Is your bow ready for summertime practice? David Blanton takes you through the steps for getting into shooting shape fast
Bow season is here, if only unofficially. The days have been getting just a little shorter since June 21, and now that Independence Day is behind us, hunters everywhere are starting to think a bit about stands and trail cameras and tags. Out west, archery antelope seasons open in a little more than a month, and many whitetail openers follow that within a couple short weeks.
If you haven't shot your bow since last January, it's time to get motivated. Realtree's David Blanton visited with Al Kraus, owner of Black Hills Archery in Rapid City, South Dakota, for a quick checklist of things to consider as you start shooting the first groups of summer.
Check the Tune
A bow will only shoot as well as it's tuned, Kraus says. After a few months in storage, string and cable stretch is the most common culprit for an out-of-tune bow. String materials are better now than ever, but none of them last forever, either. Very slight stretching can be almost imperceptible to the eye, but it can affect timing, peep positioning, nock alignment, and more. Take your bow to a shop and have a pro technician look over things. A little stretch doesn't always mean something has to be replaced, but the bow may need to be pressed to be brought back into spec. Always take the time to paper-tune, to be sure your rest and cam lean are where they need to be, too.
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Check the Accessories
Give your bow sight, peep sight, rest, quiver, stabilizer, and D-loop a good once-over. All of these things comprise the system you'll be depending on when you finally get a shot this fall. Ensure all screws and bolts are tight, that drop-away rests are timed properly, and that string servings and D-loops are in good shape. Do you know how to tie a D-loop? Now is a good time to learn, and be sure to put some backup material in your bow kit, too.
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Start Slow on the Range
Most bad shooting habits can be traced to poor or inconsistent shooting form. Blanton urges bowhunters to take it slow those first few weeks on the range. Stay close to the target and put a hyper-focus on the details: hand positioning, anchor point, smooth release. Shoot a few groups, and when you get tired, take a break. It won't take long to rebuild muscle memory, and then you can start shooting from greater distances and adding challenges to your evening practice.
The best time of year is almost here, folks. Soak it up and get ready.