Archery Tips: Ready Your Bow for that Big Buck

You've been practicing all summer to be ready when that shooter buck walks under your stand. Don't let one of the following gear malfunctions ruin your one shot.

Improper Draw Length
Eighty percent of all shooting problems are caused by an improper draw length--usually too long. Go have your local bow-shop pro measure you using a steel tape or marked arrow shaft and, if necessary, fix your bow's draw length.

Loose Cable Guard
Make sure the cable guard is still tight and secure after long practice sessions. A loose one can cause inconsistent arrow flight, and because this problem is easily overlooked, you can pull your hair out trying to understand why your shots are suddenly off the mark.

Worn Release
Even when your bow is perfectly tuned, you can get poor arrow flight if your mechanical release aid is worn or there's too much travel in the trigger. You want the arrow's release to be a planned surprise. If it feels unplanned or like no surprise at all, you need a new release aid.

Misaligned Inserts
After sighting in for your broadheads, spin-test each hunting arrow before going afield. If the head wobbles, use a butane lighter to carefully reheat the glue holding the insert and rotate both insert and broadhead together until the wobble is tamed. If this fails, set the arrow aside or bring it to your pro shop.

Last-Minute Changes
Once you've done the above, avoid any last-minute changes to your bowhunting outfit. Think of systems theory: A change in any one component can mess up the whole system. If you must change a nock or replace your stabilizer, say, be sure to hit the range before your next hunt.