Reliability of mechanical broadheads in javelina?


New member
Yesterday I cut loose an arrow at a javelina, 18 yards per the rangefinder, textbook broadside, direct hit. The javelina darted off with his amigos, I cooled off for 25 min, texted buddies, changed out of my thermals, ate a cliff bar, drank water, etc..

Couldn’t recover the arrow. Tracks went everywhere. Picked up blood trail about 100 feet from impact. Javelina appeared to be bleeding from both sides. A few drops every 6 feet. The drops got progressively smaller. Very difficult to track. Tracked for 4.5 hours, trail led me 2200 feet, downhill, sidehill, through a big ravine, up the adjacent hill, and terminated at the herd of javelina again. Watched the herd move out. Some hopped within 5-6 feet upwind of me (which for some some reason made them seem really adorable) and a couple on the wrong side of me caught my scent, stopped and expedited in a different direction. I inspected the area expecting to find my javelina dead, but nada. My shot javelina was apparently still running with the herd. No dead javelina anywhere. I scoured the area.

I’m trying to figure out what happened here. I knew I was inside 20 yards, set my single point sight to 20 yards, had a good sight picture, watched and HEARD the impact. Textbook broadside I hit the 10-ring. I measured after the fact, it was 18 yards. A chipshot. And I know when my shot is good. I literally practice at 100 yards on the range. 18 yards is a joke. I shoot a Hoyt Carbon Matrix with 4mm arrows. The bow is a few years old, but was top of the line a few years ago. I chrony at 283 FPS. It’s a very potent bow. I’ve shot archery for 15 years, but this was my first bow hunt. I’ve gotten good enough at stalking javelina I thought I’d try a bow this year.

My good hunting (in real life) friend says this is more common than expected in archery. He suspected my arrow passed through without the mechanical broadhead opening. He thinks I made a pencil hole through the javelina. I was using “Grim Reaper” broadheads I was sold at a good archery shop. He only uses fixed broadheads.

Is this kinda thing common? This was my first experience shooting game with a bow, and it doesn’t feel good right now. Like my buddy says, is this “More common than you’d expect.”?? If this is typical, then I need to revisit bow hunting.
If it is mechanical it will fail sooner or later. It could have been that there was a piece firebush or another small seed that got lodged in the blades that made them not open up. Trust me I hunted down between phoenix and oricele for many years and there was always weed seeds and small gravel or sand that would get in everything. I have always used fixed bladed broadheads to minimize that possibility. And it does happen even with fixed blades.
One of the best deer I ever shot and lost was with a mechanical. I only use fixed heads now. I know others may have good luck with them but I don't trust them. JMO!
I've shot multiple deer, elk and a mountain lion with a bow. I don't think you are any more likely to wound an animal with a bow than a rifle. It just becomes more personal with a bow than it does a rifle because you are often much closer to the animal when you shoot.
After reading your story, I think one of two things happened.
#1 You didn't hit it as well as you thought. May have not hit heart/lungs or any major blood vessels
#2 You hit it well but the mechanical failed to open. If the arrow penciled through with good shot placement, I think the javelina is still dead, it just took it longer. I think there is a good chance you walked right by it without seeing it. I've walked within yards of multiple animals that I've been looking for, sometimes multiple times before I ended up finding them.
If you hit it well and the mechanical opened as designed, the javelina would have bleed out before it made it 2200 feet.

I use fixed blade broad heads but I know there are many guys who prefer mechanicals. For big animals like elk, I think fixed blade is definitely the way to go. Just make sure your broad heads fly the same as your field pointes. I've seen some significant point of impact shifts between broad heads and field points. Even mechanicals that claim to fly the same as field points often have a slightly different point of impact.
Even mechanical heads may not shoot like field points, and individual hunting head/arrow combinations may not have same point of impact. But a hole through the heart or both lungs still fatal, small holes just seal with fat easier and allow slower blood loss. Color and odor of the blood is usually more accurate indicator of shot placement than memory of sight alignment.