February 26, 2001
Ready for the Shot
It’s opening day of archery season for deer hunting. You wake up at five o’clock in the morning and get your hunting clothes on and begin your long venture out in the woods to your hand made tree stand to be seated all before sunrise. As you are looking around in the woods you notice movement about thirty yards out. It’s a nice twelve-point buck, the buck that every hunter dreams about. With your heart racing, one hundred fifty beats a minute you come to full draw. Your sights are locked in one little hair behind the shoulder of the deer. As you release the bowstring the arrow takes flight, and you miss. This happens to several hunters every year. They think they are ready for the shot, but in all truth they’re not. I will try to explain how to get a compound bow ready for the hunting season with help from Fred, an archery dealer.
It can be difficult to decide what kind of bow you want. Before buying a bow get information about the many bows that are available. There are basically three types of compound bows: wheel pulleys, one cam, and two cam systems. Whichever one you choose the process to set up the bow is the same. The first thing you have to do is set the draw length to where you are comfortable. Fred says the best place to set the draw length is at the corner of your mouth. Now after finding your draw length, find out how many pounds you want to pull. If you are just starting out Fred suggest you should draw fifty pounds so you can get use to it.
After you have a draw length and weight you need to choose an arrow. There are two different types of arrows, aluminum and carbon. There is a science to making an arrow selection. Let’s say you have a thirty-inch draw length and you have a fifty-five pound draw weight. The length of the arrow should be one inch longer than your draw length. Aluminum and carbon arrows have a different system in how thick the arrow is. The aluminum arrow system is complex; since you shoot fifty-five pounds ands you need a 2219 and 2313. Fred said the first two numbers represents the circumference shaft; the last two numbers represent the thickness of the shaft walls. The higher the numbers the more weight they are. Carbon arrows are user friendly. Again since you shoot fifty-five pounds you would shoot a 55/65 or 45/55, those number resembles are how many pounds the arrow is capable of handling. If the draw weight falls in between the two numbers you can use that arrow.
Since you have some of the basic components done and out of the way, now is when you start to bring the bow in the tune. A sighting system is a must. This consists of a sight bracket, sight pins, and a peep sight. The sight bracket and pins mount on the bow riser and the peep sight is mounted on the string that you look through. Since you have sight pins on your bow you will need to get stabilizer, string silencer, releaser, and an arm guard for protection because it will hurt if the string hits you.
Begin the target shooting process at a short range, fifteen yards or less. Here you can check your groups, as well as adjust sight pins, peep sights, and get a feel for the bow. As soon as you start shooting, sight in you bow by moving your sight pins. Fred states, to get a bow sighted in can be very easy or difficult. If the arrow hits the target low move your sight pins lower. You move the pin the direction the arrow hit the target. The sight bracket should have at least three sight pins on it. Fred said to sight the first pin in at ten yards, the second at twenty yards, and the third at thirty yards. This is perfect pin selection for hunting.
Next comes paper tuning. You must take your time; meticulous care in paper tuning is needed to get the perfect flight. When paper tuning, start out at seven or eight yards. At this distance the arrow will show its worse motion. Arrows that tear holes with the nock downwards indicate that the nock point is to low. The answer is a slightly higher nock point. Conversely, if the hole is torn too high, try moving the nock point down slightly. Now check the side to side, also know as arrow spine. If the shaft leaves a hole torn to the left that indicates a weak arrow. There are several things that might help. The easiest way is too decrease the draw weight of the bow. Changing the center shot (position of the arrow rest) is another option; here all you do is move it to the left. If the arrow leaves a tear to the right, Fred says you are shooting a to stiff of an arrow. A quick cure for this is to move the arrow rest to the right. Remember that patience and persistence will be rewarded after you have paper tuned your bow.
You have your bow sighted in and tuned to perfection. Now is the time to start shooting with broadheads. Tuning a three bladed broadhead can be difficult; line the blades up with the vanes or feathers. Now start the whole tuning process over again. It will be hard to find several arrows that shoot the same; no arrow will shoot the same with broadheads on.
Bow tuning is a year-round bow-hunting chore. It’s important to keep your bow’s tune in check. During the course of the year keep the paper rack handy. Your shooting confidence will soar when you occasionally shoot a few practice shots and perfect tears in paper.
Bow tuning is anything but glamorous; in fact, it can be downright frustrating and often boring. But without a precisely tuned bow you’ll never reach you potential as a competition shooter or as a bow hunter. If you have followed this process you will be, ready for the shot.