Fletching is made up of three or more vanes or feathers. One of the fletches will be a different color and is called the "cock" or "index" fletch. The remaining fletches are referred to as the "hen" fletching.
Fletching on an arrow shaft stabilizes the shaft during flight by causing it to spin as it leaves the bow, just as a quarterback puts a spiral spin on the football as he passes. Spinning keeps the arrow on its flight path and preserves speed, accuracy, and ultimately, impact power.
Generally speaking, the fletching profile needs to be wider than the cutting diameter of the broadhead being shot, or arrow flight could be affected. It is recommended also that 4- to 5-inch fletching be used to compensate for broadhead size and weight.
- Plastic Fletching: This fletching is made from the soft plastic or vinyl and is often called vanes. Vanes are available in many sizes, flexibilities, and colors; are perfectly matched; and are easily glued onto wood, aluminum, or carbon-fiber shafts using a fletching tool called a fletcher or fletching jig.
- Feather Fletching: This fletching is made from the wing pointer feathers of a turkey. The pointer feathers have a natural curvature distinct to the right and left wings of the turkey.
- You may use all left-wing or all right-wing feathers on your arrows, no matter which one of your eyes is dominant.
- You must use the proper left-wing or right-wing clamp to match your left-wing or right-wing feathers.
- A feather-fletched arrow will use either all right-wing or all left-wing feathers, never a mixture.