John's Journal...


How to Tune Your Bow

EDITOR'S NOTE: You can find a trophy buck to hunt and put your tree stand in the best place possible to get the shot. But, if you miss the buck when it comes less than 30 yards from you with his head down, standing broadside to you, you've made all that effort for nothing. Bowhunters often miss deer because they haven't properly tuned their equipment. John “Boo” Stiff manages the archery department at Mark's Outdoors in Birmingham, Alabama. During the course of his career, he’s set up and tuned about 6,000 bows. Today we’ll look at Stiff's 10-point checklist for tuning a bow, not only before deer season starts but also during the season.

* "Check the timing if you're shooting a double-cam bow to make sure that both cams roll over in unison," Stiff recommends. "You can draw the bow back to see if one cam rolls over ahead of the other. You also can feel one cam rolling over before the other when you draw the bow. To solve this problem, simply add some twist to the string and cables to get the bow back in time.”

Click to enlarge* “Make sure the cam has optimal rotation, so it can give maximum performance," Stiff says. "You may want to have this finely-tuned aspect of your bow checked at a pro shop."

* "Check the tiller," Stiff suggests. "Both limbs of the bow need to be backed out or tightened-down equally. Always tighten or loosen both limb bolts on the bow the same number of turns. If you take one turn off the top limb bolt, also take one turn (loosen the limb bolt one rotation) off the bottom limb bolt. The limbs must both sit in the limb pocket the same way for the bow to shoot accurately."

* "Check your nock point to see if it's set at the correct position on the string," Stiff advises. "You can check the nock point by notching an arrow and making sure that the arrow sits level on the string and on the rest. Also, the arrow must sit level on the string and on the rest when you pull the bow to full draw. Sometimes if you set your nock point when the bow's at rest, the arrow will look level. However, when you draw the bow, the arrow will sit on the string either too low or too high. To be certain your arrow is sitting level at full draw, have another experienced archer look at your arrow for you when you pull to full draw."

Click to enlarge* "Examine the vane's clearance," Stiff says. "When you shoot the arrow, the vanes on the arrow shouldn't come in contact with the arrow rest or any other part of the bow. Nine times out of 10, if the vanes contact any part of the bow, you'll see the arrow kick and fishtail. Or, when you pull your arrows out of the target, you'll see a mark on the vane made by the heat shrink on the arrow rest."

* "Make sure you have the correct arrow for the amount of poundage you plan to shoot," Stiff emphasizes. "Check an arrow chart at a bow shop. Often a bowhunter will make the mistake of finding arrows on sale and buy a dozen arrows - not knowing how they are spined. If the arrow has too much spine or too little spine for the weight of the bow you pull, the arrow either will kick to the left or to the right. If you shoot a 20-yard shot, you'll see the arrow kick out as it comes out of the bow and then try and correct itself."

* "Paper tune your bow," Stiff explains. "Shoot an arrow through a piece of paper. An arrow shot from a properly-tuned bow will leave a bullet-hole-size circle where the point of the arrow pierces the paper. Too, you'll see three slight tears around the bullet hole. These tears indicate that the arrow has flown straight and correctly from a properly-tuned bow. If the arrow tears the paper more to one side or the other or more high or low, then you need to go back and check steps 1 through 7 again because somewhere in your tuning process something isn’t right."

Click to enlarge* "Shoot several arrows at 30 yards to know if you have a tight group," Stiff explains. "With a tuned bow, you should be able to put six arrows inside an 8-inch circle consistently at 30 yards."

* "Tune your broadhead," Stiff advises. "Your broadhead needs to line-up with your fletches. If you shoot a three-bladed broadhead, make sure the broadhead's blades line up with the vanes on the shaft. If you shoot a four-bladed broadhead, your fletches need to center-up between the blades. You also can spin-check your broadhead. If you spin your arrow on the tip of the broadhead, and the arrow wobbles, then you need to tune your broadhead. If your arrow wobbles, then twist the broadhead slightly left or right until the arrow doesn't wobble when spun."


Check back each day this week for more about "HOW TO SHOOT YOUR BOW BETTER"

Day 1: How to Tune Your Bow
Day 2: Shoot Short and Light, and Choose Quality Accessories with Allen Conners
Day 3: Check Your Equipment before You Hunt, and Line Up Your Peep Sight for All Types of Shooting
Day 4: Practice Judging Yardage, Don’t Just Shoot Dots, and Learn to Shoot Under Pressure
Day 5: Use Carbon Arrows, Keep Your Bow at Arm’s Length, and Don’t Let Your Ego Cause You to Miss Deer



Entry 316, Day 1