What is the best broadhead for african plains game?
Mechanical broadheads have been around for quite a while now, and even though they have improved considerably, I still don’t like them on mid and larger sized African game. Some clients swear by them and do have success, but we see more lost animals shot with mechanicals than we do with fixed blade broadheads.
Mechanicals are great for small game, up to impala size. If hit in the right spot, they make a big channel through the animal and invariably leave a good blood trail to follow… and we don’t usually have to follow them far.
The problem arises on the larger antelope with heavier bones and thicker skin. Your shot opportunities on these are limited to broadside shots. Don’t try a sharply quartering away shot as you won’t get through the stomach content into the vitals. The wet, chewed grass and leaves compacted in the stomach, stops the arrow pretty abruptly and we end up tracking a gut shot animal. Clients are usually astounded that the arrow didn’t kill the animal while the PH isn’t surprised as this happens often on sharp quartering away shots.
And don’t try slight quartering away shots either, not with a mechanical! I have never seen a mechanical perform on a quartering away shot on larger African game. It appears that when the broadhead strikes the hide and as the blades begin to open, the blades that are in contact with the hide, flesh or bone first, seem to bite and cause the arrow to “kick” outwards, thereby substantially reducing the momentum of the arrow and causing loss of penetration.
I have never seen a mechanical perform on a quartering away shot on larger African game.Stewart Dorrington
Animals like zebra and wildebeest are hard to kill at the best of times, you have to hit them just right, even with a fixed blade broadhead. A mechanical will battle to get through any shoulder bone on these heavier animals. Also, if the mechanical squares a rib, it doesn`t get good penetration with most hunting bows. I have seen a zebra take 3 mechanical broadheads through the ribs, and not one even get up to the fletchings. The zebra died of course, after a bullet hit it, but nearly killed the tracker dog before it did so. The zebra managed to bite the dog and hold it down while it chopped at it with its hooves.
I have had hunters who have managed to shoot numerous animals and kill them with mechanical broadheads, but most don’t, and whereas with a mechanical broadhead you are really limited to a broadside shot, a fixed blade broadhead allows you to take quartering away shots, thus more shot opportunities.
It’s every hunters personal choice which broadheads he wants to use, but in my experience we waste more hunting time tracking animals wounded with mechanicals than fixed blade broadheads.
As for buffalo, there is only one completely reliable broadhead, German Kinetics!