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Why didn't my arrow penetrate?

11 posts in this topic

Last night I harvested my second bow deer. It was a button buck: thought it was a doe.

Shot the deer at close range, 15 yards, through twigs and brush: the arrow did not hit any of the brush or twigs. The arrow only managed to enter the deer about 6 inches deep. It went in between to ribs, sliced the liver, and poked the main stomach. The arrow was just carried off and I thought it was a shoulder blade hit. The shot sounded kind of funny too.

I waited 30 minutes and trailed the deer. About 50 yards down the blood trail, I found the arrow: it was stock in a decaying down fall like I had intentially shot it. The arrow is in perfect shape, except the nock is missing.

Details:

Bow is set at 57lbs.

Arrow is carbon fiber so it is fast, light, and slick.

Arrow tipped with 100 Grains Thunder broad head and sharp.

I placed two nocking guides on the string and the arrow nock fits almost snug between them.

I use a trigger release and pull the string from below the guide, below the arrow.

The string DID NOT slap or come in contact with my clothings.

Nock is missing from retrieved arrow.

Can any experience bow hunter tell me why the arrow did not penetrate?

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The only thing I can come up with is maybe you hit a twig or some brush without realizing it. Shooting through any brush is a low percentage shot. Even the smallest of twigs can send your arrow just far enough off line to miss a deer, or worse yet, wound it. If your arrow didn't hit any brush, also sounds to me like a quartering toward you shot (Arrow through liver first, then into stomach) . Also not a high percentage shot. My first thought is that you must have hit something solid resulting in the odd sound of your shot. This will often result in the nock coming loose from your arrow.

Did you recover this deer?

Dave Frank

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I have nearly always had my arrow pass clear through on chest cavity shots and I am shooting about 58# to 60#. The nock missing might be an indication that your two guides are to close together and pinching the nock at full draw. If this happened, the nock might have cracked and upon release the full energy was not applied to your arrow. If you are going to continue attaching your release below the lower guide then open the guides a bit. Better though would be adding a release loop so that your draw pulls evenly above and below your nocking point. Before you do anything, nock an arrow the way you have it and draw back. Look at the angle of your bowstring at full draw and how it might be pinching your arrow nock.

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Eagle,

Thanks for the advice. I will move the top guide up a little to give the arrow more room.

David,

The deer is on the meat rack, as we are writing this. No twig was hit. I saw an excelent tip on a bowhunting show on how to slide an arrow through small openings: it works pretty well.

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Please share the tip.

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If your bow is tuned well then I would not move the top guide. It would be best to drop the lower guide a bit and then add a release string loop. I never knew anything about the loop until league shooting several years ago. I now consider it a good addition to my setup.

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Is there any chance that when you shot your bottom cam could have hit your stand. This happend to me a couple years back. missed the deer altogether and couldnt believe it. Then noticed my string came off and a gouge in the top of my stand. Just something that happend to me.

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My guess is the nock was cracked when you shot.. the nock split when you shot. I have had that happen before during target practice. The arrow can come off the bow at any speed when it happens, all depends on exactly when it snapped. The couple times I recall it happening, the arrow wasnt going very fast, and one of the times it didnt make it to the target.

If I had to make a bet, I believe your nock was cracked and broke when you released for the shot. You got just enough of the power to make a good enough short shot.

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Considering that your knock was off in addition to low penetration I'd be willing to bet that your arrow caught brush on the way to the deer and hit the deer off sqaure. The arrow corrected on hitting the deer and whipped the end. It would explain the missing knock and low penetration with a powerful set up. I've also had the knock fly off from hitting bone square, but I use weight tubes and I think they bounce back and forced out the knock.

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Eagle was right on the pinching. The two guides were in a solid lock with the arrow nock. I am very sure the arrow did not hit brush or twig.

Frank,

The tip is simple. If you can roughly guess the distance of the opening, all you have to do is place the correct pin in that hole. For instance, say a deer shows up 20 yards away and an opening is ten yards away. You place the 20 yard pin on the deer and adjust your position so that the 10 yard pin is inside of the hole. Most of us can bulls-eye at 10-20 yards on a consistant basis, right?

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Correct, but I advise against a shot through twigs/brush as you stated. There are a few things that come into play here. #1 It is sometimes difficult to judge exact distances through brush. #2 The slightest bit of wind can cause the smallest of twigs to blow, deflecting your arrow to miss the animal or worse yet, injur it.

I realize that it is not always possible to have a "perfect" clear shot, but shooting through twigs and brush may not be the most ethical shot. Openings in twigs and brush are a different story altogether, depending on the size of the opening.

I am not trying to start an argument here, just simply pointing out what I have learned and experienced in the past. A clean kill is what we all strive for. I know first hand what it is like to loose a deer, as I hit a doe low last night and after 6+ hours of tracking with 2 other buddies, she could not be found.

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