Preseason Bowhunting 5-Step Equipment Prep – Filling archery tags is a result of heeding details big and small. While many outside influences dictate the overall outcome of any hunt, what you do have control over is equipment setup. Paying close attention to details is the best start, and the best time to start is right now. Here are five easy steps that will help eliminate future problems in the field, provide all-important confidence and maximize in-field accuracy.
Preseason Bowhunting 5-Step Equipment Prep – After purchasing a new bow, installing a variety of new accessories or switching arrows, I might spend a month shooting that bow with field points to thoroughly break it in and gain more comfort with and confidence in that rig. I’m simply getting a feel for my bow and honing shooting form. With season approaching, knowing I’ll soon be shooting broadheads, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of fine tuning that bow and arrow combination for the cleanest flight possible.
Initial set-up might involve some eye-ball alignment and a basic T-square, but with archery seasons approaching I’ll get more serious about tuning out the smallest arrow-flight flaws. Center shot is precisely checked with OMP’s Tru-Center 2.0 Laser Alignment Tool, ensuring perfect rest/arrow alignment from bowstring to arrow tip. I then use R.S. Archery’s Bow Tuning Level Set (levels attached to bowstring and arrow while the bow is held in a vise) to ensure rest height precisely correlates to nocking point before double-checking everything via paper tuning and making further fine adjustments. This assures the transition from field points to broadheads comes off without a hitch.
If all of this is beyond your understanding, take your bow to a qualified pro shop to ensure the job is done right.
Squelch Noise & Vibration
Preseason Bowhunting 5-Step Equipment Prep – While concentrating on honing shooting skills it’s all too easy to ignore a sight that produces a tuning-fork hum, a bow quiver that rattles or fall-away rest that whacks the arrow shelf after release. With hunting season fast approaching I focus more attention on silencing—because there is no such thing as a bow that is too quiet.
Archery shops are full of vibration-eliminating products that make bows and the accessories they hold quieter. LimbSaver and BowJax silencing products and adhesive-backed fleece and/or foam are the products I lean on most heavily. Apply appropriate products to bow parts and accessories until all buzzes, hums and vibrations are eliminated, remembering something as simple as adhesive-back fleece added to rest arms—eliminating draw-cycle arrow noise—can save an entire season. If something like a bow quiver continues to create noise, allowing fletchings to rattle together on release, for instance, you still have time to replace it with something quieter.
Preseason Bowhunting 5-Step Equipment Prep – It is pretty common for me to solidly sight in the 20-yard pin on every bow, as this is the range I shoot most often between serious hunts, stepping out of my office door to address the target leaning against the pump house. Because of this my lower pins often receive only rough sighting, so when I really start dialing things in I find one pin hits slightly low, another slightly high.
Well before season opener, pick a calm, stress-free day, pick the arrow and point-weight combination you will be using, and carefully work out from 20 yards, fine sighting each pin in turn. Don’t move to a longer range until all your arrows are centering in the bull’s-eye at a particular range every shot. Sometimes this takes time on the longer pins, shooting multiple groups until satisfied they are truly sighted. You usually have a feel for when you’ve executed a technically-perfect shot or not, so will understand which shots to heed and which to ignore. Be patient and get it right, even if it takes multiple shooting sessions. Good enough isn’t acceptable when addressing live targets.
Only after every aspect of your hunting outfit is fine-tuned, silenced and sighted solidly, grab some Allen wrenches and check every single screw and bolt on your bow and its accessories, from the smallest sight-pin set screw to largest rest-anchoring bolt. I recently had a string stop fall off in the field, for example, putting a damper on that hunt in a hurry. Another time my cable guard rattled loose and began to turn freely, allowing fletchings to contact buss cables.
This is really a simple procedure; start at one end and work to the other. Turn the bow over and repeat. Snug every screw down tight (while avoiding stripping threads) with the appropriate Allen, star or screwdriver bit to assure nothing is loose. If a particular screw or bolt loosens regularly, add a drop of Loc-Tite before reinstalling.
With season opener fast approaching I will begin shooting nothing but broadheads. For the most part, a well-tuned bow should send a like-weight broadhead into the same spot as field points, but there are exceptions, especially with fixed-blade heads. As long as impact is consistent, there is no reason for alarm. Move sights to accommodate the new point of impact and practice with a few set-aside broadheads up until the day you begin bowhunting.