Jim N. from Michigan writes to ask about kinetic energy and bow draw weight. "Dave, I know this doesn't have anything to do with deer hunting, but I want to buy a new bow and an article I read talked about kinetic energy and how important it was. I understand about draw weight, but where does kinetic energy fit in to all this?"
Actually Jim, kinetic energy does have something to do with deer hunting. Kinetic energy is the amount of "foot pounds" of energy generated by a bow and it depends on the weight of the arrow and the velocity.
It's important as a good measure for how much penetration you will get with a certain draw weight bow and a certain weight arrow. We hear a lot about it because guys have gone to such light arrows and light broadheads in order to get more speed. And the truth is that you need more than speed to get good penetration on some animals' hunted, especially big critters such as elk. Thus, more and more we hear about kinetic energy because it is more important to the bowhunter than speed.
There is a formula you can use to determine kinetic energy. "KE" equals the arrow weight times the arrow speed, times the arrow speed, divided by 450.240. So you need to weigh your arrow on a scale, and know the arrow speed to determine kinetic energy. For example, a bow that can shoot a 350-grain arrow at 290 feet per second has 65.38 foot-pound of Kinetic Energy (350x290x290/450.240).
I believe when you get in the 50-foot-pound range, you are in excellent shape for deer, and probably elk, too
For a fine selection of Big Game Hunting gear, click here.
Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for sportsmansguide.com. If you have a question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, senior editor of www.sportsmansguide.com's content at email@example.com.
Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He's also an outdoor writer and has been with "Bowhunter" magazine for 31 years.