With your head low and light in hand you will search the dark edges of the timber this fall looking for the buck you just arrowed. Having confidence in your shot you are sure to see the shine of a red stained, white belly any moment. It won’t be long, and you will be reliving the story with family and friends over a well-cooked meal, or will you? This story started long before you drew your bow. The preparation you made prior to this point could make or break your evening hunt. Benjamin Franklin said it best, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
We took a ride to Simmons Sporting Goods in Bastrop, La to visit with Richard Albritton and Michael Little and speak about bow prep and concluded a few things. We made a list of the most important bow checks for your season preparation below.
1. Bow String: “The first thing you should look at when you break your bow out of the case is the string!” said Richard starting our conversation. When looking over your string take notice to any fuzzy places or broken strands. This could indicate a possible string break in the future. Clean any dust or debris from it and be sure to apply string wax on the entire string. “Right now, you’re 7-10 days out for a string and it will get worse closer to season.” stated Michael. String failures can bankrupt an opening day as it did mine a season ago. Be sure to store all broadheads away from the string or you could be up a creek without a paddle come season.
2. Cams and Limbs: Starting on the outside and working towards the middle we advise that you begin at the cams and limbs. Visually inspect for stressor marks like cracks or chips. Dirt or debris within the valley where your string rests can cause string roll and potentially a blow up. You want to pay close attention to the spacers and keeper rings holding everything in place. One small piece amiss and you could have a failure in store ahead.
3. Riser: Continuing to work towards the center, check your riser for some of the same things as your limbs. With today’s bows you are less likely to find an issue here, but you don’t want to be the exception to the rule. Any chips, cracks, dents, or dings could lead to a major issue if not resolved speedily. Be sure to check all points where bolts or screws enter the riser, these are potential weak points.
4. Arrow Rest and Sight: Secure and solid should be the only thoughts when you get to your rest and sight. Check all screws for tightness. If you have a lighted sight you will want to check the batteries in it. Take a moment to see that your rest is level and in line with your nocking points. If you don’t notice by visual inspection don’t worry it will show when you shoot your bow.
5. Arrows: Take a moment to check the entirety of your arrows. A fletching may be loose or broken. A nock may have a chip or crack in it. Visually inspect each arrow you plan to use. Take each arrow and do a small bend/stress test to see or hear a crack or split in the carbon. “If you hear any creaking, cracking or popping you need to throw that arrow away.” mentioned Richard as he explained the importance of inspecting each arrow.
6. Release: Our release is one of the last things we think of when preparing our bow. However, if you have ever made it to your tree without your release you know the gut-wrenching feeling of leaving it at the truck. Rust is the enemy with a release be sure to keep it in a dry area and lubricate when needed. Also be vigilant of loose threads or broken straps depending on the release type you use.
7. Shoot!: With all our checks behind us and a bow that looks ready to shoot what are you waiting for?! “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!” as Richard would say. Shoot from the ground, shoot from the tree, shoot from the bed of a truck, just shoot! The old adage “Practice makes Perfect” rings true most of the time. For us, if our groups are tight, aim true, and confidence high this season will be a prosperous one.
Austin Bradford – Louisiana Bowhunter Contributor