One night while driving down main street with a friend, a black cat emerged from out of nowhere and crossed right in front of us. We were in mid-conversation when the abruptness occurred and I was so taken back that I just hit the breaks, made a u-turn, and re-routed to the next block over. For a moment it turned really quiet in the truck as my buddy turned and stared at me in pure amazement.
“Oh you have got to be kidding me right now,” he said, as I hopped the curb and turned around. “Are you really turning around because of that stupid myth about black cats crossing the road?”
I turned and smiled back at him saying yes sir, I surely am. Because we have all night long to get to where we’re going, and there is absolutely no sense at all in gambling with the odds. So why would we chance it? He just shook his head and said boy, you beat everything.
Now with that said, had we held the course that night and ignored the warnings, sure we probably would have made it out of there alive. But I can promise you this much, if the odds weren’t in our favor, and they rarely ever are, we may just as likely had gone around the next bend and had a big gnarly oak tree come crashing down across the hood of the truck. See why it’s smart to air on the side of caution?
I like to apply the same concepts in deer season when selecting a dependable broad head for hunting. This is the part where many of us will become divided, and for those of you on my side of the fence I commend you. Personally, I despise mechanical heads. Anything mechanical is likely to break down at any given point. Yet a fixed blade will perform its duty every time, a fact that can not be disputed. Sure, a well placed shot is everything and that can not be disputed either. But in my experiences along with countless others, sometimes a well placed shot doesn’t coincide with the right kind of angle.
I have been cussed up one side and down the other by friends of mine who disagree, but it wasn’t they who lost one of the biggest deer in their life either.
I was first turned on to the NAP Bloodrunner when I witnessed the pure amount of gore that it’s wounds produced on big game animals. After watching several highlight reels on youtube, I went straight to the archery shop and purchased my first 3-pack of triple blade NAP’s. The first morning out went like clock work. An old fat doe came waltzing in broadside at 25 yards and as she walked behind a tree, I drew back. Within moments she was in clear view and I released, smashing her right through the arm pit with a perfect heart shot. The wound was devastating as she ran a short distance and killed over. After assessing the damage, I was very pleased with my results to say the least.
It’s important to note what I said about the shot angle she presented me. She was 25 yards, presenting a perfect broad side shot. Just the kind of shot we all practice down range. Fast forward one month to the first week of November. I was hunting in an old grave yard stand underneath a brushy pin oak without the least bit of activity happening around me. It was warm, the wind was howling, and by 9:30am I’d had enough. After standing up to stretch my bones I was shocked to see a massive 11 point standing directly under me, stretching out from end to end as if he had just arisen from his own bed as well. Immediately I froze, careful not to bat an eye as he checked his surroundings. Slowly I reached for my bow as he walked away, disgusted with myself for not being any more patient.
I could see nothing but hindquarters and horns as he walked straight away from me. Eventually he put his head down to feed and I came to full draw, praying for that one moment that he may take one hard step to the right and give me his ribs. Finally, after holding a long stance with his head held high, he took one slight step to the right, exposing enough of his ribs that if I should hit his back rib just right, it would surely angle right through his chest and out his opposite shoulder.
POP! I nailed his back rib as perfect as you could hope for, but what happened next has haunted me every since. Instead of holding true path, the arrow instantly whipped to the flank side as the rib deflected the mechanical and sent it streaking up the side of his rib cage. It ripped all the way down his side until the broad head hit his right shoulder and stopped, flimsily hanging out of him with more than 3/4 of the shaft showing. Instantly the buck humped up and took off in a short stepping fashion, obviously hurt but not going down. We gave him two hours before going in on his trail and was relieved to find a massive blood trail for the first 60 yards, but it slowly dwindled to drips and spots until we could no longer follow him.
For the next 4 days we searched and we combed, bringing two different dogs in along with an experienced alaskan brown bear guide for good measure. We found old carcasses of hogs that had been lost and plenty of bones from other years past, but no sign of Brutus. That happened in 2011, and now going on five years later I haven’t shot a mechanical blade since. I always thought that if I had been using a fixed blade head, such as the Magnus or Steel Force design, my arrow would have kept its path and drove through the ribs like I had intended too. Mechanical designs can be devastating for broadside shots, but absolutely worthless for quartering away shots due to their flimsy blade designs. Its also important to point out that a large number of mechanicals are no longer useable after smashing through a deer because of the damage brought on to their blades.
That’s only one of the many horror stories out there about the one that got away. Last week I had a good friend lose an awesome buck to a perfectly placed Rage Hypodermic broad head at 20 yards. The only problem was that he was angled slightly, and it cost him a great buck because of it. They never found him either, and I have countless more stories of deer that got away due to the performance of the Rage broad head system.
So in my opinion, your better off to air on the side of caution and go with a solid broad head design. The 100 grain Magnus Buzzcut Stingers are mine of choice and have delivered devastating results, time and time again. It offers four, thick iron blades with a 1 1/16″ cutting diameter. So if you choose to hunt with mechanicals this year, you must first ask yourself the age old question.
Are you feeling lucky?