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Scent control in deer hunting | How to hunt the wind so you can see and kill more deer

So, what’s the big deal with deer hunting and all this “upwind” and “downwind” talk?

Every year hunters make mistakes by not paying attention to wind direction. You can have all the deer in the world on your property. You can have all the “best” and most expensive hunting gear.

But, if you don’t pay attention to wind direction, you will be severely limiting your chances of harvesting a whitetail.

So, let’s learn how to hunt the wind, so that you can give yourself the best chance for hunting success while in the field.

Wind direction doesn’t really matter when hunting whitetail deer… does it?

You’ve probably heard stories of the hunter who rolls out of bed, goes through the local breakfast joint drive-through and gets a greasy sausage biscuit and drives to the hunting land.

Then, gets out of the truck, rides his/her 4-wheeler straight to the bottom of the tree they plan to hunt, ascend, light up a cigarette and shoot the biggest buck of their life.

whitetail buck standing in field

When it comes to harvesting mature whitetails, you had better be on your A-game when it comes to scent control and wind direction.

Then, when the subject of scent control and wind direction in deer hunting comes up, they point to the wall hanger in the den and say something like, “pffffft, I never pay attention to the wind and you can see I’m doing just fine.”

Sure these stories are out there, but don’t be fooled. A mature whitetail didn’t become mature by “throwing caution to the wind.” A whitetail’s nose is its best defense and you are one of the most offensive smells around.

So, if you hope to have sustained success in the deer woods, you need to be serious about scent control. For bowhunters, who typically need to get a close shot to get the kill, it’s even more critical.



What is “upwind” and “downwind” in hunting?

So, if you’re still reading, you must want to learn about how to hunt the wind in a way that keeps your scent away from a buck’s nose.

When it comes to wind direction, the key is to stay “downwind” of the deer you are hunting. But, what does “downwind” and “upwind” really mean?

How to “hunt the wind”

Being “downwind” of a deer means that if you were looking straight at the deer you hope to shoot, the wind would be blowing in your face. Thus, the wind would be blowing your scent away from the deer.

Conversely, if you were “upwind” of the deer, the wind would carry your scent “downwind” toward the deer (not what you want).

So, you want the deer to be upwind of you, and you want to be downwind of them. Got it?

Let’s take a look at the diagram below, which might help clear things up.

hunting wind direction graphic
In the graphic above the yellow indicates wind direction. If deer are typically in the location indicated in this graphic, a hunter would want to approach the stand location from the “downwind” side of the deer, so they would not be alerted by the hunter’s scent.

It’s not just about being in the stand

So, let’s say you are in the stand (or from the ground) and you’re overlooking a field where you know the deer feed. You are downwind of where you think the deer will eventually be. You are golden, right?

Well, maybe not.

You’re scent doesn’t just matter when you are in the deer stand. It matters well before you even sat down!

Entry and exit routes when hunting

One thing deer hunters often ignore is how their entry and exit to and from their deer stand impacts the deer they are hunting.

So, the hunt actually begins before you take one step toward your hunting location.

When you are making your way to your deer stand, the wind is carrying your scent just as it does from the stand.

So, unless you want your hunt to end before it even gets started, you need to be sure that you have thought through the wind direction as it pertains to how you are going to get to your stand.

ladder stand pic

If you are going to use the wind to your advantage, your hunt begins long before you actually sit down in your stand.

This means you need to know where the deer typically are during the time you plan to enter. Are they bedding? Are they feeding? Where are these locations in regard to your entry route?

And it’s the same for your exit route. If your scent gets blown toward the deer when you leave your stand, you have just educated those deer to your location.

So, if you are trying to avoid danger, are you going to continue to go back to where the danger is every day? Well, neither would a deer. They are trying to stay alive and that means avoiding the danger, which in this case, is YOU!

So, be sure you are paying attention to wind direction as it pertains to your entry and exit routes.



How to fool a deer’s nose… well…

Let’s be clear, you can never truly “fool a deer’s nose.”

But, there are some things you can do to make it harder for them to bust you.

whitetail buck in grass

You can never totally fool a buck’s nose, but you should do everything you can to make things more difficult for him to bust you. (photo by Jeff Coldwell)

Kill that clothing scent

Take a whiff of your laundry detergent. Smells nice, doesn’t it?

Not to a deer.

What might smell great to you could make a deer want to leave the county. So, what can you do about that?

It’s a good idea to wash your clothes in a scent-free detergent. Baking soda is also a good scent “eliminator.” There are lots of these types of scent-killing hunting detergents on the market, so you’ll have no trouble finding them at you local sporting goods store.



Shower, for goodness sake!

Should you shower? For everyone’s sake, YES!

But, when it comes to deer hunting, that sweet smell of typical detergents that we discussed above… you want to avoid that in your shower soap as well.

Be sure to get

Pitts are the pitts… don’t ignore them

Once you’re done showering, one more precaution you can take is to use Sweat the details, but please don’t sweat…

Sweat is your enemy.

When you sweat, odor follows. And, if you’ve been paying attention so far, you know that is not what you want when hunting deer.

So, how can you avoid sweating?

Well, one thing to be careful of is how much clothing you wear when you are walking to and from your stand or hunting location.

But, what if it’s cold outside?



Well, of course you want to have hunting clothing that will keep you warm in cold weather, but that doesn’t mean you have to wear all of it while you are walking to and from your stand or hunting location.

Plus, if you sweat on your way to the stand in an attempt to stay warm, you are going to end up being cold anyway when the sweat cools your body down. Nothing like being we in cold weather, right?



Many hunters are hunting on public land, which can mean a long trek to the final hunting destination. So, if you have a long walk to where you are headed and know you are going to work up a sweat, consider starting out by removing a layer or two. You might be a little bit cold when you start walking, but your body will warm up as you get moving.

Then, once you arrive at your stand or hunting location, you can put the layers back on, so that you will stay warm during the hunt. By doing this, you not only will be warmer, but you’ll avoid much of the odor that sweating causes.

This could be the difference in having hunting success… or getting busted.




Clothe your body with… nothing

No, don’t hunt naked.

But clothe your body with the most “invisible” clothing possible.

This means wearing scent control clothing and using scent killing sprays.

Scent control is a big market in hunting apparel world, and there are a wide variety of options to choose from. So, take advantage of some the products that can help shield human scent.

It’s also a good idea to spray down your clothing, as well as your boots and gear with a scent elimination spray.




“But, isn’t all of this overkill?”

Well, remember, wind direction is the most important scent control tactic you need to pay attention to, but if you can gain any kind of advantage in harvesting a whitetail (especially a mature buck), should you do it?

Use cover scents

The use of covers scents can be helpful in shielding a deer from your scent. There are a variety of cover scents available, such as racoon or fox urine, acorn scent, pine, etc.

Just be sure to native to your area. So, if there are no oak trees in your area and you use an acorn cover scent, this could have the opposite effect you are intending.

A deer may be on high alert when smelling this, since it is not a smell they are used to in that particular area. So, take care in choosing the “right” cover scent.



Conclusion

So, remember, paying attention to the wind direction is paramount in your quest to consistently give yourself a chance to see deer.

Hopefully, when the moment of truth comes, you’ll shoot straight!

Hunt safely and good luck out there!

Check out the video below and learn how to play the wind to your advantage for better whitetail deer hunting success!

(Wind Direction video transcript)

>>Read about all the N1 shirt designs

Find out what deer hunting and playing the lottery have in common. Stick with us for the N1 Outdoors N1 Minute.

Suppose I knew the five winging numbers to the lottery and all you had to do was guess the order they go into to win. How many of you would refuse that information and instead, decide to guess the numbers yourself and the order they go in?

Hopefully none of you, but that’s exactly what many deer hunters do every season by not paying attention to the wind.

Wind direction is critical in deer hunting

All the scouting and trail can picture is in the world won’t make up for poor planning when it comes to wind direction. For you bow hunters out there, it’s even more critical. Always be aware of which way the wind is blowing, not only in regards to stand location, but also in relation to the entry and exit routes to and from your stand or hunting location. The last thing you want is for your hunt to end with deer blowing before it even gets started.

Stay downwind of the deer in all situations. For those of you not familiar with the terms “upwind” and “downwind,” an easy way to remember, is to be sure the wind is in your face when approaching and hunting your favorite trail or location.

Paying careful attention to wind direction certainly won’t help you win the lottery, but when combined with effective scouting, planning and accuracy, it will increase your chances of seeing and taking more deer.

We hope you have a great week and remember… “where the moments happen, we’ll meet you there.” We’ll see you next time.

traditional archery arrows and quiver

The History Of Archery | A Look Into The Past That Led To Today’s Popular Sport

Have you ever watched those movies where they shoot arrows with a bow and wished that you could shoot them too?

Archery is indeed fascinating and remains one of the oldest arts still practiced today. In fact, archery is now one of the famous Olympic sports and is even a sport in the Summer Paralympic games.

So, just how did archery come about? And, when was is invented?

Archery was mainly used for hunting and warfare in the past, but is mainly a recreational activity now. If you have been longing to know more about archery, keep reading!

We will cover the history of archery, archery equipment, famous historical archers and even how you can get started in the sport of archery.

History Of Archery

The evolution of archery dates back to the beginning of mankind’s history as studies have found evidence of ancient archers around the world.

Ancient Egyptians are known to have regularly used bows and arrows for hunting and warfare around 3000 BC.

history of archery recurve arrow pic

Egyptians used bows and arrows, possibly as early as 5000 BC.

Also, in China, archery has been traced back to the time of the Shang Dynasty in 1766-1027 BC, when a war chariot carried an archer, a lancer, a driver and a three-man team.

So, what exactly is archery?

According to Oxford Living Dictionaries, archery is the sport of shooting with a bow and arrows.

Merriam Webster defines it as the art, practice, or skill of shooting with a bow and arrow.

Someone who participates in archery is called an archer or a bowman. Anyone fond of archery or who is an expert at it is called a toxophilite.

Today, some still use archery for hunting wild game (known as bow hunting) and bow fishing has also grown in popularity. Archery is now rarely used for defense, except in leisure pursuits such as archery tag.



Who Invented The Bow And Arrow?

You might be wondering… who invented the bow and arrow and when were the bow and arrow invented? Well, we don’t know for sure who invented archery, but it’s believed that Egyptians may have used bows and arrows as early as 5000 BC.

When a skilled archer takes charge of a bow and arrow, the result can be effective and deadly. Thus, ancient bows and arrows out-classed other weapons, such as swords, that were available in the olden day.

The ability to shoot an arrow from a distance gave archers an advantage in battle over those bearing swords.

History Of The Ancient Bow And Arrow

You can’t really talk about the history of archery without examining the history of the bow and arrow. In the ancient times, the major weapons were:

• The axe, sword and mace for short range
• The spear and javelin for medium range
• The bow and sling for long range

A Bow had two basic parts, including the string and the body, made of pliable and tough wood. The archer would the wooden part of the bow (grip) at the center when ready to shoot.

When the simple bow was made, it had only one convex arc so it didn’t exploit the maximum pliability of the wood. So, the double-convex bow was invented to provide a greater range and tension.

The composite bow was later invented for warfare purposes, as it was made of four materials including wood, glue, animal sinews & tendons and sections of animal horn.

The wooden part of the bow was made from different trees with different pliability and the back of the bow was covered with sinews bands.

The belly of the bow was also reinforced with two sections of animal horn. The composite bow had a range of 300 to 400 yards.

Today there are many types of bows, including flatbows, longbows, recurve bows, cable-backed bows and compound bows.



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What About The Arrow?

Arrows were also made of three parts, including the tail, body and the arrowhead. The tail was designed to ensure the arrow stayed on course in a straight and smooth flight, which was why it was made of feathers of sea-fowl, kite, vulture or eagles. These feathers, or “fletchings,” are now sometimes substituted as plastic “vanes.”

The body of the arrow was also hard, light, straight, long and thin to ensure maximum speed. The arrowhead was the hardest part, made of metal, flint or bone.

Arrow fletchings help the arrows fly straight and smooth.

Arrowheads could be either triangular or leaf-shaped, flat or with central rib or spine. In ancient times, the form of an arrowhead was based on the nature of the armour of the enemy that needed to be penetrated.

Today, arrows are made of fiberglass, composite materials, aluminum, wood and bamboo.

The Oldest Bow Ever Found

So how old is the oldest bow?

The oldest bows were found in Holmegard swamp in Denmark. Some date the series of bows found in the bog between 20,000-9,500 BC. The municipality called Holmegard is no longer in existence as of 2007, because it has been merged with other municipalities to form the Naestved municipality.

The first bows ever used were made of wood and stone or wooden arrowheads. In 3300 BC, the arrowhead was changed to bronze which could be shaped and sharpened with ease.

Development And Evolution Of Archery

Chinese introduced archery to Japan in the 6th century and it had a great influence on later techniques and etiquette. One of the Japanese martial arts was originally known as kyujutsu, meaning the “art of the bow.” But, now it’s called kyudo, which means ‘the way of the bow.”

Presently, modern kyudo is mainly practiced as the method of moral, physical and spiritual development. With kyudo, the archer has to perform a certain ritual movement before moving to the shooting line and shoots from a distance of 28 meters.

During Greco-Roman times, the bow was mainly used for hunting or personal exploits, rather than for warfare.

The superiority of Middle East technique and equipment continued for centuries. In 1200 BC, the iron age paved way for arrowheads to be made from iron, which allows for a deadlier shot and better armour penetration.

Archery was used for hunting, but Koreans, Indians, Parthians, Persians, Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Japanese and Chinese used it in their armies.

man shooting longbow

Early longbows, similar to this one, were used in war but were later rendered obsolete in battle due to the invention of firearms.

The English longbow was made from yew wood in 1337 and used during the Hundred Years War because of its ability to outreach the enemy bows.

Although the English longbows were effective, the Turkish and Asian bows were more efficient and far better than an English yew bow.

Later, firearms were developed and rendered bows obsolete, causing the use of bow to decline until the 18th century, when archery was revived as a sport. Since that time, there have been several big tournaments.

In the 1900 Paris Olympics, archery was included. Professional engineers started developing new types of bows in the 1920’s, including the modern compound bow and recurve, which are currently the most popular forms of the bow in the Western hemisphere.

History Of Archery In North America

Although bows and arrows were already in existence when Central Asian peoples crossed over to North America, the people didn’t seem to know about them. It’s believed that Native Americans did not begin the practice of archery until about 500 AD.

It’s believed that once they discovered the bow and arrow, that it became the preferred weapon of choice, because it took less raw materials to make than spears.

Indian tribes, such as the Cherokee Indians, used the bow and arrow to hunt for animals. They would bowhunt for fox , turkey, rabbits, elk, bear and deer. Deer were especially useful, as they provided materials for clothing and tents, as well as for food.

Indians used deer antlers to make weapons like spears, arrow heads, fish hooks, needles and other useful tools.

history of archery native american

Native Americans apparently did not begin using bows and arrows until about 500 A.D.




Archery In Mythology

If you’ve watched Chinese, Korean and Japanese movies, you will understand how popular archery is. Robin Hood is another modern movie where archery was made popular.

And, if you’ve read Odysseus in Book 21 of the Odyssey, where Odysseus was mentioned as being skilled in archery, you will see that the history of archery is a rich one.

Due to the use of the bow and arrow for warfare and survival, many heroes and gods are still depicted as using bows and arrows. Some of these mythological figures and folk heroes include:

• Abhimanyu
• Kama (son of Radha)
• Cupid
• Artemis and Apollo
• Hayk and Marduk
• Heracles
• Shiva
• Rama
• Arjune
• Robin Hood
• Wilhelm Tell (William Tell)

traditional archer in camo pulling back a bow

Although bow technology has come a long way over the years, many still enjoy shooting and hunting with “traditional” bows like this recurve.



How was archery developed into a sport?

During the time of King Henry VIII, archery was developed into a sport in England. At that time, men younger than sixty were asked to practice shooting with arrow and bow. From that time, people started competing with one another during festivals.

In 1900, archery was included in the Olympic Games and was among the first sports in which women were allowed to participate.

During the 1920 Olympics, archery was included, but afterward dropped because of lack of consistent international rules and lack of interest.

girl shooting an archery bow

The sport of archery was included in the Olympic Games in 1900, one of the first sports in which women were allowed to compete.

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When people again started showing interest in archery in 1931, an international governing body called the Federation of International Target Archery (FITA) was formed to establish rules accepted around the world. But, that did not convince Olympic organizers to include archery again in the Olympic program until the 1972 Olympic Games in Germany.

When the archery was added again to the Olympic Games, each archer was asked to use bows made of wood and covered in graphite. Their arrowheads were made of aluminum, with strings made of Kevlar or hydrocarbon.

Athletes were asked to use protective equipment like shooting gloves and arm guards to protect their forearms and hands.

Modern Day Archery

Unlike in the olden days when archery was mainly used for defense and war, modern day archery is practiced in different forms with different types of bows.

We now have disciplined martial artists, recreational archers, world championships, record-breaking distance attempts and Olympic level competitions. Although people still use archery for hunting game and for bowfishing, it is rarely used for war and defense.

Everything about archery in the modern setting is leisure pursuit and anybody can learn archery and become an archer.


>> Check out some of our N1 Outdoors brand archery and bowhunting videos which include aiming tips and bow maintenance.


Protective Equipment

Most archers wear an arm-guard, called a bracer, to protect the inside of the arm that holds the bow. It’s not that the bracer braces the arm; the word was formed from “brassard”, which means an armoured badge or sleeve.

Some archers (females especially) wear plastrons or chest guards on their chest for protection.

history of archery arm guard

A “bracer” is an arm guard to protect the inside of the arm when shooting a bow.



Fascinating Facts About Archery

Archery has come a long way and since it is now mainly used for the recreational purpose, here are some interesting facts about archery:

1. Archery is one of the safest sports

Archery is considered to be one of the oldest sports in the world. With just one injury out of 2,000 participants, the National Safety Council has deemed archery as three times safer than golf. In fact, USA Archery claims the sport is safer than bowling. This means archery is fun and safe for everyone and you can try it too!

2. Archery is the national sport of the Kingdom of Bhutan

The Kingdom of Bhutan has made archery their national sport. Almost every village has an archery range. That is how popular archery is in the Kingdom of Bhutan.

3. An archer is also called toxophilite

Although the word sounds funny, it is legitimate. The word “Toxophilite” originates from Greek “toxon” meaning bow and arrow and Greek “philos” meaning loving. So you are also a toxophilite if you are an archer!

4. King Henry V was a toxophilite

In 1421, King Henry V of England ordered 500,000 arrows for his army and the arrows were kept in the Tower of London where the king’s arrow keeper watched over it.

5. Archery was the first Olympic game that allowed women to compete

In the past, women are not allowed to participate in the Olympic Games but archery changed that. Archery allowed female competitors in the Olympic Games in 1904. Now, you can’t talk about the Olympic Games without mentioning female archers like Khatuna Lorig and Mackenzie Brown.

6. Monarchs in Britain have banned golf, bowls and football for archery

In Britain, various monarchs have banned golf, bowls and football because men refused to practice archery because of these sports. In fact, during King Henry VIII’s reign, he ordered every man in the country to practice archery after church on Sundays! So, England was the first country to organize archery competitions in the 1500s.

If you have watched movies like The Lord of the Rings, Robin Hood, Rambo, The Hunger Games, Brave and some of the Korean and Japanese movies, you would understand why a many people around the world want to become archers.

How archery can benefit you

You may be asking; is archery really that important? Does it offer any benefit? Well, archery offers both physical and mental benefits. It doesn’t offer these benefits to only adults; children can learn al lot from archery as well.

1. Exercise

The act of drawing a bow is an exercise and can help you burn calories, as well as build up certain muscle groups. So, if you are looking to stay fit, archery can be a good form of exercise.

woman shooting a compound bow

Archery is a great form of exercise that helps provide upper body strength, confidence, relaxation and coordination.

2. Upper body strength

When you draw the bowstring, your shoulder, arms, hands, back and chest are involved. So drawing a bow can help you stabilize your leg muscles and core muscles for balance.

3. Confidence

When you are successful in a competitive archery, you can gain self-esteem and confidence. Winning a competition and boosting your confidence can help you in other aspects of your life.

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4. Relaxation

Merely seeing your arrow fly and hit the target can give you a relaxing and satisfying experience.

5. Hand-eye coordination

With archery, you can gain hand-eye coordination. When you practice standing correctly, nocking an arrow, drawing your bow, setting up your shot and releasing the arrow, you are sure to gain hand-eye coordination. If you are consistent in practicing archery, you will increase your coordination.

6. Focus

To achieve a good shot, you need to be precise, account for variables including power, distance and wind. Because you are required to be focused when shooting an arrow, it can also help your focus in other aspects of your life.

7. It is a cool sport

Archers are usually portrayed by Hollywood as heroes because that is how people view old and modern legends like Robin Hood and Katniss Everdeen. Archery is also considered one of the safest, if not the safest sport in the world.

8. Friendship

Archery is a great pastime to take part in with friends. Whether you are target shooting or hunting with a bow, archery gives you a chance to connect to like-minded individuals.

9. Patience

Being successful at archery requires patience and dedication. So, if you are looking for a lesson in patience, this is the right sport for you!

10. It is open to all

Whether you are able-bodied or disabled, this sport can be taken part in by anyone. Even the blind can use special equipment to enjoy this sport. Archery is for everyone, whether young, old, male or female.



How to get started in archery

Maybe you’ve seen others shooting a bow and arrow, or you’ve watched movies that feature archery and now you’re wondering how you too can get started. It is easy.

Whether you want to shoot arrows for fun, or learn to become an archery competitor, there is a place for you in the sport of archery.

history of archery kid archer

Archery is a great sport for youth, but there are several factors to consider when choosing a starter bow package.

Archery at its core is fun, addictive and challenging. And, with the many benefits it offers, you are sure to love it. The most important disciplines you need in archery are field, target and 3D.

You can easily find an organization that offers classes in each of the disciplines. And who knows, with practice and dedication, you might even be offered a chance to compete in competitions including national and international competitions!

After figuring out the aspect of archery you like, you need to consider the type of bow you would like to use.



The best bows for beginners

As a beginner in the sport of archery, choosing the right bow can be a difficult task but don’t worry, here are what define a beginner bow:

• Low maintenance
• Smooth drawing
• Affordable
• Easily adjustable
• Available in a ready to shoot package



If you are interested in bowhunting, you can get information on different types and reviews of popular fixed blade as well as expandable broadheads.

You can start today

If you’d really love to become an archer or bowhunter, you can start today! N1 Outdoors was founded by three friends that love the sport of bowhunting, so archery is near and dear to our hearts!

We love providing archery tips, helpful information on bow hunting topics, such as good broadhead selection, and apparel that reflects our love of archery

Annihilator broadhead retest pic

Annihilator Broadheads Review | A revealing re-test [and broadhead battle!]

In this article, I’m covering a re-test of the 125-grain Annihilator Broadhead.

When I originally tested this broadhead, it performed extremely well in terms of penetration, (i.e., draining a water jug) and in terms of the hole that it produced in a layer of MDF.

It also flew really well out to 50 yards. However, beyond 50 yards, there just seemed to be a drastic drop in velocity, causing an incredible drop in the point of impact.

lusk archery adventures retest of annihilator
I decided to re-test the Annihilator after talking with multiple people that had not gotten the same results as I did in my original test.

However, after making a video of that test, I was contacted by some friends who had also tested this broadhead at longer ranges, but did not see the drastic results I had seen.

I then visited with the designers of the Annihilator broadheads at the Archery Trade Association (ATA) show. They also said that their tests had not shown the drastic drop. In fact, they had seen really consistent flight, even at longer ranges. So, I told them I would very gladly test it again.


>> Click here to jump straight to the broadhead battle between the Annihilator Original and the Annihilator XL


The backstory to my original test of the Annihilator broadhead

The day of the re-test, it was sub-zero temperatures (with the wind chill). When I re-tested the head, I found that the people I had spoken to were exactly right. It flew extremely well, even at longer ranges.

I realized that in my original test, I had made a two-fold mistake.

My two mistakes

Before I tested the Annihilator broadhead the first time, I was talking to a friend about it. He told me that when he shot it at longer ranges, there was a really large drop due to the wind resistance of that big surface area that they have. And so, that was already in my mind.

So, then when I shot it and tested it and there was a big drop, and I thought, “Oh, this just confirms what my friend had said.” I didn’t retest it or question my test results enough. That was my first mistake. I shouldn’t have had that in my mind.



The second mistake that I made in the initial test is that I had made adjustments to my site tapes and I didn’t take that into consideration when I was testing the Annihilator.

So, I felt really badly. I went back and made the adjustments in my site tapes and… Boom! Dead on!

I feel really badly that I made both of those mistakes, and both of those mistakes adversely affected the reputation of Annilator (as well as my own reputation for doing a poor job in testing the broadhead).

I want to give a sincere apology to the makers of Annihilator broadheads, to their loyal fans, and especially to those who I turned off from these broadheads after my initial test, because it actually does fly very well even at longer ranges.

So, that’s why I wanted to do a completely new test. I’ve got new test mediums for 2020 that I’m using anyway. So it’s a good way to do those.

The Annihilator broadhead | The specifics

So, let me explain this broadhead just a little bit for those of you that aren’t familiar with it.

When I first heard about it, I wasn’t that interested in testing it because the cutting diameter is sub-1 inch. It’s 0.91 inches of cut. To me, that’s just so small.

I thought, “Why would I want to test the head that has that small of a cut?”



However, what I wasn’t understanding was the design has a “scoop” feature to it. So, while it has a small cutting diameter, when it presses through a medium like animal tissue, it actually displaces an incredible amount of it. (Note: As of the publishing of this article, I personally have not tested the Annihilator head on an animal).

So, the hole that it creates, and the tissue that’s displaced, is in theory far greater than if it was just 3 crossblades of 0.91 inches. It has an incredible surface area. (That showed in a test that I had done originally. The Annihilator drained a water jug in record time. It also put a big hole through MDF. And so, in the retest, I wanted to show that).

The Annihilator is designed to put a much larger hole than the head size suggests. The small surface area allows it to fly really well, but then displace a lot of tissue. And so, it makes a really nice hole.

Another cool thing about this head is that it’s a solid piece of 4140 tool steel. That is a really high quality of tool steel. So, it’s way more resistant to impact and much tougher than stainless steel, for example. It has a Rockwell hardness of 52, which is a pretty good balance of being soft enough to resharpen and hard enough to keep its edge.

Another thing I really like about it is that re-sharpening for this head is extremely easy. It’s like the Bishop Holy Trinity and some other three blades that I’ve tested in the past.

You can just lay it flat on a flat stone or any kind of a flat edge surface and it is very easy to sharpen to a razor-like edge.

ballistic gel and mdf board
For penetration testing I used MDF board, foam padding and ballistic gel.

In my re-test, I used a half-inch layer of MDF surrounded by 1/3 of an inch of rubber foam mat. Beyond that was a gel block by Clear Ballistics, so you can see what happens to the broadhead once it enters the gel. (I will be doing this for all the broadheads I test this year).

Then, I shot it through a 22-gauge steel plate 5 times. (I like to shoot it through the steel plate until there begins to be significant damage to the blades. So, I basically see how many times it can be shot into the steel plate without facing significant damage. But, I stop at 5 because with some heads, I could keep going forever).



The Re-Test of the Annihilator

So let’s get into the test results and see how it did with long range flight, penetration and water drainage ability.

Long-Range Flight

In the re-test I was able to pop a balloon at 70 yards with this head.



Penetration Testing

In terms of penetration through the MDF and gel, the Annihilator did very well. It did not do as well as some other broadheads I’ve tested, but it still had good penetration and made a nice hole in that MDF, as well as the gel.

Below, you can see the penetration of the Annihilator after going through the MDF and the rubber foam mats and into the gel. It penetrated 8-1/4 inches.

penetration test of annihilator in ballistic gel
The Annihilator, through MDF, foam pad and ballistic gel.

Below is a steel plate after I shot it 5 times with the same head. You can see the Annihilator really does make nice holes. Thus, it should displace a tremendous amount of tissue.

annihilator through 22 gauge steel plate
The Annihilator, shot into a 22-gauge steel plate.

Edge Retention

In terms of the durability of the edge (edge retention), the Annihilator is pristine. There is not a mark on it. It doesn’t quite shave hair, but it still bit into my fingernail… very impressive.

So, it’s durable as they come. It went through 5 layers of steel back-to-back-to-back with zero damage. That’s what that 4140 tool steel is going to do. It kept its edge really, really well.

annihlator broadhead edge retention
The Annihilator kept it’s edge incredibly well, even after being shot 5 times through a 22-gauge steel plate.


Water drainage test

The water drainage test was just other otherworldly. I don’t know any other word to describe it. It drained the bag in .40 seconds!

The reason I used the water bag drainage test instead of a water jug drainage test is that I felt that in a water jug, because the plastic is pretty stiff, sometimes the plastic folds in, sometimes it comes out, sometimes it stays in place. And so, the results are very inconsistent. Even with one head, I get different results.



But with water bag drainage test, and I fill it up 10 cups the same amount that the line is the same in all the tests that I do, try to shoot it in the same spot every time. It’s much more consistent and much more like an animal because the bag is a little more nimble, like the tissue or the hide of an animal. And so, what you see is kind of what you’re going to get in terms of the drainage.

annihilator broadhead water bag drain test
Water drainage test

The Annihilator goes into the bag and displaced so much water so readily, it actually created a back-pressure to the water. When I looked at it in super slow motion, I could it make the hole and suck the water right out of the bag. It was just amazing to see that. It’s an indication of what may happen with blood-letting and tissue damage within an animal as well. I can’t wait to test it on an animal at some point in the future.

Conclusion on The Annihilator Re-Test

I’m really grateful that I was encouraged to retest the Annihilator, because I knew it was a great head before. It tested really well in all categories except long distance.

However, now knowing after the re-test that it actually flies extremely well, even at long distances, it has gone from a very good head to a phenomenal head.

So, now I have confidence in this head at longer ranges. It gets a 10 out of 10 in terms of accuracy at long range.

annihilator broadhead results
The Annihilator re-test report card

The Annihilator did excellent in all of the test categories. This is a winner of a head and it’s something to really consider for pretty much any animal you are going after. Give the Annihilator a look. Great job, Annihilator!



And now a Battle! [Annihilator Original vs. Annihilator XL]

annihilator original vs xl
Let the battle begin between the Annihilator Original head and the larger Annihilator XL!

I was really excited to battle the Annihilator Original vs. the Annihilator XL. The XL is basically just a bigger version of the Original.

For my flight and some of the penetration testing, I used the Bishop FOC King Arrow from Bishop Archery. For some of the more harsh durability tests, like shooting through steel, I used the Bishop Frozen Fire Arms Dispatch (FAD) Eliminator. It has a nice footing on the end and that prevents the steel from cutting through the shaft.

And then for some of the concrete tests, I’m using a tank of an arrow by Bishop Archery. It’s called the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time). The Goat with a 125-grain tip weighs 1300 grains. Just the shaft is like a weapon in and of itself. It feels like a giant tent stake or even a spear. It is the best of the best when it comes to arrows.

So, let the Annihilator Broadhead battle begin!

Annihilator Original and XL compared

Here’s a good look at both models of the Annihilator heads below. The Original has a cutting diameter of 0.91 inches and the XL has a cutting diameter of 1-1/16 inches or 1.06 inches. So, 0.91, 1.06, about a 17% difference.

annihilator original broadhead and the XL side-by-side
The Annihilator XL (on left) is a larger, beefier version of the original (right).

Flight comparison

For my flight comparison, I shot two broadheads of each model as well as a field point, to compare.

annihilator original shot into target
Here’s the Annihilator Original size. You can see the two broadheads there on the left. The field point is dead center, but I dropped just a little bit.
annihilator xl shot into target
Here are the Annihilator XL’s. The field point is in the middle at the top and then the XLs are on either side.

Out of the box sharpness comparison

In the out-of-the box sharpness comparison, I used a sharpness testing machine, by Edge-On-Up. This tester holds a wire and measures how many grams of pressure it takes for the blade of a broadhead to break it.

sharpness test of annihilator original
The Annihilator Original took 450 grams of pressure to cut the wire.
annihilator XL sharpness test
Annihilator XL took 475 grams of pressure to cut the wire.

Ballistic gel penetration test

I shot both the Original and the XL into ballistic gel, fronted by rubber matting and 1/2″ MDF.

annihilator original and xl shot into ballistic gel
The Original penetrated 7-1/2 inches and the XL penetrated 7-1/4 inches.
annihilator original sharpness after ballistic gel test
I decided to test the sharpness of the heads after the ballistic gel penetration test. The original cut the wire on the tester with 475 grams of pressure.
annihilator xl sharpness after ballistic gel test
The Annihilator XL took 525 grams of pressure to break the wire after the ballistic gel test.

Cardboard penetration comparison

I shot both heads through layered cardboard to determine how many layers each could penetrate.

annihilator original after layered cardboard penetration test
The Original penetrated through 65 layers.
annihilator xl after layered cardboard penetration test
The XL penetrated through 59 layers.

Steel plate penetration test comparison

I shot both the Original and the XL through a steel plate five times each.

annihilator original and xl after shooting through steel plate
Here, you can see the holes that the Annihilators made in the steel plate. On the left is the Original and then on the right is the XL. And you can see they made great triangular chunk holes, not just 3 slits like some heads will do.

Now, I will say that I don’t think that the holes these heads made in the steel plate is really any different than the holes that an Exodus would make, or a Tooth of the Arrow, a solid steel 3-blade like a Bishop Holy Trinity.

Those all make triangular holes really similar to this. But, I do prefer those to just 3 slits. I mean they make a lot more internal damage and cause a lot more blood-letting than just the 3 slits do.

annihilator original broadhead after being shot through steel plate
Here’s the Annihilator Original after being shot into the steel plate five times. It spun true and was still in fantastic shape. You really can’t even tell it has been shot, let alone shot through a steel plate five times.
annihilator xl after being shot through steel plate
And here’s the XL. It too spins perfectly true. And like the Original, you just can’t even tell it has been shot, let alone shot through steel plate five times.

Cinder block test comparison

I shot both the Original and the XL into a cinder block to see how they would hold up. The XL showed out! See picture below.

annihilator xl broadhead embedded in cinder block
Look how deeply the Annihilator XL embedded into the cinder block! I couldn’t believe how stuck in there it was! It wasn’t budging at all!
annihilator original after cinder block test
Here’s the Original after being shot through the steel plate five times and into that concrete block. Spins perfectly well even with a bunch of concrete still embedded at the end. It’s just in excellent shape. Even the tip is intact. The edges are intact as well.
annihilator xl broadhead after being shot into cinder block
Now, let’s look at the XL. Spins perfectly well even with all this concrete stuck to it. If there was any wobble, it was because of the concrete. The tip on this one is still super sharp and not blunted at all. The edges remained in perfect condition.

How to sharpen the Annihilator broadheads

Now, you saw how durable they are and how they hold their edge really well. But, if you want to get them really sharp, one method of sharpening is super easy.

Because the Annihilator heads are 3-blade solids at a 60-degree bevel angle, you just one flat on any stone or any surface and just stroke it gently. Just be sure you have the same number of strokes on each side.

Do this until it comes out just like you got it from the factory. It’s super easy to do. You can even do it in the field. Again, you can do it on any surface. I love that about these 3-blade, 60-degree bevel heads.



You can also use the Stay Sharp Guide. They come out with individual sharpeners that are not very expensive at all for different styles of broadheads. And, in most cases, they put an edge on those heads better than how you got them from the factory.

They have a sharpener especially designed to put an extra sharp edge on these 3-blade, 60-degree heads. This is super helpful, because one of the drawbacks is that you can only get it so sharp with that 60-degree bevel.



Conclusion of Annihilator Original vs. XL battle

What can I say about the durability of these Annihilator heads? They are absolutely fantastic!

Both of them performed really well and both had some great strengths.

My only critique of the Annihilator Original is the size of the cut. It has got some really cool features and it’s incredibly durable. It flies super well, penetrates exceedingly well, but I just have a little concern about that small cut.

And then you have the Annihilator XL. Even with it’s larger surface area, it still penetrated and flew very well and it was just still extremely durable.

So, for me and my hunting purposes, like hunting whitetails and hogs and stuff like that day in and day out, the broadhead battle winner of the Annihilator Broadhead battle is… the Annihilator XL! (check out the scorecards below).

annihilator original scorecard
Annihilator Original scorecard.
annihilator original lusk score
The Annihilator Original received a 9 Golden Arrow grade.
annihilator xl scorecard
Annihilator XL scorecard.
annihilator xl lusk grade
The Annihilator took home the trophy with a 10 Golden Arrow grade!


Other fixed-blade broadhead reviews from John Lusk:



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John Lusk of Lusk Archery Adventures

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