin may give you the opportunity to take three or fewer arrows to the field at a time to save on weight. However, that does leave you with only three shots.
Instead, a quiver holding more than three arrows such as a seven arrow quiver opens up possibilities to shoot multiple deer and carry a dedicated small game arrow. While most of the time the other six arrows in your quiver won’t see action, certain times of the year or certain hunts may result in several if not all arrows being shot! Besides backcountry, public land, or exceptionally rugged deer hunts, one such situation may be an early season bow hunt. Early season hunting often is a time in the year for harvesting does. It also happens to be during several other coinciding seasons like squirrel season. So at any given time, a hunt during the first weeks of bow season may result in not only an arrow or two dedicated for a buck, but several for shooting does, and several for shooting at squirrels. This is exactly why deciding on how many hunting arrows you take hunting should be a forethought to hunting! Let’s dive into this thinking a bit more to understand exactly how many arrows you should have dedicated for each situation.
Arrows for Multiple Deer
As stated above some hunts may give you more than one shot opportunity. While mature bucks likely won’t provide more than one shot in a single setting, planning to take multiple does from one stand set is common. Doe management is a critical part of the yearly cycle of a land manager. Maintaining a balance in your herd on the land you hunt will create an optimum environment in which all deer can thrive. Again, hunting specifically in the early season (or late season depending on the hunter) often presents the best opportunity to fulfill your doe quota and fill the freezer. Plan to hunt a high doe traffic area and make sure to have at least five arrows in your quiver, two for killing your hit-list buck and three for does. However, if you are hunting and happen to harvest two does, you may want to be careful with that last doe arrow. There are plenty of hunters with tales of shooting at a buck more than two times. It may seem like a rare gift from above, but it does happen! So to review, if you plan on the possibility of harvesting a doe or two, carry at least 5 deer specific arrows, two for a buck, two for does, and one that can float where needed.
Deer Arrows: 5
Arrows for Other Species
Squirrels know when you are deer hunting, every bow hunter would agree to that statement. To an untrained ear, the scuffle of leaves by a squirrel creates an audiological mirage and a false sense of hope. Everyone has been tempted to shoot at a squirrel while deer hunting as this hope can quickly turn to frustration. However, it’s hard to convince yourself to destroy an expensive broadhead on such a small amount of meat and such a small target. Having at least one dedicated arrow for tagging bushy tails in your quiver serves the ability to practice your shooting mechanics in a real scenario in preparation for aiming at a live deer. Small game points are also known as judo points and come in two basic options, metal, and rubber. Metal small game points will be a lower profile, three-pronged head while others come in the form of a rubber bludgeoning tip. Different heads on the end of your arrow will inevitably cause a slight change in arrow flight. Simple 20-yard practice from an elevated position with a small game head will show you what aiming adjustment is necessary. Your small game arrow should be of the same brand, spine, and grain weight as your everyday hunting arrows you use for deer to keep consistent. Target field points are a viable option for shooting at small game since they ought to fly just like your broadheads. However, a target point has a smaller point-of-impact surface area and has a much better chance to burying itself under leaves or leave a squirrel wounded.
Another species that is far more frustrating to deal with is the coyote. While not nearly as common to see in the stand compared to squirrels, the sight of a coyote will send any hunter into unpreventable violence. While it might be nice to have a small game head specifically for squirrels you might want to think about dedicating one arrow for a coyote. For a coyote, a small game head might work, but if you are an ethical hunter you will choose a quick death over a long track job. Coyotes should be given the same broadheads you use for deer essentially, however that does not mean dedicating a deer arrow for a coyote. With coyotes now a variable in determining how many hunting arrows you should have in your quiver, you really need to think in detail about your hunt.
Arrows for Other Species: 1-3
The number of arrows you take to the stand will vary greatly depending on your situation, what broadheads you favor, the time of year you hunt, and the area you are hunting. With this considered, we thought that it might help to get some outside advice. We turned to our friends and partners in the industry. Take a look below at what other hunters, pro’s, and experts in the field decided about their hunting arrows.
“I have a full quiver (6) every time I hunt regardless of species. All of my arrows have broadheads except one which is usually a judo point. The judo point is for practicing on stumps or dirt when hunting or if an opportunity at a grouse or other small game animals presents itself. The other five arrows all have the same broadhead, Grim Reapers. Every single arrow in my quiver has a Nock Out Lighted Nock on it, regardless if it is a broadhead or judo point.”
“When I go whitetail hunting I usually pack five arrows in my quiver so I am prepared for other game/predators that might show up such as turkey or coyote. All my arrows are 9.1 GPI with a 350 spine, but only two out of the five of my arrows are less expensive. These two arrows are intended just for that surprise moment. The arrows that I use to take down my game are always equipped with lighted nocks and fixed blade broadheads, but the two extra arrows do not have lighted nocks on them, just so I know the difference when I need to use one. When it comes to choosing the color of my lighted nocks I always just stick with the green lighted nocks all year long because I feel like I can see that better, and the game I hunt doesn’t!”
“When hunting my home state of Michigan I have (5) Arrows in my quiver – (3) for deer and (2) for varmints. If I’m hunting out of state I don’t worry about varmints and solely concentrate on taking my target animal with (5) arrows in my quiver. All arrows are tipped with Rage Extremes. These broadheads have never let me down yet. Knock on wood! All arrows have Nock Out Lighted Nocks.”
“We stack our quivers full, either that being 5-7 arrows. You never know what kind of chances you will come across in the woods. Locally we usually keep one of those arrows with a field tip for shot justification, after the fact. On trips, we stack them full of broadheads. The other arrows are filled with killing fix blade broadheads. We don’t shoot expandable broadheads due to the fact everything can go wrong in the woods, why would you want your broad head not to open? Each guy on the team has their favorite color of lighted nocks in their quiver and sticks with them.”
I take a full quiver plus another one attached to my backpack, TN you can harvest 3 does a day, and I’ve done that numerous times. I use the same arrow, same weight, and same broadhead for deer and turkey. Every single arrow I take into the woods is fitted with a lighted nock.
Other Hunting Arrow Considerations
When this many arrows get involved, it can often require another degree of detail and maintenance when hunting. A crowded quiver is no place to slack on care. Having multiple arrows in one quiver can get tricky so here are some additional tips for your quiver management.
Multiple Arrow Care
Ensuring your arrow fletchings are not crushed in the case going to and from your hunt can be easily avoided with the use of a hard-sided arrow locker. Arrow integrity directly reflects in the shot performance. Keeping your arrows in pristine condition isn’t always easy when traversing rough terrain either. The marring of carbon shafts are detrimental to their accuracy. Almost all quivers are detachable. By clipping your quiver to a backpack, you can keep arrows from scraping against the ground.
When hunting with multiple arrows in a quiver it is important to keep your broad heads in mind. Replace the foam insert in your quiver each year to keep broad heads from moving too much and losing their edge. Having multiple different broad heads in your quiver is not advisable due to variability from head to head. Keep your deer hunting arrows consistent across your quiver only allowing for variation when creating a small game specific arrow.
Arrow Organization Tips
Regardless of the number of hunting arrows you choose to have in your quiver, which broadheads you choose, or which arrows are dedicated to what situation it always helps to be properly organized. You can do this in two ways. The first and most common is labeling your arrows with symbols or numbers for each situation. Numbers 1-4 are deer specific arrows, while arrows 5 and 6 are small game or practice arrows. The second and by far faster way is to simply color code them with lighted nocks. Make it simple on yourself, green lighted nocks are deer arrows while red lighted nocks are small game or practice arrows. This makes for quicker referencing when you need to change up arrows on your bow.
Photo Credit: John Arman
Opening the door to your truck and surveying the options of gear from which to choose from you can easily pick how many arrows to take with you based on these four questions.
1) How many deer do/can I shoot tonight?
2) Do I have enough arrows for a follow-up shot?
3) Do I need a practice or small game specific arrow?
4) Do all of my arrows have working lighted nocks?
How many arrows you choose for your hunting adventures depends on the type of adventures you choose. Your arrows are the most critical aspect of your archery gear. Don’t underestimate arrow preparation.
Before you leave check out the NEW Contender Lighted Nock from Nock Out!