There are two things to consider when choosing the right arrows for bowhunting - what weight you want to shoot, and how stiff the shaft needs to be to complement your draw weight and length. Not every bowhunter wants the lightest and fastest - shooting feather-weights can actually damage your bow. Light ones absorb as much of the bow's energy as do heavier ones, so if your's are consistently too light, the vibrations can damage your bow.
According to The Archery Manufacturer's Organization (AMO), the standard minimum weight should be roughly six grains for lighteach pound of your bow's maximum draw weight (in other words, a 60-pound bow should take a 360-grain arrow). A heavy modern hunting arrow weight about 8 to 10 grains per pound - if you're interested in speed, you can go as light a 5 grains per pound, but that should be as light as you go.
Shaft stiffness is important because of the pull-and-release manner in which they leave the bow. With a finger-released arrow, it has to go through a series of oscillations called "paradox" that begins when the string leaves your fingers - bending of the shaft has to be timed perfectly so it passes around the bow without hitting the riser. So, to achieve good flight, your shafts have to be an exact match for your bow and your release style. It's different for mechanical-release bows - there's less flex, and it's almost all confined to an up-and-down movement, so you you can get away with a wider range of shaft stiffness and still get good flight.
Point weight is also an important element of choosing the correct stiffness, especially if you release with fingers. Determine what broadhead weight you'll be using to hunt with before buying, and then get some off-season practice with field points of the same weight. If you'll be hunting whitetail deer, you'll be shooting from an average 20 yards, a distance that a mid-weight one can handle easily. A heavier arrow will require more accuracy on your part as it's slower, but you'll have a quieter shoot with maximum penetration. Lightweight's are great for target practice, but unless you have keen eyesight and regularly shoot at 25 yards or more, they're best left alone. Choosing the right arrows for bowhunting is a matter of style, what kind of bow you have, and simple trial-and-error.
Learn more about deer and elk hunting in western Wyoming on our site. You'll also find other information such as bow hunting basics and virtual hunting. DeerElkHunting.com is a comprehensive resource to deer and elk hunters with information on hunting grounds, equipment and useful hunting tips.
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