Title:  A Comparative Study on the Effectiveness of Fixed Blade and Mechanical Broadheads
Author(s): M. Andy Pederson - Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Division; Seth M. Berry - Natural Resources Office, Naval Support Facility Indian Head, Indian Head, MD; Jeffery C. Bossart - Naval Support Activity South Potomac, Indian Head, MD
Year: 2014
Abstract: Bowhunting is often considered as an option for the harvest management of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in suburbs, parks, and similar restrictive environments. Bowhunters have a variety of equipment choices, yet little is known of the impact of these choices on bowhunter efficacy. The objective of this study was to evaluate the deer recovery metrics of bowhunters who used either compound bows or crossbows with either fixed blade broadheads (having no moving parts) or mechanical broadheads (having moving parts). Our retrospective study relied on the daily reports of bowhunters who participated in a managed hunting program at the Naval Support Facility Indian Head, at Indian Head, Maryland. All bowhunters were required to pass the International Bowhunter Education Program and an annual pre-season shooting proficiency test. Bowhunters recovered 1083 of the 1296 deer (83.6%, SE = 1.0) they had hit over the 1989 - 2012 hunting seasons. The choice of compound bow or crossbow did not affect deer recovery rates (P = 0.108). However, the choice of fixed blade broadheads or mechanical broadheads did affect deer recovery rates (P = 0.001). We found that the use of mechanical broadheads improved the deer recovery rates for both compound bow users (P = 0.046) and crossbow users (P = 0.021) over their counterparts who used fixed blade broadheads. We recommend the use of mechanical broadheads, particularly in those areas where bowhunters’ actions are more open to public observation.

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