Top 5 Broadheads for Your Bucket List Animal

It doesn’t matter what wild game species you pursue while archery hunting, you’ve probably debated which broadheads you should use a few times. There are so many broadhead types and brands on the market, that it can be confusing to know which is right. If you listen to friends and family, there’s probably someone who’s used just about every type with a different animal and had good luck doing so. If they’re all so interchangeable, why is there any debate at all?

Well, just like you could theoretically use a hockey stick to play golf, it wouldn’t be the best equipment choice for what you plan to do. Having a high-quality club on your side, however, would definitely help your golf game. Better yet, having a set of clubs with different purposes for each phase of the hole would help you even more. That might be a weird illustration, but you get the point.

But What’s the Difference Between Broadheads? 

Each broadhead has a different purpose for which it is better at doing. While you could interchangeably use fixed blade broadheads for mechanical ones, they may not perform as well as the other might for a certain animal.

Fixed blade broadheads have blades that do not move and may be made of a single piece of metal or have replaceable blades. They have tremendous power behind them, since they can slice through tough hides and even power through some bones, depending on the bow setup. However, their exposed blades during flight may cause them to veer off-course during particularly windy weather. This limits how wide the cutting diameter can be, and they are typically only available in smaller diameters.

Mechanical broadheads have blades that are held in a closed position until the tip of the broadhead enters the animal. At this point, the blades deploy and expand out to their full cutting diameter. These broadheads often produce devastating wound channels since their blades can expand out to a very wide diameter, which produces steady blood trails. This is useful for causing a lot of internal damage, and often puts an animal down very fast. However, the slightly more delicate blades may not be powerful enough to punch through very thick hides with dense muscle structure and bone. They are available with different numbers of blades.

Wild Game Animals of North America and the Top 5 Broadheads

We are privileged here in this country to be able to hunt such a variety of wild animals. From the very large and intimidating, to multiple dangerous predators, all the way down to small game animals, there is truly something for everyone to hunt with broadheads or bullets. We’ll break the animals into broad groups below based on their size and recommend the best broadheads for each group, as well as go into more detail about each animal species.

Big Game Animals – The Tanks of North America

These are the megafauna of our country, which include bison, musk ox, moose, elk, and grizzly bears. They have very thick, protective hides with lots of fur, and powerful muscle structure around their vital area. They are also very dangerous in close quarters, which make a quick and ethical shot really important.

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  • Bison – These tanks have very thick fur and extremely dense muscle, not to mention bad personalities with the power to back it up. It is a protective herd animal too.
  • Musk Ox – Similar to bison, a musk ox is a really strong herd animal that requires a heavy hit to put it down.
  • Moose – Bull moose are the largest members of the deer family, and yet are extremely sneaky critters in the thick river brush they love to hide out in.
  • Elk – Stalking up on or ambushing an elk within bow distance is a considerable feat since they are almost always in herds. They are powerful and can run up a mountain side faster than you could think possible.
  • Grizzlies – Obviously, these alpha predators deserve respect. They are pure muscle and fury when cornered, which makes a good shot absolutely necessary.

best broadheads for north americas wild game animals | G5 Outdoors

The G5 Montec broadheads are the perfect match for North America’s heavy hitters. Featuring 100% steel construction, the sturdy design of this one-piece fixed broadhead is tough enough to smash through bone and tough shoulder muscle. The best broadheads for elk hunting or any of the other animals in this list will also have a razor-sharp, cut-on-contact tip to start penetrating even the toughest hides right away. If it glances off a rock or hits a really solid bone, you can simply re-sharpen the blades using the G5 flat diamond sharpener. For its durability and strength, it is probably the best fixed blade broadhead.

Big Game Animals – Your Average Joe’s

This group is comprised of the most commonly hunted big game animals in the country. They include the whitetails, mule deer, black bears, and wild boar or hogs. Whitetails have very different body types based on where they live in the country; this category mostly includes the heavy-bodied deer of the Midwest and northern forests. They still have thick hides and strong muscles, which require a powerful punch to get to the vitals.

best broadheads for north americas wild game animals | G5 Outdoors

  • Northern and Midwest whitetails – These whitetail subspecies are larger than their southern cousins. The best broadheads for deer must be capable of powering through their hides, yet leave a large enough wound channel for a blood trail.
  • Mule deer – This species is usually larger than your average whitetail, and they are found in wide open spaces, where it can be difficult to sneak up on them.
  • Black bear – While smaller than their grizzly cousins, a large bruin can certainly still be a mean animal, especially after a marginal shot.
  • Wild boar/hogs – These are slowly infesting the south and spreading westward. They can be quite aggressive and take a good punch to bust through their tough exterior.

best broadheads for north americas wild game animals | G5 Outdoors

The G5 Striker broadhead is a solid choice for large to medium sized animals for several reasons. It’s still constructed of 100% steel, but has three replaceable blades. It features a tough cut-on-contact tip, which will help reduce friction on the blades. If one of them does somehow get damaged, you can simply carry a replacement blade kit with you into the field.

Lightweight Animals

This group includes the next step down in size, with whitetails, black-tailed deer, Coues deer, pronghorn antelope, and javelina in their ranks. This category refers to the smaller deer subspecies, which would include southern whitetails, blacktails, and Coues deer. These animals have relatively thin skins with less protection over their vital area. This combination pairs perfectly with mechanical broadheads, since the expandable blades can punch right through and leave a very short blood trail to the animal.

best broadheads for north americas wild game animals | G5 Outdoors

  • Southern whitetails – These animals are typically a lot smaller than their larger cousins up north. They have smaller frames and thinner skin. This regional distinction can make the best broadheads for whitetail deer a little confusing.
  • Blacktail deer – Found mostly in the Pacific Northwest, the blacktail deer subspecies is a bit smaller than even a southern whitetail, further confusing the best broadheads for deer hunting.
  • Coues deer – These desert-dwelling deer are subspecies of the whitetail group, and are similar to the southern whitetails category in terms of body size.
  • Pronghorn antelope – Our only antelope of the windy Great Plains area is a very fast and nimble creature. Because they can cover so much distance and the environment they live in, it’s best to use mechanical broadheads to put them down fast and avoid the effects from wind currents.
  • Javelina/peccary – Basically a small desert pig, these animals require expandable broadheads to cover their smaller vital area.

best broadheads for north americas wild game animals | G5 Outdoors

The G5 T3 broadhead is a deadly threat for the medium weight, thin-skinned animals discussed above. The three steel blades of this mechanical broadhead expand out to a 1 ½ inch cutting diameter to ensure huge exit wounds and a short blood trail. These broadheads hold a field tip profile through flight, which helps them to fly true in windy conditions. The G5 T3 broadheads are so deadly that they could also be used on the “average Joe” animals above with good results.

best broadheads for north americas wild game animals | G5 Outdoors

Similar to the T3, the G5 Havoc broadhead is a swift death sentence to the medium-bodied animals mentioned above all the way down to turkeys. Mechanical broadheads offer the chance to reduce your margin of error on a shot, which is important when shooting at smaller targets. How so? As the blades on the Havoc extend out to their full 2 inch cutting diameter, you drastically increase the chance of hitting a vital organ and causing massive internal bleeding.

Small Game Animals and Birds

This category is all about the smaller critters in the country, which might include turkey, rabbits, or varmint animals. They offer a small vital area, but have very thin skins and don’t require much power to put them down. The larger end of this spectrum is better targeted with the mechanical broadheads discussed above, while the smaller ones are very susceptible to the small game head discussed below.

best broadheads for north americas wild game animals | G5 Outdoors

  • Turkey – Turkeys are very keen birds and it’s a major accomplishment to take one while bow hunting. The best broadhead for turkey hunting is a much-debated topic, since fixed or mechanicals would seem to do the job. The Havoc could be the best broadhead for turkeys because of its cutting diameter, but the small game head below is also a solid option.
  • Rabbit – Similarly, hunting rabbits with a bow is amazing. They are very fast and require snap shots or a careful ambush. The small game head is a good option for these conditions.
  • Varmints – These animals might include coyotes, raccoons, woodchucks, or other non-desirables. They usually cause property damage or even interfere with farming or livestock.

best broadheads for north americas wild game animals | G5 Outdoors

The G5 Small Game Head broadhead is designed specifically for this last category of North America’s critters. Equally devastating on varmint animals to turkeys, these broadheads provide a crushing blow from the blunt tip, while the three curved blades rip into the flesh. Whether you hit the head, neck, or body, this broadhead has very consistent results.

What are the Best Broadheads for Hunting?

As you can hopefully see, there really is no single best broadhead. Different groups of animals require a different approach. But even between these groups, there is crossover between fixed and mechanical blade broadheads. It also comes down to weather conditions and where you’re hunting. Wide open exposures with windy conditions might make a mechanical more effective, while being in the backcountry means you might prefer fixed broadheads due to their one-piece design and durability. What matters most is that you know how your chosen broadhead will perform under different conditions, and stick to the plan to use it in the right situation. If you can do that, you’re more than prepared for the upcoming hunting season.