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To understand the importance of proper shot placement and recovery techniques when hunting, 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.
  • In addition, arrow wounds are generally less painful and generate less fear and panic than a comparable bullet wound. This is important to remember because being patient during the bowhunting recovery process often means that an animal—if mortally wounded—will die relatively close to where it was hit if it isn’t spooked.
Bowhunter approaching downed deer