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Most Debated Topics in Bowhunting

By Brodie SwisherApril 25, 20225 Comments

Take a quick scroll through social media, and you’ll likely find a heavy dose of hot topics being debated among hunters. And while the topics covered are seemingly endless, there are some that tend to get most of the spotlight. 

With that said, here’s a look at the most debated topics in bowhunting.  

Broadhead Design

One of the hottest debates found on social media among bowhunters is what broadhead works best. Fixed blade or mechanical? What works best?

They both have their pros and cons, but you’d be amazed at the mud slingin’ that goes on from each side as they defend their favorite. 

Some swear that fixed blades are the only style of head to deliver quality penetration, while others believe you can’t achieve a good bloodtrail without an expandable broadhead.

You can argue this one until you’re blue in the face, but it’ll never be officially settled. They both work well. They both kill critters. They both work best when you put the arrow in the vitals. 

Most Debated Topics In Bowhunting
Today's broadhead designs are nearly endless, as is the debates that surround them.

Arrow Weight

How do you like your arrows? Light and fast, or slow and steady? Arrow weight has been one of the most recent trendy topics to stir things up among bowhunters. It’s entertaining to watch the debates on this one unfold.

You’ll typically find a young bowhunter discover some of the benefits of a heavier arrow weight. They’ll boldly proclaim that heavy arrows are God’s gift to the bowhunter. There’s no doubt in their mind that lighter arrows are to blame for all the deer they’ve lost in the woods after a poorly placed shot.

However, it’s usually just a matter of time before these guys come to the realization that their heavier arrows aren’t the end-all cure for lousy shot selection. With a bewildered tone in their social media post, they’ll frantically search for answers why they still aren’t punching arrows through deer shoulders and bone. Again, shoot all the weight you want, but you still need to place the arrow where it’s supposed to go to get the goods.  

Scent Control

Millions of dollars are spent each year by hunters going to great lengths  to go undetected by deer. Scent control is a do or die deal for many of these hunters.

You have the hunter that carries all their camo clothes around in a scent-tight tote or bag and will only change into their hunting camo once at the farm. They can be found in their underwear and socks near the tailgate of the truck, doing their best to keep their socks dry and out of the mud as they get dressed in their scent free camo gear. These are the diehards when it comes to scent control. 

The other group loves to laugh at these guys and all the excessive efforts made to stay scent free. These guys aren’t worried about hitting the woods smelling like a chicken biscuit mixed with cigarette smoke. Both parties seem to kill their fair share of deer. Both still need the wind in their favor. Which side are you on here? 

Most Debated Topics In Bowhunting

Shot Placement

Some bowhunters wait for a broadside shot. Others will go full send when a decent buck gives them a hard quartering-to shot at 30 yards. The blessing and curse of bowhunting is that we are our own referee. We call the shots on what’s right and wrong when it comes to shot placement.

Sadly, far too many hunters are unaware of how a deer’s anatomy lays out and whether or not their arrow will in fact reach the vitals. 

Some hunters are willing to take risks, gambling on the shot they take. Others only drop the string when they are cool, calm, and confident. Debates over shot placement tend to be some of the most spirited you’ll find anywhere. 

And like the others, you’ll find ample entertainment when a social media post is made from a bowhunter that swears he or she double-lunged their deer, but are still searching for it 8 hours later, and are now searching for answers online. 

If you do find yourself struggling after the shot, be sure to check out the new Bowhunting.com Shot Tracker on this site.

Shot Distance

Another hotly debated topic is shot distance. There was a time, back in the days of Bowhunter Education classes, that it was preached that 40 yards was a bowhunter’s maximum effective range with a bow.

However, times have changed. Bows are much more efficient. It’s not uncommon to now find bowhunters launching arrows at 80 yards on western big game. Some say 40 is still the range, while others claim 50, 60, or 70 is the end of the line.

This debate stirs things up every year among hunters. And truth be told, only you can decide this one. It’s your call. There will be shooters that can stack the arrows in tight at long range and feel confident dropping the string on deer at 50 yards. At the same time, there are hunters who need not launch an arrow at targets past 20.

Every shooter is different. But if you want to start a squabble, just tell your hunting buddies what you feel they should limit their shot distance this season. 

Buck-at-corn-looking
How far is too far to make a shot with a bow? The answers are endless. Photo: Darron McDougal

Crossbows

There was a time when crossbows were limited to handicap use only across much of the country for archery season. At the time, many states required a doctors note to use them. You had to be hurt, broken, or weak to use a crossbow in those days.

For that reason, many hunters continue to view crossbows as a weapon for handicap use, or for kids, despite the fact that they’ve been legalized for use during archery seasons across much of the country.

You don’t have to search far to find someone wanting to trash talk the use of a crossbow by another hunter. “That’s not a real bow,” they’ll say about crossbows. In reality it’s probably the same argument trad bow shooters made when compound bows first came on the market. 

Crossbows are easily the most debated piece of archery gear out there. Some say there’s no difference in the crossbow and other archery gear. That, of course, is not an accurate statement. The crossbow certainly has its advantages.

The question is, should it be allowed for archery season? That is the base for the endless debate.

Most Debated Topics In Bowhunting
Crossbows are likely the most debated piece of gear in all of archery. What side are you on?

Cell Cameras

One of the latest debates to receive national attention is the use of cell cameras. They came on the scene a few years back and were an immediate hit.

As the name implies, the camera sends images directly to your cell phone. You no longer have to step into the woods to check SD cards. The cameras are designed to immediately send a photo to your phone, just moments after the image is captured. Scouting and intel is now easily accomplished from the comfort of your own home.

But are you actually hunting if you run to the woods to shoot a deer that just showed up on your camera? Is this live intel going too far?

A number of states have regulations that won’t allow the use of phone/radio intel for one hunter to share the whereabouts of a wild game animal to another hunter. Is the cell camera any different?

Well, that all depends on who you ask. This is one of the hottest debates going these days with several states recently banning the use of cell cameras by hunters. 

Stealth Cam Reactor Trail Camera Review
The author hangs a Stealth Cam to capture intel for deer season. It's a popular tactic, but the use of cell cameras has become a controversial topic in recent years across the country.

What about you? What are your thoughts on the hunting gear mentioned above? 

Comment below, and let us know what you think.

Brodie Swisher
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Bowhunting.com. Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
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