Archery – Quick tech tips on maintaining your equipment
By: Jordan McKibbon
With bowhunting season upon us, I figured that now would be a great time to send out some quick and easy tech tips to keep your equipment in top performing condition!
First and foremost, you should always closely inspect your equipment before and after going into the field... This includes not only looking over your bow itself, but also looking over your release aids – there's nothing worse than going to pull back your bow, and having your release fail which results in a knuckle sandwich delivered by your own fist.
Let's do a quick breakdown of the things to double-check before and after hitting the field...
Your bow's string
This is probably the most crucial, and easiest piece of equipment to look-over and maintain. The easiest way to maintain your bow string and keep it in peak functioning condition, is to simply wax it. Now, many people might be wondering "how do I know when to wax my string?". Well, it's simple – if your bow starts to feel bone-dry or look like it's got "fuzzy's" on it; then it's time to give it a wax. If your string begins to visually have frays coming off of it, then it's time to have your trusted proshop to have a look at it immediately, and possibly have it changed.
To properly wax your string it's simple, take an approved bow string wax, and lightly rub the wax stick directly onto your bow string; covering all parts of the string, but staying away from the serving cables. Once you’ve applied some wax directly to your bow string, you will need to effectively work it into your string – to do this you will lightly pinch your string, and quickly rub back/forth and up/down on the string. Doing this will heat up the wax, making it tacky to the touch, which allows the wax to work right into the fibers of the string. Don't forget to do your best to properly wax the string around your peep!... This is an area that many archers avoid because it's tough to effectively work wax into such a small area, but always make sure to wax this area – it is usually one of the first spots to show wear and tear on a bowstring.
As a component to your bow's string, you should always check your serving cables. Are they beginning to fray or come apart? If so, bring it to the shop and have one of the guys look at it and replace them.
And the last component of your bow's string you should check, is your D-Loop. If at any point in time you take a look at your d-loop and wonder if it needs changing – it probably does; spend
the couple bucks to have it changed, and avoid having your bow dry-fire, or give yourself a knuckle sandwich from it breaking. The first sign of fraying or 'slipping' on the knot of your d-loop; immediately bring it in to be replaced. Some archers choose to wax their d-loop to prolong the life of it; if you choose to do so, be sure to not use too much wax and clean any excess wax, as it can spread to your release mechanism.
Waxing your bow string is always a good thing to do, but always be sure to clean off any excess wax! Leaving on excess chunks of wax can not only hinder your bows performance (such as flinging wax into unwanted areas, or your face – it can also slow down the speed of your bow!).
Any moving component on your bow
This is a general rule for any firearm... Any moving parts should be double-checked and lubed, if necessary. When it comes to archery, any moving part – such as the bearings on your cams, the bearings on your roller cable (if your bow has one) should be oiled with an archery oil pen once a month (with regular use... those that don't shoot as often can get away with not oiling as often). Oiling these moving parts not only keeps your bow functioning as smooth as possible, but it will also protect against corrosion, should you have a hunt in a wet/damp setting, or should you accidently improperly store your equipment. The trusted oil I use is the Limb Saver oil pen. There are still many people today that disagree on the subject of oiling moving components on your bow (because it can spread to your string, which is believed to lead to premature wear/tear), but I believe that as long as oil is applied in moderation that it can greatly extend the life of your bow and keep components moving smoothly.
Your release aid
Whether you shoot with a wrist strap release, hand release, or back tension release – closely inspect it before each time you get into the field or range! I've seen it all over the internet, and even a few times in person... The archer goes to draw back the bow, and 'BAM! Knuckle sandwich in the face, derailed cables/string, and even broken limbs/limb pockets – all within a matter of 5 seconds. I have good news though! This can easily be prevented by checking your release frequently.
Things to double check on your release:
· Does the wrist strap show any severe forms of wear?
· Is the buckle secured properly?
· Is the trigger on your release aid functioning properly?... Double check trigger travel, and ensure that your pressure spring isn't worn out.
· Are the jaws of your release closing completely, or is there a small space between them?
· Is there any wax, dirt, or grit caught in any of the moving components of your release?
These are all things you should check and ask yourself before using your release. Another thing to check (not necessarily before each time you shoot), is if there is any uneven wear on the jaws/hook of your release. I suggest checking this because this is another way that many archers will notice premature wear/tear on their D-Loop.
In summary, these are a few ways to easily prevent any serious mishaps while out in the field. A little maintenance goes a long way for your archery equipment. Be responsible to not only prolong the use of your equipment, but to also safeguard yourself, and ensure proper ethics in the field while hunting; by keeping your equipment in optimal condition to ensure a fast expiration for the animals that you wish to harvest.
Stay safe, have fun – but when in the field hunting; always put conservation efforts first.
Be a responsible and safe hunter this fall.