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    Talking ‘Bout Turkeys : Should you use a Fixed or Mechanical Broadhead?

    For those of you who are gearing up for your first turkey hunt (here in Idaho ours begins in mid-April), you might be surprised to know that turkeys can be tricky. Not only do they move quickly, but their plumage could rival a medieval knight’s armor when it comes to blocking arrows. Couple that with the need to release a shot with just enough finesse to hit the right arteries and vitals (sign up for our March newsletter for more on this), the needs to have just the perfect estimation of yardage, and you have a recipe for one gargantuan gobbling conundrum. Luckily for all of us hunters we are a smart community who learn as we go and love to share our knowledge with the world; resulting in lots of knowledge about how to bring home a delicious wild turkey.

    Now, we all know how imperative it is to aim your shot correctly, to pull the correct draw weight, and (particularly with animals that like to flee swiftly or fly like our feathered friends) to emit the correct force to penetrate that pin-feather armor to hit the soft spots underneath. However, before you can worry about where you’re hitting and the force you need, you have to find the perfect something that can penetrate that tricky hide: your arrowhead. We, like many of you in the hunting community, are split as to whether a mechanical or a fixed braodhead is better for hunting a turkey. So, we decided to start off our awesome Talkin ‘Bout Turkeys blog series, we would check out the pros and cons for each to help see if we could determine if one was, in fact, better than the other.

    To start off, let’s check out the stats on our fixed broadheads. With a fixed broadhead, you have the advantage that there is no risk on the arrow deploying improperly if the impact angle or necessary force are wrong. Fixed broadheads can also be just as accurate and deadly as their mechanical counterpoints, but they will also enhance any issues you might have if your bow isn’t tuned properly often resulting in either a poor or missed shot. There is also a potential with a fixed broadhead for the head itself to break off if you hit bone, but they generally survive a rib or shoulder blade impact better than their mechanical friends. The biggest advantage of a fixed broadhead though, is that since they have been around longer than the mechanical broadheads you generally have a wider range of selection when it comes to arrow size and diameter coupled with lots stability and reliability as well.
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    Grim Reaper Hades broadhead. You can purchase this here.

    Now tolook at the other side of the coin and examine the pros and cons of a mechanical broadhead. Mechanicals often provide a larger cutting diameter, which means with turkeys in particular that you are more likely to hit the correct arteries and soft tissues to ensure you drop your bird. The mechanical broadheads also tend to lessen any issues that might have otherwise stemmed from a bow that isn’t perfectly tuned. The blades in a mechanical broadhead can be larger since they will not fully deploy on impact, ensuring the size of the blades don’t hinder the shot. Unfortuntately, there is no guarantee that the blades will open properly, particularly if the impact angle is off. Another issue is that in order to open the blades, force is pulled from the arrow itself lessening the overall power of the shot (though this is generally fairly negligible overall). If you happen to hit ribs, or bone these arrows are more likely to break or have damage that prevents the blades from opening fully. The larger cutting diameter, while a great benefit, can also be a hindrance since it increases the potential of hitting bone.
    spitfire-gobbler-getter

    Spitfire Gobbler Getter. You can purchase this here.

    Now that we’ve looked at the pros and cons, we have to admit we are still split. Though, after several discussions we did manage to (grudgingly) get the fixed broadhead supporters to admit there are some definite pluses to the mechanical heads, and vice versa for our mechanical broadhead lovers. We decided (at the moment, based solely on the pros and cons) that a mechanical just might surpass the fixed ever-so-slightly when it comes to turkeys, but that we wanted to try hunting with both this season to see what we thought out in the field. So let us know what you guys think: Are fixed or mechanicals better for turkeys? Also, what are your favorite brands to shoot?

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TRANSMITTERS & CARRIERS

Transmitter

The Pro-Tracker® Transmitter is a rechargeable, lightweight, water resistant transmitter that disengages from the arrow upon impact; allowing for pass-throughs. The transmitter hooks into the animal’s hide and begins sending Radio Frequency (RF) signals every three seconds for the duration of the battery life (10-12 hours). You will need the Pro-Tracker® Receiver to read and track the signal.

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Carrier

The Carrier is what screws into your arrow and holds the transmitter. It is aerodynamically designed to compensate for the weight and shape of the transmitter. Meaning minimal adjustments to your equipment for the same precision. This item comes in a pack of four.

 
 

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RADIO FREQUENCY RECEIVER

ReceiverYAGI Antenna

The Pro-Tracker® Radio Frequency (RF) Receiver is a compact system with an easy to attach antenna. This state of the art receiver can track up to 6 different transmitter signals at the same time. Displaying signal strength, transmitter number, current time, time spent tracking, and current battery life, all on a easy to read LED screen. Available only in the Pro-Tracker© System

VIEW SYSTEM

DUAL CHARGER & CARRYING CASE

Carrying Case

The Pro-Tracker® custom metal carrying case helps you keep track of your Pro-Tracker system and ensures everything stays together. Its lightweight and durable design ensures your equipment is protected while being as easy as possible to carry during your hunting trip and recovering your trophy.

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Carrier

This dual-charging station allows you to charge up to two transmitters at a time. It includes both a USB and outlet adapter. The outlet adapter allows you to charge your transmitters at home while the USB adapters allow you to charge your transmiters in your truck for extended hunting trips.

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STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY

The patented Pro-Tracker® Recovery System will help you locate your kill with durable, state of the art technology. The compact system can track 6 different transmitters while using the same RF receiver with an easy to read LED screen. Best of all, our transmitters don’t require the purchase of batteries and can be recharged both at home and out in the field.

 

UNRIVALED PERFORMANCE

The Pro-Tracker® System has been field tested by top experts in the archery industry. With the Pro-Tracker® Archery System you’ll see virtually no difference in the trajectory of your arrow because of the aerodynamic carrier. Tests have shown the Pro-Tracker® Recovery System will give you many hours of use and the precision to recovery your trophy.

 

ETHICS

deer hunt
As a bow hunter, we appreciate the skill required to take an animal. We enjoy the smell of fresh air and the morning chill that seeps into your bones as you sit quietly and wait for an animal to wander into view. We understand the importance of a steady hand and careful aim; there is no feeling better than letting that arrow fly and hitting your mark. As bow hunters, we also understand the frustration when your perfectly aimed shot seems to go awry (i.e. hitting a branch or an unexpected object). If you miss, you go find your arrow and try again. If you wound your animal you can spend hours or days tracking the blood trail, hoping the weather holds until you find your kill. The sad fact though, is that while many times you will find your quarry, there are just as many times that an animal is unrecovered.
Looking back, you will find studies related to deer loss rates in bow hunting dating back to 1989. When the studies first began, the amount of animals wounded and lost is astounding, but as bow hunting equipment has improved, the number of animal losses has decreased substantially. Unfortunately, even with these decreases, the ratio of unrecovered animals is still causing concern within the bow hunting community and general public. We wanted to look deeper into deer loss rates, and focused on information obtained in two of the better known studies done by Stephen S. Ditchkoff et al and M. Andy Pedersen at al. One study found that of 104 bow hunters, there was an 18% wounding rate. Within a normal hunting season these hunters hit a total of 908 white tail deer, recovering only 746 (Pedersen et al 2008). In another study, it was determined that there was a 50% wounding rate and of that number 14% weren’t recovered. Of these deer 4% died annually from these wounds, while the rest survived (Ditchkoff et al. 1998).

pro-tracker bow huntIn the reports, we found that while many of the deer either die (Ditchkoff) or are recovered within 24 hours (Pedersen), that some can survive 5-7 days with wounds before they perish. When looking at these numbers and percentages for any individual state, the number of animals that are not recovered seems miniscule. However once you look at the entire population of bow hunters within the United States alone, the amount becomes much more significant (Ditchkoff). This more significant number of unrecovered animals has been causing animal rights and anti-hunting activists to state that bow hunting is both cruel and inhumane. It is because of this that the Pro-Tracker was invented. Our goal is to eliminate the possibility of losing even one animal while maintaining the integrity of the hunt. Pro-Tracker has been in use since 2010 and thus far we have a 100% accuracy rate in animal recovery. The Pro-Tracker system, while not ideal for every hunter, is thus far supporting the goal of striving to ensure bow hunting is appreciated for the skill it requires and given the support it deserves, rather than seen in a negative light. With technology and advancement in the archery industry, we can help in recovering the animals wounded and work to improve the loss rate. We all have a responsibility to the natural resources we are given; no one is perfect every time. Accidents do happen, and we need to be prepared for those occasions.

Literature Cited:
1. Ditchkoff, Stephen S., Edgar R. Welch Jr., Robert L. Lochmiller, Ronald E. Masters, William R. Starry, William C. Dinkines. 1998. Wounding of White-tailed Deer with Traditional Archery Equipment. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast. Assoc. Fish and Wildl. Agencies 52:244-248. Website: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ronald_Masters/publication/237609363_Wounding_Rates_of_Whitetailed_Deer_

with_Traditional_Archery_Equipment/links/54c63cdf0cf256ed5a9d4dfe.pdf
2. Pedersen, Andy M., Seth Berry, Jeffrey C. Bossart. 2008. Wounding Rates of White –tailed Deer with Modern Archery Equipment. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast. Assoc. Fish and Wildl. Agencies 62:31–34
Website: http://www.marylandqdma.com/files/Download/Pedersen-31-34.pdf