Just about everybody is using carbon arrows these days, and for good reason. They're durable, light, versatile and accurate.
There was a time when many hunters resisted the change to carbon arrows, largely based on tales of meat contamination and splintering.
While the truth has pretty much won out over rumor, bowhunters should keep in mind there is a danger in shooting damaged carbon arrows (or arrows not properly matched to the shooter's bow).
Unlike aluminum arrows that show damage in the form of bends or dents, carbon arrows often don't show visible signs of damage. When the carbon fibers break or are cut, they weaken and can splinter during a shot.
It's important to regularly inspect your arrows for any sign of damaged carbon fibers. You should also use the flex test. Grasp the arrow at either end and bend it slightly. Listen closely for any cracking sounds. Bend the arrow enough to reveal any weaknesses, but not enough to break it if it's not damaged. Perform this test before any shooting session, and also any time your arrows hit one another during shooting.
Lest you think we're being overly cautious, this (WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTO) photo sent in by Mandy Brenner shows what can happen. Mandy said she and her son Taylor were unaware of the need to check carbon arrows, and now she wants to help get the word out.
Carbon arrows are great, and virtually everyone here at Buckmasters uses them, but don't forget to check your arrows. We don't want to see any more photos like Taylor's. Below is the email Taylor's Mother sent us about his accident.
Hello! My name is Mandy Brenner and I am sending you a pretty graphic picture taken Saturday, October 30, 2011. The picture is of my 16 year old son’s hand and what can happen if you do not properly inspect your carbon fiber arrows before shooting.
My son is an avid hunter, has taken his Hunter’s Ed course and takes pride in hunting safely. He was in the front yard practicing his shot when he attempted to shoot an arrow that must have some sort of crack in it that he was unaware of. After release the arrow broke in half and the back half of the arrow went through the hand that he was holding the bow with.
When it hit his hand it splintered throughout before making its exit. We were both unaware that checking carbon fiber arrows was necessary. It seems that this kind of accident is treated like an “urban legend”, of sorts, among hunters. I have made it my mission to get the word out that this can happen, does happen, and could be A LOT worse than what my son, Taylor, experienced. I was hoping that as one of the largest magazines you would help spread the word to your readers. I can’t even count how many lifelong hunters have said to me, “I have never heard of that happening and I’ve been hunting all my life” or “I always heard it could happen, but never knew anyone that it actually happened to” in just the 6 days since my son’s accident. Please help me keep these guys and gals safe!
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. Thank You.