When people think of bow hunting, they automatically think of large game and broadheads, but what of those of us that like to hunt small game and birds with a bow?
Enter the blunt.
Blunts are a type of small arrowhead designed for hunting small game and birds.
What Game You Can Hunt With a Blunt
As I briefly mentioned above, blunts were designed for hunting small game and birds.
These are typically small fur-bearing animals and stationary birds.
The most common use of a blunt arrowhead is for small game animals. For most of these animals, a broadhead would be overkill and cause too much meat damage
A blunt will work on these animals but only up to a certain size.
- Squirrels – Blunts work well for squirrels and provide more than enough stopping power. They are also a great option for targeting squirrels in trees as they don’t get stuck like judo points or broadheads.
- Rabbits – A rabbit would be getting as close to the largest size of animal that I would target with a blunt. However, with that being said a blunt is a great arrowhead for rabbits. I would keep it to a headshot to be sure of recovery of the animal.
- Groundhogs – Blunts are a superb choice for groundhogs although similar to the rabbit it keep it to a headshot. A vital shot may send the groundhog back into his burrow and not possible to retrive.
Some other small game animals you can hunt with a blunt:
What Small Game Can You Not Hunt With a Blunt
There comes a point where an animal is too large or too tough for a blunt, even if it is still considered small game.
- Raccoons – While some raccoons can get big if the smaller ones are not suitable for using a blunt on. In fact, not many people hunt raccoons with a bow due to their toughness.
I have shot raccoons with broadheads and even then they take some effort to go down.
A blunt is an unethical weapon for a raccoon and you are likely to end up with an injured animal and chewed-up arrows.
- Fox – As I mentioned above a rabbit-sized animal would be as large as I would recommend for using a blunt. A fox is considerably past this size.
It’s highly unlikely you could ethically kill a fox with a blunt. This would be a situation much more suited to a good broadhead.
Bowhunting birds is one of my favorite pastimes that I feel too many people overlook.
Now I’m not talking about going out and hunting pheasants or doves with a bow, but there are many upland or mountain birds that make for great table fare and are easy targets for a bow.
All of these birds can be taken with a blunt arrowhead:
Birds You Shouldn’t hunt with a blunt:
- Ducks – Ducks are tough birds and a hard target for any bowhunter. While there are a few people who still like to hunt ducks with a bow it’s no job for a blunt.
Even though when bowhunting ducks, they are sitting, a headshot is far too unlikely and you would be much better off with a broadhead.
- Turkey – Before we even discuss the ethics of hunting turkeys with a bow let’s just point out that it is most likely illegal.
Depending on where you are turkeys may be classed as large game or small game, but regardless of what they are classed, you have no right to hunt them with a blunt.
- Doves – Most of us miss a fair share of doves with a shotgun and an improved cylinder choke.
If you have the skills to hit a dove with a bow have at it, but the likelihood of that is not probable.
If you do fancy slinging arrows into the air please use a flu flu arrow, for me I’m going to stick to the shotgun for doves.
What is a Blunt
A blunt is a small arrowhead designed for small game hunting. There are many different designs of blunts but they all have the same purpose.
One thing worth noting though is the material the blunt head is made from.
While most proper hunting blunts are made from some form of steel, there are some blunts that are made from rubber.
In my opinion, if you intend on hunting with a blunt, you should not use a rubber one and only use steel blunts.
How Blunt Arrowheads Work
Blunts are designed to kill an animal through impact. Unlike a broadhead for large game animals which is designed to kill by cutting, a blunt is more akin to a bullet and kills by high energy impact.
This is why it is important to only target small animals with blunts. The impact caused by a blunt is much smaller than that caused by a bullet.
Targeting anything larger than small game animals with a blunt will possibly only injure the animal and is illegal in most places.
Some thought should also be put into the small game animal you are targeting. Even though the animal you are targeting may be classified as small game it may still be too large for a blunt.
A good calculation worth figuring out is how much kinetic energy your arrow is making.
After all the blunt kills by use of energy and blunt force trauma, and not cutting.
How to Use a Blunt
As I’ve mentioned a few times, blunts kill by impact. It’s hard for a large game hunter to think of any other area on an animal other than the vital area.
This has been drilled into us over and over. However, with a blunt, the majority of your shots should be headshots.
Blunts can and will still penetrate an animal. But the issue is that a body shot will not kill the animal straight away, and most small game animals live in holes.
This means there is a good chance that if you take a vital area shot with a blunt on a small game animal like a squirrel or groundhog it will scurry into a hole and die a slow death.
As ethical hunters, this is not what we are about, plus we like to eat the food we hunt.
This is why we go for headshots with a blunt. The amount of force the arrow will hit the head of an animal is enough to take down most animals up to the size of a hare.
Benefits of Using a Blunt For Hunting
Blunts work well for almost all small game animals up to around rabbit size and there are some benefits to choosing a blunt over other options.
- Stop animal in its tracks
- Fly Better in Heavy Cover
Drawbacks of Using a Blunt For Hunting
As with most things they are not perfect all around. There are some caveats to using a blunt. Although not many they are still worth mentioning.
- Not good for vital shots
- Other options fly better
Alternatives to Using a Blunt
If you are not sold on using blunts for small game hunting, there are other options worth considering, and in some cases, I would recommend alternative arrowheads.
Perhaps the number one alternative to a blunt arrowhead is a judo point. A judo point is not so different looking to some styles of blunts. The main difference with a judo point is the springs it has coming out of the side.
These springs are designed to grab onto the ground to prevent burying the arrow. Judos also have a narrower point than blunts allowing for more penetration this is why the springs are an important feature.
With hunting small game it is often in thick cover and overgrowth. You are likely to lose more arrows with blunts than you would with judo points.
- If hunting in thick cover use judo points
- If hunting larger animals use blunts
- If hunting squirrels in trees use blunts
Field Point With Washer
The budget-friendly small game head is a D.I.Y option that many old-time hunters would be familiar with.
This is nothing more than your standard field point with a washer behind it.
While it’s not as sophisticated as a small game head or can’t provide the same stopping energy as a blunt, it still works and has been tried and tested by thousands of hunters.
Small Game Head
One type of head that is almost a hybrid of a judo and a blunt on steroids is the small game head.
Particularly the G5 Small Game Head. This is designed to fly well kill by both impact and cutting and doesn’t penetrate too much.
In almost every scenario this head will work better than a blunt. However, the biggest drawback of this head is that they are more expensive than blunts.
It could be argued that they also do more meat damage, but if you are taking headshots which I recommend you do, this won’t be an issue.
A broadhead is always an alternative to using a blunt but most people don’t use them for the simple reason that they are too expensive.
In most cases, a broadhead is overkill for small game, at least the type you would be hunting with a blunt.
There is a high probability of losing the arrow to consider, and with broadheads four times the price of blunts, it would be an expensive outing.
However, many hunters use old broadheads, and this is a solid option providing you are not planning to take any bodyshots.
A body shot on a small game animal with a broadhead is likely to do a lot of damage. If you intend on eating the animal it makes more sense to use a blunt to save the quality of the meat.
Although, if you are only doing varmint control a broadhead could work, but it’s still worth considering a blunt for its ability to kill by impact.
Blunts work great for their intended purpose which is small game hunting.
However, I wouldn’t target anything larger than a rabbit, a small game head would be a much better option for larger or tougher animals.
In my opinion, while blunts are a good affordable option technology has allowed us to come out with much better options and for all my small game hunting I now use small game heads.