A Little Archery Maintenance Goes A Long Way

Upstate Outdoors
August 24, 2018 - 11:51 am

Phillip Gentry

Whitetail deer hunters in the Upstate are busily preparing for the upcoming deer season. Unlike areas in the lower part of the state, where deer season opened 10 days ago (August 15), those who hunt in areas from Columbia north have a later season start as well as opening to an archery only season rather than full firearms season.

While some hunters prefer to wait on the gun season, or at least muzzle loader season, to start before braving the heat, the mosquitos, and the woods, archers are busily getting gear and tackle together. Include in that to-do list a little archery tackle maintenance, and your odds of taking a nice deer this bow season increase.

Your bowstring is your lifeline between you, the arrow, and the target. A bow string should be replaced at least once a year, but to keep the string in optimal firing shape, you need to wax it. Start by cleaning the string so the wax can take hold. Use a string wax on the string, and rub it in so it feels like you’re forcing the wax into the string itself. If you notice a broken strand or fraying of the string, replace the entire string immediately.

Check your bow's cam synchronization system periodically and have it adjusted if needed. Synchronization is very important for you in shooting tight shot groups. At full draw on 2 cam bows, either cams or wheels should rotate and reach the let-off position at the same time. If one cam is not in the same position as the other, one of the 2 buss cables need to be adjusted. For proper arrow tuning, the cams or wheels should be matched for rotation and full draw.

Each manufacturer has different ways to adjust this, so go to your user’s guide or a trusted professional if in doubt. 

Practice shooting with your hunting broad heads before you hit the woods. Field points (practice points) and hunting broad heads fly differently at speed, even if the weights of the tips are the same and even if the packaging says your broad heads fly just like field tips. Try different manufacturers/makes till you find what tip provides the best shot groups better for your bow. 

While you’re looking at your points, be sure to check your arrows as well. Arrow fletchings, shafts, inserts and knocks get banged up during practice shooting, so close inspection is in order to make sure these items are in tip-top shape. 

Many hunters set aside four or five arrows out of each dozen they order, reserving the unused arrows for hunting situations while the other arrows are for practice. It’s a good idea to shoot the arrows designed for game a couple times to make sure they fly true, then store them away in your hunting quiver. 

Your bow, whether that be a vertical compound or horizontal crossbow, is a mechanical device subject to wear and tear and requires periodic inspection, adjustment and service by a professional technician. Most manufactures recommend that you bring your bow in to a certified archery shop at least once a year for a yearly professional maintenance and inspection. Areas to be inspected are axles, spacers, lubrication of axle bushings, "E" clips, strings, cables, limbs and riser.

Last but not least, when your compound or crossbow is not being used, store it in a padded case to protect it from banging into other objects and store it in a temperature controlled environment. Avoid leaving the tackle in its case in a vehicle on a hot day as heat above 100 degrees Fahrenheit can lead to breakdown of synthetic materials and weaken your bow.

Happy Hunting.


Phillip Gentry is the host of "Upstate Outdoors," which airs noon to 2 p.m. Saturdays on 106.3 WORD FM or online at 1063WORD.radio.com. This week’s guest will be the Bass Chaplain – Chris Wells, reporting from the BASS Elite tournament on the St Lawrence River in Waddington, NY.


Regular and preventative maintenance will keep your archery tackle in top condition for the upcoming whitetail deer hunting season. Photo by Phillip Gentry.



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