9 tips to avoid losing arrows

One of the major advantages of archery over other shooting sports is that you can reuse the ammo. But to reuse your arrows you need to find them back. You don’t want to spend hours looking for your arrows, therefore, I will give you 7 tips to avoid losing arrows.

1. Decrease your shooting distance

The easiest way to avoid losing arrows is by decreasing the distance between you and the target. You will only lose arrows when you don’t hit the target. Therefore, I always shoot at a distance where I am sure that each arrow will hit the target. But even then, you might have an occasional misfire. So, keep reading for more tips!

2. Use a backstop

Most archers like to shoot at long distances. It’s just a lot more thrilling and rewarding if you hit the center of the target. But when you shoot at long distances, it’s more difficult to hit the target, which increases the chances of losing arrows.

If you shoot at long distances, it’s important to have a large backstop. For example, you can place your target in front of an embankment. When you don’t hit the target, the arrows will get stuck in the embankment.

Some archers use wood as a backstop to make sure that they don’t hit anything behind the target. But using a hard backstop can damage your arrows and it can be tough to get them out.

The best backstop is a large sheet of archery netting. This material is purpose-made to catch the arrows without damaging them. The arrows will simply fall down once they hit the net. You simply attach it to a piece of string and hang it on two poles.

Archery netting is expensive because it needs to be strong and thick. If it’s too thin the arrows will just fly through the material. Also, make sure that you don’t taut the netting. It needs to be able to absorb the energy of the arrow.

3. Track your arrows

Finding an arrow back is a whole lot easier if you know where it landed. Of course, you won’t be able to see the exact location, but it helps if you have an idea of whether it landed to the left or the right of the target.

Therefore, I recommend tracking your arrows after each shot. Once you have released, follow the arrow to see where it landed. When I am configuring my sight. I always ask one of my fellow archers to track the arrows with some binoculars.

Being a bit more deliberate about this can save a lot of time in case of a misfire.

4. Mow the grass

Most arrows get lost under long grass. At our local archery club, the grass is only mowed once per 3 weeks. The lawnmower finds at least 2 or three arrows while mowing the grass. But when you find them with the lawnmower they will be split in half. Therefore, we have a huge collection of sliced arrows at our club.

The best way to avoid losing arrows in the grass (or finding them back sliced) is to keep the grass short. If the grass is very long, it will be like searching for a needle in a haystack. If you don’t like mowing your lawn, you might want to invest in a robot lawnmower.

In the long term, it will save you from buying new arrows often. Especially if you shoot with expensive arrows, it might be worth the investment. Because robot lawnmowers mow the lawn a lot shorter and more often than traditional lawnmowers. With the additional benefit that you save time which you can spend shooting more arrows ;).

5. Use blunt tips

Sharp points will not only go deeper into the target, but they will also go deeper under grass. So, if you want to avoid losing your arrows, you could consider buying some blunt points for your arrows.

Even better would be to use some Judo heads. The small hooks prevent the arrow from disappearing into the grass. Especially if you shoot in long grass, you might want to consider buying some Judo heads.

6. Use Illuminating nocks

Another great way to find back your arrows is using some illuminating nocks. Just wait until it gets dark and you will see the lights of your nock. Make sure to turn them off after each use though. You want the battery to be full to find the arrows back. It is also a lot of fun to try these out at night. It’s like having tracers on your arrows!

Click here to for a cheap set of illuminating nocks on Amazon.

7. Use brightly colored vanes

If you are assembling your own arrows, you can choose what color vanes you want. Most archers make this choice on their preference. Which color they like or what matches their bow. But you could also consider how visible they are when you have lost your arrow.

Dark colors like black, brown, or gray will not be easy to spot. Also, green can be a real trouble to see when your arrow is shot in the grass. Therefore, I like to use neon orange vanes. I like to use these Bohning Blazer vanes.

They will be extremely easy to see on the grass. During the nighttime, you can also use a flashlight. The bright colors will be very easy to see when you shine a light on them.

8. Use Flu-Flu arrows

Originally flu-flu arrows are were used to hunt birds. Due to the large vanes, the arrow will slow down very fast if you missed your target. This is especially a benefit if you shoot over your target.

Another more important benefit is that these large, brightly colored vanes are easy to spot in the grass. The vanes will also prevent the arrow to completely disappear beneath the grass. If you want to give it a try, I recommend the Flu-Flu arrows from Rose City.

9. Use brightly colored arrow wraps

Arrow wraps are often used by competition archers. These wraps protect the arrow from the glue of the fletching. Competition archers also often write their name or initials on these arrow wraps, since this is required by a lot of competitions.

Arrows are difficult to find in the grass because they are either brown (wood color) or black. With some brightly colored arrow wraps, your arrows will stick out a lot more. Bohning makes a lot of high quality arrow wraps, but for maximum visibility, I would go with these orange or red ones.

How to find lost arrows

Even the most experienced archers lose their arrows every now and then. Luckily, there are a few tips that make finding them back a whole lot easier. In this section, I will give you a few tips that can help you find back your arrows.

Create an arrow finding hook

When you have shot your arrows under the grass, it can be near impossible to see where they landed. At my local archery club, we have a hook on a pole, with this hook you can rake the grass and the first inch of the soil. When the hook hits your arrow it will get stuck, which allows you to retrieve it.

You can simply make a hook from a paint roller stick. You only need:

Just remove the paint roller from the holder and use an extension rod. It doesn’t matter if you have used it first, as long as the hook and the stick are intact.

In this video, you can see the arrow finder hook in action.

Use a metal detector

If you want to be fancy, you could always use a metal detector. All arrows have a metal tip that can easily be picked up with a metal detector. Especially because they will not go deep in the ground.

I have tried this once at my local club and found a lot of different arrows from other archers. You first need to configure it to the right metal type. Just use an arrow to calibrate the device before you start searching for your arrows.

In case you are wondering, I have this metal detector from Ricomax. It has a convenient pinpoint feature that allows you to easily find the exact location of your arrow.

Train your dog

I don’t have a dog, so I haven’t tried this out. But I heard that some archers use their dog to retrieve their arrows. They simply let their dog smell the arrow and they will scout the field to match the scent. You can help your dog by scenting your arrows, for example with some deodorant.

Pretty cool right! Now losing your arrows is not a pain, but a fun activity for your dog.

Final words

Losing arrows has always been a frustration for me. When I lost an arrow, I always shoot my next few arrows less calmly. I am always very persistent to find it back, but sometimes that can be extremely difficult.

I hope this article gave you some tips on how to prevent losing your arrows. If you have any tips, please share them in the comments below. I would love to add your suggestions to this article.

Tim van Rooijen

For as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by archery. First due to its historic significance but later because I like being outdoors. With this blog, I share my knowledge about Archery and how you can improve your shot. More about author…

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