About the Study Guide

You are looking at the Massachusetts Hunter’s Ed Study Guide. At the present time, you cannot obtain hunter education certification from Hunter Ed. However, you can use this Study Guide as a resource to learn more about hunter safety.

Arrows have four parts.

Shaft: The long spine of the arrow. Modern arrow shafts are made of wood, fiberglass, aluminum, or carbon. The arrow, regardless of shaft material, must have the correct stiffness to match the bow for optimal accuracy. Every arrow has a degree of stiffness called spine, which is its resistance to bending. As an arrow is released, the shaft bends before straightening in flight. Incorrect stiffness will cause the arrow to fly erratically and inaccurately.

Fletching: The plastic vanes or feathers on an arrow. Fletching creates wind drag and also can cause the arrow to spin similar to a rifle bullet, providing stability and accuracy in flight. Fletching is made up of three or more vanes or feathers. One of the feathers will be a different color and is called the “cock” feather. The remaining feathers are referred to as the “hen” feathers.

Arrowhead: The point of the arrow. Many different kinds of arrow points are available, each with a different purpose and advantage.

Nock: A slotted plastic tip located on the rear end of the arrow that snaps onto the string and holds the arrow in position. There is a certain point on the bowstring, called the “nocking point,” where arrows are nocked. Fine tuning of this location, by moving it up or down the bowstring, is usually required.

Nocking point on a bowstring
Arrow with parts labeled