Best Arrow Setup for Whitetail Hunting

Midwest Whitetail • April 04, 2024

I'm currently shooting an Orion micro-diameter arrow for increased penetration. If you're shooting through soft tissue, it doesn't make as big a difference, but if you have to shoot through bone, it may be the difference between retrieving your game and wishing you'd used the smaller-diameter arrow. I haven't jumped on the bandwagon of going just totally crazy on this FOC (Front and Center) stuff and a 700-grain arrow. My arrow is about 490 grains with around 15% FOC, which is a good happy medium as far as I'm concerned. I don't want to go super heavy, and I don't want to be super light.

Sometimes if you range a buck, then he takes two or three steps and so now you're off a yard or two, arrow speed becomes very important. I think flatter trajectory is super important. Now, if you're just taking 15- and 20-yard shots, you could probably shoot that 700-grain arrow and, do great with it, punch through the shoulder and everything else. But what shots are you going to limit yourself to? I'm good with a 30-, 35- or even a 40-yard shot in the right circumstances. Obviously, you still must read the body language and make sure it's a calm animal, but I still like the happy medium.

For a while there, I did go along with the speed craze. I was shooting the lightest arrow I could find, and that was back when range finders were just coming along. A lot of times, you were just guesstimating yardage, so if you were off three or four yards, it was a big deal to have a faster arrow. Another thing to take into account is what will your distance be? If you're in that 14-18% FOC range, I think that's great. You're going to get good penetration with it. And right around 500 to 550 grains, somewhere in there is plenty heavy for whitetails. If you're going to go hunt Cape Buffalo, then you can consider a different arrow, maybe a different broadhead. But for whitetails, I think my setup is perfect.

Another thing to think about is what broadhead you want to shoot on this. For speed, I'm more inclined to go to a mechanical head. I'm shooting a Slick Trick and I'm shooting these around 260 FPS. For faster arrows, I'm more inclined to go to an expandable so it flies like a dart. You're more prone to get the wind planing with a fixed blade head as you shoot faster and faster. However, some guys who hunt off the ground a lot where they may have to shoot through some grass, they really like the fixed blade head because it doesn't catch grass and open up prematurely like a mechanical could.

As for choice of fletching, if you're trying to stabilize a fixed blade versus a mechanical, you want a little more surface area on a fixed blade to help that steer that broadhead. I like the four fletch now. These have become popular here in recent years. The thing I really like about four fletch over three fletch is if you're trying to knock tune or knock index your arrows, it gives you one more rotation. You've got four different spots you can rotate that arrow to get the perfect flight that you're looking for.

So, a four-fletch, 490-grain arrow with around 15% FOC, and a Slick Trick mechanical arrowhead. It works great for me great for me on whitetails.

--Owen Reigler, Midwest Whitetail