Which is better, a light, fast arrow or a slower, heavier shaft that carries more mass to the target? For 3-D shooters, the answer is easy: Competitors typically shoot the lightest arrows allowed. Hunters face a different situation, since the arrow must not only fly accurately and hit the target where aimed, but also penetrate and provide a lethal, humane result. The laws of physics take the side of mass, yet Sir Isaac Newton wasn’t a bowhunter; many archers prefer to use the fastest arrow they can. Bill Badgley weighs in on the side of mass in his post, “Momentum Beats Speed for Lethal Arrow Hits.” See if you agree.

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Lethal shots without wounding deer are every ethical hunter’s top priority, and shot placement and an understanding of anatomy are paramount. However, momentum should be the most important part of arrow selection if we want to achieve every ethical bowhunter’s top priority.

The archery industry and too many bowhunters have a fascination with the speed of an arrow. If 3-D shooting is your only quest, speed is the major factor, and you don’t need to be concerned with momentum. If you are a deer hunter striving for quick, clean, humane kills, then it’s all about momentum. Much has been written about this subject, but little of it seems to be put into practice…

Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.