This is a great time of year to start preparing for the upcoming fall crossbow hunting season. Whether you are new to crossbows or a seasoned veteran, proper maintenance and tuning of your crossbow, selecting the right arrow and practicing your shooting routine are all activities that will help you be ready when the season arrives.
- Review your crossbow owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance procedures – use this information to make a checklist for yourself for future maintenance activities.
- Visually inspect the condition of the string and cables, looking for worn servings or broken strands, and have them changed if you find excessive wear or if you have not had the string and cables changed in the past two years.
- Apply string wax and/or string conditioner to the string and cables if they do not need to be changed.
- Check the timing of the cams to make sure that they are working in unison – most cams will have dots machined on the top side of each cam. If they are out of proper timing, schedule an appointment with your local archery dealer to have the timing adjusted correctly.
- Check all screws and bolts in the crossbow and tighten any that may have worked loose from previous use.
- Apply a light gun oil or protective lubricant to any parts that have the potential to rust, especially the trigger mechanism.
- Apply lubricant to the flight rail as needed.
- If you find any other problems with your crossbow, schedule an appointment with your local archery dealer to have the condition repaired now, instead of waiting until the last minute and getting caught up in the fall rush.
Arrow and Broadhead Selection
- To begin to narrow your arrow and broadhead options, review your crossbow owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s arrow specification requirements like minimum finished arrow weight, maximum fletching height profile and nock type.
- Not following the manufacturer’s requirements may cause the crossbow to become unsafe or malfunction.
- Research your state’s hunting regulations to determine if there are local guidelines that you must follow regarding minimum arrow length, weight and broadhead types.
- If you don’t already have a preference to shoot aluminum or carbon shafts, research the pros and cons of both materials to decide what’s best for you.
- Only purchase broadheads that are specifically designed for crossbows.
- Shoot-tune your crossbow arrows after you purchase them and always take practice shots with your broadheads to ensure accuracy in the field.
Practice, Practice, Practice
- Review your crossbow owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended cocking, loading and firing procedures.
- Develop a shooting routine that you follow each time you take a shot, and strictly adhere to this routine in all shooting situations.
- Familiarize yourself with the correct method for cocking your crossbow, then follow this method every time – this is critical to achieving shooting consistency and accurate arrow groups.
- Never load the arrow in a way that puts your hand or fingers in the path of the bowstring.
- Inspect your arrows after every shot for damage and loose field points or broadheads.
- Adopt a breathing control routine when taking the shot.
- Follow-through after the shot by watching the arrow hit the target through the scope.
Now that your crossbow is tuned, you have the best arrow and broadhead combination, and you have practiced shooting the crossbow within a developed routine, you should be confident when the moment arrives to take the shot at a deer when the season arrives.
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