Bowhunter Shot in the Face with an Expandable Broadhead

By Hunting NetworkSeptember 23, 20131 Comment

UPDATED ON: May 1st, 2015

One Utah man is lucky, and I’m sure incredibly grateful, that a Rage broadhead failed to deploy upon impact.  TJ Cartwright was running a video camera for his friend, hoping to capture a successful deer hunt on video, but instead TJ was shot in the face with a 3-blade rage broadhead.

The victim’s fiancé, who was among the hunting party, reports that TJ somehow found himself between the deer and the hunter, as the deer was crossing a field and the hunter was getting in position for a shot.  Realizing that TJ was now front of him, the shooter tried to “throw the shot away”, but inadvertently release the arrow in TJ’s direction.

The broadhead-tipped arrow struck TJ in the cheek.  TJ, who remained conscious, then traveled with the rest of the party to find cell service and call for help.  The hunting party successfully reached 911, and medical personnel were deployed to the site, where they stabilized TJ and transported him to the hospital.

TJ underwent a tracheotomy, but the surgeons didn’t want to remove the arrow until they fully understood how the broadhead was constructed, and how it operated.  Becky Archibald, TJ’s future mother-in-law reported that, “None of the surgeons knew anything about these Rage Broadheads.  They sent somebody to Sportsman’s to buy one, so the ear, nose and throat specialist could work with it before going in. They needed to know the mobility and functionality of that arrow head.”

Testing showed that the 3-blade Rage broadhead buried in TJ’s face didn’t fully deploy, and that one of blades was actually resting on TJ’s carotid artery.  The surgery to remove the broadhead lasted over 12 hours, and TJ received 22 pints of blood throughout this treatment.

TJ is recovering from surgery, and according to Archibald, the couple is determined to have the wedding on September 14, as scheduled, even if the ceremony must take place in the hospital room.

There are obviously a lot of lessons to be learned from this story.  What would you have done if you were at full draw and your friend is suddenly in the path of your arrow?  Would you try to “throw the shot away”, try to let down, try to point the weapon in a safe direction, or something else? 

Bowhunters always want exceptional performance and penetration from their broadheads, but thankfully that didn’t happen with this accident.

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