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Welcome to the 3Rivers Archer's Den

Archer's Den

Welcome to the Archer's Den. Here you will find a gathering of traditional archery stories, tips and techniques, trophy animals taken with traditional bows, and plenty more. Stay a while and learn something. We hope you enjoy and even submit a trophy of your own, or leave a comment on a post.

Tag Archives: wood arrows

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

See Beka Garris on Instagram

Broadheads for Wood Arrows

By: Dale Karch and Todd Smith

Woodsman BroadheadsGlue-On Broadheads have taken every kind of big game known to man.

What’s up with all these glue-on broadheads? Which ones are the best? Which ones should I use? What are the differences?

These are all great questions and we hear them often from our customers who are thinking about adding glue-on broadheads to their gear for the first time. We’ve been supplying broadheads to the traditional market for more than 25 years now. Today we’re going to share with you what we’ve learned about glue-on broadheads. We hope that this column will shed some light on these ‘tried and true’ broadheads for wood arrows.

In the world of wooden arrows, longbows, and recurves we believe that broadheads must have three main attributes:

    • First, they must fly accurately. Broadhead design, length to width ratios, balance, and straightness will all affect good arrow flight. Generally speaking, wide non-vented heads will be more likely to wind plane (be deflected by crosswinds). Whereas more narrow heads, especially if they are long and slender, will be less prone to wind plane. Vented heads rarely, if ever, wind plane regardless of their dimensions. To fly accurately, not only must the head be manufactured and ground precisely, the bowhunter must also mount them on his arrows correctly. They must be in perfect alignment with the shaft and the shaft should be as close to perfectly straight as possible. That’s a tall order, especially for wooden arrows. But, if your arrows are straight AND your broadheads are aligned correctly then your arrows should fly straight and true. In this scenario any well-designed, glue-on broadhead should fly well. However, if your arrows are not perfectly straight, then vented broadheads will fly more accurately for you because they have less surface area and less wind resistance. With vented heads, the wind resistance flows through the openings whereas on non-vented broadheads the wind resistance pushes against the flat surface area causing lift on a miss-aligned broadhead. With lift comes broadhead steerage and erratic flight.
    • Second, they must penetrate well. Strength, shape and design are the major contributors here. All of the broadheads mentioned in this column are well designed. Strong sharp broadheads that are flying true, and don’t hit solid bone, will penetrate well. It is generally accepted that two-blade broadheads penetrate the best but also produce the smallest wound channel. Three and 4-blade broadheads still penetrate well and leave a much larger wound channel resulting in better blood trails. When considering which style to use, the bowhunter should consider the game being hunted, the draw weight of the bow and the overall mass weight of the arrow. Many traditionalists go for 2-blade broadheads on large animals such as elk and moose figuring that the deeper penetration will be more important that a better blood trail. We agree to a point, but Dale has used 4- blade broadheads on some pretty big critters, like kudu and zebra, with excellent results. It’s a judgment call on the part of the bowhunter. However, we prefer and recommend multiple blade heads in most situations.
  • Third, they must be easy to sharpen. In today’s market of razor sharp, replaceable blades for nearly all screw-in broadheads, many bowhunters are not aware of the fact that the factory grind on most glue-on broadheads is not shaving/hunting sharp right out of the package. This factory grind gets them close to what we call ‘hunting sharp’, but the bowhunters themselves must put on the final edge. Ease of sharpening is influenced most by the relative hardness of the steel (its Rockwell rating). Basically, the harder the steel, the tougher it is, and the softer the steel the easier it is to sharpen them. The key to good broadheads is getting the steel tempered hard enough to give you strength, but soft enough to allow you to sharpen them with a file. For these reasons, we prefer broadheads with a Rockwell rating in the mid to high 40’s. Another factor that influences ease of sharpening is the angle of the factory grind. If it is too steep, most of the ‘quick and easy’ sharpening aids won’t work. This means that the bowhunter will have to reduce that angle themselves. For easy sharpening, stick with broadheads with a nice low factory grind like you’ll find on the Woodsman® Broadheads.

Woodsman Broadheads
Woodsman® Broadheads require little sharpening out of the package.

Which glue-on broadheads should I buy? Several brands come instantly to mind, and it’s only fair to start with the old timers in the industry like Zwickey, Ace Archery, and Howard Hill.

Zwickey broadheads have long been the standard that other broadheads are measured against. They have taken tons of big game, and the fact that they’re still one of the top producers of glue-on broadheads speaks very well of their entire operation. With longevity comes fame and Zwickey Broadheads have incredible name recognition. Almost everyone has heard of Zwickey. Available in both 2-blade and 4-blade versions, you can’t go wrong with Zwickey Broadheads. From the small 5/16″ Eskilite ‘Black Diamond’ to the famous Eskimo, and the massive Delta. Zwickey broadheads are hard to beat. They are priced right in the middle of the spectrum too so not only are they quality broadheads, but they are affordable too.

Zwickey Black Diamond BroadheadsZwickey Eskimo BroadheadsZwickey Delta Broadheads
Zwickey offers such popular broadheads as The Black Diamond, Eskimo, and Delta.

Ace Broadheads, another old-timer in the market, have a loyal following and are actually enjoying a recent revival in popularity. Available in 2-blade only, they are another excellent example of a reasonably priced, quality, traditional two-blade broadhead.

Ace 2-blade glue-on broadheads
The Ace two-blade broadhead enjoys a loyal following.

Howard Hill broadheads, like Howard Hill bows, have a following of bowhunters with a fierce loyalty to the old-time tradition and legendary accomplishments of one of the greatest archers of all time, Howard Hill. These broadheads have a long and colorful history, and die-hard Hill fans are certain to make them a part of their traditional set-up. They’re a bit tricky to sharpen, but they are an old time classic with a long and revered history.

Howard Hill Glue-on Broadheads
Howard Hill broadheads have as rich a history as the man for whom they’re named.

What about the old Bear Greenheads? No article about glue-on broadheads would be complete without the mention of Fred Bear’s ‘Greenheads,’ but we’re sorry to say, these venerable heads are no longer in production. Too bad… They were one of the best broadheads of all time and many bowhunters are still stalking their prey with quivers full of arrows tipped with their trusted old friend, the Bear Greenhead.

Now, what about the more recent entries in the glue-on broadhead market? Broadheads like Magnus Classic, Woodsman, and Grizzly?

Magnus Classic broadheads are the dominating force in glue-on broadheads today. With plenty of mix-and-match models of glue-on broadheads, available in 2-blade, 3-blade, and 4-blade versions they have a broadhead for any situation imaginable. Ever improving, they have an excellent out-of-the-package grind that is almost hunting/shaving sharp, and a diamond tip that dramatically increases the strength of this already tough broadhead over any ‘needle-point’ head out there. We have personally used these broadheads for years and have great confidence in them. In addition, they are reasonably priced and carry a lifetime guarantee.

Snuffer 3-blade BroadheadsMagnus Classic MA II Vented BroadheadsMagnus Classic MA I 4-blade broadheads
The dominating force in broadheads, Magnus Classic offers a wide variety of heads.

The Woodsman® Broadhead is our bestselling 3-blade broadhead. They’re long and lean vented 3-blade broadheads that have proven themselves on big game time and time again. They’re quickly becoming a household name. They fly true, and once you get used to the 3-blade configuration, they’re easy to sharpen. This is a ‘must have’ broadhead for any archer.

Woodsman 3-blade Broadheads
A great broadhead for big game, the Woodsman is a best seller.

Eclipse Broadheads are very reminiscent of the Zwickey Eskimo 2-blade, but they are unique in that they are Teflon® coated for superior penetration. They are a medium priced, 2-blade broadhead designed to penetrate the world’s toughest game.

Eclipse 2-blade Broadheads
Except for their Teflon® coating, Eclipse two-blade broadheads are similar in design to the Zwickey Eskimo.

The Grizzly single bevel broadhead (and its big brother the Kodiak) have been in great demand ever since their introduction over fifteen years ago. They are almost a 3:1 ratio, very long and narrow. They fly very well, penetrate well, and since they are sharpened with a single bevel, they are easy to finish sharpening to a ‘shaving-sharp’ edge. They are very popular with bowhunters hunting in Africa as they are nearly indestructible and have proven themselves on the toughest African game. Still very reasonably priced, they are a broadhead worth considering. The Bod-Kin is a 3-blade glue-on broadhead that has stood the test of time. Easy to use and inexpensive, a broadhead that many have seen in their Grandparent’s quiver.

Grizzly Single Bevel BroadheadsKodiak Single Bevel BroadheadsBod-Kin 3-blade glue-on Broadheads
The Grizzly Broadhead is popular with bowhunters pursuing African game. The Bod-Kin is a cost effective broadhead that gets the job done.

Zephyr Broadheads are quality and precision all the way. Offering cutlery grade stainless steel and shaving sharp blades right out of the package. Their unique bleeder blades sit forward in the ferrule so you don’t have to slot or cut off your wood tapers to use them. May be used with or without the bleeders as either two-blade or 4-blade broadheads. All these features do come at a price and you’ll pay a little more for a three pack than you will for most other glue-on heads by the six-pack. Still, there are bowhunters out there that don’t mind paying for convenience and quality, and these excellent broadheads offer both.

Zephyr Scirocco Glue-on Broadheads
Zephyr offers cutlery grade stainless steel and shaving sharp blades right out of the package.

If you find a rugged, dependable glue-on broadhead that you want to use on your aluminum or carbon arrows, you’re in luck! Glue-on broadheads can also be mounted on broadhead adapters to work in carbon and aluminum arrows. Broadhead adapters are made out of aluminum or steel. The steel add extra weight to your set up and are very strong.

Steel Broadhead AdaptersBroadhead adapters
With the different adapters on the market, you have many options for mounting your glue-on broadheads on carbon or aluminum shafts.

Traditional, glue-on broadheads are in demand and for good reason. They’re solid, dependable, and lethal. Whichever broadhead mentioned above you chose, you now know that these tough, cut-on-contact broadheads are at home on any wood arrow, or even a carbon or aluminum arrow. So get some on your arrows now and go hunting. Try them, then tell your friends about them. See for yourself why you should be using glue-on broadheads for wood arrows.

Keep Hunting
Dale Karch & Todd Smith

For more information contact:
3Rivers Archery
PO Box 517
Ashley IN 46705

or check us out on-line at

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