Editor’s Note: Although you might see many articles on archery, building a bow for survival or hunting, you rarely see articles on the various types of arrowheads. A short walk through the archery section in any sporting goods store will show you that there are many types to select from. Not only are there many to choose from, but there are care and maintenance considerations too. I hope this article will shed some light on the subject and spur more dialogue on something that is rarely discussed on preparedness websites. To enhance this article, I added videos to elaborate on the specific topics discussed.. This is a guest post.
Choosing the correct arrowhead
Before making the decision to purchase arrowheads it is a very good idea to know how you are going to be using them. This may be your first time buying them or perhaps you may be trying to decide if a different type will work better for you. In either case, it is beneficial to understand the three basic categories.
These are typically the beginner’s choice as well as a good pick for those who want to get in some extra practice without the added expense of more sophisticated arrowheads. The tips of this type are constructed with a straight shaft and no barbs. The reason for this is that they are much easier to remove from a target and are typically strong enough for multiple shots. This doesn’t mean they are without risk. Target arrowheads can range from flat (blunt) tips to fine bullet points. In any case, they can cause injury or death when shot from a bow.
Similar in some respects to flat tipped target arrowheads, blunt tips used for purposes other than hunting have a very different configuration. The purpose of this type is not necessarily to enter their intended target, but rather to hit with a force strong enough to cause enough trama to cause paralysis or even death depending on the size and location of the hit. One of the most popular of these is the JUDO point which has several spring loaded arms located just behind the tip. The advantage to the JUDO is that unlike other tip types, the arms stop the arrow from digging into grass or leaves. This makes the arrow better able to be recovered. Blunt heads are for the most part used in hunting small game.
There are many varieties of the broadhead, but each of them stems from a basic design idea. The characteristic shared by tips in this category are several razor-sharp blades that extend outward from the shaft center. The obvious purpose of this configuration is deep penetration and internal lacerations. The back end of the broadheads is typically pointed backward, or barbed so that it is less likely to fall out of an animal once it hits. There are specialized broadheads whose blades are retracted before shooting them, but once they are loosed from a high rated bow, the blades extend outward. In either case, broadheads are the tip of choice (and often required) for hunting large game animals.
Equipping for Survival
When in a survival situation, broadheads are typically going to be the best type to carry, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to also equip yourself with a small number of blunt heads. If you find yourself in need of meat and the only game you can find are small squirrels or the like, broadheads may simply be over the top. Besides, broadheads can be somewhat fragile and the chances are greater of missing a small target and thus ruining your broadhead. This characteristic of broadheads is particularly important to remember in that the blades can separate once they hit their target. This will leave razor-sharp pieces of shrapnel inside the body cavity so take great care when dressing out your game until you are absolutely sure you have found every piece of the arrowhead.
On the other hand, while target and blunt tips can theoretically take down small game, they will only cause minor injury to large game and you will undoubtedly lose your kill. Just make sure that when you carry this type of arrowhead that you keep them in a closed container. Broadheads that are ready to be used for hunting are extremely sharp.
It may come as a surprise, but even some of the best broadheads are not sold razor-sharp. The main reason for this is safety in shipping and handling, not because manufacturers are lazy. Razor sharp blades would create a considerable hazard to those responsible for getting them from the maker to the retail store.
Like sharpening knives, being able to repeatedly ensure razor sharp edges on broadheads takes considerable practice. There are many techniques to choose from, but the simple process of hand sharpening with what is known as a bastard file would be an excellent skill to master. While many modern hunters enjoy the convenience of bench grinders or other power tools to sharpen their arrowheads, if you find yourself without power, those tools become essentially useless.
Filling your quiver
Once you have decided which tip or tips will work best for your application, the next question to answer is how many arrows to carry when you are in the field. There is no standard or official answer to this kind of question and the best teacher is, of course, practical experience. Some hunters find they need to carry only two arrows while others may carry much more than that. Perhaps the best advice is to take more than you think you may need on your first few hunts and work your way down to the number you typically use on a regular basis. The mixture of arrowhead tips on these arrows is also dependent upon the type of game being hunted as well as experience.
Make sure that you also consider the type of arrows you will carry. Just as there is a variety of arrowheads available, arrows come in their own varieties of material such as wood, aluminum, and carbon. The carbon arrow is likely the most popular choice among hunters because it is strong, durable, and lightweight. Even so, some of the best carbon arrows are susceptible to damage over time.
Always make sure to inspect all your arrows long before you decide to use them. Arrows with splinters and cracks can be very dangerous because they can split or even shatter. The idea is to fire a strong, safe arrow at your target, not to injure yourself or others in the process.
Editor’s Note: I added this video because it is just cool to watch!
Kevin Steffey is an avid hunter and freelance writer. He loves spending time in the field with his rifle more than almost anything else and occupies his off-time discussing deer and their habits online. He is a founder at www.deerhuntingfield.com