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To understand the importance of proper shot placement and recovery techniques in bowhunting, it's helpful to know how arrows and bullets differ in the way they impact and kill an animal. Bullets kill by high-energy impact that crushes tissue and bone. Bullets may knock down an animal or incapacitate it by breaking major bones, which reduces its chance of running away.

Broadhead-tipped arrows deliver a low-energy impact that kills by cutting vital tissues. Because impact alone won't knock down an animal, the arrow must be placed properly for a quick kill and easy recovery. A poorly placed arrow will have little immediate impact, making it difficult, and perhaps impossible, to recover the animal.

Often, an animal that has been struck by an arrow does not realize it has been shot. This is important to remember because patience in the recovery process often means that an animal—if mortally wounded—will die relatively close to where it was hit if it isn't spooked.

Differences Between Hunting With Bow & Arrow and Modern Firearms
Bowhunting Rifle
Power Source Bending limbs Smokeless powder
Support Archer's body Shouldered stock
Effective Ranges Around 20 yards 100 yards or more
Trajectory High Arch Slight arch
Short Long
Killing Cutting/Bleeding Shocking/Bleeding
Projectiles Broadheads Bullet/shot
Main Safety Concerns Falls from tree stands Muzzle control and shooting injuries