Making the Switch to Wooden Arrows

3Rivers Archery Harvester Wood Arrows
Beka with 3Rivers Archery Harvester Wood Arrows

When I started shooting a traditional bow a few years ago, I was looking to eventually start hunting with it. Since I was still new to the whole trad world, I decided to stick to what was easiest when it came to arrows and went with a dozen carbon express Heritage traditional arrows. Carbon seemed like it would be the easiest to shoot until I had figured out this whole hitting the target thing.

My first year of hunting with a traditional bow went remarkably well…difficult at times and frustrating, but remarkably well. As I delved deeper into the world of all things traditional and slowly accumulated knowledge, I began thinking of becoming more traditional and making the switch from carbon arrows to wooden arrows.

When I sat down to do some research, I almost changed my mind. So many people said that wooden arrows were harder to tune, harder to shoot, were more expensive, and not as durable as carbon or even aluminum. But, I loved the idea of taking that extra step – maybe making my life more difficult – but I wanted to do it.

There are a lot of options out there when it comes to wooden arrows… I really wasn’t sure where to start, it was overwhelming.

3Rivers Archery is one of my favorite places to order anything I need for traditional archery, so I reached out to them for some help on choosing arrows. I really had no clue how to start and wanted the advice from someone who is knowledgeable.

Shooting the 3Rivers Archery Test Kit Wood Arrows
Shooting with the 3Rivers Wood Arrow Test Kit

What I didn’t know was that 3Rivers offers a wooden arrow test kit. To sum it up, they custom cut and fletch arrows of four different spines and ship them out for you to try. You shoot them, figure out which one works best with your setup, and you’re set. You can then choose to order as many as you like of that specific spine. It all was far simpler than I thought it would be.

I received my order within days of letting them know what I needed, and the four different spines were color coordinated by fletching with a color coded key on the top of the box.

I started with the spine I thought would work best for my setup, and then worked my way up to a heavier spine and back to the lightest. It only took about a dozen shots to figure out which worked best…and I only lost a few of the arrows in the process.

I had ultimately been worried about the penetration of the wooden arrows versus the carbon arrows…but the wooden arrows went deeper into my deer target and hit harder than the carbon. As a heaver arrow, it made sense. I couldn’t wait to try them during spring turkey season.

I ordered a dozen of the wood Harvester arrows, which were almost too beautiful to shoot, and a pack of the 125 grain glue-on Woodsman broadheads.

I was a bit anxious to see how they would perform on a live animal… It’s always the true test when testing out new archery equipment. Will they withstand the test of hunting?

Bowhunter with turkey taken using traditional archery equipment
Beka with Turkey

My turkey season started out slow, but mid season I managed to tag a big gobbler at first light. I never found my arrow, so I’m not really sure how it fared but I had a dead turkey on the ground so that was really all I cared about. Good penetration and plenty of blood gave me the confidence I wanted in my arrows.

On the last weekend of spring turkey, I managed to fill my second tag and this time I did find my arrow. I was highly doubtful that I would ever be able to reuse a wooden arrow, but after inspecting it for cracks it seemed to be in perfect shape. The fletchings were a little messed up but both the shaft and the broadhead were fine.

I’m looking forward to taking a deer or two with them this Fall, and hope to take a black bear in the next couple years.

If you’re on the fence about making the switch to wooden arrows, I highly recommend taking the leap. If you’re unsure of what spine you need, take advantage of the 3Rivers program and order the test kit. It’s worth it.

By Beka Garris

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