Does Shoot-Through Mesh Affect Broadhead Accuracy?

Modern pop-up blinds feature shoot-through mesh window coverings, but not all broadhead types fly well though them.

Does Shoot-Through Mesh Affect Broadhead Accuracy?

The right window has shoot-through mesh in place, the left one does not. Whitetails are often spooked by the left window’s black hole, which is why many deer hunters prefer to cover windows with the provided mesh.

I began using pop-up ground blinds for whitetails and wild turkeys shortly after Brooks Johnson and Keith Beam invented their revolutionary Double Bull design. I still have one of their original T5 models, which provides shooting through a handful of dinner-plate-sized oval shooting windows (no mesh provided). My original T2, which is a tepee shape, has a few of the mesh-free oval windows, but the primary killing zone is out the front of the blind through a very large “picture window” covered permanently with shoot-through mesh. 

I learned the hard way on a fine 4x4 South Dakota whitetail that not all broadheads work well when shot through mesh. The 120-class buck stood broadside at 15 yards from my T2 blind as he stared down my buck decoy. I drew my compound thinking — This is almost too easy — until a split-second later my arrow vanished into thin air. I missed the buck completely, and to this day I have no idea if my arrow buried in the food plot hallway to the buck, or flew into the clouds over the buck’s head. The buck jumped to 24 yards and stared at my blind — again, perfectly broadside shot — and my second arrow joined my first one in Never Never Land.

After the buck finally left the small food plot — I had no interest in losing a third expensive broadhead/arrow combo — I examined the cuts in the shoot-through mesh of my T2 blind. It was clear that one blade of the rear-deploying two-blade mechanical had opened, or at least started to deploy, upon contact with mesh. Both broadhead-through-mesh cuts were identical.

I made an important decision that day: The only broadheads I’ll shoot through a pop-up blind’s mesh is a cut-on-contact fixed-blade design.

Cut-on-contact fixed-blade broadheads slice through mesh much better than mechanicals.
Cut-on-contact fixed-blade broadheads slice through mesh much better than mechanicals.

Accuracy Considerations

Perhaps you’re curious: Does shoot-through mesh affect the accuracy of arrows tipped with cut-on-contact broadheads? In my experience, the answer is “no.” That said, my tests have been conducted with only two broadhead types, and at a range of 20 yards.

After the 4x4 buck debacle described previously, I tested a G5 Striker and Magnus Stinger Buzzcut through the mesh of my T2 blind. Keep in mind I’m no Levi Morgan when it comes to accuracy with stick and string, but I’m decent enough to know whether my arrows are being affected significantly by mesh from 20 yards. After a dozen arrows, and fairly extreme angles inside the blind, I could distinguish no difference in point of impact when shooting through mesh. Note: I didn’t test at longer ranges because my maximum shot distance on a whitetail is 25 yards.

The author has tested G5 Strikers (above) and Magnus Stinger Buzzcuts (below) through mesh and point of impact was unaffected at 20 yards.
The author has tested G5 Strikers (above) and Magnus Stinger Buzzcuts (below) through mesh and point of impact was unaffected at 20 yards.

I’ve seen YouTube videos of archers popping 10-inch-diameter balloons at 40 to 60 yards with fixed-blade broadheads through mesh, so I’m confident that what I learned in my testing at 20 yards holds true at longer ranges, too.

Of course, like anything in archery, you should verify for yourself before trusting it in the field on animals. Chances are good you set up your pop-up blind similarly each time, meaning your shot will likely come from a few favorite windows, so the ones that are out of play (covered with dark fabric 99% of the time) can be used as “mesh testers.” Before a bowhunt, try your favorite fixed-blade broadheads through mesh and decide for yourself.

One final tip: For reasons I can’t explain, whitetails are very wary when spotting the black hole of a pop-up blind’s open window, but turkeys don’t seem to care. For that reason, I rarely worry about using shoot-through mesh when turkey hunting. However, I rely heavily on shoot-through mesh for concealment when pursuing whitetails from a pop-up blind.

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