Will McElveen shoots a Matthews bow that is rated at about 70 pounds pull, which give his arrows a flight speed well in excess of 300 feet per second. But, as is the case for everything McElveen does, there’s a reason for the speed.
“From my perspective, in bowhunting, speed kills,” McElveen said. “It’s certainly true that you can kill bucks in the early season with less pull and speed, but there are several reasons why I prefer it.
“First of all is the simple math: The faster the arrow travels, the flatter it travels. The objective is that your aim point doesn’t change much when hunting early season bucks. There’s usually a lot of vegetation, and I want my arrow to go straight for as long as possible. It’s impossible to see every small twig or branch, so a straight trajectory reduces the chance you’ll hit an object if the arrow drops.”
McElveen said that, from this same thought process, he also gets more yardage out of his sight pins. He doesn’t have to rely on as many pins, and with high-speed flight he can take the guesswork out of shots.
“It’s exciting to see a big buck in the early season, or anytime, especially bowhunting,” McElveen said. “With a fast arrow, there’s one less thing I have to worry about. Plenty can still go wrong, but a fast arrow gives me accuracy and dependability with minimal worry about pin sights and yardage out to a reasonable distance.”
McElveen said the potential for more energy when the arrow hits the target is another reason for speed.
“The faster the arrow is traveling when it hits the deer, the more potential kinetic energy there is,” he said. “Thus, there’s a much-better chance for a complete pass-through of the arrow and big exit hole. In the early season, this is important to ensure a good blood trail to find the deer in the thick vegetation.
“After the leaves drop, I can be trailing a deer and look up and see it 30 yards or even farther away. But in the early season, sometimes I’m almost on top of it before I see it. I want that big exit hole and a good blood trail.”
McElveen said a major requirement is to practice a lot to get used to the pull if you shoot high speed and heavy draw pull.
“I practice for accuracy, of course, and try to have my shooting sequence second nature when hunting,” he said. “But it’s also for strength and endurance. Sometimes I have to draw the bow when I have the opportunity to not be seen, but there’s an extended wait before the shot opportunity comes. Holding at 70 pounds, even with let-off, is a challenge, so that’s another reason I put in the hours of practice.”