Keep it simple
I am probably the most accident prone person I know. Anything that can happen will happen. My motto is to “keep it simple”. The more gear and gadgets you rely on the better the chance that something will go wrong.
Most of us spend more time preparing ourselves for hunting season than we actually get to hunt. Therefore it is easy to get caught up in the latest gadget that the next guy is using. We practice and practice for the one small moment when we get to release that arrow each season. When you are in the backyard shooting your bow and something breaks or something is not functioning right it is no big deal. You just fix it with the arsenal of tools you have sitting beside you. How convenient! But you have to remember when you are on the hill for days at a time you do not have the luxury of the home remedy kit.
This is why I try to keep my gear as simple as possible. It is important to keep your gear protected at all times to be sure it is going to function properly when you need it the most. But the more gadgets you rely on the more that can go wrong. If you are a tree stand hunter or one who does not deal with a lot of brush then you do not have as much to worry about. But if you hunt in thick, brushy country and are away from camp for days at a time it is important to limit the gadgets in your arsenal and go back to the basics. However, no matter what you have for gear there are still moving parts that can work loose or simply fail. Organize your gear in a way that it is fail proof in the heat of the moment and easy to check. Here are a few tips on what I do to prepare my equipment for archery season.
Mark Your Arrows
I have heard and read a lot about this. We all have certain arrows in our quiver that shoot better than others for some unexplainable reason. From year to year I always have an arrow or two that fly just perfect and always hit exactly where I want them to. Then I will have the arrow that hits an inch to the left and the one that is consistently low and so on. That is just the way it is. If we all had the luxury of buying 2 dozen arrows and narrowing it down we would, but most of us budget for the 6 to 12 arrows and live with what we get.
To begin, clearly identify each arrow. I do it with #s. I will shoot and mark on the target where each arrow hits. I will do this three times with each arrow to identify a pattern with the arrows. Usually I will get 3 or 4 arrows that will be very similar in their pattern. I will then tune my bow for these particular arrows. I will do this each time I get new arrows and I will do this before hunting season. Clearly identify which arrows shoot better and position them in your quiver so that in the heat of the moment you grab the right arrow. There is always that little bit of doubt that can overshadow a bucket full of confidence. You want to know you have knocked your #1 arrow. Confidence is everything. It is easy to be out on the hill, with a bull approaching fast and pull the wrong arrow. I have heard of people getting caught up in the moment and pulling out an arrow set up for shooting grouse.
Mark your set points.
Some of the country I hunt can be very brushy with few breaks. This tends to be hard on my gear. Countless times I have come out of the brush missing a fiber optic pin or my sight has worked its way loose and appears to have moved. First I will begin by saying every time you get back to the truck check your parts and make sure everything is tight. It is good to get in the habit of checking all parts periodically. I personally, will place a reference mark with a paint marker or a scribe on all parts. Pins, sight brackets, and my rest get a clearly identified reference mark prior to the hunt. This way I can do a quick visual check on the position of these parts. I carry a small repair kit with me that will include a pin, glue, a few common screws, and a wrench. This way if I am missing my 20 yard pin, I can replace it with the one in my pack. I will simply place it on my reference point line it up vertically with the rest of my pins and I am back in business.
Just to explain to you how tough the Northern Idaho brush country is. I will put a new string on my bow every August and it will be completely worn out by the end of September. I make it a point to wax it every day and it still resembles a frayed ball of yarn by the end of season. This is simply because of the brush that my bow gets drug through on a daily basis. I also lose 2-3 arrows out of my quiver every season for that same reason. I even secure my arrows to my quiver with a rubber band. I have begun to carry my arrows in my pack, but I like to have one readily available. One year I lost my entire quiver.
If you are new to archery hunting and have never been in on a bull approaching fast and screaming in your face you don’t know how you will react. Keeping a very simple setup and keeping only arrows meant for elk or Limiting the # of pins on your sight will eliminate the possibility of confusion or mistakes. When it happens it happens fast!!