If you hunt long enough, your gear will fail.
By Bob Robb
It was the first day of a long-awaited rut hunt. I was hunting on a farm known for producing big bucks, and I was so pumped I barely slept a wink. An hour before first light I climbed into my stand, secured my safety belt, and began hauling my bow up. I had it three feet from the platform when, to my horror, the pull rope came untied and the bow went crashing to the ground. I climbed down to find my sight was completely trashed. Two of my five pins were broken, and the housing was bent.
My pricey week-long guided hunt could have been all over before it even started … except I was prepared. I radioed my guide, who came and picked me up. Back at the lodge, I dug into my bow case and pulled out my spare sight, attached it, and then went out to check the zero. I was back up a different tree just three hours later.
There is no doubt in my mind that the infamous Murphy of Murphy’s Law was a diehard archer. Modern compound bows and their accessories are intricate tools with parts that take constant pampering just to keep them in tune and properly sighted in. There is not an experienced bow-hunter that, at some time, has not been bitten in the behind by some sort of equipment malfunction. It’s not a big deal if it happens at home or on the practice range. It’s a different story in hunting camp, especially if you are in a remote camp or hunting in rural America where the nearest archery pro shop is 100 miles away.
You need to be able to solve any problems that occur mid-hunt by yourself. The best way to do this is to anticipate anything that can go wrong — everything — and take preventative measures before leaving home.
I have learned about lots of these issues simply because I have played with lots of bows and accessories over a lot of years. One thing I have learned is that you should never trust a hunt to an untested piece of equipment — whether it’s an arrow rest, bow sight, peep sight or release aid.
Recently, I was in Quebec with the new Hoyt Carbon Matrix bow. I had a drop-away rest on it, but when I got to camp and took some practice shots I saw the cord that pulls the launcher arms up was fraying on a slight imperfection in the rest housing. Fortunately, I had a spare piece of the right-sized cord in my traveling tool kit and was able to make a hasty repair. Had I not been prepared, though, my hunt would have been in jeopardy.
An Ounce of Prevention
You can prevent a lot of problems with your bow’s accessories, at least in part, by selecting only time-tested designs with the fewest moving parts and bomb-proof construction.
Then, after you’ve assembled the bow, look at every part and try to visualize anything that might go wrong and learn how to fix them.
Here’s what I do now when traveling any distance from home:
First, I have two bows all set up, tuned, sighted in and ready to hunt. If my No. 1 bow goes down for any reason, I simply grab No. 2 and get back after it.
I also have a little field repairs kit that goes with me everywhere. It has everything from spare screws and rest parts to a tube of super glue. Other necessities include string serving material, nock sets, string loop material, a roll of electrician’s tape, extra peeps and a string separator.
I also travel with a spare release aid and complete set of Allen wrenches. About the only camp repair I cannot make is replacing a bowstring. But since I have a spare bow, that doesn’t bother me much. I also bring a soft bow case along to protect my bow when traveling in a truck or on an ATV.
This might sound like paranoia to some — except Murphy, who is always waiting.
— Bob Robb is a professional outdoor writer and accomplished whitetail bow-hunter from Arizona.
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