By: Ryan Johnson
I had some work to do last week in the north end of the valley, so my bow just “happened” to find its way into my work truck. After my jobs were wrapped up, I hit the 3D course on the mountain.
It was that quiet time of evening, maybe an hour before dark and just after a rainstorm had passed. The woods seemed to stand perfectly still. I stepped up to first target, a 38-yard bear. As I reached down to hook my release on to the D loop, it let out a loud squeak as the head pivoted. It may as well have been a D-10 dozer coming down the side of the mountain amongst the silence of the evening. Immediately, visions of a gargantuan mule deer rolling out of his bed at mock 10 raced through my head.
Like most of you, I wait all year for hunting season. For those of us who hunt out west, August means the start is very, very close. If you’re an eastern whitetail kind of person, well you haven’t much more time. And little things like a release squeak—no matter how much your gear cost, no matter how much you pattern a buck, or how much coin you spend on that dream hunt—could cost you that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
1. Take Ten Minutes Now and Work Over Your Bow and Accessories to Ensure This Doesn’t Happen to You
- I like to start by simply taking an allen wrench set and checking every single bolt on the bow for tightness.
- Pay extra attention to screws in and around your rest and sight.
- Pay attention to where your mods bolt to the cam is a suspect place also.
- Using blue lock tight in key areas, like your mod screws, is good peace of mind as well; just don’t overdo it and stay away from the red stuff; it’s sure to cause you problems later.
2. After a Quick Once Over on Bolts, Take a Close Look at the C-Clips and E-Clips That Hold Your Cam and Yoke Bearings to the Axel
- Make sure they’re all there and don’t seemed stretched out.
- Draw your bow and check the serving on those places that like to “hide,”such as under your cable roller bearings or the part of the string that winds up onto the cam.
3. Take the Time to Shoot Your Bow in the Clothes You Anticipate Hunting In
- I know it’s cliché, but the last thing you want is to find out in the moment of truth that your water bladder hose catches your string or your binocular harness sticks out too far. Maybe your backpack straps creak or as in my case, your release squeaks as it rotates.
- Also practice shooting with your quiver on and off. On my setup if I have a quiver on the side of my bow, I need a back bar to keep from kicking my arrows out right. Conversely, when my quiver comes off, so does my back bar.
4. Number Your Arrows
Another overlooked tip is numbering your arrows. It’s amazing how often a specific arrow just doesn’t want to play well with the others. By writing a number on a vane of each arrow you can identify one that’s being a troublemaker. Make it your grouse arrow or leave it at home.
5. Mark Up Your Bow
Lastly, once all my bits and pieces seem to be in line and my broadheads are flying true, I take a paint marker or sharpie and make little marks on my cam on either side of the limb. This allows me to easily check my bow is still in tune if it happens to take a tumble, goes for a rough ATV ride or gets tossed around by a baggage attendant anxious for lunch.
- I also like to make marks on my rest and sight for both the windage and elevation adjustments for the same reason. One quick glance can give me the assurance I need that everything is still happy.
It’s the most wonderful time of year, if you’re a bowhunter. The air is filled with hope and excitement and the thoughts of, “Could this be the year?” Whether it’s hours upon hours of checking trail cameras, hours upon hours of watching that special bull, or hours upon hours of working your tail off to save up for that dream hunt, don’t let all your hard work get ruined because you didn’t take ten minutes now to shore up the little things that ultimately make a big difference.