After three years and fifteen different broadheads, I've finally found one that I really like, and it's made by Dead Ringer.
First things first, I'm a realist, and no, I'm not quoting Iggy Azalea in Fancy. I am simply stating I'm your everyday, ordinary hunter who works very hard year round in the deer woods.
This year, 2016, has been my most successful year, both personally and for my outdoor team, Top Pin Outdoors. We have been all up and down the Northeast filming and hunting and trying to put our personal best down with a tag since early September.
At the beginning of the year, I was shooting a new broadhead that a company had sent me to perform a field test with. I shot and wounded a buck in the early season and never found the deer. After countless efforts, sleepless nights and continuous footage review, it is believed that the shot was not fatal. The thing was, I never would have hit that deer if it didn't jump my string. Even at 25 yards, in which I'm an advocate of practice hard to make work easy, my shot was way low.
I immediately went back to shooting the broadhead at my target. What I found was that the broadhead was quite inconsistent when it came to accuracy. Sometimes it would fly straight, others it would not. As I began to shoot it more and more I realized it wasn't me, but it was the broadhead. I knew it was time for a change.
Dead Ringer Broadhead
I've seen these broadheads around the way before. Quite frankly, I used to be a huge Rage broadhead fan and never gave the Dead Ringer much look. That was until I spoke with a Chase Rohlfsen of Rubline Marketing who said to me, "I'm not a salesman, I shoot these broadheads myself and I love them. I don't have a shot on a deer that I lost the deer to date and I can tell you, you will like these."
Working with marketers is great mostly because I get to work with hard working people and companies who help expose products to other hunters. Many times I get to test out products in the field but when it comes to archery equipment, it's very tough for me to change anything, especially when I've been having success with any one item in particular.
The thing for me though, is I wasn't having much success with my broadheads. Now I am a guy who grew up shooting Muzzy, 85 grain broadheads and have killed more deer in my life with double lung and heart shots with a small fixed blade than any other broadhead in my life. The thing is, as technology is advancing, I like to get ahead of the game and try to find something that will be accurate and let's face it, do some damage.
If you can double lung a deer with a broadhead, it won't go far. If you can heart shot a buck with a broadhead, your blood trail will be great and he won't go far. So what does that all really boil down to? Shot placement.
Shot placement is the utmost important thing that some hunters forget when they are trying to find the "best broadhead" on the market. Often times people will write off a broadhead after they lose one deer and blame it all on the broadhead. Others will make a perfect shot and say the only reason the deer died was because of the broadhead.
The thing is, shot placement can be found in field tips quite easily. When you switch to a broadhead, sometimes it can be difficult to tune. When you put a 140" buck in front of you at 30 yards, it can even add to the stress and become that more difficult. The bottom line, is you want a broadhead that is accurate 100% of the time and a broadhead that as soon as you release the arrow, you can trust.
Trying Something New
I began shooting the Freak Extreme 2.5 about half way through this hunting season. After shooting a buck in the Appalachian mountain region of New York State with the Trauma 2.0 broadhead, I figured I would give these a try. The idea that the Freak Extreme broadhead is it cuts a 3/4" wound like many fixed blade broadheads regardless. It then expands to a 2.5" cutting machine. Needless to say I was excited to put them to the test.
I spent the first morning with the broadheads shooting them at my target. To my surprise and the main seller for these broadheads for me, they not only were accurate, but they flew exactly like my field tips. When I first shot the Trauma 2.0 broadheads, which are just are accurate, I had to tune my bow only a little bit to match the broadhead. The Freak Extreme broadhead however, flew exactly like my field tips, so I knew I was onto something.
My first test was while I was hunting in Pennsylvania and hunting out of a deer blind with my father. A grey squirrel made it's way to the field at 22 yards. I placed a perfect head shot on the squirrel like it was nothing. Now some of you are probably wondering "Why would you waste a perfect broadhead and arrow on a squirrel?" Two reasons: I like to eat squirrel, and I wanted to test the accuracy of the broadhead in the field before I shot and lost another buck.
The Damage is Done
The following week, I was leaving Pennsylvania to go on my two week long trip to Maryland, like I do every year. I have a few farms I help manage there and one of the farms I have been on for roughly five years. We practice Quality Deer Management and shoot nothing under 3.5 year old deer, when it comes to harvesting bucks. On November 4th, 2016 I set out to self-film a hunt and was hoping to get one of our hit list bucks. What I ended up harvesting, was a mature cull buck and couldn't have been happier.
I rattled the bucked in right at sunset and he offered me a 40 yard shot. After adjusting the cameras and watching this buck for 20 minutes before the shot, I was at full draw. The past few years have been rough for me in my quest to find an accurate and deadly broadhead. Many times I have found myself questioning my ethics and if I did everything correct to ensure I took the best possible steps to harvest the animal I had in my sights. At full draw, I had nothing but confidence.
When I released the arrow (video above) I knew I had made a perfect shot. "Double lung, BCBS" I texted my team and father who were hunting the same farm with me that evening. My best buddy Cole replied asking "Are you trying to tell us you wounded another deer and are requesting Blue Cross, Blue Shield?" He thinks he is funny but I replied, "No, I just shot a double lung. Big Cull Buck Shot."
I knew the buck was down, I heard him crash. I was still nervous but when I finally got down from my stand and walked over, I was confident I would find him close by. The tracking was easy and we found him a short 60 yards from the initial shot. The entry hole was slightly larger than 3/4" and the exit hole was something out of a horror story.
As my father honored me by gutting my deer, I asked him to be careful not to cut the vitals. I wanted to see the damage the broadhead did. What he pulled out of the chest cavity was a true, double lung shot. It wasn't only a sight of 100% accuracy, but explained the lack of distance the buck went after being shot.
I am not writing this article to tell you that this broadhead is the best on the market. I'm also not writing you to tell you that other broadheads cannot perform like this broadhead. I am writing as a hunter as well as someone who has struggled with confidence in a broadhead--who is finally relaxed.
The Freak Extreme 2.5 from Dead Ringer features a trocar tip designed to shatter and penetrate bone like no other. It has an extremely durable O-Ring that holds the blades to ensure that they do not open in flight. Because the broadheads open from the front and are not rear opening, they are guaranteed to deploy. I've spoke with many butchers who have seen quite a few problems with rear deploying broadheads. Although I have only witnessed it once, a broadhead not deploying on a buck of a lifetime is devastating.
From an earlier survey I did, it's most important to hunters to have an accurate broadhead. When you can mix accuracy, devastation and reliability all in one, you increase your confidence. Contrary to belief, there may not be "the best broadhead on the market" defined the same by everyone. If you can find what works for you and can trust and have confidence, it will make all the difference.