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Buy Better Shooting for Only $400

Invest now for huge dividends later!

Buy Better Shooting for Only $400

Field Editor Bill Winke says buying a back-tension release aid and using it during your pre-season shooting practice is one of the best investments you can make in becoming a better bowhunter.

It would be nice if we shot our bows all year long, but the reality is many of us (particularly we whitetail deer hunters) use August as the official start of bow-season prep. I start by getting my bow out and looking at what I need to add or upgrade.

August or September is a great time for this, and my goal with this column is to find a few things you can buy right now that will make a difference in your accuracy this fall. With $400 in my billfold, I am going to set out to buy better shooting.

Back-Tension Release Aid

Learning to make a surprise release is the very best way to beat target panic, making aiming a pleasure and accuracy a foregone conclusion.

After a summer spent practicing with a back-tension release (they have no trigger and fire through a turning motion of your hand), you will reprogram your central nervous system, making you much better able to make a surprise shot when you go back to squeezing the trigger of your normal hunting release.

Back-tension releases also go by the name “hinge release” because of the rotational force required to activate them. There are a number of companies out there offering hinge releases. Personally, I have been using the Ranger from B3 Archery. It will set you back about $160.

A big chunk of our wad is suddenly gone; we have only $240 left to spend. But the good news is we have just taken a huge step toward becoming better archers.

Bigger Peep Sight

When it is bright daylight, no peep sight seems too small; however, in low light on an overcast evening, it seems there are none large enough to permit a clear view of the target.

Well, you can buy a quarter-inch diameter Meta Peep from G5 Outdoors for just $13. Our budget can sure bear that bite, given that the new peep will definitely improve visibility while aiming. Couple that larger diameter peep with the act of centering the entire sight body within the ring (not just the selected pin) and you will enjoy both precision and visibility — a winning combination.

We still have $227 left.

High-Performance Vanes

The goal here is to reduce wind planing by increasing the arrow’s spin rate and overall stability. This is a worthy goal and one that today’s best fletching systems achieve nicely. I have started to four-fletch my arrows, based on the advice of some of the country’s top shooters. You will need to either go to the archery shop to get this done or buy a fletching jig. I suggest buying a fletching jig.

Fletching your own arrows allows you to experiment with different vane configurations and optimize your arrow flight. Winke uses a Bitzenberger jig to fletch four AAE Max Stealth Vanes onto his hunting arrows.

The best I have used is the Bitzenberger. I bought mine from John Dudley’s Nock On Archery shop. It came to my door pre-set for the perfect four-fletch configuration. That cost $109. A 40-pack of AAE Max Stealth Vanes (John sells those also) are $14. You don’t need two colors since there is no need for a cock vane when fletching four. You can’t put a four-fletched arrow on your string wrong.

That leaves just $104 in the billfold.


Precision Broadheads

I love mechanical broadheads and have shot them with good results almost exclusively since 1995. During those years, I have killed around 700 deer; mostly does. So, if I am buying accuracy, I will buy mechanical heads with relatively small cutting diameters of 1.5 inches or less. Such models have compact ferrules and small blades set at sharp angles for good penetration and lethal results.

But not everyone wants to shoot mechanical heads. Fortunately, there are an increasing number of really good fixed-blade broadheads that are precise and compact. These will exhibit only limited wind planing, even with a rough release and a crosswind. Look for heads with limited blade surface to reduce planing. Good broadheads are shockingly expensive. So, we are going to have to make do with just three of them. Total cost is a bit over $50. Now we have just $54 left.

Arrow Squaring Device

I started using G5’s ASD (Arrow Squaring Device) every time I made a new batch of arrows back in the '90s. It is surprising how much difference that little gadget makes in the way my arrows spin. The ASD perfectly squares the end of the arrow (even ones you buy ready made) with the shaft. Having a square foundation makes it much easier to get my broadheads mounted straight in line with the shaft. Straight broadheads mean straight arrow flight.

Here’s where we have to get creative. The ASD sells for $40. Now we have $14 left to work with, and I know the perfect way to spend it.

New Nocks

Your nocks need to be perfectly straight or they will drive the arrow off course. Think about all the abuse nocks take when you repeatedly pound arrows into each other all summer. By summer’s end, many of them are probably damaged, maybe even slightly crooked. I always replace my nocks before I screw broadheads on those arrows to hunt.

You can buy a dozen replacement nocks for about $14, and it is money well spent.

Well, that’s it. We just spent $400 like it was nothing, but I am confident you will see significant accuracy improvement as a result. You really can buy better shooting.

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