Arrow and Broadhead Selection for Big Game Hunts

Antelope 2020

May 15th, 2022


By Zach Lazzari

Choosing your arrows and broadheads for big game hunts is an important process. Some hunters have a general approach and use the same system for antelope, deer and elk while others favor different products for each species. Regardless, you must dial in the weight and spine and practice with the same system you plan to use in the field. For this reason, choosing your arrows and broadheads well in advance of the season is important.

Arrow Type and Spine

Most modern archery hunters will opt for carbon fiber arrow shafts but some still use aluminum or traditional wood shafts. Traditional bow hunters are especially more likely to go the wooden arrow route but carbon fiber always remains as a reliable and stable option. Aluminum is less common but the arrows can fly straight.

The most important aspect of arrow selection is consistency. Practice with the same arrows you will shoot in the field and use the same length and weight matched against the same broadhead grain. Practicing with the same setup will ensure your flight path is consistent and your practice targets are reflective of shots made in the field.

Your arrow needs enough spine to handle the broadhead weight for the given length as well. A spine chart from the manufacturer is the best way to determine the optimal spine for your arrow while matching to the length and broadhead grain.

We highly recommend spending some time at your local pro shop. These folks live and breathe archery hunting day in and day out. Whether it’s a bow hunt for elk or for antelope, tell them what you are planning and they can help you dial in an appropriate arrow setup.

Mechanical vs Fixed Blade

The debate between broadhead options is never ending and each camp has a series of valid points to consider. It’s hard to beat a fixed blade broadhead for reliability but mechanical blades offer some advantages as well.

A fixed blade is consistent, stout and leaves little room for error. They are preferred for hard hitting shots on elk and other big game animals by many hunters. The reliability factor really is hard to beat with fixed blade arrows and the rigid nature makes them more likely to punch through hard sides and bone.

Mechanical blades are also advantages in their streamlined flight path. They fly more like a field point and can do serious damage when the blade opens and penetrates properly.

When it comes to elk especially, we recommend a fixed, two-blade broadhead for the combination of reliability, toughness and penetration.

Broadhead Weight and Influence on Flight Path

Your broadhead choice may vary for different big game species. For example, a 125 grain broadhead on a 400-500 spine arrow is heavy enough to punch through elk while antelope can call for something lighter. You can still use that heavy head for antelope but the weight creates early drop and isn’t necessary to penetrate their thin skin. That said, hunters chasing multiple species can benefit from using a single broadhead style and weight for everything because practice sessions will account for the arrow drop without any variation caused by changing out heads.

Choose your broadhead to match the species and practice with field points at the same grain. Also practice with a real broadhead to test and dial in your shot well ahead of each hunt. Every hunting guide can tell you stories of missed opportunities that were directly caused by a lack of familiarity with the weapon. We would hate to see any one of our hunters invest the time and resources to join us on a hunt, only to be frustrated by something so avoidable. Take the time to practice, practice, practice – so that you can be confident on the hunt!

Wyoming Bow Hunts With Table Mountain Outfitters

Here at Table Mountain, we are not just a rifle hunting outfitter that offers a few token bow hunts. We are archery hunting enthusiasts ourselves and we take pride in offering outstanding bow hunts for elk, deer and antelope.

To learn more about our hunts, please take some time to explore the rest of our website. You’ll find details on hunts, pricing and more. For availability and other specifics, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to help you plan the ultimate hunting adventure and for you to live THE LIFE with us here in Wyoming!



Zach is an OUTDOOR WRITER, fly fishing guide and hunting enthusiast. Follow Zach at BUSTEDOARLOCK.COM. 

Interested in hunting with Table Mountain Outfitters?

Contact us today and take that first step towards livin' THE LIFE!