October 28, 2010
We put a lot of work into making sure our archery equipment is tuned to perfection. Some people laugh at all our time and effort. Sure we may go a little overboard, but we hate surprises and want our arrows to hit where they are aimed. There are many things that can go wrong at the moment of truth, and we don't want lack of preparation to be the cause.
Never assume your bow is on target after a long trip to hunting camp. Always double check your accuracy on the range before heading afield.
We spend a lot of time tuning arrow rests, sighting in, quieting our bows and getting all our arrows to fly the same. We forget that not everyone understands what we take for granted. We recently experienced a situation that reminded us about an equipment check not everyone does, but should.
Our hunting camp is a six-hour drive from home. One of the things we've learned is transporting our equipment can cause something to change on our bow. Some of us don't take the accessories off to transport and still have accuracy issues. The real problem seems to be the change in location; whether it's elevation, humidity or aliens, we aren't really sure. There are a lot of factors that seem beyond our control. So, we got in the habit of shooting our bows at hunting camp just to make sure everything was right.
This year, when we got to hunting camp, one of us was hitting 10 inches to the right at 40 yards. There was no explanation for it. He is one of our better shooters and is very meticulous with his equipment. To see such a huge discrepancy was rather surprising (the changes are generally not that dramatic). He adjusted his sight as needed and soon he was grouping and shooting just fine. He felt very fortunate he had checked his equipment, because 10 inches could definitely be the difference between meat in the freezer and a lost animal.
Every one of us at hunting camp had to make sight adjustments last year. The adjustments were not all as large or in the same direction. But by making pin adjustments, we were able to get dialed back in.
We did, however, have an unfortunate turn of events with one of our hunting buddies who got to camp a little late. Even though it was suggested he should shoot some arrows before he went out hunting, he didn't feel the need and went out hunting. He ended up shooting an animal, and the hit was not so good. Thankfully, we were lucky enough to retrieve it. When he finally decided to check his equipment, he found he was hitting six inches to the right at 25 yards. That had meant the difference between lungs and a bad liver shot.
We are BIG believers that if we travel any significant distance, we need to shoot our bow no matter how well it was hitting at home. And we don't just shoot field points or our practice broadheads. We shoot our No. 1 and No. 2 arrows and make sure they are hitting where they should be. We know re-sharpening or replacing blades is a pain, but our accuracy is more important than inconvenience. We don't want to bust our butts hunting all season just to wind up wounding or missing a hard won shot because our bow is not hitting where we thought it was.
If you don't check your equipment, what could have been the highlight of your year could turn out to be its biggest disappointment.