Much like Ford vs Chevy, there is a hotly contested debate in the bowhunting world. It’s not between trucks, but between arrow rests. You might think it a simple thing to argue over, but the small device that holds your nocked arrow is important.
A Little Background Info
Early compound bows used a small plastic rest glued above the shelf. Modern bows are designed for use with special types of rests bolted to the riser. The two common types are the drop away rest and a full containment rest, the most popular being the whisker biscuit.
While both are highly accurate when properly set up, many hunters declare to know without a doubt that one is superior to the other. The general thought tendency is to assume the drop away maintains arrow speed and accuracy, and the whisker biscuit to be fail safe and more reliable in the field.
Whisker Biscuit Rests
Introduced in 2003, the Whisker Biscuit changed the sport of bowhunting with an entirely new and revolutionary style of arrow rest. They immediately became quite popular with hunters because they simplify the draw and shot. Eliminated are the common mistakes from the excitement of drawing on a deer. They ensure the arrow is in position, even in the low light conditions of dusk or dawn.
The “whiskers” are synthetic bristles that form a perimeter and hold the arrow securely in place. If the bow is moved or bumped, the arrow remains nocked and in place. If the bow isn’t pulled back with proper form due to positioning in a tree stand or hunting blind, the arrow can’t jump off the rest and hold up the shot.
- The Whisker Biscuit is simple to use and eliminates the chance of the arrow to fall off the rest while drawing.
- With no moving parts there is little chance of a mechanical failure in the field.
- The simple and quiet function of the Whisker Biscuit is one less thing to think about when the opportunity at a deer presents itself.
- It is true the Whisker Biscuit slightly reduces the speed and accuracy of your arrow. It’s worth noting the difference is so minuscule that most shooters won’t notice. The difference is practically negligible to all but Olympic level archers.
- The whiskers can put stress on the arrow vanes, so you may need to re-fletch your arrows after multiple shots. A properly aligned rest will have minimal effect on the vanes.
Drop Away Rests
Along with peep sights and mechanical release aides, the drop away rest turned the bow from an instinctive art form into an advanced machine with consistent grouping and bullseye capability.
Drop away rests, like the popular QAD Ultra-Rest HDX, are exactly what they sound like. They hold the arrow in place while you draw and steady your aim. The flipper then falls away with the arrow’s momentum after the release.
- They cause minimum friction with the arrow, which in turn equates to higher arrow velocity.
- For the well-practiced archer, they allow for better groupings and overall accuracy.
- While there is potential for mechanical failure to drop away, regular bow maintenance and tune-ups significantly reduce the chances.
- The arrow can fall or jump off the rest while moving, or if proper draw technique isn’t properly utilized.
- There is the chance (even though very small) that the mechanism fails to drop away, sending your arrow off the mark.
- The price of a quality mechanical release is several times higher than a Whisker Biscuit.
Whisker Biscuit vs Drop Away Shootout
Although the drop away rest is typically considered more accurate than the Whisker Biscuit, the relevant question to a hunter is whether the difference is substantial enough to warrant the use of one over the other.
Field and Stream Magazine conducted a study with fans of each style to answer this very question. They measured the speed of each with the same bows, using a chronograph. They found a difference between 3-6 feet per second (fps) in which the arrows fired using the drop away rest were a hair faster.
When you consider modern compound bows typically fire at about 350-400 fps, it really is not a substantial difference. Likewise, groupings were a little tighter with the drop away rest. That is not enough to make a noticeable difference considering the target size you aim for when hunting.
Which Rest Should You Choose?
Ultimately, each type of rest is going to be as accurate as you are with the bow. Your choice is as likely to be determined by which one you learned to shoot with as any other factor. The difference between whisker biscuit vs drop away rest is mostly personal preference for one or the other, and that’s the one you should use without any question as to how it affects your hunting trip.
Choose a Whisker Biscuit if you want reliability in the field and one less aspect of the shot to concentrate on. You’ll find it to be as accurate as you’ll ever need and perform efficiently as a part of your compound bow system.
Go with a drop away if you demand the higher performance possible. Choose a drop away if you want the best possible accuracy and arrow speed. They are worth the price to know you’ve done everything possible to make the absolute best shot every time.