Opinions about broadheads are like rear-ends: Everybody has one, and they all stink. Unfortunately, most opinions are based on personal experience rather than large-scale data that make the finding more scientific and opinion difficult to substantiate. Andy Pedersen presented a session at the 2014 QDMA convention in which he analyzed 24 hunting seasons on a government facility where bowhunting is used to control the deer population. Although the facility has a section with a 130-inch minimum for bucks, it also has many rules which make shot reporting very reliable. Pedersen speaks to the effectiveness of expandable broadheads, fixed-blade broadheads, compound accuracy and recovery, and crossbow accuracy and recovery. Here are the full details from the QDMA website.
Every year at the Southeast Deer Study Group meeting, a few research presentations stand out from the others and leave the audience murmuring long after the question-and-answer period has been cut off. QDMA member Andy Pedersen gave one such presentation on February 18 – in 2016 – when he shared his study of the effectiveness of fixed-blade and mechanical broadheads.
Many hunters who have heard about his findings have a tendency to focus their discussion on which type of broadhead performed better, and by doing so they miss a more important point. So, I’m going to highlight that point first: The bowhunters in Andy’s study recovered 83 percent of the deer they hit (1,083 recovered out of 1,296 hit from 1989 to 2012). This is an extremely high rate, on par with data I have seen for rifle hunters, and far higher than the archery wounding rates you hear animal-rights groups pushing in their propaganda. It’s a rate that clearly says bowhunting is an extremely effective option in almost any situation, but especially when urban and suburban deer populations need to be managed. So, before you dig into the fine details, celebrate the big picture: Archers of all kinds, whether using crossbows or compound bows, whether using mechanical or fixed-blade broadheads, scored very high recovery rates on deer.
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