Time is a peculiar thing indeed. It can crawl along ever so slowly, or race past in a blink And sometimes, it seems to do both. Such is the case with bow season. Just yesterday, it seemed so far off. Today? It’s practically here. Are you ready? If you’ve allowed the archery opener to creep up on you, rest easy—all is not lost. There’s still time to get yourself in shape for your best bow season ever. But you need to get started—right now.
1. Tune It
The first task to address is a critical one. To get your entire rig into shooting shape, you must also focus on your broadheads. We’re not talking about a full-scale tuning session here. Instead, the goal is simple: Hit the target where you’re aiming.
Too often bowhunters paint broadhead tuning as a time-consuming and difficult process. Hogwash. Hopefully you’ve shot your bow at least a few times over the summer months and are reasonably happy with the results. If that’s the case, tuning your broadheads should take 30 minutes or less.
Get in Line
If my bow is shooting tight groups at 30 to 40 yards using field points, I’m reluctant to change much. I’ll screw my broadheads onto the same size and weight arrow shaft I’ve been practicing with all summer. The key is to align everything before taking that first shot with a broadhead. If you’re using fixed blades, you’ll want to align each blade with the arrow vanes. Here’s how:
- If you used hot-melt adhesive to install your inserts: Simply screw the fixed broadhead in tight, heat the arrow shaft to soften the adhesive, and align the blades with the vanes.
- If your inserts are glued in: Install a small rubber O-ring between the broadhead and the arrow. This will allow you to fine-tune blade alignment while still screwing the broadhead in tight.
There’s no need to worry about blade alignment if you used mechanical heads—just screw them in tight and start shooting.
Next, spin the broadhead-tipped shafts like a top on a hard, flat surface. If they wobble, they won’t fly right. That wobble could be the result of a crooked insert or bent ferrule on the broadhead itself. Correct the problem before moving on.
With the blades aligned and the shaft spinning true, it’s time to shoot those broadheads. My routine involves shooting from 20 yards, then 30, then 40.
If my bow is reasonably tuned, both fixed-blade broadheads and mechanical heads should hit within an inch or so of where the field points hit.
To adjust for minor variances in impact points of fixed-blade heads, I’ll adjust my sights. I’m far more concerned with groupings than variances in impact points between broadheads and field points. So long as I’m able to shoot tight groups from my maximum effective range, no further tuning is needed and I’m good to go—even if I had to adjust my sight pins slightly.
Mechanicals have a similar profile to field points in flight, so the process is usually simple. If they don’t hit where your field points hit, you either have a major tuning issue (which would likely be apparent when shooting field points anyway) or the blades are deploying early. Try shooting a different broadhead of the same brand. If the problem persists, try a different mechanical brand. If both group erratically, it’s likely a tuning issue. If that’s the case, your only recourse is to paper-tune the bow.
2. Scout It
Put your bow away for the day. Lace up your boots and grab a couple of treestands. It’s time to seek out your early-season spots.
I was once an advocate of the “hang your stands well before the season starts” approach. Not anymore. These days, I prefer to wait until just a few days before the opener to…