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Does My Bow Need a Tune Up?

For many of us hunting season is a time that we cherish. We look forward to the opportunity to head into the field with our bows and not only put our skills to the test, but soak up what Mother Nature has to offer. There are few things as pure as a good hunting camp. Because of the anticipation and preparation on the front end of these hunts, it’s in most of our best interests to be as prepared as possible. This means spending time at the range, gym, pouring over maps, and scouting country. Just like the well being of our ability, we also need to pay mind to the well being of our bows. Getting a tune up could mean the difference between wrapping a tag or not. The question at hand though is how does one know their bow needs a tune up? We’re going to lay out a few tell tale signs that will answer that very question.

When is the Last Time I Got a Tune Up?

The first question we need to ask ourselves is when is the last time we actually got a tune up? The simple passing of time is enough to throw a bow out of tune. Bow are like cars. If they are not maintained, things will start to go out of whack. And that remains true even if you aren’t using them. The goal is to stay on top of this in order to mitigate issues in the future. We recommend getting a tune up every 8 months. This means that you’ll have 3 tune ups before we advise replacing strings. It’s a simple maintenance program that works and will keep your equipment ready as ever.

Are My Arrows Grouping?

Grady from Ross Outdoors pulling a group of arrows out of a target at the archery range

Another thing to pay attention to is if arrows are grouping good out of the bow. A good tune will lend to consistent arrow flight, which will translate into tight groups downrange. The tighter and more consistent we can be on the range, the more room for error we provide ourselves once we step into the field. So, if all of a sudden arrows aren’t grouping well together, it might not be you at all. The bow might just need a tune up and you’ll be back to the races after the fact. You can’t expect a bow to perform optimally under less than optimal conditions.

Are My Broadheads Flying Accurately?

To add on to the section we just covered, let’s talk about broadhead flight for a second. Shooting field tips and grouping well is one thing. Grouping well with broadheads though is another beast. By adding on a broadhead, especially a fixed blade, we are essentially adding fletchings to the front of our arrow. This will magnify any inconsistencies in a tune, because if the arrow isn’t coming out of the bow straight, those blades up front are going to show it downrange by steering the arrow off course. So, don’t just adjust your bow sight to make your broadheads hit the bullseye. That is merely putting a band aid on a wound that will likely get infected soon after. Bring the bow in for a tune up and by doing so you’ll get better arrow flight which will result in better penetration once your arrow hits an animal.

Any Sudden Noises?

Grady from Ross Outdoors shooting his bow at the archery range

Aside from arrow flight, take note of any unfamiliar noises that pop up. These could happen at any time from the time you draw back all the way through the shot. Maybe it’s a squeak when pulling the bow back. Or maybe it’s a clank once the arrow is released. Whatever the case, it isn’t normal and indicates something is not how it was. With how quiet bows are these days, it’s relatively easy to hear if anything is off. Take advantage of that and pay close attention. It might just save your hunt addressing that new little noise that is “probably nothing.” The moment of truth is not where you want to leave something to chance.

Is There Fraying?

2 Bowhunters at the archery range inspecting a bow string for fraying

Fraying of the strings or cables is a great visual cue that a tune up might be in order. These strings and cables are under an immense amount of pressure literally all the time. Even when the bow is sitting there unused, they are under pressure. Fraying can cause that resistance to lighten up a bit, which can throw things off course. Draw weights decrease and cams go out of time. Both of those will have an impact on where arrows are hitting downrange. To adjust your bow to these new inconsistencies is to adjust to an inconsistency, which is not what we want. Get things in order and act accordingly.

Stay Prepared, Stay in the Hunt

While there are many moving parts to a successful hunt, and our bows are not the end all be all of them, they are a tool. And a very important tool at that. If that tool isn’t working properly, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment, and maybe even heartache. Just like a vehicle, if you run it and run it without maintaining it, eventually things are going to go south. A compound bow is no different. So, take care of your bow, and it will take care of you.

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