Our favorite time of year is fast approaching and I’m sure that you are as excited as I am. Right now you are busy finding places to hunt, scouting out places that you already have, planting food plots, working extra hours to build up some time off or any one of a thousand other things to get ready.
I have been doing this for a long time and have probably (hopefully) made every possible mistake, so I thought I would make some notes and hopefully save you some disappointment.
While you are hustling around doing the multitude of things that have to be done, DO NOT overlook your equipment. What follows is my list of things to check and things to do so that you can keep the infamous Mr. Murphy from joining you on your next hunt.
- Check the strings.
How long have they been on there? If you don’t know, change them. Now. If it is more than 2 years, I would change them.
Look at the serving. Is there a gap in the serving in or around the D-Loop? Does it show a lot of wear from the nock? If so, have it re-served.
Check the axle-to-axle length, brace height and cam timing. If they are off, the strings have either stretched from extended use or they are worn out. Each bow make/model are different so you may need to bring it to us if you are not familiar with these specs. If they are off too far, the strings will need to be replaced.
Check the actual stands of the string. Are any of them broken or loose? If so, replace. Are they “fuzzy”? If so, apply a good coat of string wax and rub it in.
Is the D-Loop tied correctly? Or does it look like it was tied by a stock boy at a box store? If it’s tied CORRECTLY it will not move. If it does move, your “shot of a lifetime” just went down the drain. Is the loop in the right spot?
Check your peep sight. Make sure it is tied in securely. A tiny shift in the rear sight is huge downrange.
- Check the limbs.
Are there any cracks? Splinters? Anything that looks suspicious? I so, get it taken care of now! If you are thinking “It’ll probably make it through another season,” you can bet that it won’t. Any issues with limbs will require replacement parts that may take some time to get. Even longer as the season gets nearer. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
- Check the riser (handle)
Is everything tight? Rest? Sight? Stabilizer? Quiver?
Are there any shiny spots that will glare and get you busted?
Does the grip squeak or creak when you draw the bow?
- Check the cams/wheels.
Are they bent from when you dropped it out of your stand last year?
Check every bolt/screw on the cam. Are the modules tight? WARNING! Steel screws into aluminum cams are easy to strip out. Don’t over-tighten.
Check the string and cable tracks. Any dings or dents on the inside of the tracks will wear the string, possibly cut it. If there is any debris in the track, remove it. This could cause a derailment and turn you into a spectator in the blink of an eye.
- Are they the CORRECT spine for your bow? Or did you buy them on close out on your way to the lease last year?
- Are they the correct length? Will your broadhead make contact with the bow at full draw? If so, disaster awaits.
- Are they all identical? Any variation in the arrows WILL effect accuracy.
- Inspect the fletching. Any holes or tears? Is the glue joint secure?
- Are they cracked or “dinged”? Inspect them. Flex them. Twist them. If you see ANY or feel ANY cracks, dents or dings, do not shoot that arrow! Ever. Destroy it and throw it away.
I’m sure most of you have seen some gruesome pictures of what a broken arrow through the wrist or hand looks like. 99.9% of could’ve been avoided by following # 1-2-5 above.
- Do you have enough? Pick a quality broadhead and make sure that you have plenty and that they are all identical.
- Are they sharp? I’m not talking sharp like the average pocket knife. I’m talking sharp like a surgeon’s scalpel. My dad always said “If it’s not so sharp that you’re afraid of it, it’s not sharp”.
- Are they “true”? Broadheads must be straight, no wobble when they spin. There are lots of ways to check them and most of them are not OSHA approved. Go on YouTube and watch a few different techniques. You will see people spinning them in their palm. Not OSHA approved and if you use this technique have lots of Band-Aids handy (See #2)
- Does it work? If you threw it in your pack after that hunt in the rain last year, doubtful. At the very least it will be rough and jumpy. A drop or two of oil will smooth it out.
- How does the wrist strap look?
- Is it torn?
- Buckle OK?
- If it’s Velcro, does it snap crackle pop like a bowl of Rice Krispys when you draw?
- Does it stink? All that sweat from summertime practice is soaked up in that strap. No amount of cover scent will mask it if smells like a truck stop bathroom.
- Do you have a spare? If you shoot a fancy/expensive release and loose it, you will be upset. If you loose it and then end up having a huge buck walk by as you are trying to pull your bow with your pinkie in the D-loop, it’s even worse. Carry a spare.
- Is it sighted in? Are you as accurate as you can be? Or is it “close enough”?
“Close enough” is not close enough. Put in the effort to get it right.
- Is everything tight on the sight? Remember… steel into aluminum.
- Does your sight light still work? Or did you leave it on last year and kill the battery?
- Is it tight? Or does it rattle?
- Will the arrow clips hold your new micro diameter shafts?
- Does the hood completely cover those ridiculously sharp broadheads that we discussed earlier?
- Are you sighted in with the quiver ON the bow or OFF? Decide now which it will be and sight in accordingly. It will shoot differently with or without the quiver.
This list could go on for days, but I think I’ve covered most of Murphy’s favorite equipment failure opportunities. Look over your gear. Bring it in to Saddle River Range and let’s get everything ready to rock. Do it now! Don’t do like a lot of bowhunters and wait until the last second. Do it now! That’s right. You are probably reading this on your phone. There’s no cord tying you to the couch. Stand up. Take your phone with you. Go dig that bow out and look it over.
Come See Me!