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Improving bow-hunting equipment, techniques
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It’s January 30, the temperature is hovering just above zero, we have a foot of snow on the ground and I am wishing spring was a little closer.

To top it off, I have a bad cold, so ice fishing is out of the question.

So if you were wondering how things are in Montana, that is just about it. Well not really. I have been thinking about next year and how I could improve my bow hunting.

I have been talking to Travis Maphies, who is the manager of the archery department with Scheel’s Sporting Goods in Great Falls, and I have decided to go with a Mathews Bow and not a Bowtech. The reason for the change is complex. Let’s just say I think I will get better results and service with the Mathews.

In the past, my son Bill and I have concentrated our bow hunting on whitetail deer and have decided to try our hand at antelope and mule deer, both of which are open-country animals and require longer shots.

While waiting for my new bow, I was giving some thought to my arrows.

I am shooting a Gold tip 3555 arrow with a 100-grain tip. This gives me a total weight of 355 grains. I was shooting this arrow using a Bowtech Admiral set at 50 pounds.

This setup gave me a speed of 220 fps. This gave me a kinetic energy of 38.16 foot pounds of energy. If you do not know what kinetic energy is, it is the killing power of an arrow. The more kinetic energy you have, the more penetrating ability your arrow has.

The formula for computing the kinetic energy is easy. First, multiply the velocity of your arrow by itself, (VxV). Then multiply that number, (VxW), by the weight in grains of your arrow. Finally, divide this number by 450,240; this will give you the foot-pounds or kinetic energy of your arrow.

If you really want to read up on kinetic energy, pick up a copy of Bowhunting, Equipment and skills written by M.R. James, G. Fred Asbill, Dave Holt and Dwight Schuh.

Now, you might think the kinetic energy on my arrow is a little light. Last season, I shot two deer at 25 and 30 yards and had a complete pass through on both.

In 2005, I shot a 900-pound buffalo with almost the same setup and had a pass through. On both of these outings, I made sure I had good broadheads that they were very sharp. While reading the book, the authors advised that a kinetic energy value between 40 and 50 foot-pounds will give you a pass through any large animal.

I am hoping that my new bow will boost my speed to 240 or 250, you do the math.

Now that I have a good idea for my new bow, it is time to take a look at my arrows and see if I can improve their performance.

I have heard a lot about (FOC) or weight forward of center. In plain language, the front of your arrow is wavier than the rear. I was reading the November 2009 issue of Bow Hunting World and they had an article written by Richard Combs.

Richard found that the standards for figuring FOC were setup before the advent of carbon arrows and should be considered if you want better accuracy at longer distances and that was what I wanted if I was going after antelope and mule deer.

Richard also stated that with more weight on the front of your arrow, it will stabilize sooner and we all know that a better stabilized arrow will give the more speed and better penetration. Richard simplified his approach to better penetration by saying that it is easier to pull an object through something that pushing it through.

The first time I was introduced to Atlatl, I noticed that the darts had a large bulbous knob on the front. I asked Ed Wills, and he said it stabilized the darts better. Well, I was thinking that if it works on an Atlatl dart, then it should improve my arrows so I decided to check the FOC on my arrows and found them to have only 12 percent. Richard advised that many archers competing in the FITA events sometimes have as high as 20 percent of FOC.

The way to check your FOC is as follows: Measure from the bottom of the nock to the tip of your arrow; install a tip and balance the arrow on a sharp object and mark the balance point; measure from the nock to the balance point and divide that number by the total length of the arrow.
To get a decimal equivalent of the balance points percentage of the arrow length: Subtract .50 and move the decimal point over two places to the right. The results are the FOC for your arrows.

There are several ways to add more weight to the front of your arrow. One is with wraps or adding weight to the inserts. Easton makes add on weights that screw into the back of the inserts but must be added before the insert is installed. I went to our local Ace Hardware Store and picked up s selection of set screws and screwed them into the insert with an allen wrench.

Next, I looked at the nocks on arrows to see if I could improve their performance. I found a new nock called an Accunock and I am just happy with them. The Accunock had a spring inside throat of the nock with two prongs that hold the arrow on the string.

Then the string is released, the pressure of the string opens the spring and the arrow comes off of the string without any hang-ups. I tried pulling the arrow free of the string and I did not notice any difference between the Accunock and my standard nock but I did notice more speed and better groupings.

ou might want to give them a try. You can contact them at (270) 369-0445, e-mail, or check out their website at

If you are thinking about the weight, I checked them on my scale and there was only about one grain difference between the Accunock nock and a standard nock.

If you have any questions about this column, e-mail me at