A few short years ago, I found myself listening to the buzz of of voices that you’ll typically find at a conference filled with “experts.” This was an outdoor communicators’ conference. Fortunately, my fair imagination swept me out of the auditorium and into the woods where mosquitos were more likely allies in helping me escape utter annoyance.
By day three, the chatter grew more than I could stand, so I called my old college roommate who lives about six hours to the northwest of the conference’s location. It was late March and the archery turkey season in Nebraska. I’ve never chased turkeys with a bow, and to be honest, don’t even really hunt deer that much anymore even though sitting stand took up ample time throughout my teens and twenties.
I stopped in Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Missouri, to pick up a pack of broadheads that would be suitable for turkey and deer. The salesman working the archery section who seemed like a sharp fellow handed me a pack of Rage Chisel Tip 3-blade heads, and I gladly paid for them and went on my way. The Rage name was familiar to me and I’d heard good things from somebody, I think. TV, maybe?
I pulled into western Nebraska at dusk on a Friday. With only a few minutes of light left, I screwed on the practice tip Rage provided in the pack of Chisel Tips. How convenient, I thought. I shot four or five times with no alarming defects.
My friend and I would hunt several sections for the next three days where we’ve both had success during the shotgun season in years past. That night, as we sat in front of the TV watching a cold front slowly make its way to Nebraska from the northwest, I set up my arrows with the Rage heads.
The first rubber band broke instantly, cut by one of the blades it was supposed to hold in place. The blades are set up like seesaws that must maintain perfect balance in the allotted slots in order to roll the rubber band over the ferrule and into a small groove. This wouldn’t be quite so bad had there not been three sharp seesaws that seemed more suitable for cutting my skin than anything I planned to shoot.
A tedious hour later, all three heads were assembled a-tip my arrows. I delicately slid the first arrow into my quiver and the slightest pressure on the tip immediately caused one of the blades to slip out of the rubber band. I ended up cutting away styrofoam and plastic from my quiver to make it a suitable nest for the Rage broadheads. The nearest sporting goods store was probably an hour away and already closed; it was no time to complain.
The first morning started quickly. Turkeys were on the ground and out in the field in front of us as soon as the first rays of light broke through the eastern sky. Unfortunately, a dominant hen lead the group, including two fine gobblers, away from us and into an adjoining field. Time to put the sneak on them.
When the turkeys were completely out of sight, my friend and I lowly and slowly hugged a windrow that ran to the north in the direction the turkeys had gone. Snow began to flutter down from the sky. The wind was at our backs and we could barely make out a gobble from time to time. I don’t think they were gobbling at anything, just stretching their vocal chords.
We’d walk 15 steps, glass, move on. Finally we made it to a sliver of woods, maybe 30 yards wide, that separated our field from where we suspected the turkeys to be. Sure enough, a gobble followed by three more, consecutively, confirmed our suspicion. It appeared they’d joined up with a few more toms. And it seemed likely we could call at least one away from the pack to come looking for a lonely hen.
I nocked an arrow as we knee walked another ten yards to get up close to the cedar boughs I’d need for concealment to draw my bow back. I’ll be danged if it wasn’t three short strides on my knees later did the Rage broadhead brush a limb and knock two of the blades out of their rubber-banded hold. I lowered my bow, un-nocked the arrow and drew another from the quiver. As I was trying to keep one eye pointed in the turkeys’ general direction and another on the task at hand, I was doubly pissed when the next broadhead nicked the base of the quiver and caused two blades to slip loose.
Turkey hunting is hard enough as it is, no need having something so small as a broadhead malfunction ruin your chances.
My friend was behind me making sweet music on his slate call. Movement through the trees told me my next move: just get an arrow nocked and hope it flies true. In retrospect, that’s not the prefered mindset of a conservationist. A strutter came into view, spitting and drumming. A few scant windows would offer me a shot, so I’d have to make a good one. He neared the first opening and I drew. Out of the corner of my left eye I could see a drooping blade extend all the way out, giving way to gravity. My finger lightly touched the trigger of my release as he strode on, ready for what I had in store until he stepped squarely into the window and I could tell right away it was a jake.
Somewhat relieved I wouldn’t be making a questionable shot, I let my bow down and sat back on my haunches. I tried to reset the blades but cut the rubber band. It was no use. We watched the turkeys a bit longer, but the gobblers elected to continue their morning stroll in the other direction. Another day perhaps…
The snow fell harder as we made a slow walk back to the truck. We’d both lost feeling in our legs from squatting in the windrow. I shook my head and showed my friend the Rage broadheads and he only laughed. He’s a proponent of fixed blades anyways.
The blades of Wasp's mechanical broadheads, such as this Jak-Knife, are super simple to secure in place without the risk of cutting your fingers.
For the next year, I only picked up my bow to shoot field points into targets. It wasn’t until someone introduced me to Wasp Archery that I felt like I’d found a mechanical broadhead worth testing. And while I have cut neither hide nor hair with a Wasp broadhead, I have put them through several target tests where they held up splendidly.
Not once have I cut myself. Not once has a rubber band been cut by the blades, which are forward folding and allows the rubber bands to be rolled up the ferrule and the back side of the blade. Genius. Lastly, and most importantly, the customer service you’ll receive from Wasp Archery is unparalleled in the broadhead business. #MakeTheSwitch
Simply roll the rubber band over the back of the front-folding blades.