How to Choose a Broadhead

Choosing broadheads can be a very difficult task. You will get a large array of varying opinions that people are often very passionate about. When it comes to choosing a broadhead there is several things to consider. How much weight am I pulling? How heavy are my arrows? What kind of game will I be hunting? All of these factors play a very important role when it comes to choosing the best broadhead for you! Lets start with the different types of broadheads.

Fixed Blade Broadheads

Fixed blade broadheads date back to the stone age. People long before our time used them to take down huge game! The Native Americans used them to hunt buffalo, deer, and other species to survive. A fixed blade broadhead means there is no mechanical or moving parts on the body of the broadhead. They are built into one solid piece making them very reliable and durable.  As the old saying goes, “if its not broke, don’t fix it”. Many hunters today still rely on fixed blade’s.  Hunters today that choose to use fixed blade’s typically do so for a few reasons.

  1. No fear of mechanical failure.
  2.  Typically they get great penetration cutting through ribs, and bone well.
  3.  Cut on contact, as soon as the broadhead touches an animal it will begin cutting anything in its way.
  4. Tough and durable. Fixed blades are very tough, it takes a lot to bend blades or warp the form of a fixed blade broadhead. This allows for the broadhead to be re-used after sharpening. You can also find fixed blade broadheads that have replaceable blades such as the Thunderhead Nitro.
  5. They are extremely sharp
  6. Great for lighter poundage bows or short draw lengths.

On the contrary there are also reasons that you may not want to choose a fixed blade.

  1. Smaller cutting diameter compared to mechanical broadheads.
  2. Do not always shoot the same as field points. With fixed blade broadheads it is imperative to shoot the broadheads to confirm they are hitting the same as your field points. It is not uncommon for your broadheads to hit slightly different than your field points. A well tuned bow is most likely to produce the same impact points from both heads.

As you can see fixed blade broadheads have many positive attributes to them. When it comes to reliability it is tough to beat the fixed blade broadhead.

Mechanical Broadheads

Mechanical Broadheads  are much newer to the hunting world. Shockingly the first mechanical was created in 1959 but they didn’t really catch on until the last 20 years or so. Mechanical broadheads are composed of  a tip or ferule, the blades, and the body of the broadhead. Mechanicals work by holding the blades inside of the body of the broadhead until impacting an object. Upon impact the blades will then expand. There are two main benefits of a mechanical broadhead. One, they are typically very accurate and fly much more similar to field points. Two, they often provide a much larger cutting diameter. Most fixed blade broadheads will have a cutting diameter around an inch and a half or smaller, mechanicals on the other hand often have cutting diameters of two inches or larger. Many hunters love the mechanical for a variety of reasons.

  1. They typically fly exactly the same or extremely close to field points.
  2. They offer larger cutting diameters.
  3. Typically provide great blood trails due to the large wound channels.

The same as fixed blades, mechanicals also have drawbacks.

  1. The possibility that the broadhead does not function properly. For instance not opening, opening to early etc.
  2. Penetration. If you are pulling lightweight or have a very short draw length it will be more difficult to get good penetration out of a mechanical due to the extra force used to open the blades.
  3. Durability. Many mechanicals are very durable but their is times where you may only get one use out of a broadhead. Since the blades are not built into the body of the broadhead they are much more susceptible to bend when encountering ribs/bone.

As you can see regardless of the broadhead you choose there will be pro’s and con’s to each. It is imperative to choose the best based on your situation.

Different Broadheads for Different Game? 

The animals that you are hunting can also play a large role. Many people will say you shouldn’t hunt elk with mechanicals. We have taken several elk with mechanicals that all died quickly and ethically. At the end of the day an effective broadhead is only as good as the shot placed on the animal. If you have a draw length of 25″ inches a draw weight of 45 lbs and you plan to hunt elk. It would be wise to explore fixed blade broadhead options due to the fact that Elk are very large animals, penetration is ideal and a fixed blade is by far the safest option. If you have a 29″ draw length pulling 70 lbs, this person has an option of fixed blades or mechanicals. With the right shot either will do exactly what it needs to.  When it comes to big game species we aim to get the most penetration possible or a  clean “pass through”. This is true for all big game species across North America with the exception of Turkeys. Turkeys are the only animal we hunt that we don’t want a clean pass through. The reasoning for this is turkeys have the ability to fly. If you shoot a turkey in the vitals, get a clean pass through and he flies off you will likely never recover the bird. For this reason we want the arrow to stay in the bird, this makes it very difficult for them to escape. Broadheads that “reverse open” like the one below take away a large amount of inertia preventing the arrow from passing through.

Summary 

At the end of the day it all comes down to shot placement. If you don’t put your arrow in the vital organs the broadhead you chose won’t save your bacon. Understand your bow, your capabilities, as well as those of your equipment. Regardless of the broadhead you use, you should only take shot angles that are ethical and high percentage shots. Fixed Blades and Mechanicals are both great broadhead options! Each will work great assuming you have taken the above factors into consideration!

David killed this large mature bull with a mechanical broadhead.

David’s 2020 Spring Solo Turkey Hunt

The other morning I set out to go turkey hunting, which is pretty much the norm for us at this time of year. But it was different this time, this time I was hunting by myself (no camera man) well that’s not exactly true, I would be filming myself. Which normally you would hear me complain about, but this time was somewhat intentional.

See years ago when I first started turkey hunting, Karin and I had no money and there wasn’t much of a selection of decoys and other fancy turkey gear like vests and box call holders etc…. if you wanted something like that you made it yourself.

Well the last two weeks or so, we have noticed that our Iowa birds seemed more educated than normal with several call ins, only to have the birds hang up just out of shooting range. Not wanting the turkeys to win these battles I began thinking how can I get close to them and be able to get a good shot? What I came up with surprised me at how good I thought it could be, but I would need to test it to be sure, and only having one I couldn’t take the chance of bringing someone else with me.

Which brings me to the other mornings hunt. I arrived 45 minutes before sun up and snuck onto a ridge I hoped still held some of the turkeys that had been whooping us the last couple weeks.

With my new decoy I snuck in closer than normal having the confidence that they would not know what was up. When the first booming gobble bellowed only 60 yards in front of me I felt my pulse begin to quicken and as the woods came alive and gobbles could be heard from almost every direction, all I could think about was “how can I properly thank God for a morning like this”? So, I did what I thought was the best thing I could, I bowed my head and said “thank you”, hoped that was enough and threw out a couple soft yelps only to be cut off by several gobbles that almost shook the ground.

Not only were the birds on the ground already, but I now could see them and they obviously had seen my new invention and were headed right at me. Only a couple minutes and they are now 40 yards and closing, I am thinking the big strutter at 22 yards is close enough, but I have to find a shot through a few brushy spots. As I am concentrating on getting a shot I never saw the other toms sneaking in at 7 yards.

Even though my decoy was working perfectly it couldn’t hide the oh _ _ _ _! look on my face when they saw me moving to adjust the camera. Fortunately the decoy played such a key role they never spooked completely, they just moved out to 15 yards. Time to really test the new decoy I came to full draw and they never had a clue, now all I needed to do was pick out the best shot. I began to focus on the head of the closest tom since they had gone down hill just a bit I couldn’t get a good shot at the shiny spot. The head it is, I thought, you got this just put the pin right on his head and you got him, I squeezed the trigger and he ran off.

What the heck that shot felt awesome, but I could tell it was a clean miss. Wait a minute they only ran 80 yards and they are already gobbling again at other distant toms. I wonder if I could use this decoy to sneak in on them again?

Wanting to do the ethical thing first, I needed to be sure it had been a clean miss, so I snuck over found my arrow, licked my wounds, and moved on. It wasn’t until later that I reviewed the footage and found the little limb just in front of the red head that saved the turkeys life.

So now I am heading after them once again, and as I move across the ridge with the decoy held in front of me, as it is mounted securely on my bow I am positive they will have no idea a hunter is approaching, and I was right, but before I can get to them another tom has seen me and is running right at what he thinks is an intruding tom on his turf.

“Damn cameras” as I caught a glimpse of the tom running at me I sat down immediately and began trying to set the tripod, the tom makes it to 18 yards as I am still fiddling with getting the camera situated with only one hand.

The extra movement confuses the tom and he turns to leave, but a few yelps and he is now walking around me. At 18 yards we square off with a thicket of brush between us. I can see him strutting, feel him drumming and hear every spit as if he was spitting on me, but I can’t shoot through the brush. Eventually he walks up the hill toward the other gang of gobblers. So I follow, and then like magic there they are, I can see a bird strutting at 45 yards and the other toms walking around him. I contemplate my next move with the worst thorny thicket between me and the big gobblers I think I an stuck where I’m at.

Then I look again and there is a very faint deer trail going through the thicket, only problem is, it ain’t gonna be quiet at all. I figure I got nothing to lose and I bale off into the tangle of thorns busting my way through. As I cuss and squirm and put my hat back on for the 3rd time is when I realize these turkeys are gobbling more at what they must be able to see as an approaching tom making a ton a racquet coming through the brush. This is crazy and incredible. I now realize I have closed the distance to 25 yards, but again I only have a small opening to shoot through.

I am within bow range and this morning has been more turkey action than I can remember in years, so there’s no wonder why my heart is racing and I am frantically trying to get the camera set and find a clear lane to send an arrow down range at the big strutting tom. So here I am again, farting with the camera just about to get it fully focused on the 25 yard toms when I hear a “CLUCK”, the kind that says something is wrong hear!

You got to be kidding me, again a tom has popped out at 7 or 8 yards and has seen something with this intruding tom that doesn’t look quite right. Well this time I come to full draw and none of of the others no whats up, but the “Clucker” reminding me of the doe that blows at you repeatedly 30 yards away from your favorite deer stand is making my blood boil more and more. If you do that one more time I am shooting you!- I thought. CLUCK, whack I shot him square in his back and he only took a step or two and fell over.

The other turkeys never had a clue and took several minutes to finally work off. It wasn’t until they had worked off a 100 yards or so, that I felt I could crawl up and find what I thought was one of the big toms. To my surprise my big tom was actually a clucking Jake. But I couldn’t get the smile off my face and the thought of all the encounters and how I had been hard hunting for several hours now and how many encounters I had been in.

Hunting Afternoon Turkeys

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Hunting Afternoon Turkeys

Nothing can compare to the sound of turkeys gobbling at dawn. The anticipation of when and where they will fly down and listening to the forest awaken around you is an experience that can be described as being surreal. Not every morning is a success though and who wants to stop hunting when the morning is over?

Many hunters don’t like to hunt turkeys in the afternoon because they feel that their success ratio is better in the morning. I agree with that thought process, however we also realize that the turkeys are often up feeding and making their way back to their roosting spot in the late afternoon.

Our family has killed many birds in the afternoon including the one Karin killed in the photo, and it just happened to be an evening hunt. Here are a couple tips I have learned that will help your afternoon hunts.

1. Know the land (Feeding/Strutting and Roosting areas)

It’s imperative to know the land whenever and wherever you hunt anything, but afternoon turkey hunts make it an even more critical piece of the puzzle.

With that being said, here is what I am referring to. Knowing where your birds are roosting and where they typically spend their days can lead you to travel routes and corridors, which can lead you to places where you can set up to get a shot.

In western states this can be easily figured out because roost trees are hard to come by and it’s not uncommon to see dozens of birds roosted in one tree along a fence line or field edge. This is obviously with the exception of areas like “National Forests” but for the rest of the country finding an exact tree can be more difficult.

However, finding a general area is usually possible with a bit of pre-hunt scouting. During my scouting trips I am looking for droppings, feathers, roosting areas and feeding areas.

Keep in mind on sunny days turkeys prefer to scratch around in the hardwoods often times spending all day never leaving the timber.

On rainy days, turkeys will often be found in fields, looking for worms and other insects that have been uncovered by the rain. These rainy days can be great days for scouting by simply driving dirt roads in your area and glassing turkeys from the truck. (Caution: don’t blow calls at them just to hear them gobble or for any other reason, this is just educating turkeys).

Now, on either day the birds will start their day by flying down into their favorite strutting area and spending the first few hours strutting and breeding, but the afternoons are most often quite different with the birds not returning to this area until just before dark to fly back into the roost trees.

So, for us the key to killing afternoon turkeys is finding the feeding areas where they will spend a couple hours before heading back to the roost.

Knowing what fields your turkeys will head to before dark or where they will be heading to fly back up for the night, might be more key than the best decoy or call, because if you find that feeding area you will find turkeys doing turkey things long before dark.

One last tip on location is once you find the right field or area they are feeding in during the afternoon hours, is key in on the west side of the field or anywhere that gets shaded a few hours before dark. This is where big toms like to strut around along the edge while the hens grab dinner. The hotter it gets the more important the shade becomes in picking your set up spot, on overcast or rainy days anywhere in the field can be the right set up.

2.Change your Calling for the afternoons

Use locator calls more in the afternoon. Don’t get me wrong we use locator calls throughout the day, but they become even more important in the afternoon when you don’t know exactly where you want to set up. The reason they are so important is by using a crow or owl call you can keep from setting up like a mad man after you blew the perfect cutting sequence only to get a gobble closer than expected. Had you used a crow call and got the same response you wouldn’t have to worry about the gobbler headed your way and catching you before you’re ready. Therefore, remember that a locator call can help find birds without giving away your position.

Some of David’s favorite calls : https://woodhavencustomcalls.com/shop/the-cherry-real-hen/

https://woodhavencustomcalls.com/product-category/turkey-calls/friction-calls/purr-pot/

For more information on hunting turkeys visit? Raised Outdoors

When it comes to making the sexy sounds of seductive hen, afternoons need a little more thought. This one might be the most important tip but if your like me it’s also the most difficult. That is limit your calling. Typically turkeys aren’t as vocal in the afternoons as they are in the mornings, and over calling and pressuring the birds to respond can cause them to not respond or even work away without you ever knowing they were around. So I do most afternoons is limit my calling meaning I often never make any sounds until I hear or see turkeys first. This way I know that are up and somewhat receptive to my calling. The other is when I feel like I need to call I tone it down and call less often lot’s of times only yelping a few times every 30 minutes or longer. If they are around they usually will let you know and then you can start responding to them and increase the intensity as they dictate.

Turkey Hunting Tips | How Foul Weather Affects Spring Gobblers

Foul Weather Turkey Hunting Tips for the Spring Season

There is not much you can control when turkey hunting. Weather, particularly, is a factor that you have no control over. Many spring gobbler hunters forego days in the woods when the weather turns ugly, however, you shouldn’t. The turkeys are not going anywhere, but harvesting one in foul weather does take a few additional turkey hunting tips.

Not every day in spring gobbler season will be the best weather for turkey hunting. There will be rainy days, windy days and days of extreme hot and cold temperatures outside of the norm for springtime. Changing weather will certainly affect turkey activity. The spring season is short and the chances you may have to take a longbeard are even fewer. Birds are out there in all sorts of weather, and you need to be also.

“If you could be turkey hunting, you need to be turkey hunting.” David Holder – Raised Hunting

Turkey Hunting in the Rain

On rainy days, especially cold rainy days, gobblers go quiet. Turkeys will opt to stay in the roost longer. Once they do fly down, they will alter their daily routine. Rainy evenings and mornings can also produce fog. Foggy mornings will likewise keep birds in the trees usually until the fog lifts. When turkey hunting in the rain, there are two turkey hunting tips to rely on.


First, turkey habits in the spring are fairly predictable. The same holds true on rainy days, they are different but predictable. When turkeys do get off the roost, they will go to open fields. There are plenty of theories as for why they go to open fields on rainy days, including to keep water off their feathers, to seek out bugs or be able to spot predators from a distance that would otherwise go unnoticed in the soggy woods. Regardless of the reason, if you want to know how to find turkeys in the spring on rainy days head to the fields. Position your set up along the field edge and your decoys out in plain sight. Be patient and wait them out. Hold off on calling until later in the morning, especially if the weather is predicted to clear up. If it is a field you know birds frequent, they are coming to it anyways on rainy days so let them, then make your move.

The second tip is based on how to locate turkeys in the spring. The hardest part of hunting on rainy days is finding birds if they are not in your favorite field already. Here it is best to glass open fields, logging roads and other forest clearings. The rain will conceal your movement if you spot a gobbler working one of these opening areas and allow you to get into position and prepare your strategy for calling him in.

Must have turkey hunting gear for rainy days.

  • Waterproof and quality mouth calls to be able to sound off loud enough for a gobbler to hear you over the rain.
  • Top-end optics that are waterproof and fog proof to be able to find birds utilizing fields.
  • Waterproof turkey hunting clothing to stay dry and comfortable hunting in a day of wet conditions.

Video: Turkey Smackdown? If you aren’t fired up for turkey hunting after this, seek immediate medical attention! You may not have a pulse!

Spring Gobbler Hunting Tips for Tackling Windy Days

Turkey hunting on cold windy days may be the toughest conditions to chase spring gobblers in. Windy days can be very annoying. Wind gust can blow your decoys all around and being able to hear anything it pretty much impossible. Not to mention that the birds during windy days are shut down.

Hunt visually during windy days. The main reason is you simply can’t hear anything. Seek out areas like protected draws, leeward sides of forage rich ridges and low spots in open, protected fields. Turkeys will take cover in these less windy areas where they can see and hear better. Go back to your turkey hunting basics on these windy days. For example, stick to loud box calls to project sound off in the distance in the hope a bird hears you. Also, one of the most taken for granted turkey hunting tips is sitting still. Sit still and ready and expect a gobbler to walk in because you won’t be able to hear a bird gobbling or walking as it approaches.

Turkey Hunting Gear to Help You on Windy Days

  • Use a box call to produce loud but controlled calling scenarios in an effort to cut through the wind at a sheltered gobbler.
  • Have a comfortable seat or chair to be able to sit still for long periods as you wait to ambush an incoming bird.

Turkey Hunting Tips for Extreme Hot or Cold Days

If you are hooked on turkey hunting, you understand and accept that there will be rainy and windy days in the spring. However, inclement weather that can make a turkey hunting day intolerable are days when it is extremely hot or cold.

Turkey hunting cold front birds can be slow. Again turkeys are not going anywhere and their breeding cycle continues regardless of the weather, although gobblers and their activity can slow almost to a stop during cold snaps. For days when the mercury drops to unusual spring lows, three turkey hunting tips are useful to bag a bird.

First, hunt southern exposures. Southern hillsides and southern facing fields are going to warm up the fastest as the sun comes up. Birds will move to these areas when temperatures are cold to take advantage of any additional warmth they can. Second, concentrate calling spring gobblers around quality, high-energy food sources. Food plots and fields planted with calorie-rich Arrow Seed cover crops and food plot varieties offer forage to help maintain energy and heat in cold weather. The third and final tip for hunting spring gobbler season in cold weather is to be patient. Even on really cold days in the spring, the temperature will often rise in the afternoon, which turn turkey activity that was otherwise stifled in the morning back on. Where legal, it pays to wait until the afternoon to hunt when the forecast is for cold weather.

The other extreme you could be hunting in is heat. Hot weather is as miserable for turkeys as it is for us. Just like with cold weather, extremely hot temperatures can slow gobbler activity. Birds will move towards areas close to water sources like deep draws which provide both water and cooling shade during high heat. On hot days, the best time to hunt is the first thing in the morning. The slightly cooler temps at dawn will get birds off the roost at first light and receptive to engage before the sun gets too high.

Turkey Hunting Strategies for Extreme Hot and Cold Days

  • Dress in layers. For cold days, layers allow you to add on if the cold gets to you while you are waiting out the gobblers. Likewise, layers allow you to take clothing off as the sun gets high in the sky and heats things up.
  • On hot days, position yourself near watering holes, small mountain creeks or other shady areas that have adequate water. Turkeys will frequent these areas throughout the day and even if the temps have them quiet you can wait and ambush one when they show up.

The best weather for turkey hunting doesn’t come along every day. Hunting for birds in the spring will have to include foul weather days. Depending on if you are hunting in the rain, the wind or on hot or colds days, different turkey hunting tips and tactics will be more valuable than others. The birds are still there on bad weather days, and you should be there too. The season is far too short to let the weather keep you from turkey hunting.