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Why You Should Number Your Hunting Arrows

by Randy Ulmer   |  August 22nd, 2011 16

Every hunting arrow in your quiver has its own personality, and it’s going to go exactly where it wants to go when you shoot it. I figured out just how important this is to know when I was shooting target archery. I’ve since found out that an arrow’s personality actually becomes more apparent when you screw a broadhead onto it.

If you make up a dozen arrows and put broadheads on them, I’ll guarantee one or two of those arrows aren’t going to hit in the group. The only way to figure out which ones are fliers is to number your arrows before you shoot them and keep a journal of where each arrow hits.

Once you notice an arrow is consistently hitting off to the side of the group, you need to rotate the nock to the next fletching and see if that brings it back into the group. If you’re using quality arrows and broadheads, you’ll usually find that you can get them all back into the group. If you can’t get an arrow to come back into the group, at least you’ll know which one to eliminate.

Obviously this will require some effort, but if you stick with it you’ll see a big difference in your shooting. You won’t be second-guessing yourself every time you shoot a bad arrow because you’ll know it’s you who’s to blame and not the arrow.

  • Rodneyn Barilleaux

    I understand completely the concept and reason for numbering the arrows you will use while hunting but what would be the easiest way to number them? With a piece of tape and a number, around the shaft, just below the fletching?

    • mark

      sharpie marker on the fletching

  • Nathan

    I use wraps with numbers on each one.

  • Gary

    I use a siver sharpie on the shaft, just ahead of the fletching.

    • Gary


  • Paul

    why havent I thought of that…that is an excellent idea. Thanx!

  • Ed

    I use a black fine tip sharpie and write on each cock vane.

  • Shawno

    Before I go tinkerin' with the nocks, is there a certain method to rotating? Like if im hiting right turn clockwise? and vice-versa…?

  • Nick

    shouldn't matter on which way ya turn the nock, just rotate it, shoot, and see if it makes a difference

  • Tim

    Remember to check vane clearance when rotating the nock, it makes a difference were the vane is positioned with my arrow rest…cheers

  • Mike

    Make sure the broadhead is in line with the shaft. Spin the arrow on the broadhead tip and make sure it doesn't wobble. I find that this is more often than not the problem with arrows that don't fly true.

    • Rusty

      How do you fix the issue if it's the broadhead?

  • Big Ed

    I had the same problem with the broadheads I was using and changed. I don't use mechanicals. I did have arrows which flew true with 4" vanes and when I had vane damage I switched to 2" vanes on arrows that were fine until then. At about 30 yds they would spiral and be off about 3 – 6". I tested with field tips and they were dead on. Solution: changed back to 4" vanes and am happy again..

    Nice to have a broad head target and distance to test at 60 yds. Hope this helps someone bring home the game!

    As suggested I also use a sharpie to # on my index vane and weight on each for shooting patterns.

  • timber

    also inspect your blades once i hit the internal plastic handle of my block , the head spun tru then i noticed a slight bend tward the backend of the one blade probably from the extraction replaced the head …its now part of a tight group

  • davecchristian

    i use a sharpie and enter the date on the cock vane…… today is November 2011 so I will mark 1111.1 then 1111.2 etc etc keeps them all organized, especially if you use an arrow wrap that covers up the arrow shaft marking…….."aim small………miss small"……..

  • Matrix Hunter 79

    Turning the nock has to do with "spinning"???? the arrow. All cylindrical objects have a "spine" or a stiffer side of the arrow, fishing rod blank, etc. It is easy to determine spine in a fishing rod blank by pressing the tip on the floor, slightly flexing the blank and rotating it as you are doing so. The blank will find a spot where it wants to stay "settle" while being flexed and rolled. The convex side is the spine of the blank. On a spinning rod the eyes go opposite the spine, casting rod on top of the spine.

    Arrows will have the same spine, although it is hard/ impossible to determine without a arrow spine tool because of the stiffness and shorter length of the shafts.With the archers paradox (arrow flexxing and bending arround the bow as it is released) arrows that are not all spined in the same direction will flex and bend differently around the riser causing inaccuracy.

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