By Kevin Tate/Outdoors Writer
With the first days of archery season now less than a month away, a few moments spent checking critical gear now can avoid lots of disappointment on opening morning.
Modern compound bows are amazing machines, but they require maintenance just like any other. Knowing what to look for and how to fix it are important elements of responsible ownership. For a quick checklist, here are a few items the bow-tuning experts have to offer:
• Make sure your strings and your cables are waxed. Wax helps both of these critical components do their job without snagging or breaking. Cables and strings in need of wax will typically appear dry, with a gray or white color, and may show signs of wear in the form of fraying or fuzz. Bow wax is available in tube form from your local archery shop. Spread a small amount of wax on a section of string or cable, then rub the area vigorously with a piece of leather to heat the wax up so it can soak in among the strands and coat evenly. Strings and cables that are neglected long enough will eventually break, and buck fever has nothing on an exploding compound bow for sudden excitement.
• Check your arrows for cracks or dents, especially if you’re shooting aluminum instead of carbon. Damaged arrows should be removed from circulation immediately. Re-fletch any arrows that need new fletchings or vanes.
• Check your sight pins to make sure there are no loose or broken parts. If your setup includes a piece of rubber tubing that keeps your peep sight pointed downrange, check it for dry rot or wear. A slap in the eye with a rubber hose is not an ideal start to a new bow season.
• Sharpen or replace broadheads. Many mechanical and fixed-blade broadheads offer replaceable parts or can be inexpensively replaced altogether. More traditional broadheads, however, require regular sharpening whether they’ve been used or not. Like a Case pocket knife on a stick, oxidation alone can cause them to dull and they should be touched up often.
• Consider taking your bow to an archery shop for a tuneup. A professional archery shop will make sure your nock point and rest are aligned correctly. It will also service the cams and check for any other problems the bow may have developed, either in use or in storage.