How Much Arrow Penetration Is Needed To Kill A Deer [Essential Guide]





  • Successful and humane deer hunting requires deep arrow penetration to quickly reach vital organs; this is best achieved with a balance of arrow weight, sharpness, and proper placement.
  • Arrow penetration varies based on factors such as bow power, arrow weight, broadhead design, and the target deer species; mastering these ensures optimal hunting results.
  • Arrow kinetic energy and momentum play pivotal roles in determining penetration, with hunters needing a combination of both for efficient shots.

When I was younger, I often wondered, How much arrow penetration is needed to kill a deer?

How Much Arrow Penetration Is Needed To Kill A Deer

Arrow Penetration Is Needed To Kill A Deer

To kill a deer, an arrow needs enough power. The arrow should have between 25 to 41 ft. lbs. of energy. This is good for medium-sized animals like deer. So, a strong arrow is important to hunt deer safely.

Hunting is a big responsibility. To be kind to animals, I need to make sure our shots are quick and clean. This means the arrow must go deep enough to reach important parts like the heart and lungs. My friend once told me that the closer you are to the deer, the better the shot can be. Historically, even did native Americans use bow and arrows with a similar principle in mind.  It’s like trying to hit a target; you want to be sure before you shoot.

In this article, I’ll explore if it’s possible to prove that can a deer survive an arrow pass through? By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear answer to this key question. So, let’s get started and unlock the mystery behind how much penetration to kill deer? for all the eager archers out there.

How Much Arrow Penetration Is Needed To Kill A Deer: Explanation

Deer hunting is a very popular outdoor activity. But you need to be patient, skilled, experienced, and with the right equipment while hunting a deer. If you don’t want the deer to feel pain when shot with an arrow. To hunt a deer perfectly, one needs to ensure enough deep arrow penetration for a quick and humane kill.

But how much arrow is needed to kill a deer depends on many factors. Generally, 40-60 pounds of kinetic energy and 12-14 inches of arrow penetration are needed to kill a deer in an effective way. Well, here I am sharing some key considerations to help you to learn about it. Let’s learn about them in detail.

Key Factors Influencing Arrow Penetration In A Deer (A Comprehensive Guide)

Arrow penetration in deer depends on several things:

Key Factors Influencing Arrow Penetration In Deer
  • Kinetic Energy :- What is kinetic energy? Let’s learn about it. Kinetic energy is the kind of energy that the arrow carries when it hits the target. The arrow will penetrate deeper into the target if the kinetic energy is higher. The same goes when trying to kill or hunt a deer. The higher the energy will be, the deeper the arrow will penetrate into the deep to kill it effectively. Basically, about 40-60 pounds of kinetic energy is enough to kill a deer.
  • Arrow Penetration :- Arrow penetration means the distance that an arrow is able to penetrate into the target. It is generally measured in inches. It ensures the arrow has hit the vital organs effectively resulting in serious blood loss and causing quick death. Basically, 12-14 inches of penetration is needed to kill a deer. Arrow Weight, like heavier arrows, can penetrate better, especially from a distance.
  • Broadhead Type :- The broadhead is the sharp point of the arrow for target shooting. There are many types of broadhead and they can affect the penetration depth. The fixed blade broadheads are better than the mechanical broadheads because of their sturdy design. But both can be used to kill a deer. Sharp and streamlined broadheads cut through animals better, much like the modern 001 and 003 Ravin arrows.
  • Arrow Speed :- The speed of the arrow is also very important for deeper penetration. The arrow with a faster speed can penetrate deeper because of the higher kinetic energy. So make sure the arrow speed is balanced to ensure the appropriate shot for hunting.
  • Bow Power Bow power is basically the energy that the bow can transfer to the arrow when it is released. Bow power plays a significant role in arrow penetration. The next question that arises is, ‘How much draw strength does it take to kill a deer?’. Stronger bows transfer more energy to arrows, aiding in deeper penetration.

Remember, the best way to ensure your arrow penetrates deeply, whether you’re using modern equipment or making a wooden bow and arrow, is to ensure it’s sharp and well-tuned.

Some enthusiasts want to  carry bow and arrow everywhere, giving more energy to arrows, making them go deeper.

Well, these are just a simple glimpse of the entire topic. If you want to know about it in detail, read ahead and learn about it properly.

Kinetic energy and momentum are both important when I talk about how well an arrow can go into something, like an animal, when hunting. Think of kinetic energy like a big hammer pushing a nail into wood. If the nail is our arrow, the harder you hit with the hammer, the deeper the nail goes. But kinetic energy changes as the arrow flies because of things like wind slowing it down.

Arrow Kinetic Energy And Its Impact On Penetration Depth

On the other side, momentum is like how strong the arrow stays while it’s flying. A heavy arrow with good momentum can go deeper into something, even if it’s not super fast.

To understand, imagine two cars. One car is light but very fast, and the other is heavy but a bit slower. If both cars hit a wall, the heavy one might push more into the wall because of its weight. For arrows, it’s about finding the best mix of speed and weight to get the best result. So, arrows with good kinetic energy and momentum can go deeper into targets.

What Types Of Broadheads Are Best For Deer Hunting?

In this section, I describe the best broadhead for deer hunting. Let’s break it down

1. G5 Deadmeat V2 Best Mechanical Broadhead

Pros: Large wound channel with a practice head that is sharp straight out of the box.

Cons: There have been reports of early blade deployment.

Notable Features: Mechanical heads design, available in 100 or 125 grains, with a big 2.04-inch wound channel.

2. Magnus Black Hornet Best Budget Broadhead

Pros: Large going channel, low pricing, quick resharpening, and lifetime warranty

Cons: Not the best steel available.

Notable Features: Four-blade design, affordable without compromising performance.

Definitive Guide to Black Eagle Arrow Origins

3. SEVR 2.0 Most Accurate Mechanical Broadhead

Pros: High accuracy, good-sized entry points

Cons: The blades in the quiver can deploy.

Notable Features: Made from grade-5 titanium, rear-deploying blades, practice-friendly.

4. Day Six Evo 2 Sharpest Broadhead

Pros: Extremely sharp, best group performance.

Cons: Steel may be brittle.

Notable Features: Made from S30V steel, known for its sharpness and edge retention.

5. Iron Will S100 Best for Penetration

Pros: Outstanding edge retention and durability.

Cons: Lighter blood trails are reported.

Notable Features: Made from A2 tool steel, it is known for its sharpness and durability.

6. Cutthroat S7 Best Single Bevel Broadhead

Pros: Professional, long-lasting sharpening is available.

Cons: There have been reports of some light blood trails.

Notable Features: Made from S7 tool steel, easy-to-sharpen, extremely durable.

7. Ramcat Diamondback Hybrid Best for Large Wound Channels

Pros: Wide wound channel, durable, accurate

Cons: Tip may come loose; no practice mode.

Notable Features: Hybrid design, large 2.25-inch wound channel.

8. Ramcat Hydroshock Best Three-Blade Broadhead

Pros: Large wound channel, high accuracy.

Cons: Blades can cut fingers and take up more quiver space.

Notable Features: Three-blade design, pivoting blades, double O-ring system.


The choice of a broadhead should match your hunting needs and equipment. Consider factors such as sharpness, wound channel size, durability, and price when making a decision. Each of the broadheads reviewed above stands out in its category and provides a reliable option for deer hunting. Remember to always practice with your chosen broadhead before going out on the field to ensure optimal performance.

Optimal Arrow Penetration For Ethical Deer Hunting

When hunting deer or trying to kill one with one short or quick, optimal arrow penetration is really important. An often-asked question is, ‘How fast does an arrow need to go to kill a deer?’. Let me tell you one thing, there are many factors to consider to ensure optimal arrow penetration. Such as;

Optimal Arrow Penetration For Ethical Deer Hunting
  • Arrow Setup :- It is better to use the heavy arrow or broadheads to increase the pace and penetration of arrows. It will be very helpful while hunting.
  • Bow Setup :- For more power increase the draw weight. Otherwise, you can use the bow with high poundage for more power as well.
  • Shot Placement :- The most important thing is the perfect shot placement. Try to practice shot placement to target the vital points of your target for a quick and amiable kill.
  • Effective Range :- Let me tell you one thing, for accurate and effective penetration it is important to take the ethical shot in your effective range.

Estimating Arrow Penetration For Hunters [Step-By-Step Guide]

When I was young, my grandpa taught me about arrow penetration. If you want to guess how deep an arrow goes into a deer, follow these steps:

Estimating Arrow Penetration For Hunters
  • Arrow Weight and length: While a heavy arrow goes deeper than a light one, it’s also essential to correctly measure arrow length of compound bow for optimal performance.
  • Draw Weight: A stronger bow will make the arrow fly faster. Faster arrows usually go deeper.
  • Broad Head Type: Mechanical broadheads might not go as deep as blade broadheads. Sharp broadheads are best!
  • Arrow Placement: If you hit a shoulder blade, the arrow might not go in deep. Aim for the broadside deer, not the bones.
  • Arrow Speed: A faster arrow might give deeper penetration. But remember, a heavy arrow can slow down arrow speed.

So, if you want deep penetration for a mature buck, use a heavy arrow with a sharp broadhead. And always practice your aim! I once read a digital magazine about this, and the magazine content agreed with Grandpa’s tips. Happy hunting!

Consequences Of Insufficient Arrow Penetration [Risks And Repercussions]

When hunting, arrow weight and penetration are crucial. If your arrow doesn’t penetrate deeply, you might not catch your target, like a mature buck or a broadside deer. Imagine using a light arrow, which only gives a few inches of penetration. It might not reach vital organs. On the other hand, a heavy arrow can offer deep penetration, ensuring a quick and humane end.

I remember a friend’s story: he once used lighter arrows with mechanical broadheads. Sadly, it only hit the shoulder blade and didn’t go through. He learned that heavier shafts and sharp broadheads are key. Also, it’s not just about arrow speed but also arrow placement. A heavy arrow with the right broadhead ensures maximum penetration.

And remember, good blood trails are a sign of the right penetration. Always aim for the best.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

Can A Deer Survive An Arrow Pass Through?

If the arrow hits the deer’s neck, brisket, back, or outer ribs, the deer will probably be okay.

Will An Arrow Pass Through A Deer?

Deer ribs aren’t very thick. Most arrows can easily go through them. Modern bows are strong enough to make the arrow pass all the way through the deer.

How Many Grains Of Arrow Does It Take To Kill A Deer?

Easton says a 400-grain arrow going 170 feet per second can hunt a big deer. Even some kids’ bows can shoot that fast. I’ve seen these bows make arrows go right through deer.

Can A Deer Survive An Arrow Passing Through It?

If the arrow hits the deer’s neck, brisket, back, or outer ribs, it might not hurt it too much. The deer can probably live. The chest is a more serious spot to hit.

How Much Penetration Does It Take To Kill A Deer With An Arrow?

For the shot to work well, the arrow needs to go deep into the deer. Sometimes, the arrow only goes in a little, like 3-4 inches, and there’s not much blood. If this happens, the deer might get better or get sick later.


Hunting with arrows is a big responsibility. The right arrow needs to go deep enough into a deer to make sure it doesn’t suffer. The best arrow is heavy and sharp, and it should be aimed right. The speed of the arrow and where it hits matter a lot.

To answer the question, How much arrow penetration is needed to kill a deer? you need deep penetration, almost through the deer, to reach important parts like the heart and lungs.

Bob Magic

Written by

Bob Magic

Meet Bob Magic, the archery maestro. A National Champion, “Coach of the Year,” and gold medalist. Bob simplifies archery, ensuring your bullseye success. Whether you’re a newbie or a pro, let Bob’s magic guide your arrow.

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