How a broadhead kills

Crossbows are occasionally used in learn-to-hunt programs. A broadhead kills by hemorrhage rather than shock. Its razor-sharp edge cuts the veins and arteries along it path, which can cause extreme hemorrhaging if vital areas are hit. The hemorrhaging results in loss of oxygen to the brain and death occurs.

Death can occur within seconds, from a well placed arrow. However, even though death is rapid, the deer is still likely to run after being hit and will have to be recovered by following its blood trail. 

Even if bows or crossbows are not used in your program, we recommend that a brief discussion between the differences between a deer killed by a firearm and one killed by a broadhead. Both can result in quick, humane kills.

Resources

The Killing Power of Big Game Bullets

How bullets kill

A rifle bullet kills an animal by destroying tissue, disrupting the function of vital organs or the central nervous system, causing blood loss, and perhaps by shock to the animal's system. The latter can be almost instantly fatal, or almost completely lacking, depending on circumstances beyond the hunter's control. The more damage a bullet causes, the more likely it is to produce a quick kill.

Shock seems most likely to occur when light framed animals are hit by high velocity bullets.

Broadhead Basics

Broadheads can be divided into two categories based on their physical makeup and further depending on the number of blades they sport. The two main categories are fixed blade, and mechanical blades. Within those main categories you will find additional variations or sub-categories. Additionally, various designs bridge the basic model descriptions by adding features like cut-on-contact blades on the tip. For most bow hunters, broadhead selection is a matter of personal preference based on experience, the speed at which they shoot, and the game being hunted.

How Arrows and Bullets Differ

To understand the importance of proper shot placement and recovery techniques in bowhunting, it's helpful to know how arrows and bullets differ in the way they impact and kill an animal. Bullets kill by high-energy impact that crushes tissue and bone. Bullets may knock down an animal or incapacitate it by breaking major bones, which reduces its chance of running away.

Understanding Arrow Penetration

There is not doubt about it, this article is going to be controversial. I can already hear the screaming and gnashing of teeth. Still, it is based on fact and the laws of physics that are inviolable. Hopefully, those who read it will better understand how an arrow penetrates and make their own decisions regarding their equipment setup.