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Are you looking for the best arrows for hunting deer and/or elk in 2021? Without the best arrows in your arsenal, your performance will certainly suffer and you will not be able to take down your target very easily, if at all. There are good arrows out there, great arrows and a lot of low quality budget arrows that are in most cases dissapointing.
We have carefully selected some of the best hunting arrows currently available on the market. For this article, the editors at ForgottenHunter have compiled two lists; the best arrows for deer hunting and the best arrows for elk hunting in 2021. The article also contains a basic beginner’s guide where we’ll discuss the most essential factors to consider during the arrow selection process.
Our Top Picks
Best Arrows for Deer Hunting
Easton Archery Axis Long Range
The Easton Archery Axis Long Range carbon AXIS shafts are now available in a four mm micro-diameter. These shafts are engineered with a specific 100 percent carbon-fiber layup for increased velocity. The package includes Easton’s new Aluminum point outsert to boost both strength and front-of-center accuracy at long range and comes pre-installed with 4MM nocks. They have a straightness of +/- .003″ [Match Grade: +/- .001″].
- Micro-Diameter, 100% carbon hunting arrow- increased velocity
- Reduced friction in flight and at impact to offer optimized FOC, enhance target penetration, and better accuracy at long range
- 4 popular hunting spine sizes- 250, 300, 340, and 400
- Includes (new) aluminum point outserts; 4mm nocks pre-installed
- Comes in dozen bare shafts, and ½ dozen fletched configurations (compatible with standard thread 8-32 broadheads and field points)
- Made in USA
Tiger Archery Carbon Arrows
These carbon arrows from Tiger Archery perform great and are affordable. The hunting arrows are made for extended durability.
The tips are nickel-plated stainless steel which is great for indoor and outdoor target practice, and you can also do some hunting with them.
As for accuracy and flight stability, these work fine but don’t expect the accuracy the more expensive arrows offer on longer distances. The shafts come with replaceable nocks.
- They are heavy and durable
- Come with stainless steel tips
- Nocks are not fixed by glue
- They can be really hard to pull from targets, depending on the target
- Not accurate on long distances
Bloodsport Hunter Extreme
The Bloodsport Hunter Extreme is one of the best mid-weight arrow shafts that are currently on the market.
These arrows deliver precise hits from a super durable .244” standard diameter with Rugged Wrap construction.
The Rugged Wrap construction process produces a straight, tough, and thick carbon weave, this provides high kinetic energy in a dependable arrow that will keep doing the dirty work through multiple hunts.
This efficient and durable mid-weight arrow offers the accuracy and penetration needed to take down a deer.
- Mid-weight .244″ standard diameter arrow with high kinetic energy
- Ultra-durable Rugged Wrap construction
- Improved arrow connection with new nock design
- Comes in multiple sizes
- Do not penetrate as well as the top 2 arrows in this list
Gold Tip Valkyrie
Gold Tip’s Valkyrie arrows are some of my personal favorites to hunt deer with. The arrows have a lightweight carbon construction, fly straight and penatrate well.
The four-fletched arrows have 2.75″ low profile vanes for increased broadhead accuracy. The four-fletched vanes added surface area gives the arrow more back-end stability, faster stabilization, and group size reductions of 20-75% with broadheads. The Gold Tip Valkyrie has an inner diameter of .246-inches. The package includes nocks and inserts.
- Incredible durability and straightness retention with less added weight
- 4 fletched 2.75″ Fusion X vanes allow for better accuracy and better groupings
- Comes in multiple sizes
- Poorly packaged
MS Jumpper Archery Carbon Arrows
These budget carbon arrows from MS Jumpper offer good performance, are reasonably durable for extended use, and come cheap.
They are fletched with two black and one red 4-inch long peltate shape real feathers. The arrows can be utilized on a recurve, compound, traditional, or a longbow. They can be used to either hunt with or be used for target practice. The arrow has a shaft diameter of 7.4mm.
The package includes 100-grain steel field tips. The arrows can be used for up to a 65-pound draw.
- package includes 100-grain steel field tips
- The fletching wrap comes off after some use what is bad for the fletchings
Best Arrows for Elk Hunting
Easton Full Metal Jacket T64 Tapered Shafts
The best and most advanced arrows to hunt elk with that are currently on the market are the Full Metal Jacket T64 Tapered Shafts from Easton.
Arrow penetration is vital for hunting elk, you might only get one shot. When it comes to penetration no arrow shaft penetrates as well as these arrows do. What sets these tapered arrows apart from the rest is that they combine maximum penetration power with the highest level of FOC accuracy.
T64 FMJ shafts have a 6mm diameter at the front that seamlessly tapers down to a micro-diameter of 4mm at the nock end. The integrated front-of-center weight distribution adds up to 30% more FOC without adding point weight for the best in exacting long-range accuracy.
For lethal big game results, the rear taper creates a reduced-friction path for maximum penetration. Couple these new improvements with FMJ’s track record of field-proven success, and the Easton T64 now sets the new arrow shaft benchmark for bow hunting big game.
- Maximum penetration
- Long Range broadhead accuracy
- Built-in FOC
- Straightened to the highest industry specifications
- Easy target pull
- Comes in Multiple Sizes
Easton Full Metal Jacket
The second best arrows to hunt Elk with are also from Easton. Their Full Metal Jacket arrows small diameter cuts through the air at a break-neck pace and its carbon core delivers long-lasting performance.
These heavyweight arrows have a high-strength carbon core with 7075 alloy metal jacket and penetrates almost as good as the FMJ T64.
The kinetic energy that these arrows deliver will drive a broadhead through a target with ease. Durable, hard-hitting, deep penetration. They offer superb consistent accuracy. You can’t go wrong with these arrows. It is still one of the best hunting arrows on the market in 2021. They come with pre-installed bright red X Nock.
- Deep penetration
- Easy target pull
Victory Archery Xtorsion SS Gamer
The Xtorsion arrow from Victory Archery is tough enough to hunt even the most dangerous game and durable enough to stay straight shot after shot.
By encapsulating layers of 304 stainless steel within high modulus carbon fiber, the design engineers from Victory Archery created a durable extremely long-lasting arrow shaft. 304 stainless steel is known for its high yield strength, durability, and high modulus of elasticity (how hard it is to bend).
The exterior of the arrow boasts a 90 degree woven carbon fiber to increase compressive strength and reduce torsional deflection. The result is a whisper quiet, small diameter arrow with Extreme Kinetic Energy and unbelievable penetration.
- Good penetration
- Does not bend
- Flies straight
- Extremely durable
- Poorly packaged
Gold Tip Hunter
The Gold Tip Hunter is based on the most versatile arrow ever made, the original that put Gold Tip on the map. If you had to pick one arrow to last the rest of your life, a Hunter series would be it.
A mid-weight arrow that features the balance of speed and penetration making it ready for any situation. Constructed of Gold Tip’s Smart Carbon Technology for unmatched durability and straightness retention.
- Penetrate really well
- Vanes can come loose after extensive use
Arrow Selection Beginner’s Guide
There are many things to consider when you are looking to buy the best hunting arrows that fit your situation and preferences. We will go through the basics first. What do arrows consist of?
Arrows usually consist of four parts: The point, the shaft, the fletchings, and the ridge. The tip is the bit that has to hit your target(if all goes well.) The shaft is the body of the arrow, connecting the point to the ridge and the fletch.
The fletchings are at the back of an arrow to aerodynamically guide the arrow to fly. Fletching is traditionally made from bird feathers, but solid plastic vanes and thin sheet-like spin vanes are used more in the modern age. They are attached near the nock (rear) end of the arrow with thin double-sided tape or glue. The ridge is a small groove at the back of the arrow that fits over the string of a bow.
Before you start looking to buy the best arrows for your situation you will need to measure your draw length. Second, you need to decide what type of bow you will use and third, you need to know the pull weight of your bow at your draw length. And of course, you need to decide on what the game you want to hunt. If you made up your mind on these aspects you are ready to pick your hunting arrows.
You should make out what shaft material you want your arrows to be, which spine to pick, what length your arrow should be and which shaft pattern you prefer.
Measure your draw length
To determine your draw length, which is quite easy to do and can be done at home. Draw length measures how far you draw your bow to the anchor point. To carry out the measurement, all you need is some measuring tape. Here are the steps:
- Stand with your back to a wall stretching your arms out against the wall. Make sure you’re not hunching forward and that you’re not wearing any clothes that could restrict arm movement.
- Spread your arms to the sides and make sure that together they form a straight line that is parallel to the floor.
- Measure the distance from the end of your middle finger to the end of your other middle finger. This measurement, minus 15 then divided 2.5 by is your draw length.
Determine your draw weight
Determining your draw weight or poundage is extremely important. Every archer has an ideal draw weight. Some easily pull 30 pounds, and others can pull over 70 pounds. You can test your draw weight by drawing your bow while seated. If you can smoothly draw your bow when sitting, your bow is probably set at a manageable weight. You can train to increase your draw strength.
Note: Most states (33 of 50) have minimal draw weight requirements. Some have a 30-pound minimum, and others have set 35- or 40-pound minimums.
The material of the shaft
Arrow shaft materials include Wood, Carbon, Aluminum, or Fiberglass. Each has different benefits and drawbacks but carbon arrows are in most cases the better pick.
The most basic and cheap arrows are wooden arrows. People used wooden arrows for hunting throughout history. Nowadays they are mostly made of aluminum alloys, fiber-reinforced plastic composites or aluminum composites. Wooden arrows are heavier and slower compared to carbon and aluminum arrows. Wooden arrows are also difficult to generate the resistance that a compound bow requires. If you use wooden arrows with a compound bow they will easily break. Traditional longbow shooters still use wooden arrows for their authenticity.
Aluminum arrows are normally hollow. They are heavier than carbon arrows and normally won’t fly as fast. They are much safer than wooden or carbon arrows because they won’t splinter. For that reason and the fact that aluminum arrows are more affordable, aluminum arrows are a save pick for beginners.
Carbon arrows are made up of many interwoven fibers, this makes them Incredibly light comparison to wooden arrows. The downside is that some carbon arrows easily splinter and are thus somewhat more dangerous to use than wooden arrows or aluminum arrows. However, the best arrows to hunt big game are carbon arrows. They are a much better choice for performance and accuracy than wooden or aluminum ones.
Fiberglass arrows are generally used for bow fishing and are often used for recreational purposes. They are inexpensive, which is why they are often bought by starter. They can help you learn whether archery is something you enjoy before invest on more qualitative and expensive arrows.
What the weight of your arrows should depend on what game you are hunting. If you want to hunt bigger game it usually requires a faster traveling arrow and a higher draw weight. For hunting deer and elk, I recommend the weight will be between 385 grains to 500 grains depending on shaft length and vanes. My current arrow setup for hunting deer and elk is is 442 grains.
Arrow spine and arrow length
Arrow spine and arrow length will depend on the bow from which the arrow is being shot. You will also need to determine your draw length and the pull weight of your bow at your draw length. Take your draw length and add 0.5″ up to a maximum 1″ to determine appropriate arrow length. So if your draw length is 28″, you should get arrows with a maximum length of 29″. The spine is indicated by the numbers 340, 400, or 500. Spine basically means the stiffness of the arrow. The spine is dictated by the length of the draw and weight a person shoots.
There are many calculators and charts online that will show proper spine.
Choose your desired shaft pattern
The most common carbon arrow shaft patterns are black, camo, and wood grain. Aluminum arrow shafts have the same choices for the most part. Wood arrow shafts have many different stain colors and accent colors like a crown dip and/or cresting.
The Best Brands For Hunting Arrows
Here are some of the brands that have proven themselves as some of the best providers of the best hunting arrows.
- Express Maxima
- Gold Tip
- Victory Archery
- Ms Jumpper
- Tiger Archery
Taking good care of your arrows is really important. First, it’s always a good plan to wipe the arrows clean and dry after a day of shooting, wipe your bow and arrows with a soft dry cloth.
If the fletchings are messy I use denatured alcohol. Rubbing alcohol is only 70% alcohol and has conditioners in it. Denatured is about 97% or 99% and will not leave a residue.
How to cut arrow shafts
Cutting carbon and fiberglass shafts
I strongly recommend just going to a local pro shop and tell them to cut your arrows, but if you want to do it yourself, you will need a fiberglass arrow and carbon arrow tube cutter, a rubber band, a ruler, and a stick or pencil.
First, you need to determine what length you want the shaft to be. Place a rubber band on the shaft of the arrow. Wrap it around the shaft a few times so that it is tight. Put the arrow on the bowstring and pull the bow back.
Note: where the rubber band is when you draw full draw in relation to the front of the bow.
Place the ruler on the shaft of the arrow and make a mark inches from the rubber band at the end of the tip. This is the minimum arrow length mark. Put a pencil or stick in the inside of the shaft so the hollow shaft won’t collapse. Now use the tube cutter to shorten the shaft.
Depending on the length of the arrow, it should allow several cuts. If you need to cut the shaft then mark the minimum length to the right arrow flight.
Cutting aluminum shafts
For cutting aluminum arrows you need a different tube cutter. Essentially the process is the same. However, I strongly advise you to wear protective gloves and a protective headpiece during the cutting process.
To fletch arrows you will need, some fletching glue, vanes, a fletching jig, some paper towels.
First, put the shaft in the fletching jig. Now remove the old glue as much as possible with a blunt knife.
Degrease the shaft and the new vanes with acetone. Put some glue on the vane and press the vane on the exact place on the tube. Whip away the excess glue with a paper towel. Now leave it to dry for a couple of minutes.
A quiver holds your arrows while you shoot your prey. It carries them safely as you walk back and forth to the target. You have field quivers, which are compact and side quivers, which are generally longer and larger, and you have shoulder back quivers, which are favored by traditional archers.
The most popular quivers for bow hunting are shoulder back quivers, however, there are also quivers that can you mount onto the bow. I recommended the Traditional Shoulder Back Quiver from TOPARCHERY. This is a great quiver that is not expensive but made with high-quality materials. The quiver holds the arrows secure, while you track your prey.
Hunters also often carry an arrow tube, which I really recommend myself. An arrow tube is a tube with a shoulder strap where you can safely transport your arrows with. Arrow tubes should be solid on the bottom because arrows are dropped point first down the tube, with the nock and fletchings at the top. The tube should be watertight. The SAS adjustable archery arrow case carrier is a fine, cheap option.
To Wrap It Up
There are, of course, no “best arrows.” There are, however, optimal choices for particular conditions. It also depends on personal preference and your hunting style. I hope this article has shown you the way to the better options on the market that will meet your needs and help you bring home that new buck or elk trophy in the upcoming hunting season. Good hunting!