Thursday, July 10, 2008

Archery Part III - Accessories

There are several accessories that you will need. You will need a quiver for your arrows. Also needed is an arm guard to prevent the slap of the bowstring from chafing your forearm. And you will need a release. If you are using a compound bow, you will also need a rest.

I use a shooting glove, which goes over the first three fingers of the release hand. Some use a shooting tab, which is an oddly shaped piece of leather instead of a glove. Compound bow users can choose from a wide variety of mechanical releases. I have never used a mechanical release so I cannot offer any advice on their use or advantages.

Since I prefer a shooting glove, and this is where you are connected to the energy of the string, here is where I spent some money. The fingers are doeskin, and it has a Velcro strap the keeps it from flapping about. I prefer the glove because shooting tabs have to be re-positioned between shots, and I don’t like the mechanical releases.

One item that I feel is absolutely necessary is a string silencer. This is nothing more than two lumps of fuzzy material that is attached to the top and bottom of the bowstring, about 6-8” from each end. This stops the bowstring from making that “twang” sound. Arrows, unlike bullets, travel slower than the speed of sound, and deer have an innate reflex to squat when startled. I have seen on video an arrow go flying right over the back of the deer because the deer squatted fast enough.

On the sting of the bow is a little round metal thing that you use to nock the arrow up against. This is set by taking a right angle from the bowstring across the rest. Archery shops have special tools to do it, but it is not really that hard to do, unless you’re using a whisker disk or drop rest. (More on those in a second.) This little metal bead allows consistency because every shot starts with the arrow in the same location.

There are brush buttons which go on your string to stop branches from de-stringing the bow, I never used them, but then again I never hunted.

One nice thing to have, I feel, is a protective tip on the bottom of your longbow. These cost a few bucks and are well worth the $.

Onto the next needed accessory. The armguard serves 2 purposes It prevents the string from slapping your bare arm and causing welts, and it keeps clothing from getting caught in the string on release. This is an essential item. There are a bazillion types and styles, mine is about 9” long and is leather with plastic reinforcements sewn inside. If I was hunting in wintertime, I’d have it over my shirt, and would pull my arm out of my coat to shoot. Bulky coats tend to get in my way, but you got to stay warm.

Now there are many rests available for your bow, if you shoot a compound or a modern, take-down recurve. Traditional bows have two, either your finger, or a shelf. For compounds there are drop rests, whisker rests, and arms.

Whisker rests have a bristles that support the arrow shaft, and offer less drag as the shaft passes along it. The vanes then punch through the whiskers and the arrow is on its merry way. Seems to me the advantage is the arrow is not going anywhere, it cannot fall off of the shelf or pins. These are very popular today, but the bristles wear out over time, be sure to grab a spare.

Then there are the drop arm rests. These hold the arrow with little arms that drop out of the way as soon as the arrow starts going forward. Looks like the arrow can flop around and fall off of the tiny arms, but there is zero resistance to the arrow as it leaves the bow. These are more mechanically complex, and therefore will break more often than the whisker biscuits.

Quivers are used to store arrows. I dislike on-bow quivers because they only hold a few arrows, and it’s not a natural, smooth transition from quiver to nock. Then again, I have never hunted from a tree stand. There is a video on youtube on how to make a great quiver from a PVC tube, fabric, and leather. I will be making one of these for myself. Most often quivers are on the hip, or on the back. I do both depending on the situation, so my quiver will be able to do both. When I make mine I’ll be sure to post pictures.

And then there are sights. I use two, my eyes. (har har)I shoot traditional so no sights are allowed on my longbow. Generally attaching sights to a longbow is a pain anyways, so I think it's best to learn without them. For compound bows you can take advantage of many sights, including laser pointers. After taking a look at the offerings, I think the best way to go is with pins and a peep sight.

Attached to the compound bow is a metal plate that has pins set in channels. These are adjustable for windage and elevation, and usually there are 5 or so pins. Each has a different color, so you can tell which pin is for which distance. The peep is a tiny plastic disk that goes in the bowstring. When you drawback you look through this peep sight, and center the pin in the circle to make your shot. Sighting the pins in is a pain in the neck, but it's worth it.

Finally there are targets. They come in many forms, but in my opinion the blocks are the way to go. They can be shot thousands of times, with field points or broadheads, and are reasonable in price. Hang it from a stand to simulate the vitals of a deer when your in your tree stand. I have seen them as cheap as $40 for a generic one to $70 for a six sided monstrosity that would wear out in 20 years...

Well that concludes the equipment portion of Archery. Be sure to post any questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them. Next chapter is how to shoot.

1 comment:

azyogi said...

Fluflu fletched arrows are easier to recover and good for close shots at small game and birds. For Birds I use a wire head about 4" in diameter. Grouse and gambels quail are easier to hunt by bow than you would think as they don't run from a bow the way they do a gun