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Can't figure out what went wrong.. #14114345 09/09/19
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xxclaro Online Content OP
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I had a baffling and rather upsetting occurrence last week, and I'd love to hear some thoughts on what might have happened.

I had snuck within 40 yards of a bull elk. He finally cleared the bush he was in and was broadside to me, and perhaps a few yards to my right, so a very slight quartering away shot. I took the shot, and watched my lighted nock home in. At the moment of contact, the light shot to the left, going up high and landing about 30 yards to the left of the elk. I figured I must have hit an unseen branch or something, but it made a pretty loud smack. The elk ran probably 70-80 yards, then stopped momentarily. I got bino's on him, as did my partner, and both saw blood on his chest right behind the front leg about halfway up....perfect, I thought, musta been a passthrough that just looked odd. He moved off into the bush.

So, went to retrieve the glowing arrow and found it was just the nock. I went over to where he went in and found a small drop of blood, about 100-150 yards from the point of shooting. We walked back to camp for knives and lights, which was almost 2 hours round trip. Began blood trailing, and it was very slow going. Bblood was restricted to leaves that brushed against him at chest height, one side only. We trailed for several hours, and blood drips/smears were often 10-15 yards apart. We finally lost the trail altogether and decided to try again in the morning.

Back at it next morning, we finally found a couple more drops and managed to add a few hundred yards more trail, till we were down to the barest wisp of blood wipes on the odd leaf. Lost trail again, and kept searching till the rain started. No magpies or ravens present. Went back next 2 days, looking for birds and checking places I thought he might have went. Nothing. I'm baffled as to what could have happened. It's a 475gr arrow at about 290fps with a Magnus Stinger Buzzcut 125gr. I was pretty devastated and it's still eating at me a bit. Any idea of what could have happened? All in all we trailed him for a good long way, he never stopped or lay down, and I've probably bled more off a shaving cut! I just can't figure it out.

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Re: Can't figure out what went wrong.. [Re: xxclaro] #14114737 09/10/19
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Tom264 Offline
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Bounced off the ribs and smacked shoulder.
He’s still alive.


.
Re: Can't figure out what went wrong.. [Re: xxclaro] #14114766 09/10/19
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What Tom said

Re: Can't figure out what went wrong.. [Re: xxclaro] #14114801 09/10/19
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tndrbstr Offline
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Just curious, was the elk moving left to right from your position? Never did find your shaft? How was the nock attach to the shaft?
Sounds to me like you may have been correct in the assumption that you hit something prior to the animal, causing the shaft to slightly turn and enter at a forward right angle and flipping the nock off in the opposite direction... just guessing tho...

Hate you didn't find it. I,m also guessing when I say that i think it will most likely recover.

Re: Can't figure out what went wrong.. [Re: tndrbstr] #14115042 09/10/19
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xxclaro Online Content OP
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Yeah elk was moving left to right, never found the shaft. It wasn't sticking out of him, at least not that either of us could see, when he stopped momentarily after his initial run. Judging from the small amount of blood I saw, the way he travelled and the lack of carrion birds, I also think he's ok...i hope so anyway.

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Re: Can't figure out what went wrong.. [Re: xxclaro] #14115288 09/10/19
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I called in a raghorn one year that had a wound to the shoulder from a three blade broadhead. Hit squarely on the front leg bone where it looks like a shovel. He had lost all the muscle on that leg and it was not a pretty sight. Probably looked like a perfect shot to the dude that done the deed, but it wasn't.


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Re: Can't figure out what went wrong.. [Re: xxclaro] #14115302 09/10/19
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I am a poor archer and so I almost never take shots farther then about 25 yards. 15 is better for me. I must also say I have not got a lot of arrow kills under my belt, with only 9 in all the years I have hunted. 1 antelope, 1 elk and 7 deer.
So what I say next is based only on my limited experience, but also the many kills I have witnessed as a guide over the last 4 decades. I don't know the exact number of kills I have seen with arrows, but I am going to guess it's somewhere around 30-35.

My limited ranges means I have no disadvantage shooting a VERY heavy arrow, (can't shoot far anyway) so the ones I used in the past were compressed cedar, thick, with 4 fletchings and a 190 grain 2 blade broadhead. I try to get them up close to 1000 grains. I am the odd-man out, in that only a few other archers I know use similar arrows for hunting. BUT...All the kills I have made, and all seen made with the super heavy arrows with 2 blade broadheads have been excellent. Even shooting recurves and long bows, in every case the broadheads have exited, and in about 1/3 the cases the whole shafts have exited. And these from bows with draw weights as light as 45 pounds on deer and as light as 50 pound on elk.
My weirdest kill was made with a 50 pound Bear recurve, shooting a light weight aluminum shaft with a Ben Person head at a smallish 3 point buck mule deer. The arrow hit the broad side on the deer and nicked the shoulder blade on the bottom edge, but somehow turned the arrow about 45 degrees to the rear and about 30-35 degrees downward. The shot was from about 15 yards. The tip of the arrow only went into the deer about 8-9 inches but got both lungs. It took me about 1/2 hour to find the deer and tracking was a bit difficult. I got good penetration in straw bales and styrofoam targets, but when the broadhead only got into the 2nd lung (not through it) and never even made it to the ribs on the off side. Why? I have no idea.

I have seen arrows turn in game and a few times I have seen some of the light arrows just stop far short of the penetration you think you should get. Yet the same arrow from the same bow on the next kill will go clear through and be found on the ground. How come this happens?

In the times in archery hunting, as the hunter or as the guide or packer, all the "weird results" have been with light fast arrows. In some cases they are excellent and in others they break off blades, bend shafts and sometimes just do things I have no way to explain.
Now ...what do I think about all this? well, I do think about it.............but can't explain it.

Maybe some other archers here can shed more light on the subject then I can.
But what I am saying here is what I have seen myself, from the early 1970s until today. As with many things in life, those that are witnesses are not always those that understand what was witnessed.
If I had to make a category for highest success I would say it's from 2 blade broadheads or those with small bleeders (like the one you shot,) but always mounted on "spear shafts" or "telephone poles". Again I emphasis, I don't know why the lighter ones do some of the strange things I have seen. But the heavy one just don't do those weird thing. At least I have not seen any do them so far.

As someone speaking about archery kills I am "in 4th grade". Maybe some "collage graduates" can shed more light on this for us all.
I hope so.

Last edited by szihn; 09/10/19.
Re: Can't figure out what went wrong.. [Re: xxclaro] #14115464 09/10/19
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MILES58 Offline
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Can you rule out that the arrow went where you intended and when it hit the elk it went in and hit the onside leg bone or the offside leg bone and the impact separated the nock from the arrow?

Hitting bone with an arrow or with a bullet can at times produce a very loud smack noise. I hit one with a crossbow and heavy arrow last fall that made a racket like that and then the deer ran. Turned out it did not go all the way through, the deer did not bleed a drop for almost 50 yards and then but a single drop. The deer went down another 10 yards further and everything within 10 feet of it was red. Shot a fawn once with a muzzle loader at ~ 50 yards. Sounded like a turd hitting the sidewalk from 30 stories up. The damn fawn not only didn't go down at the shot, but managed ~60 yards with no blood after the first 3 jumps. Shot through the base of both scapulae about an inch up from the ball joint. Red soup lungs and destroyed 2/3 of the heart.

Re: Can't figure out what went wrong.. [Re: MILES58] #14116227 09/10/19
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xxclaro Online Content OP
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MILES58, that was what I was thinking at first too, and hoping for. But, that would have meant a double lung hit, so he definitely should have been coughing blood fairly soon. Over the 7-800 yards that we trailed him, there was no spray at all, and it seemed like he was moving at a normal pace but never once stood still. I had really

Re: Can't figure out what went wrong.. [Re: xxclaro] #14119131 09/11/19
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Petro Offline
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Claro, last year I had a odd, and slightly similar situation on a whitetail buck. He weighed approximately 165 lbs and came in very late. Last minute of legal shooting light.

I Shot him at 22 yards broadside with a 467 grain arrow at 283 FPS. I was shooting a Black Eagle Rampage 300 with Easton Brass HIT inserts and a NAP Spitfire Double Cross.

The sound when the arrow hit sounded like a .22. It was windy and raining and I couldn’t hear him go down, but I knew I would start losing the blood trail due to rain so I started looking after 10 minutes. I walked up to where I shot him and found the arrow. There was no broadhead, nor was the insert there, but the arrow was full length with the first 1.5” broken and the pieces hanging by a thread.

If I had a lighted nock I would have seen what you did, because there wasn’t a nock in the shaft and it was nowhere to be found.

I only had about 10” of blood and tissue on the arrow, which told me I didn’t get much penetration. I had no broadhead or insert, but a full length arrow. It was dark, so I didn’t see him step on the arrow to break it, but if he had, the BH would have been right there or at least near by. What the heck?

So I started trying to find blood. I finally found a drop about 5 yards from the spot I shot him. I found a drop every three yards or so. I lost the trail 3 or 4 times and kept doubling back. The leaves were all wet, and getting wetter, which made blood hard to spot. Even when I did find it, it was specks and not spots. I finally saw a (relatively) big pink and red glob on the ground after about 40 yards. I bent down to look and it was my broadhead screwed into my brass insert. Broadhead was deployed and covered in tissue. You could see the epoxy in the grooves of the insert.

I looked about a yard ahead of the broadhead and started finding puddles and puddles of blood, for only about 5-7 yards, and he was laying right there.

When I shot, I hit the onside leg, had a great entrance wound with full deployment. The arrow went through the onside lung, through the front of the heart, and caught the bottom of the offside lung just barely. As it exited out the armpit it came out of the ribs and into the offside leg. When it hit the offside leg the broadhead still had enough force to shear the epoxy and send BH back into the shaft, splintering it and forcing the entire arrow shaft back out the wound channel and on the ground.

The BH was stuck in the exit wound and prevented much blood from exiting until he crossed the shallow, dry creek bed when the BH fell out from between his ribs and leg, letting the blood escape easier.

I’m wondering if you didn’t have something like that happen? I have since switched to halfserts and if I go back to the HITs I will use the Black Eagle epoxy.


Bravo

Re: Can't figure out what went wrong.. [Re: xxclaro] #14119235 09/11/19
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hookeye Offline
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I wonder how much poor penetration is from insert crush in shaft.

Also wonder how much is due to BH deflection by shaft flex.

Think the heavier/thicker arrow shafts help w both

Re: Can't figure out what went wrong.. [Re: xxclaro] #14119762 09/12/19
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MILES58 Offline
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Originally Posted by xxclaro
MILES58, that was what I was thinking at first too, and hoping for. But, that would have meant a double lung hit, so he definitely should have been coughing blood fairly soon. Over the 7-800 yards that we trailed him, there was no spray at all, and it seemed like he was moving at a normal pace but never once stood still. I had really


I had one that I punched through the chest and then dead centered the ball joint on the off side leg. Three blade head that cut the ball into three almost equal pieces. The head and some inches of shaft came through the hide on the off side but the lighted nock remained with a little shaft on the onside. Didn't bleed well. Loud noise when it hit. The deer made it ~300 yards. Obviously it got both lungs well. I had one hit a little far back but still got both lungs that made it just over a mile. Bled very well. Sometimes the unpredictable stuff gets you and unless you recover the animal, you never get to see what really happened.

Leg bones can move around a lot under the hide. Maybe you hit the onside leg. From the sound, and the reaction of the arrow it seems probable.


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