When it comes to post shot and recovery, nothing makes us feel better than bright bubbly blood in abundance on the ground. Flip that script and immediate fear sinks in. As bowhunters we are all seeking clean pass throughs providing ethical harvests and easy track jobs. Typically, the more blood visible the easier the track which leaves us all wanting better blood trails.
Over the years broadhead companies have come to realize this and used it for new product releases and marketing hype. However, does a certain broadhead size, blade type, and/or design give us better blood trails? Let's take a look at the facts.
Two Holes Is The Goal
Apples to Apples, everything being the same...shot location, broadhead type, etc etc, two holes will always give you more blood to trail. It's really that simple. You want better blood trails..Get two holes.
Let's keep this simple. Blood loss is caused from trauma in blood carrying organs and vascular areas. To get trauma in those areas you need penetration.
Companies lead consumers on with marketing, influencing people to believe larger cutting diameters give better blood trails. Sometimes that is true when errant shots clip something major, but more often than not larger cutting diameters hurt penetration, specifically large mechanicals. When it comes to mechanicals, good hybrid broadhead designs, using less energy at impact, shine. Broadhead size, design, and style will affect penetration which will impact your blood trail. Let's look at the pros and cons of large cutting diameter broadheads.
- More margin for error. If you miss your mark there's better odds you will hit something good.
- More trauma IF penetration is there.
- Eats up more KE and Momentum. You are driving a larger surface through the animal which takes up more work to accomplish penetration.
- Longer blades equal less structural integrity when comparing the same grain broadheads.
- Mechanicals are more likely to deflect on extreme angles.
- Fixed have more tendencies to have poor flight characteristics.
While the goal is two holes, tissue matter blocking or filling the entry and/or exit doesn't do us any favors regardless of shot location. You can have the best shot placement in the world but if blood cannot escape the cavity it doesn't end up on the ground. This is where broadhead design comes into play.
Most people think of broadhead design as cutting diameter, structural integrity, and blade sharpness but in reality it goes much beyond that. The manner in which a broadhead moves material is second priority beyond issuing trauma. Tip design, secondary blades, and blade angles all play into the broadhead being able to open up the wound channel and moving tissue matter. This is why the K2 Fixed blade broadhead is so special. Again, apples to apples, bigger holes allow more blood loss.
Shot Location Is Key
Lower vital shots with two holes will always provide hunters will quality blood trails. The reality is that lower vital shots allow blood to escape the cavity at a faster rate compared to high vital shot locations. Hit high lung and most of the blood you'll see on the ground is spraying from the nose and mouth not the entry or exit holes.Luckily for tree stand hunters most shot opportunities allow for at least one hole to be lower on the body cavity, more often than not it's the exit.
Outside of shot location height on the body, what you actually hit inside the animal also dictates the amount of blood loss. Hit top of heart, a main artery, or a very vascular area and it looks like a murder scene. Hit the liver and there's a less to see. Aim for lethality, and then be a good enough hunter to understand where you hit.Being able to identify first blood at the shot location, whether that's on the arrow or the ground, is key to understand what type of blood trail and track job to expect.
At the day's end, there is no better feeling than a short track with lots of blood. Great blood trails are not solely on your choice of broadhead but rather the combination of things we discussed in this article.
Author: Chad Sylvester, Team Afflictor