Even though I'm a hunter, I also enjoy simply setting & watching animals just as much.
What really turned me on to the arrow quietness theory is from watching deer, and how they react to birds flying in toward them, or closely by over them.
The deer often hear the birds coming at them, and they duck just like they do when we shoot an arrow at them.
A friend of mine, and I also started playing sound games with the deer, then comparing notes of what we were seeing when we did. We would actually clack things together "loudly" to see what reactions we would get from them. We seriously were making clanking clacking sounds much louder than even the loudest of bow shots. While those sounds definitely got the deer's attention, they seldom did anything other than just look toward the direction of the sound. The closer they were the more earnest they were in their attention to the sound, and they might "violently flinch", but they seldom ducked. They just looked our way, and we conducted those tests from as close as 10 yards
That prompted me to start paying attention to the noise of my arrows in flight, and I quickly noticed, that the quieter my arrows were, the less the deer ducked, AND consequently the more success I started having with my shots.
Deer don't see well at all, but their hearing is phenomenal (to put it mildly). There is no doubt in my mind, that they hear the arrow coming toward them long before it gets there, and the quieter the arrow is in flight, the less likely the deer are to duck, and/or otherwise move.
Tune and the amount of helical can make a difference, but I've found that vented BH's and feather fletchings are the 2 biggest noise makers and the height of the feather really changes things.(Taller = Louder)
The quietest arrows I've ever shot had non-vented BH's and were fletched with plastic vanes...........the difference is huge IMHO.
Those feathers were white or bright colored. Could the deer have heard the bow and reacted to the incoming movement and sound? Like an attack from a bird of prey, like a golden eagle attack. I know deer can't see well, but they do react to movement. I would think a deer would be wired to duck a perceived attack from above. Not arguing, just a little different take/question. We'll never know what a deer is thinking.
Thanks Rick. Bowmania and I have said this over and over. All the back lash is incredible. I offered to show that I could avoid most arrows. (details if requested) There must be folks that hunt where deer never duck/string jump/or simply crouch to run, what ever you want to call it. The smaller the feather the less noise. No unsupported tips on the rear of the feather,(like trad cut) the less helix the less noise,parabolic seems quieter to me,and tuned is always better. Speed increases noise also. To the ones that say tuning isn't necessary or I have been using 5" helical feathers for 50 years,or have never missed a deer, just keep on keeping on. My "string jumping" went down tremendously with attention to detail. >>>----> Ken
The only time that I have ever "heard" any of my arrows was when I was just starting out making my own arrows and put High Back Banana's on my arrows. They sounded like a buzz bomb going down range. Other than those I cant remember hearing any of my other arrows. I have since switch to shooting 5" shields.
Shot just over a nice buck this year and swear he must of jumped the string. When I practice I'm usually a bit low and am saticfied knowing that they will jump string. Many years ago I think it was a video that showed in slow motion deer dropping upon release of the string. Wensels were in on this vhs. Its called October whitetail ,I think. If you don't think an arrow makes sound in flight., Just have someone shoot and stand near the target ,But be at a safe place. They do have a sound.
All arrows in flight make sound to some extent that the deer hears. The key is fine tuning the arrow to create a hypnotic sound that causes the deer to freeze in place.
It requires a special proprietary fletch that I will be bringing to the market in the spring. Should retail around $40 per dozen and will also include an optional DVD of tips and insider secrets for an additional $183.
Just as a teaser I'll give you all one of the tips. When you think you have the tuning right, shoot three arrows with a dog or cat standing next to you. If the animal falls over in a hypnotic state then you are there! However, one thing to watch for is that cats are inclined to fake it.
For what it might be worth? Many years ago there was an article in one of the major ARCHERY magazines. I can't remember if BOW & ARROW or TBM ? Bow-hunter was having problem with deer-jumping string or arrow. He decided to shoot LOWER. His percentage of successful shots when up a lot. Your mileage may vary??
Exactly what deerhunt51 said. I was in a bear camp a few years ago and where the practice target was set up the arrows passed by a bench we were sitting on.(it was a safe setup) but you could definitely hear the arrows buzz by. Some were louder than others. Even the wheelie bows with 2" vanes were loud. One guy was grouping arrows at 80 yards. Couldn't hear the twang but at about 20 yards away you could hear the arrow... We were all commenting on how loud arrows actually are in flight. If a human can hear it imagine how loud it is to a deer.
Limbwalker talked about how much easier it was to hunt deer in I believe Illinois than Texas. He talked about how badly Texas deer jump the string. Sounds to me like other than change my arrows, just don't hunt Texas public land,lol.
Isn't the speed of light faster than the speed of sound? What if deer are startled by the motion of the bow limbs, arrow into flight and even bow string with some puffy string silencers? They would react even before they actually heard any noise. Is that possible?
I have had deer duck so hard that their belly touched the ground,,not just crouching to run,, believe what you want,, but if you shoot at enough deer you will see,, they can get out of the way of an arrow in some situations,,not just ducking,, but can spin as well, yes they hear the arrow coming,, and intuitively know what it is,, just ask one and you will see,,:) Is think in thick cover it is harder for the to hear ,,,, the leaves muffle the sound,, but in open,,, and still conditions,, they hear it coming very well,,
There is an outdoor range adjacent to the building that houses our indoor range. There are two windows along the wall of the building. After your discussion about fletching noise this past summer, I listened to some shooters at the outdoor range from inside the building. I was about twenty yards down range from the outside archers. I was surprised how loud the fletching was in flight when heard from downrange, and how it changed tone as it got nearer.
Thanks for the video.
P.S. Are lighted nocks like tracers? Do they work both ways? Picture credit; Bowhunting.com
Seems to me that the first sound made in shooting is from the bow, not the arrow in flight. A "selfbow quiet" bow would be the place to start to keep deer from ducking the string. Of course fetching matters and having a well tuned set up is obvious. I am surprised bow noise isn't a part of this conversation.
Rick, interesting post. I don’t doubt your findings at all, but I do think that it is the noise of the arrow, as well as the deer “jumping the string”. My unscientific conclusion over the last several years is that I’ve had more deer jump the string, since the introduction of low stretch materials. Just my observation.
I can remember shooting high and missing a lot of deer over the years. Just figured I screwed up the shot. I have never been filmed while shooting at an animal, so I don’t know what actually happened. Maybe it was the deers reaction and not my fault! The only arrows I have that seem to make excessive noise in flight, are fletched with wild turkey feathers that I trimmed to shape with scissors. They are moving at more than 200 FPS and I think the speed has something to do with it.
NOTES!!! Gray Goose Shaft: "I was surprised how loud the fletching was in flight when heard from downrange, and how it changed tone as it got nearer." Pa Steve: " Couldn't hear the twang but at about 20 yards away you could hear the arrow". deerhunt51: "You would be surprised how loud an arrow can be". Jimbob: "High Back Banana's on my arrows. They sounded like a buzz bomb going down range." These good folks are not making this up. I heard it and proved it years ago. "Jumping the string" went down to almost 0 for me. If deer don't react or you never miss where you hunt fantastic. Why keep doubting and debating folks that are trying to help others out. It also cuts down on the bad hits,which is even more important than the misses.Thanks. >>>----> Ken
I fletched these carbons up for a non-hunting friend and used natural turkey feathers that I dyed and burned. I did notice the primaries were quieter than the secondaries which gave a loud zzzzzip sound like in the Howard Hill shorts.
Just this season I've passed on a couple adult deer 15 yards and under that were nervous, wired and ready to spook at the first hint of noise or danger. 2 had caught my scent and 2 others had seen a blob up in a tree that they knew wasn't normally there. I could tell by their body gestures they were wired and a ball of nerves and ready to spook out at the least hint. I never released an arrow at any of these deer. A clean miss is the best case scenario, a wound is likely, with a bow shooting 180 fps and a arrow you can hear whizzing by, at a wired ball of nerves animal with lightning quick reflexes, ready to bolt. I believe taking shots at calm, relaxed animals at a range that's efficient for the weapon you're utilizing is paramount to keep "string jumping" and the animal from moving quickly for a quick, clean kill.
Another thing that could be a factor is the Doppler effect will result in the animal hearing a whole different sound from the approaching arrow as you might hear from the departing arrow. My arrows as I shoot make a not unpleasant and soft swishing noise. The animal might hear more of a high pitched and menacing noise.
I also have noticed that softer feathers/goose are louder. I believe Longcruise is on to something. They sure don't see the same most likely don't hear the same either.They sure hear better. Oh! and you don't hear from behind the bow what you hear if an arrow passes over or by you. Another note, a friend and I have been discussing. All of my last 3 dogs would lay behind me when shooting. They would go with me to retrieve. After the first time of an arrow passing over them they would never lie in front of me. Before all the jokes of my shooting accuracy LoL I don't believe they are that good of a judge and they all looked up the first time seemingly reacting to the noise overhead. Happy shooting. >>>>-----> Ken
All bows, and arrows make noise.Our job is to minimize the sound as much as possible, and shoot the animal at the right time.If you study that video that deer jumped the arrow not the string ,and the archer took the right shot, and the deer still jumped the arrow.I agree with Barbee on this one.
Hide behind a big tree and someone to shoot an arrow past you- feathers scream as they go past? Check for yourself as I have heard many longbow shooters with feathers arrows going past making a big noise while vanes were quieter.I was shooting feathers myself then.
You're right Rick! Deer do duck the arrow, and I've experienced it unfortunately. Friend hit a doe square between the eyes - she did a 180 before the arrow got there and happened to look at him as she flipped! Dropped her in her tracks, lucky for sure!
Rick with all due respect the video proves nothing imo. For one it’s in my case not a clear video. Next you said yourself sounds doesn’t blow them up. Next how on earth can you be sure it’s sound and not sight? I’m betting it’s more often sight. By no means saying it can’t be sound but if you wanna do tests shoot towards a target w a recorder there. Get the hissing sound of tape. Play that for deer that can’t see you. I bet most do not jump the string. I’ve never tested this but I’ve taken over 100 deer and missed a few, some more than once. They just stand there when trad equipment is shot at them. This is w 5” helical feathers. I’m sure there’s noise
I don't think a 'ducking' deer is always intentionally evading the arrow. I think it's simply what any deer does when they must vacate suddenly. Dropping (ducking) lowers the center of gravity, puts muscles into flexion, and allows for the quick spin away from the noise or visual clue. Given the drop of the deer's body, the arrow flies over the deer. I witnessed this with a 12 yard ground-level shot at a deer a few weeks ago. She was broadside and looking my way as I reached full draw. Dropped the string on a slam dunk shot but she dropped at least 18" when the shot happened and I watched the arrow fly just over her back. In this case I'm 100% sure she reacted to the motion of the shot and not the sound of the arrow heading her way.
When you think about it, almost any completely upright animal drops, bends, crouches or somehow readies their body for the sudden run. You can see another version of it when a whitetail gets surprised by a coyote and suddenly drops, whirls and runs.
Here’s another thing to consider. Rick posted deer at most look at him w dif sounds. Some quite loud. If the deer did hear that look at the motion in the shot. Did it not casually look towards you only to jump upon seeing your motion possibly? Remember they can see almost 300 degrees around them. Stand behind a wall and have someone shoot. Our ears are 8x smaller than a whitetail. We can hear it. You think quieting arrow flight down makes it inaudible to deer?? What about bow noise? Is that not in the equation??? Deer have rods and cones. Rods are motion receptors. Anyone who hunts where there is pressure will tell you even standing still they’ll notice you at times. Moving moreso., Another test? Take pressured deer. Place a dummy in an obvious spot wearing real tree. See if they walk up to it. They have such terrible eyes they’d never but how come a fresh blind even camouflaged is so often spotted and it doesn’t resemble a human. They don’t walk up to one round here. Maybe their eyes are better?? I don’t think so. Guys leave em out because of this. It’s motion boys not sound. Working on noise can never hurt but at the exclusion of sight it’s not a best practice in my mind. All just food for thought. I believe nothing blindly. We gotta consider all options. Imo arrow sound is the least of the problems w deer jumping arrows
One more thing. The bird theory again could be a sound of an incoming bird either wings or vocal and the motion after they hear it. Myself I don’t see deer each time a bird passes “jump a string”. Man that’d be tiring I’d think
It very well could have some visual factor involved. I never said it couldn't.
All I know about deer sight is what I have read from biologist studies, and the biologists (almost) exact words were, that deer are relatively blind compared to human sight, and their vision is based on angular movement (vertical, horizontal, diagonal).
In the video I presented here, the deer in question never lifted it's head from feeding, until the arrow was almost there. Neither deer reacted at all to the sound of the bow/shot, nor did they react to the movement of the hunter.
What I am saying in a nut shell is - if the arrows are quieter in flight, there's a better chance the deer won't notice, or may not pay as much attention to that arrow as it is incoming, and that quieter arrow may lessen the animals reaction to help achieve a better shot. My testing of this theory has proven "to me", that it does indeed achieve as described.
Just for myself I'd like to say my thoughts are presented more for discussion versus an argument or counterpoint. I'll be the FIRST guy to testify there is no down side to quiet arrow flight or quiet bows. Zero. I strive for silence in fact.
As for a deer's vision: I've been spotted and picked off so many times in a tree or on the ground it's embarrassing. Some of the deer have gotten me at ranges approaching 200 yards while sitting camo'd in a tree. It just took a nose scratch to get them looking. The tiniest motion can alert them. Sometimes it takes NO motion. A deer notices (visually) something it hasn't seen before and stares at it. Whether or not it can discriminate exactly what it's seeing is more a matter of the brain, but the eyes are extremely capable.
I'm satisfied to say the 'ducking' response we see can be caused by either sound or sight of something which alarms the deer at the moment of the shot. We can definitely do some things to quiet our arrows. There's little we can do to avoid motion detection at the moment of the shot, given a deer's peripheral vision which is basically always present during a broadside shot.
A Sika doe picked me getting ready to draw and my broadhead touched a twig causing it to move slightly. I was on the ground at 20 yards and there were cardinals flitting around the whole time. This is the same doe that jumped over the arrow at 17 yards a few minutes later.
A deer's ability to see movement is phenomenal without any doubt.
Count me among those who have been picked off due to movement at times (many times), but I've also often gotten away with significant movement simply by knowing when to move, and when not to, not to mention various camo's & disguises.
You "can" hide from their vision.
You "can" hide from their sense of smell.
You "cannot" hide from their hearing. The best you can do in that regard, is to minimize, and/or mask it as much as possible.
Just as a side note to "sound" - I much prefer to hunt on windy days, because the wind masks/muffles all sound, and makes it much more difficult for the animal to pinpoint where that sound is coming from when they do hear it.
And then there was this time when I was SURE the doe was going to drop and wheel at the shot...so I held on the low edge of the chest...made a clean release...and of course you already know what she didn't do.
No doubt that deer do crouch/bunch their muscles to vacate the area when alarmed. That alarm may be visual or aural or both. You might notice that they do the same thing if spooked at close range, even if they're not shot at.
Regardless, as has been pointed out, some folks miss by intentionally holding low to account for the deer dropping down when, for some reason, the deer doesn't drop. (Doesn't hear, doesn't see or doesn't care about the bow or arrow noise.)
A lot more folks miss high, and would miss high even if the deer didn't drop at the sound of the shot or arrow, because they look at the whole deer and just shoot high to begin with. The likelihood of shooting high is even greater when shooting out of a tree than from the ground, because from an elevated stand, center body is already a high shot on the critter
I've missed a few deer high, but to the best of my recollection, it was almost always due to me shooting high rather than the deer dropping down. But the deer jumping the string is a good excuse for my poor shooting.
Regarding type of feathers: this fall I made a dozen tapered cedars with 4" shield cut Canada goose fletching to hunt with my '55 Bear Grizzly. Never heard an arrow hiss so much in flight. They got demoted to 3d arrows.
ok here is an example, I shot and killed a deer,, 20 yards about, when I shot, the deer was broadside looking away,,I aimed at the bottom of the deer,, when I shot the deer jumped but opposite of what I was expecting,, the arrow hit him in the top of the back and came out the bottom, just like a straight down shot,, the deer was in a different position when the arrow got there,, ,, I could go on and on but wont,, but will add I have shot at deer that were broadside, and when the arrow hit them it was like a straight away shot,, the deer had moved dramaticly,, I have missed deer from poor shooting as well,, but quite often the deer has made it even more difficult to bring home the meat,,,
I shot a doe from the ground at 10 yd. The bright fletching was in a perfect ten ring position as it ran off. Never found it?????
I saw the deer a week later. Fletching still right behind the shoulder but the broadhead was sticking up out of its neck on the opposite side! The deer must have dropped, wheeled, and twisted faster than I could see. Obviously, I was sick over it.
I saw it again that winter. No arrow but healed over scabs where both holes were. I felt much better.
Next time I saw it was the following summer with her two fawns. :)
OK recent experimenting made me have to re-address this thread.........
A quiet bow is very important for hunting, but as this thread shows, quiet arrow flight is just as important.
As I mentioned earlier in this thread vented BH's and feather fletchings (especially tall feathers with extreme helical) were 2 things that really added noise to an arrow in flight.So, using non-vented BH's and plastic vanes are 2 very big improvements for quietening down an arrows flight and I still stand by that.
However, in recent experimenting I've found another very quiet arrow set-up......one I'll definitely be using in the upcoming season, because it's also the best shooting arrow combo I've ever put together.
Before I give the details......I know this type of setup is highly debated and while some love it, others seem to hate it.I'm the type that's always been leery to try something new and not one to easily change what's already been working, but finally decided to try building a setup with high FOC to see for myself.I've dabbled with heavier point weights in the past, but never took it serious or really tuned for it.This time I decided to build the system from the ground up.
Bareshafting was a real eye-opener........I'm still amazed at how good a bareshaft is shooting for me.It's shooting accurately from point blank to well beyond my effective range........I've shot out to 40 yards with these with the same results.I swear I feel I could shoot a 3D course with these bareshafts and not handicap my score at all.
Now for the fletching and back to the quiet arrow flight...........I knew it wouldn't take much with the way these bareshafts were shooting, so from reading decided to try 3" feathers (cut some 4" parabolic with scissors to a straight back A&A profile) and used a straight clamp to put them on dead straight (no offset). I've been shooting these fletched shafts with BH's and they are flying beautiful at all ranges and doing so VERY quietly...........no doubt the quietest feather fletched combo I've ever shot.AND..........since it's also the best shooting combo......I'm sold!!!!!!!!!
Sorry for being long winded, but just wanted to share another option that's drastically quieter in flight.Also, if interested, my arrows have a 25% FOC.
I’ll only say this , which agrees with sound theory and vision theory . Deer have both excellent hearing and excellent peripheral vision . They have ears like satellite dishes and a wide scope of vision that is designed more fore movement than 3 dimensional objects . I try to pull my bow when they are not likely to see it , and I always welcome a breeze as long as it’s not at my back .
I use 5 inch shield . I used to use 5 1/2 inch parabolic .. I am now stimulated to see if parabolic are noticeably quieter r than shield .
I'm with bowmania I recently got a big hen turkey off the road & am gonna see if stkyz will do 3" probably shield haven't decided but I don't understand the desire to have so much feather on a tuned arrow. another aspect to consider is bigger fletching has more contact with the bow riser. look at the hotrod compound bows shooting the little blazer vanes. perhaps it's the visual aspects of some beautiful fancy arrows or watching big florescent fletching spiral down range but imo it's unessary with today's knowledge & technology. but of course to each his own
Used to shoot banana cut feathers as they were awesome at stabilizing the arrow, but they were definitely loud so I eventually quit using them. I have no way to prove it, but I have to believe sound is diminished as an arrow slows down in flight...so gotta research that optimum range where sound is diminished yet the arrow still has the kinetic energy to do the job. I'll get back to you in 30 years on that;)
There is a guy on You Tube, Ranch Fairy or something like that. Compound shooter, but has a video on Ducking, sound and arrow weight/speed factors. It's interesting, a heavier arrow lessens the sound from the arrow, but it can still be heard. He has videos on there shooting wild hogs at a feeder and the affect when the arrow gets close. Interesting stuff. Kind of an Odd ball but informative.
“I have no way to prove it, but I have to believe sound is diminished as an arrow slows down in flight...”
Sure you do.
Drag increases exponentially with velocity. Therefore, Noise increases/decreases exponentially with velocity.
And also, an arrow which is still oscillating will be pushing the fletchings through the air a bit sideways, which causes more drag and turbulence and noise. I guess on the bright side, a poorly tuned arrow will slow down a lot quicker, so that gets the sound level down in a hurry...
Something to think about. Your instructed to raise your pistol and fire a shot at the target in front of you when you receive a particular stimuli. 1.touch on the shoulder 2. buzzer in ear 3.green light comes on
For a man the REACTION time to seeing the light will be TWICE as long as for the touch on the shoulder. The buzzer will fall in between the touch and the light.
The question we might want to ask is the deer movement a REACTION or a REFLEX.
A Reaction requires the brain to be involved to make a decision and direct the body to perform an action.
A reflex does not involve the brain or a decision being made. The body moves in response to stimuli by nerves in the spinal column shortening the pathway and eliminating the decision making.
I can't prove it but my inclination is that a deer ducking to preload his muscles for an evasive maneuver is a reflex.
I don't think the deer is thinking here comes an arrow , I should duck and spin out of the way.
I THINK the deer hears the arrow as it is approaching, the sound is traveling WITH THE ARROW, (moving it front of the arrow at the speed of sound), and it stimulates a REFLEX to avoid the danger.