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From “Failure” To “Fairy” | How the Ranch Fairy came to be

It all began with failure. 

Simply put, my hunting arrows were hitting the mark, but my success rate was less than stellar, and I had nowhere else to go. I could try something different or grab the rifle. After all, as my friend Chris says, “lead is very efficient.”

A Little History on “The Ranch Fairy” Name

Before we get into all the nitty gritty details of hunting arrows, you might be wondering… who is the Ranch Fairy? Well, it’s me, Troy Fowler.

But, why “Ranch Fairy?” After all, bowhunting dudes are rough and tough. They take on the ultimate close-range challenge and they sport lots of cool gear (the toys never end, and the bowhunting message boards will keep your head swimming with ideas… some of them are actually good ideas – but beware!)

ranch fairy troy fowler with dead hog and iron will broadhead

Bowhunters can’t be fairies… can they?

Soooo, anyway, “The Ranch Fairy…” The short version is this…

My wife’s family has a ranch in Texas, and I am the dude who manages the details, such as: feeders, blinds, keeping the A/C and toilets running, occasional plumbing, electrical, mechanical, and the “could you look at the cameras and then tell me where the biggest buck is showing up….and at what time” tasks.

The “to do” list, well, it’s a scroll… the end is never reached, because it just keeps unrolling.

So, about 10 years ago, I just off-handedly started calling myself “The Ranch Fairy,” instead of “ranch manager.” 

But, I actually enjoy the piddling and managing things. It’s good for the psyche.


Wonderfully Weird

Of note, I’m a bit weird! I killed a 150” deer in 2007 and for some reason I just don’t care to kill another one. 

Weird? Yup. 

I caught a 9’6” Tiger shark (plus a couple big bull sharks) off the Texas beach after 15 years of trying, and I don’t care to catch a 10+. 

Yup… weird. 

ranch fairy with a 9 foot shark

Catching a 9’6″ tiger shark and then losing interest is just one of the “weird” things about the ‘ole Ranch Fairy.

I am currently trying to catch a 10-pound bass. I suspect that after it happens, I won’t worry about bass anymore… onward to new ideas. 

Troy Fowler the ranch fairy holding a largemouth bass

After I reach the 10-pound bass goal, I’ll probably just move on to some other challenge!

But alas, for some reason, I have never given up on mature feral hogs. 

What do I mean by “mature?” Well, 200+ pounds is where they are considered big at our place (if you think your pigs are big – buy a scale and be amazed at your lack of weight-guessing skill). 

Like anywhere, food and time helps animals get big. Some places have legit 300’s. But, we just don’t have the food piece… no agriculture.  So, our pigs work pretty hard at being, well… pigs.

Fairy Failure

So, now let’s explore failure.

One of the luxuries of pigs and deer feeders is high-volume shooting. I’ll bring this up later. 

So anyway, up until 2015, I was really failing – to the tune of only a 50% recovery rate on big pigs. The little 100-pound zoomers… not a big deal. But the big boys… well, you may hunt one for months before he shows up. You shoot, and… BONK… half an arrow of penetration, and you pray you find it. 

(Remember what Chris says, “Lead is very efficient.” It was in consideration. After all, head shots with any round you have flat out work!)

kids holding rifle standing next to dead hog

As one of my good friends says, “lead is very efficient.” But, I HAD to find a way to be efficient with a bow!

Like many of you, I owned or considered every arrow platform on the earth. Mechs, 4 blade, 3 blade, 2 blade, different “arrows” and magic sights that solve complex calculus while you draw back. 

Honestly, it’s as bad as golf. Did I mention I was a single-digit handicap at one time? Then… you guessed it… I stopped playing!

Don’t get me started.

ranch fairy troy fowler and big hog

I had been failing at killing big pigs with my bow and had tried every broadhead on planet earth. And then…


If At First You Don’t Succeed… Try Something Else!

So, because I was failing, I had absolutely no reason to duplicate the 12 penetration factors made famous by Dr. Ed Ashby in his 20+ year Natal Study. 

I’m not real smart, but if what you’re doing isn’t working, you have nothing to lose. 

So, I wandered off into the tin foil hat world, left my friends and colleagues to the message board warlocks, and went on the road less traveled. (Remember, I have a high volume, live target, known-distance place to test these things.)

I ran an arrow up to 670 grains, bare shaft perfect flight, long 3:1 single bevel, and went off to find out what would happen. 

What happened with these “adult arrows” was truly amazing. 

tuffhead single bevel broadhead

My change to single-bevel broadheads like this one and heavy arrows was a game-changer!

The arrows started penetrating through the pigs and then into the dirt

The big pigs started going 60 yards and then, I mean they were dead, dead in 10 seconds (it’s still working). 

The biggest thing I discovered during all of this is that I am now only limited by lethal shot placement. When I do my job in that area, the pigs are dead and there are no issue finding them. 

Before that, I either perfectly heart shot one and it was devastating, or I didn’t shoot it perfectly and there was no blood trail, long nights, and a Duracell bunny that came along to test battery longevity. 

Not The Bat Cave, The Ranch Fairy Lab!

So, I decided to turn the ranch into a live target test lab. 

Nope, this is not a hunting show (though many of my detractors slam that one on me).  It’s an arrow lethality and penetration study. 

Yeah, shooting pigs is still super fun! But to have high volume, year around, 24/7, no laws and high shot reliability.  It’s handy.  The set-up shots at whitetail distances (the average whitetail is still taken under 20 yards if you don’t know that), allowed me to really test different high mass, high FOC, arrow systems. I already had 15 years of the other stuff. 

So, there you go, that’s how The Ranch Fairy came to be. I mean, I was technically already the Ranch Fairy.

ranch fairy approved logo

You can bet if it’s “Ranch Fairy Approved,” that I’ve done the testing at the Ranch Fairy Lab!

I am no marketing genius. But, when I typed “Ranch Fairy” into Google, the results were 0 – none. So, in the social media algorithms, you’re either unique or super popular. 

Well, unique I hit, because bowhunters, as noted earlier, are rough and tough and super manly. No one forgets a bowhunting fairy!  

Stay tuned to the Ranch Fairy.  We have some serious science and physics coming up that will pop the message board cronies’ heads off!

But, hey, if you want to argue with Sir Isaac Newton, feel free. Because, when you argue with math, the old saying kicks you in the rear.  “Liars can figure, but figures don’t lie.”  

ranch fairy wearing shoot adult arrows shirt
Troy Fowler, AKA, The Ranch Fairy

12 Responses

  1. Kenny Anstey says:

    Thank you and God Bless. My hope is all who suffer from Mech-twizzler failure find your informative videos and embrace the Adult Arrow process.

  2. Chad Buckman says:

    Keep it up bud you’re full of useful information and your willingness to share for free is the mark of true sportsman!

  3. Elfigo Griego. Figgy says:

    Good job my friend

  4. David Frette says:

    Thanks Troy,
    Interesting to hear all of this history. Btw, what is your boring corporate job?
    You have made archery so fun and interesting for me. It is my obsession now. I search for the perfect set up but fear I’ll find it! Then what would do??

  5. ken lilly says:

    just want to say thank you to ranch fairy for all the wisdom he has given to the bowhunting people. I heeded the advice of troy this year shooting a 250 spine arrow, 300 grain fix broad head vpa archery; 661 gains I shot two deer this year an both dropped in sight 65 yards. one is the biggest buck i ever got. troy not only educated me on arrows, plus broadheads, but on shot placement. keep up the videos

  6. Rich schreiber says:

    Two years ago, my son an 11 year old, was obsessed with you. Your information and how you delivered it. Just awesome. Because my sons eat lunch w me at school (I’m a school teacher) we eat w the ranch fairy everyday for over 400 days now.
    I was just wondering if you were by chance going to the Harrisburg pa outdoor show in February. If my son could meet you he’d probably faint. I’d be thrilled to. Although it’s about a four hour drive we’d go but only if the ranch fairy is going. We don’t want to talk to any flapper pushers. Just you. Thanks for your great enthusiasm and knowledge that is so rare in this great sport of archery hunting.

  7. George says:

    Troy, great info on bare shaft tuning. I recently tried a arrow that should be to stiff. By following your foc guidelines i now shoot a 500 spine gold tip cut at 27 1/2 in with 250 up front out of a #40 longbow. 21% foc. Every chart says 600 spine. Thanks

  8. Julian Smith says:

    Hey Troy, I’m a 20 year veteran bowhunter who shunned flappers from the very start, but watched broadhead performance slowly degrade with lighter and lighter arrows and heads. 2 years ago I tried to stiffen up a bit, but didn’t increase the head weight. Stuck a 100 grain montek in a deer’s shoulder. (he survived and last year a friend sent me a picture of my head sticking out of a humerous bone, no joke) Anyway yesterday I achieved perfect bare-shaft flight out to 40 yards with the 300 spine and 250 grain head (middle point in the FOC kit). I’ll point out that I worked my way through both the FOC and EFOC kits with both 250s and 300s without finding a good flight. 2 things led to success. I fiddled (A LITTLE BIT) with rest position. Second. My bow’s draw length is a bit too long and I tend to shoot with the string pressed into the side of my chin so I can get a solid anchor point. adjusting my head position so that the string is clear really did it. The moral of the story. A. Get a bow that fits perfectly or suffer. B. If you can’t do A, then learn to shoot it without interfering with the string. Oh, and no big surprise, knock tuning was the final key to getting both arrows to fly perfectly straight. knock tuning is like magic in my opinion. last year I set up stock gold tip 400s with 100 grain montek’s. squared up the ends perfectly, the heads spun true, and each arrow flew a little differently. All I did was try each arrow with the 3 different options available with the fletching that was on the arrow, and each arrow had 1 of 3 possible cock feather position that was optimal. I started with 2 out of 6 hunting arrows that flew true, to 5 out of 6, and the 6th one really wasn’t too bad. If people out there try nothing else, it’s worth just spinning the knocks to see which position works best for each arrow. I’m really excited to continue down this adult arrow path Troy. I sell your channel to everyone who will listen.

  9. Christopher Shedyak says:

    I have a very similar story as Julian Smith. Due to limited time (I work in Healthcare too! ) and a good supply of 300 spine shafts. I found that my bow worked well with a set up of 250 gr up front with a 125 gr toughhead and a 125gr insert. I did find at first that flight was “Wonky” with some shafts…corrected by re-nock tuning every shaft with a broadhead attached.
    Now speaking solely from my treestand in the Maine whitetail woods. The few fps lost with the additional arrow weight, is more than made up with the quietness of the shot and the additional pennatration.

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