John's Journal...


Spin-Check Your Arrows and Stop the Rattle

EDITOR’S NOTE: "Yes!" I exclaimed as the arrow I released from my bow hit the bull's-eye 30 yards from my backyard deck. Well, I still seemed to possess my bowhunting magic from the previous year's season. Later, feeling confident after a week's worth of practice in my backyard, I packed all my equipment into my bow case and left my house in a last-minute frenzy for a bowhunting trip to Montana. When I arrived at the famous Milk River in Montana near the Canadian border, I took a few practice arrows out of my bow case and started shooting. Although my arrows did hit the target, they wouldn't consistently fly straight. I asked Ralph Cianciarulo, an archery pro from Lanark, Illinois, to check out my equipment and my shooting form. I wanted to know what changes he thought I should make in my bowhunting tackle. I realized that when you hunted with a master hunter, you needed to learn all you could from him to idiot-proof your bowhunting. He'll enable you to hunt better, shoot straighter and take game more efficiently.

Click to enlargeAlthough my arrows grouped within the bull's-eye in my backyard, they didn't group as tightly as they could have when I shoot at deer camp. Cianciarulo first checked the straightness of my arrows by spin-checking them. Some of my arrows wobbled, indicating they had crooked shafts. We checked the 12 arrows I'd brought on the hunt and found that only eight of the shafts had arrived from my trip unaltered. "When you spin-check your arrows, often you'll find two to three floaters, arrows that aren't quite straight, out of 10 to 12 arrows," Cianciarulo reported. "When you check your arrows, number them from one to six in the order of their performance. Then you can begin your hunt with your best arrows. Make your number-one arrow in your quiver the straightest and truest-flying one in the group. The other four or five arrows in your quiver need to shoot just as accurately as your number-one arrow." So what do you do with the slightly-bent arrows to keep from wasting the money you've spent to buy them? "Either use them to stake tomatoes, or break them and throw them away," Cianciarulo suggested. "An arrow shaft that's not perfectly straight will make you miss the target Click to enlargewhere you're aiming. Eliminate those shafts as soon as you discover them. Spin-check your arrows after you get to the hunt, regardless of how carefully you pack them."

Stop the Rattle:

While I practiced my shooting at the camp before the hunt, Cianciarulo detected a rattling sound that I couldn't hear coming from my bow when I released the arrow. "When you ship your bow across the country, the bolts holding the rest, the sight and the quiver to your bow often will become loose," Cianciarulo said. "Even the best-tuned bows will come out of the case making noises they haven't made at home. This noise may be coming from the arrow rest, the quiver or other parts of the bow. When you take your bow out of its bow case, tighten every bolt on the bow with your Allen wrench." Keep in mind that the airport baggage handlers don't handle your bow case as if it contains the finely-tuned instrument it does. Look out the window of the plane. You'll see the baggage handlers throwing, pitching and stacking luggage as though it contains nothing more important than dirty laundry.

Click to enlarge To learn more about bowhunting, order John E. Phillips’ book “The Masters’ Secrets of Bowhunting” for $13.50, which includes shipping and handling, and his “Jim Crumley’s Bowhunting Secrets” (Crumley is a longtime, avid bowhunter who created Trebark camouflage) for $15.50, which includes shipping and handling, by sending a check or money order to Night Hawk Publications, 4112 Camp Horner Road, Birmingham, AL 35243, or using PayPal, account – . You can see more information at
To order both bowhunting books, pay only $25, which includes shipping and handling.


Check back each day this week for more about “IDIOT-PROOF YOUR BOWHUNTING”

Day 1: Spin-Check Your Arrows and Stop the Rattle
Day 2: Listen for Quiver Noise and Squeaks
Day 3: Check the Tube and the String
Day 4: Have a Clean Release
Day 5: Inspect the Edge and the Wind Checker



Entry 319, Day 1