The Daily, The Woods

Shoot lower draw weights

An accurate shot with a lower-poundage bow can be deadly.

Even big bucks can be killed with sharp broadheads and low draw weight. Doubt that? Well, don’t bet big money against it.

I’ve seen it thousands of times over the past 30 years as more hunters are drawn to bow hunting. The strongest looking guy on a 3-D course has muscles in his spit, and he delights in telling others how he pulls 92 pounds or some such thing.

He tells others he is dead-on at 60 yards, and his arrow speed is well over 340 feet-per-second. He usually insults other hunters by asking them how much weight they draw, as if it’s any of his business.

Be more comfortable and accurate: shoot lower draw weight.

If they answer 55 pounds, 60 pounds or 65 pounds, he criticizes them for not shooting more poundage. Such jokers attend one or two 3-D shoots, and then wonder why no one wants to shoot with him. Such people can become intimidating bores. Shooting high draw weights can be dangerous to your health.

Other than because of a personal belief, there is very little need why any sane person should be pulling 90 pounds or more. It’s not needed, and drawing so much weight doesn’t make most people a better archer.

In fact, one could argue the case that too much draw weight can make them a worse shot. How so?

It’s easy. Anyone who draws that much weight is an accident waiting for a place to happen. There used to be a guy I knew, and he had to retune his bow after every four or five shots. The vibration of the shot was so violent his bow would go out of tune. Watching it explore made some people want to take up croquet.

Once, the bow blew up when he shot an arrow much too light for his draw weight. The bow disintegrated in his hand, and only through sheer good fortune, did he escape serious injury. He was cut up some when things started flying off his bow.

Trust me — shooting too much draw weight can be hazardous to your health.

A month later, as he cranked his bow up another two pounds, he drew it back with visible difficulty, and shot one arrow. It was on the second shot that he blew out a couple of shoulder muscles, and the last thing I knew he was pulling 55 pounds. His he-man days had painfully ended.

Heavy draw weight can cause lasting damage to back and shoulders.

He no longer razzs other hunters about their meek draw weight. He learned a lesson he’ll never forget. Too much draw weight can cause long-lasting injuries.

The one thing such macho guys believe is that pulling heavy-duty weight helps them. Another guy I once knew cranked his bow up to 85 pounds, and he knew he was teetering on the ragged edge of too much draw weight. He gritted his teeth, and when he shot, he would miss the kill zone by a foot or more. He wounded too many dee that couldn’t be recovered, and also wound up hurting himself. He no longer hunts with a bow.

Most of the deer shot in Michigan and other states are taken at 20 yards or less. It doesn’t take a heavy draw weight to shoot a razor-sharp broadhead through a deer with 35-40 pounds.

One woman I know is extremely accurate. She has good eyes, good form, and has shot over 300 chipmunks and red squirrels around her home using a bow and arrow. She rarely misses, and if she draws on either one of the small rodents, it was dead but doesn’t know it yet.

She gradually built up her strength to draw 40 pounds, and she shoots deer every year. She shoots arrows clean through the deer with a two-blade broadhead, and that points out the two things any bow hunter needs to be effective in the deer woods. They need to be able to be accurate, and must shoot arrows tipped with razor-like broadheads.

Shooting accurately with razor-sharp broadheads is important.

It’s hard to over-emphasize what sharp broadheads mean.

Most factory broadheads are not razor sharp. If you shoot a replaceable blade broadhead, choose one with the sharpest possible blades. If you choose a fixed-blade broadhead, choose a two-blade head than can be sharpened by hand.

We use a flat file to get the broadhead reasonably sharp, and then we put the finishing touches on with a stone. The tiny burrs on the edge are removed on a leather strop like the ones barbers once used to shave with.

It doesn’t require he-man strength to shoot a deer. It does require accurate shot placement, and very sharp broadheads. A bow shooting an arrow at 180 feet-per-second or faster, and an arrow tipped with a very sharp broadhead, is far more effective than a bad hit from an arrow traveling 300 feet-per-second. Too much draw weight can lead to target panic and flinching.

It’s a matter of concentration and skill rather than one of brawn and bluster. A cool hand, under pressure, can place an arrow accurately, and the sharp broadhead does the rest.

Which of these two scenario do you think works the best?


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