Dr. Ed Ashby invested 27 years in the study of arrow performance and broadhead lethality. Starting in 1981, while working as a PH in Zimbabwe, Dr. Ashby was recruited by the Mkuzi Game Reserve head Game Ranger Tony Tomkinson to assist in a bowhunting research study.  At the time bowhunting was not legal in South Africa. The government commissioned a study to determine if African game could be ethically and humanely harvested with the bow and arrow.

Four years later, Dr. Ashby and his team published what has come to be known as the “Natal Study.” The research was based not on the scientific method but outcome driven experimentation. Arrow penetration tests were conducted on hundreds of freshly culled animals and results were meticulously recorded and documented.

In 1986, based on Dr. Ashby’s Natal Study, the South African government legalized bowhunting.  Legalization in South Africa acted as the catalyst to open bowhunting in many other Sub-Saharan countries. The Natal Study was the definitive document used to successfully lobby for bowhunting legalization.

Upon completion of the Natal Study, Dr. Ashby continued his arrow and broadhead penetration research for another three decades. His research has led to empirical findings in arrow lethality, revealing the 650 grain heavy bone threshold, the 19% FOC (Forward of Center) threshold, and the effectiveness of single bevel broadheads on breaking bone as well as increasing soft tissue damage.

Dr. Ashby’s research is the closest thing to the scientific method as is possible under field testing conditions. Never before has such comprehensive arrow and broadhead testing been performed on actual game animals. The test results have been carefully compiled and are now available to the public free of charge via the Grizzly Stik website at www.grizzlystik.com under the Ashby Reports tab. Bowhunters everywhere owe Dr. Ashby a debt of gratitude as his data reveals which broadheads and arrows perform the best on the largest big game animals. The results show that whether you shoot a traditional bow, or a compound, the arrows and broadheads that performed well in the testing, will perform for you.

ABOVE: Dr. Ed Ashby with White Rhino taken with a longbow in 1984 (archival from Ashby’s Records).

If you have never read Dr. Ashby’s reports, you’re in for an enlightening treat. They’re like a good novel that you just can’t put down, but the content is intense. As you read you’ll experience many “a-ha!” moments. Things you have seen and experienced in the field will start to make sense. You may want to bookmark this page as your gateway into the portal of what really happens when arrow and broadhead meet hide, bone, gristle, and meat.

The Grizzly Stik site has all the Dr. Ed Ashby reports published to date, and they will continue to post more as he releases them. Grizzly Stik’s history is rooted in traditional archery, but it is interesting to note that Dr. Ashby has always used both longbows and compound bows in his testing. Traditional bowhunters embraced the EFOC (extreme forward of center), heavy arrow, and heavy broadhead “system” concept early on, but lately compound shooters all over the world have begun using Grizzly Stik carbon arrows and Grizzly Stik single bevel broadheads, built upon the fundamentals outlined in Dr. Ashby’s research, for the largest of game with results that are becoming legendary. Some bowhunting camps in Africa now insist that if you’re going to bowhunt with them, you must use a broadhead like the Grizzly Stik Ashby. But why do these PHs and outfitters draw such a firm line about this equipment?

ABOVE: Dr. Ed Ashby cleaning a Water Buffalo scapula during the testing process (archival from Ashby’s Records).

Single bevel broadheads offer superior penetration on game animals, especially when encountering bone, compared to any other broadhead design available to the bowhunting community. All Grizzly Stik single bevel broadheads are produced in weights ranging from 100 grains to 315 grains to suit any bowhunting situation you’ll ever face. They’re built to perform when everything goes wrong. As a serious bowhunter the last thing you want to worry about when you release the shot is whether your broadhead has what it takes to get the job done. These broadheads have been severely tested and have passed with flying colors. You wouldn’t settle for less than the best in your other hunting gear, why settle for less than the best in broadheads?

Of course, even the most proven broadheads must be combined with the adequate driving force and arrow construction parameters to fully leverage their bone busting benefits. No matter what broadhead you use, if your arrow doesn’t retain energy and deliver it upon impact you’re not getting the performance you deserve.

ABOVE: Dr. Ed Ashby with a Zebra. The Zebra was on the run when Ashby shot it (archival from Ashby’s Records).

Building upon Dr. Ashby’s decades of data, Grizzly Stik chose a continuous taper design that is ballistically superior to any other arrow available today. And despite weights previously unheard of in modern bowhunting, these arrows are fast! Fast from the bow, fast to recover from archer’s paradox, fast to the target, and extremely hard hitting. First they drive forward the mass of the arrow, then at a point during penetration the weight forward (FOC) design pulls the arrow through the animal, maximizing penetration.

If you combine the appropriate arrow weights and construction with single bevel broadheads, as tested and proven over the course of Dr. Ashby’s career, you have an unbeatable system that places a premium on maximum penetration, dependable bone busting performance, and the most ethical and effective results in the field. Grizzly Stik is the only company to fully dedicate themselves to commercially producing arrows and broadheads based entirely upon Dr. Ashby’s groundbreaking work. If you’re a bowhunter that is tired of second guessing your equipment, the Ashby Reports are an invaluable resource that will not disappoint.

Editor’s Note:

We would like to thank Grizzly Stik and Dr. Ed Ashby for sharing the immense body of work that is found in the Ashby Reports. You can learn more via the Ashby Reports tab on www.grizzlystik.com or by listening to Episode 74 of the Beyond the Kill podcast.


Posted by Adam Janke