2020 season prep

Stay Sharp

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Ive dedicated the last 2 bowhunting seasons to using 250 grain, 3 blade Woodsman broadheads and enjoyed fantastic results and while my bowhunting season still has a couple months left, my results over the last 2 seasons have been 15 deer, including several P&Y whitetails, an elk, a Russian boar and zero wounding loss (100% recovery rate) And in nearly every case, I watched the animal expire requiring no tracking. On top of that, I was able to take 9 deer with the same woodsman head (re-sharpen and re-use) so, to say that I am impressed and pleased with the Woodsman head is an understatement.

That being said, I have broadhead ADHD and usually dedicate a couple seasons to a broadhead to evaluate it before testing/evaluating another broadhead. Most recently I did exactly that with Slick tricks and Muzzy Phantom heads (both of those heads were also stellar performers that I wholeheartedly endorse and recommend) Over 45+ years of bowhunting Ive learned a great deal about broadhead lethality and especially what happens and how wild game acts from the time the broadhead enters until the animal expires. (I average about 14 seconds from impact to downed).

The shorter heads with more steep blade angles cause game animals to run farther because they know they have been hit vs game hit with long and slender heads that seem to slide through game with them almost under-reacting and often times stopping after a short sprint to look back and what the disturbance was. Typically they fall where they stop to look back. Ive come to prefer the longer heads that slip through game with effortless ease vs those that deliver a audible "Whack" or "Thump" at impact as they seem to cause longer run time and recovery distances. (just another reason I dont bother with mech heads) as a guy that does suburban deer culling for my municipality, I need deer down asap and I must have a pass through so no mech heads for me.

As I prepare for the 2020 and 2021 bowhunting seasons and additional species and states I will hunt and perhaps even a bowhunting trip to Africa, I thought I would et started on it now I’ve just ordered 4, 3-packs of the next head I will put to the test. Once again I will stick with a fixed blade broadhead as I see no worth or value in mechanical heads for the obvious reasons. The twist on this broadhead selection is that even though its called the Palmer Extreme, its nearly a return to the Muzzy Phantom Ive had so much success with in the mid 2000’s. In fact, the Palmer Extreme is made for Palmer by Muzzy (Feradyne) but it has a few changes such as more weight (160 grains vs the 125 grain I used in the past) more width (1 7/16” wide vs the 1 1/8” I used in the past).

Ive always been a fan of 4 blade broadheads and while the 3 blade Woodsman did a fantastic job for me, I like that 4th blade of the Palmer Extreme. My prior experience with the Muzzy Phantom proved that I could kill 7 deer with the same head (shoot and re-sharpen and re-use) and I expect the larger, heavier Palmer Extreme to be just as durable.

I enjoy sharpening my own heads and in fact started an entire company based on broadhead sharpening so Ive got no issue with getting them surgical sharp, over and over since Ive done it with the Phantoms. I will swap out the aluminum inserts in my arrows with brass to boost the weight closer to 200 grain up front as I get improved flight and performance when my FOC it 20% or more. I'll stick with the same 500+ grain total arrow package and 65 pounds of draw weight since its a proven penetrator on all species. Time to start preparing for the next bowhunting season. I hope to have these new Palmers in a week so I can begin to prepare for the fast approaching 2020 traveling hunts.





The 4 packs of heads arrived very quickly.



These are some seriously big heads. (1 7/16" wide)

Here is the palmer 160 compared to some other heads.

Tooth of the Arrow.



Slick Tricks



Muzzy Phantom



Woodsman



A broadhead this wide has to spin true and these do.


When the wind dies down and the temps warm a bit I will flight test them.
 

KipCarson

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Bossier City, Louisiana
While I respect your experience, some things you say have me scratching my head at how narrow minded your viewpoint seems to be. I only get to kill 8-12 critters a year and have only used about 8 different models so I won’t try to claim I know as much by any means but please expound on the following statement “I see no worth or value in mechanical heads for the obvious reasons.” It seems a little broad sweeping since I’ve seen how ridiculously devastating they can be. Everyone else I’ve seen write them off as worthless has barely used them, which certainly can’t be the case with you too right? And BTW I’m not a mechanical only fanatic, I’m currently shooting a Simmons head this year. Really curious what experience lead you to this conclusion?
 

Stay Sharp

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14 seconds for an average "Impact to downed time". What is your test method for measuring time for these results?
45 years of bowhunting and videoing my hunts and timing how long it take from impact to laying on the ground. This very recent one was 19 seconds.


I have more videos but they are linked to my company/business account and Ive been told by the site owner, I cant post any videos linked to my bowhunting business account.
 

Stay Sharp

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Dec 12, 2019
Messages
509
Location
Wisconsin
While I respect your experience, some things you say have me scratching my head at how narrow minded your viewpoint seems to be. I only get to kill 8-12 critters a year and have only used about 8 different models so I won’t try to claim I know as much by any means but please expound on the following statement “I see no worth or value in mechanical heads for the obvious reasons.” It seems a little broad sweeping since I’ve seen how ridiculously devastating they can be. Everyone else I’ve seen write them off as worthless has barely used them, which certainly can’t be the case with you too right? And BTW I’m not a mechanical only fanatic, I’m currently shooting a Simmons head this year. Really curious what experience lead you to this conclusion?
In my line of work (broadhead centric) I get to handle and test and evaluate and dissassemble and reassemble and sharpen them all and why I have in excess of 500 diff broadheads in my shop.

These are only a small sample of them.





I also set up and tune and test the rigs for many people annually as well as make broadhead recommendations based on how they are set up for hunting (this includes men women and youth bowhunters.) I also volunteer at the nations oldest and largest broadhead only shoot where I get to put all manner of broadheads through their paces so I get to see what fails. At that event I ran for nearly a decade, the ultimate broadhead challenge. The circle of people I get direct broadhead use feedback from (kills or non-recoveries) is in the hundreds annually.

Ive been on hundreds of blood trails created by both fixed and replaceable blades broadheads. I also view a lot of footage of arrow impacts in real world hunting scenarios and see the lack of penetration mech heads gets.

But you asked if I had any experience with mech heads. Here are a couple. (from my filed notes/blog)

This doe was 16 yards away and was very slightly quartering towards me. I settled the pin behind the shoulder and released. I was using a 2 blade Rage Broadhead and when the arrow struck her side, I made a very loud sound. Louder than any broadhead strike id ever heard.

She bolted and as she ran, I could see her until she hit some very thick river bottom. She really reacted to that arrow impact. When I lost sight of her. I checked my watch and then gave her ten minutes before climbing down to find my arrow. It was still quite early and I would have daylight to track and drag and get her out of the woods. I carried the arrow out to the open grass to take a photo.



This is the first deer I had taken with a rage head This image shows the exit wound side.



While processing, I took these photos.

This is a photo of the skin side of the entrance hole



The internal view shows a rib was completely severed by the blade.



This is a photo of the skin side of the exit hole.



The internal view shows another rib was completely severed by the blade.



My bow at that time was set at 61 pounds and shoots 275 FPS and develops 55 ft/Lbs of KE. I am impressed with the rage head for its wound channel but dislike the distance deer run because of the punch it delivers that really spooks the deer making them cover more distance before hitting the ground.

Here is another deer I took with a rage (from my filed notes/blog)

The Rage head makes a very loud noise when it hits a deer and the blades deploy . At 35 yards I heard the loud crack of smashing through ribs. The arrow did not exit the buck. As he turned and ran straight away from me I could see the bright white fletch and crest sticking out of his left side and the Rage head and some shaft sticking out the other side. It was a good solid hit. As the buck ran straight away his legs were wide and his rear end was low. He busted out of there on a dead run. I watched him cover about a 100 yards toward the river and then disappear into the tall river grass. I marked the time on my watch (5:15). This head really makes the deer head for the next county.

After 15 minutes I placed a call to my wife to let her know I had hit a good buck. Then I called a friend that was on his way up North on vacation for a few days and would be hunting a mile or so away from my location. I told him the tale and he wished me well and said to check back when I had the deer.

At 5:45 I got down and very quietly walked to where the buck stood. I could see the deep track where he made his turn to run and a few feet from there I found a pile of hair shaved off by the Rage head. To keep from taking up the trail I inspected the scrape the buck worked.



I had not brought a flashlight with me but I did have a small LED on my key chain. It was still light enough out to see but the little LED made the blood a bit easier to see. I had a steady blood trail to the tall river grass where I lost sight of him but the little light was not going to cut it anymore in the swampy hemlocks and cedars. Not wanting to rush it and jump the deer, I left a marker at the last blood and headed back to the farm house. My Sister, her husband and their 11 year old son had just came in from Bowhunting and the boy was eager to tag along and trail the buck.

My friend arrived shortly after and we headed back to the woods to take up the trail. 2.5 hours had elapsed from when I had made the shot. I took them to where the deer stood so the youngling could take up the track. 4 good flashlights showed even more blood that I had seen with my little bulb. When we reached my marker, we put the youngling in the lead and began tracking. The yellow grass gave up the blood very well. The buck took us out to the edge of the woods where he must have stood in a large mud puddle because the water was red. He was bleeding out both sides. A few feet ahead, I shined my light into the grass along the edge of the field road and picked up the sight of an antler tine. We let the young tracker take us to the downed deer. He was quite pleased with himself. This is what we found.





The Rage head had done its job despite the effects on the deer's departure.



Live weight (estimated) 205 Lbs. Dressed weight almost 24 hours later was 175 Lbs. Organs hit, Lung, diaphragm, liver.

-----------------
I could share more but the site owner here has told me I cant share pics and videos linked to my bowhunting business.
 
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Stay Sharp

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Wisconsin
Continuned from above.

From a broadhead selection standpoint, the things that I consider are.

Pass through: (I insist on this) The loss of energy due to blade deployment is something I want no part of. Its wasted and can be avoided with a fixed blade head.
Deer reaction: on impact (mech heads make them run faster and further from the point of impact making for longer blood trails) I need a head that maximizes penetration and slips through game almost un-detected by the animal.
Durability: (re-usability and sharpening to use again) mech heads are far more prone to damage/ breakage that fixed blades heads.
The potential to fail: (mech heads can and fixed blades dont and have never failed me or broken) When I am on a traveling hunt, I wont tolerate or invite failures.

Some would ask why I would not include flight/tunability. The reason is that I own that, not the broadhead maker. I can tune my gear to get all heads to fly well.

Some would ask why I would not include sharpness. The reason is that I own that (and I started an entire company based on that)

There is a reason there are guides that refuse to take hunters using mech heads. All that said, if a person only hunted small game like deer, antelope and black bear, and they are willing to tolerate the higher failure rate of mech heads compared to a fixed blade head. When it comes to hitting a major boney mass, the fixed blade head is far superior.

Lastly, when I say I dont use mech heads because " I see no worth or value in mechanical heads for the obvious reasons.” its because I dont just hunt small game like deer and black bear. When I commit to a head for 2 seasons of evaluation so I can make recommendations to others, I do so knowing I may be hunting large/animals that could weigh 2000 pounds or more. I would never consider a mech head for such species. I dont know what species and where I will be hunting over the next two years. It may be Africa or other places and it may be some really big critters. I set up with a head that I expect to work 100% of the time from wood chucks to Water buffalo without having to worry if it will work or fail. When it comes to broadheads, I am opinionated but it come from decades of direct experience and testing. As I reflect back on the last 23 months and the 24 animals (10 diff species ranging in weight from 10 pounds to 2000 pounds) there is only 2 instances where the broadhead did not pass out the far side, (my Vancouver bull in Hawaii and an elk but the broadhead on the elk ended up passing through the far side shoulder requiring a pliers to extract the head from the bone. The head rested just below the hide on the far side) The total live weight of all the critters I took in the process of testing bowhunting gear in those 23 months has been 7,655 lbs.

The people I deal with to set them up for bowhunting dont always take my recommendations and fall prey to slick mech head advertising. I get to see and hear the after effects and even participate in their blood trails. I cant tell you all the times that real world blood spilling has converted those bowhunters from mech heads to a good solid fixed blade head.

Here is an example of a person that came to me to set him up for a American bison hunt. I built him 700 grain arrows and set him up with woodsman heads because of the frozen woolly carpet. This is not a species or situation for ANY mech head for obvious reasons yet I can list any number of fixed blade heads that will work flawlessly.



He returned to my shop for a head recommendation for his African hunt because the African outfitter would not allow mech heads "for obvious reasons". For that hunt I set him up with RMS gear Cuttroat single bevel heads.



 
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Stay Sharp

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All that said in response you your question, since I get to see and handle and evaluate all broadheads (looking forward to the fast approaching ATA show) If there were a current production mech head that I would consider, it would be the Afflictor. After working with them and making suggestions for how to improve the heads (that they employed) and after they sent me all the versions, I am considering killing some stuff with them to check them out.

The same can be said with Zeus after working with them (and because they are making a heavy version). While they are not a typical mech head since they close on impact rather than open, after handling them and working with the owner, I would consider killing with them.

At the same time, there are fixed blade heads I would never consider using. Actually there are many of them.
 

KipCarson

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Bossier City, Louisiana
Good grief Ron! In your alligator post you told me you weren’t into long write ups! I won’t argue your point about game reaction but to me it matters little since most I’ve shot with mechanicals have died in sight or under 100 yards, all in seconds. I might actually try a really long tapered head on a few deer next season to see if I get the more mild reactions you talk about. I’d personally rather have a better blood trail, an area in which the fixed blades don’t perform as well on, imo. Dead fast is dead fast regardless of the head, and I’m not having to try to make them die in the same backyard I shot them in. I also wouldn’t shoot a mechanical a water buffalo either but I also don’t shoot anything like water buffalo either so there’s that.
I think my main criticism is when you use “no worth or value for obvious reasons” you come across as a know-it-all who obviously doesn’t know it all. There is definitely worth and value to mechanicals in different situations and all of your reasons against them are not instantly obvious to people who have never had them fail. Blanket absolute statements are usually not entirely accurate and when I see people make them it makes me take everything said by them with a grain of salt. Kudos to you on your meticulous data and record keeping. You at least have evidence to support your arguments beyond verbal anecdotes, good luck with the rest of the season.
 

Stay Sharp

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I’m not having to try to make them die in the same backyard I shot them in.
Regardless of what state Im bowhunting or what species im running an arrow through, bringing down game as soon as possible is the goal and if "back yard" were a unit of measure, Id like to bring them all down in that unit. Number 1 in achieving that is not scaring them into the next county with the impact of the broadhead. Since I control that, I opt for heads that slip through with as little "punch" or "thwack" as possible while inflicting maximum hemorrhage. Shot placement is also key in this equation.
 
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I'm not one to argue with that much experience, but I have taken mule deer at 70yds. and antelope at 90yds. with a wasp mechanical and dropped them both in there tracks. I really think it boils down to your set up. The mule deer I used a 510gr. gold tip hunter pro. 70 pound draw. The antelope I used a 420gr. micro diameter shaft with 70 pound draw. I've seen them all fail with the wrong set up to.
 

Stay Sharp

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What you described boils down to shot placement. You must have spined them in order to drop them in their tracks. Likely they dropped by the time the arrow covered such great distances.
 

ajricketts

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-----------------
I could share more but the site owner here has told me I cant share pics and videos linked to my bowhunting business.
Am I the only one that is getting really tired of this part? Listen, I'm pretty sure that all of us here like and support Mr. Newberg. His strict moderation is what has kept this site such a nice place rather than all of the other crapshoots on the web. We get it (and we support it), he doesn't allow you to post links to your business (also know as "marketing" for free). The disclaimer is not needed.
 

Stay Sharp

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He asked, I thought it the right thing to do to answer him. If I didnt answer, he (or others) would ask again. What you mistook as a disclaimer was an answer/explanation.
 

Stay Sharp

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Mid Jan and I was able to try out the new Palmer extreme 160 heads while removing more deer for the municipality. (this was the 14th deer since Jan. of last year.) The results from this head are impressive. This old gal was very noticeably limping on her right hind leg. I made a double lung pass through resulting in an 8 second run before this big old doe fell.

















One dew claw was on the opposite of the foot.

 
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