Next Episode
Sun. Dec. 17, 10:00 AM ET

Choosing the Best Hunting Arrow

Whether you bowhunt with a recurve bow, a longbow, or a compound bow, choosing the best hunting arrow is critical to success. That arrow must be the correct length, straight, and stiff enough to fly well out of your bow.

Just as critical is arrow weight because that affects penetration and bowhunting is all about achieving two-hole penetration, profuse bloodtrails, and quick, humane death.

The eternal debate over which arrow is better — light and fast or heavy and slow — will never end, but it’s really very simple physics. Heavy arrows penetrate better.

The first reason why it’s important to choose the best hunting arrow is because once an arrow leaves the string it ceases to be propelled. Force, in the form of drag, immediately begins to work against the arrow, causing it to decelerate.

That force has a greater effect on the faster arrow (see Newton’s Second Law of Motion) so it decelerates faster than the slower arrow. When an arrow hits an animal, the difference in deceleration can be dramatic because the heavier arrow will have a slower deceleration rate, thus penetrating deeper.

The Best Hunting Arrow Is?


If this were not the case traditional archers seeking maximum penetration would shoot the lightest arrows they could find, when just the opposite is true.

Yet another testament is the poor arrow penetration often seen on hunting shows on television. My guess is it’s the result of some bowhunters who believe the best hunting arrow is a light arrow. Unfortunately, when bowhunters only focus on maximum arrow speed they often end up on a misguided quest.

Read more: