September 27, 2022
By Cabe Johnson
Recently, we’ve noticed a lot of big-time bowhunters are missing out on something that could really help them in field.
We’re talking about stabilizers. What are the right kinds? How should they be balanced? How much should they weigh? What about vibration absorption? Many of us have pondered these questions, but finding the right answers is hard.
Our experimentation has shown that adding a stabilizer to your bow means holding steadier. And we’ve also learned that the heavier the stabilizer is, the steadier we can hold. Over time, our bows got heavier and heavier. When we were shooting spots, it was awesome; we could hold steady as a rock. But when we went hunting, we stripped off all the extra weight. Packing a heavy bow all day was no fun.
Amazingly, the steadiness we came to enjoy during the summer disappeared during hunting season. Our holding patterns tripled in size, and so did our groups — and that was before we screwed in broadheads! So, it didn’t take long to put the heavy stabilizers back on, and we learned to use one of our most valuable pieces of hunting equipment, a bow hook. We attach a bow hook to our belts so we can use it to carry our heavy bows on our hips while in the field. We decided the extra accuracy was worth the inconvenience of a heavy bow. After all, when better to hold like a rock than when that big buck steps in front of you?
We wanted to know more about stabilizers and what kinds worked best. What we found was the ones with most of the weight out on the end were far superior to those with more weight closer to the bow. Our holding patterns went from large, fast and jittery to small, slow and smooth. Sure, we had the nifty adjustable stabilizers and the ones with noise- and vibration-dampening abilities. But the ones that helped us hold steadiest were the simplest, holding weight as far away from the bow hand as possible. The further from the hand, and the more weight we added, the steadier our sight picture became.
To further understand this, we had to look to the laws of physics and inertia. These laws tell us that things at rest tend to stay at rest, and the heavier those things are, the more effort it takes to get them moving. Physics also tells us that the less leverage you have in a system, the more force is required to move the weight. So, it makes perfect sense that you will hold steadier and shoot more accurately if you get as much weight on the bow as you can handle and put that weight as far away from the bow hand as possible.
Many of today’s most popular “hunting” stabilizers are designed more to reduce bow noise and vibration than to help you hold steadier. Personally, we would rather trade a little extra vibration during the shot for the opportunity to hold better and shoot better groups. Besides, most of the bows nowadays are a lot smoother and have more built-in anti-vibration technology. So, the need for vibration-reduction is less critical.
Paying a little more attention to these underrated and overlooked accessories can really help your shooting. So, buy a bow hook for your belt, get some weight on that bow and stop missing out!