Two-blade expandable broadheads are among the most popular in the nation. Models such as Rage Hypodermic, Slick Trick Raptor Trick, NAP Blood Runner, Wac Em, and Swhacker are just a few. These heads use their low aerodynamic drag to fly like target points and a devastating cut to produce immense internal hemorrhage. However, are these popular whitetail deer broadheads appropriate for large game like elk, moose, and bear? Idaho, for example, forbids any expandable broadhead for elk hunting, an indication of this concern.
Africa Field Test
Animal abundance is the beauty of an African safari. A hunter can get more shooting experience on large game animals in a week than a decade of normal North American hunting. Critters aren’t less wily, there are just lots more of them. Seeing 100 animals from a waterhole blind is a common experience including creatures from deer-size to moose-size.
I just returned from a safari with Rassie Erasmus (firstname.lastname@example.org) where a friend and I experimented with the new Slick Trick Raptor Trick two-blade expandable. The heads come in a four-pack including a red practice head that preserves the razor sharpness of the hunting heads for prime time. Preparing for the hunt, I found that the heads flew exactly like target points with virtually no difference of impact.
Critical Crossbow Launch
For most compound bows, two-blade heads will remain in the pre-open form, however, the sudden launch of a high-powered crossbow can cause them to open prematurely. In one experiment, I had a popular brand open and scratch the cocking stirrup of my CAMX crossbow. Obviously, accuracy was affected. This problem can be solved by using plastic collars that hold the blades closed on launch, or use a head like the Slick Trick Raptor Trick that has a tiny, rubber containment ring which acts as insurance against premature deployment.
Seeking a Sable
I’ve taken most African plains game over the past 20 years with a compound or crossbow, yet never a sable. This large 600-pound animal is similar in size to a North American elk and its pointed horns can quickly become a weapon if wounded.
On the third day
of my safari, I spotted a large bull sable near the edge of the Rock Haven property. Two hours of stalking, circling, and waiting got me within 25 yards, yet the bush was so thick I could not shoot. Realizing the animal would eventually come to water, my PH and I headed for a nearby waterhole blind. Less than an hour later it showed up and fell to a perfect heart-shot at 25 yards. The animal immediately burst into a death-run and collapsed 100 yards away. Evaluation of the head showed both blades intact, despite the animals opposite shoulder snapping the carbon shaft.
Four for Four
A friend and I launched four arrows from our CAMX crossbows shooting Accuspine arrows and Slick Trick Raptor Trick heads. Here are the results:
Animal Size Distance of Shot Recovery
Sable elk 25 yards 100 yards
Baboon 25 lbs 20 yards 50 yards
Warthog 150 lbs 18 yards 75 yards
Nyala mule deer 17 yards 45 yards
Rassie Erasmus has been an African archery hunter and dealer for much of his life and killed a cow elephant with a two-blade expandable broadhead to prove to South African officials that they work as well as fixed blades. From my experience, I saw that the extreme accuracy of a two-blade head and its devastating cut makes it ideal for all big game animals. Case Closed!