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. Ed 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 scientific method but outcome driven research. Arrow penetration test were conducted on hundreds of freshly culled animals and results were meticulously recorded and documented.
In 1986, based on the Natal Study, the South African government legalized bowhunting. Legalization in South Africa soon opened legal bowhunting in many other Sub-Sahara 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.
His testing is the closest thing to the scientific method as is possible under the testing conditions. Never before has anyone tested arrow and broadheads on actual game animals on such a scale. The test results have been carefully compiled and are now available to the public free of charge. Bowhunters everywhere owe Dr. Ashby a debt of gratitude as his data reveals which broadheads and arrows perform the best on game animals. The results show that whether you shoot a traditional bow like a recurve or a longbow, or if you're shooting a compound, the arrows and broadheads that performed well in the testing, will perform for you.
Big Asian Water Buffalo taken with heavy arrows and a straight ended longbow
Dr. Ashby cut away of Asiatic Buffalo front shoulder.
Dr. Ed Ashby cleaning a Water Buffalo scapula during the testing process.
Dr. Ed Ashby with a Zebra. The Zebra was on the run when Ashby shot it
Dr. Ed Ashby in his element.
Dr Ashby and the Thompson family sitting around the fire telling stories and roasting marshmallows.