3 Things to Do to Your Bow this Offseason

3 Things to Do to Your Bow this Offseason

January 5, 2024 by Leigh Hauck

Welcome to the off season!

Winter is a time for many bowhunters – including myself – that demands some rest. After the trials of 3 months of bowhunting here in Alberta, I am always burnt out by the end of it.

When December 1 rolls around, I hang my bow up, spend the next month processing meat, and try to have a mental reset. Naturally, it doesn’t take long until I start to plan my next season’s hunting trips and I start itching for the next adventure.

While there isn’t much hunting to be done for most of us in the dead of winter, it is the perfect time to put your bow on the workbench and get it dialed in for spring. There is no reason to put it off! The winter is the perfect time to give your bow a ‘tune up’, check your arrows, and make decisions on any changes you will make to your setup before it’s time to start shooting again.

When the first day of warm weather comes in, I want to be on the range... not pulling my bow out of its case and starting to work on it. Here are 3 things I do to my bow every winter to get ready for next season! 

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Check over each of your arrows

 While this first one is not something you do to your bow, it is crucial to everything else we are going to do later on.  We don’t tend to think of arrows as things that wear out, but they do.

As you shoot an arrow, the spine slowly breaks down until one day the arrow is totally worn out. If you ever have had one arrow in your quiver just start shooting all over the place out of nowhere, this is probably what has happened.

Arrows also can bend over time. Modern pure carbon arrows are highly resistant to holding a bend, but any arrow with aluminum will almost certainly get bent out of shape over time.

You also may have an arrow which is perfectly straight, but your insert has bent.

Again, this won’t happen very often with stainless or brass components, but it happens all the time with aluminum (a key reason that I avoid any aluminum insert/outsert/or component system).

Your first step is to put each arrow on a spinner. Take a brand new broadhead or one that you know spins perfectly and spin each arrow. I like to separate mine out into three piles: one for those that are still flawless, one for those that have a micro-wobble in the tip, and one pile for arrows which just don’t spin anymore and need to be trashed.

I will keep the perfect ones aside as hunting arrows and shoot the ones with a micro-wobble for practice with field points. They will work fine for that, but don’t attempt hunting with an arrow that has even the slightest wobble.

Depending on how many arrows are in my ‘perfect pile’, I will either build some more of the same arrow, or if there are only a couple that are good for hunting, I might think about a new arrow build for the coming year!

Shoot through paper!

The ‘litmus test’ for a bow is shooting through paper. Take a few of your perfect arrows and make some perfect shots through paper. Focus on hand form and release execution.

A perfect bow may shoot a terrible hole through paper just because your hand form is inconsistent, this is such an under-acknowledged concept!

If you’re lucky, you will shoot a perfect hole through paper. If I were you, I would build some new arrows exactly like your old ones and put things away. Your next step will be some garage or basement blank bailing, and waiting out the cold weather until spring.

If your bow doesn’t shoot a perfect hole through paper, you need to go back to the drawing board. Start at step one of the bow build (link to my bow build tutorial series) and work your way though until you find the cause of the bad tear.

Check your arrows centershot. Has it moved or is it still perfect? Is your arrow rest still level? Maybe your yokes have stretched causing a left or right tear? Take things one step at a time and keep checking your hole through paper.

Once it is back to shooting bullets, have a beer and relax. The hard part is over!

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 Assess any changes you want to make to your accessories

Once your bow is good to go again, it is a good time to look back on your hunting experiences with your setup from the previous season. Was there a time where something on your bow hindered your ability to make a good shot? Was something on your bow constantly getting in the way while you hiked? Did you find it challenging to carry your bow on long foot treks?

I always try to spend as much time as possible reflecting on my bow and how it performed for me (and how I performed with it) in the season. A NASCAR team can’t make changes to the car during the race, but they will do anything they can between races to make it perform better next time.

This past season, I got tired of carrying my bow in hand on long treks during my mule deer hunt. I would go for 3-5 mile journeys at a time. I am not willing to put my bow on my pack in such a situation, because you never know how quickly you might need it.

I also can’t stand the bow slings which cover your string and cams. Sure, they offer a level of protection and let you carry your bow with relative ease – but they are such a pain to get on and off, and they never seem to fit quite right.

My solution to this for 2024 is a paracord bow sling. I bought 100 feet of paracord and learned a standard cobra weave. I crafted a 40” length of the braid, and tied it onto the right side of my bow. It is lightweight, and out of the way of my sight and rest.

If all goes well, I should be able to have a sling which is permanently affixed to my bow but never in the way of my shot. Small changes like this can go a long way and the off-season is the time to implement them. I do not want to be getting used to a new piece on my bow in the middle of a hunt.

A small change can make a big difference.

Even if that small change isn’t something you do to your bow. If you feel that your setup is perfect and you are reluctant to change anything, that is a good place to be!

I would still urge you to make an “Archer’s New Year Resolution” to try to make yourself even 1% better than you were last year. If that is just taking your bow out once a week for a few shots in the basement throughout the winter, or adding an exercise to your workout routine that is geared towards your archery muscles, these small things can go a long way; and we all have time to make ourselves better bowhunters!

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If you have any questions or would like to discuss the topic further, please feel free to reach out to us at sales@toothofthearrowbroadheads.com

We are always more than happy to talk arrows and broadheads with fellow bowhunters!

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