Perhaps you have wondered to yourself if an arrow had the potential to pierce right through the bone. The answer lies in what hunters observe when they go hunting.
Can an arrow go through bone? An arrow travels at 330 fps, depending on draw weight. In some cases, the arrowhead will lodge itself in the bone of the animal, but you have cases where the arrow passes right through. This depends on the mass that the arrow has to pass through.
To answer the question, yes, arrows can pass right through the bone. Keep reading to learn more about this topic with examples to make it clearer on why an arrow can pass through bone.
Arrow Passing through Bone? Depends on the Arrow…
Broadheads especially have a high chance of passing through the bone of the animal. This arrow was made to take down the big game, and you can buy them in three styles: mechanical, fixed and replaceable. Someone who wanted an arrow to pass through bone would increase their chances with a heavy hitter like a broadhead.
The arrows matters, but I should also highlight that the bow matters too.
How much draw weight you have behind the arrow will matter as well. You have hunters who have put arrows through two deer with one arrow and 60-pound draw weight.
Arrows won’t always pass straight through bone, but at close enough range, you have had plenty of cases where the arrow blows through the animal, even an animal as big as an elk.
As you can imagine, it would pass through human bone even easier.
Arrows Feared on the Battlefield
To give you an example of an arrow’s strength, they were feared on the battlefield even with armor on. You see in the movies where the soldiers hold up their shields to stop the arrows, or the archer has to hit the soldier through the eye slot with an arrow. That’s Hollywood myth.
In some cases, the arrows fell fast enough that they passed right through the shield and armor. This depended on the range and type of arrow, but it did happen.
If an arrow can even pierce armor, think of what it can do to bone. It poses no obstacle. Arrows won’t always pass through bone, but depending on the angle of the shot, many hunters can attest to how it passes in the animal and out the other side.
Killing Two Deer with One Arrow
In one example, a 12-year-old boy named Eli killed two deer with one arrow when the arrow passed through the first deer and killed the second deer. A third deer ate in the group next to the other two, but he escaped. This highlights an example of how one arrow can pass through the bone when hunting. It doesn’t happen every time, but it can happen.
Expert Tip: Many hunters prefer the arrow to pass through the animal because of how it creates a bigger blood trail to track. Nothing worse than killing a deer only to never find it. The same doesn’t apply to bowfishing. You don’t want the arrow to pass through the fish because it could get stuck in a log or bounce off a rocky bottom and dull your arrowhead.
You have other hunters as well who can attest to this phenomenon.
Bows Less Likely to Pass through Bone
Compound and recurve bows have less likelihood that they will drum up enough force to pass through the bone. Look at the draw weight of the bow as well. With whatever you choose to hunt, you want to set the draw weight appropriately.
I’ve created this list so that you can learn for yourself the appropriate draw weights for each type of hunting:
- Bowfishing — 35 to 50 pounds
- Deer hunting — 40+ pounds
- Elk and moose hunting — 60 to 65 pounds
- Turkey hunting — 50+ pounds
- Hog hunting — 40 pounds under 150 pounds; 50+ pounds over 150 pounds
- Bear hunting — 50 pounds and arrows that weigh 300 grains minimum
What Happens When an Arrow Hits Bone?
When an arrow passes through the bone, you have hunters who report that the arrow broke a rib bone. Many times, as the arrow passes through the body, it will break any bones passing through. That doesn’t mean that this happens every time.
How Common is It for an Arrow to Pass through Bone?
This depends on how much bone you hit and where you hit the animal, as well as the range. You won’t always get a pass through, but it is preferable. If you hit heavy bone, more than likely, you won’t get the arrow to pass through.
Expert Tip: Lower and further down from the shoulders tend to have a thinner bone that your arrow will pass through more easily. If you hit the bottom of the spine, the arrow will deflect downward off the bone, rather than passing through it.
How Fast Can an Arrow Travel?
Let’s put things into further perspective to better understand arrows and why they can go right through the bone. An arrow shot at 300 fps travels at 200 mph. Longbow arrows and bowfishing arrows tend to travel more slowly because of the weight, but it takes less than a second for arrows to travel 90 meters.
An arrow traveling at 225 fps travels at 150 mph. It happens so fast that you often barely see the arrow as it travels. Arrows don’t travel even half as quickly as a bullet (1,800 mph), but they have the same deadliness. Add the point to an arrow, and this becomes part of the reason that it can go through bone.
Light arrows tend to shoot faster, but you should be careful to make sure that your bow can handle lightweight arrows. Some bows will dry fire a lighter arrow, which is exceptionally dangerous to the archer. Check your instruction manual to see the minimum weight of an arrow for your bow.
The Density Doesn’t Matter
With a broadhead, the size of the animal almost doesn’t matter. Here’s a video of a hunter that killed two hogs with one arrow:
He says in the video that he has killed three hogs with a single arrow, which shows you that it depends on the arrow used, the range of the target and the draw weight of the bow. In that video, he says that he didn’t use a traditional bow, however.
The hunter used Grim Reaper Broadheads in the video. This one is for whitetail, but for someone who wants a good broadhead, look no further.
Headshots in a Real Life Setting
Many people wonder if they can take an animal through the skull with an arrow. This was first popularized by Hollywood. The answer is that yes, you can shoot an animal in the head with an arrow, and it could pass through the skull. With that said, this is very inhumane, and many ethical hunters say that they have too much respect for a deer to shoot it in the head.
You can shoot a deer in the head, but you have cases where the arrow gets stuck in its skull. It doesn’t lead to an instant kill like in Call of Duty. The deer dies a slow and agonizing death, and in some cases, it doesn’t die right away.
You have one case where the deer didn’t die at all, so it was just a cruel shot. Add to that the fact that shooting at the head increases your risk of missing, and you have plenty of reasons to shoot at the body instead. Usually, the lungs are your best bet for a quick kill shot.
To sum it up, yes, an arrow can go through bone. It doesn’t do this every time, and whether it passes through the bone or not depends on the density of the bone. Hitting the spine will most likely cause the arrow to deflect. As a hunter, you want the arrow to pass through the animal because it leaves you with a stronger blood trail. You can track it more easily.