BOWHUNTING ACCURACY

Silencing Your Bow

by Jason R. Snavely


Contrary to the belief of most archery hunters, speed will not compensate for a loud bow.

Modern bowhunters are rapidly jumping on the band wagon and buying bows that are fast. Unfortunately, these bowhunters are overlooking the noise factor. Speed versus noise has been one of the many heated topics in the bowhunting world over the past few years.

I am hear to tell you, regardless of bow speed, Big Game animals will always hear the twang of a bow before an arrow penetrates the "boiler room".

Contrary to popular belief, it is virtually impossible to shoot an arrow from a bow fast enough to beat the acute hearing of an animal such as the whitetail deer.

Most modern bowhunters fail to educate themselves, therfore they are unaware of the keen hearing and amazingly quick reflexes of Big Game. An average whitetail buck has a vital kill zone of eight inches. Therefore the deer needs to move only four inches to put a damper on a successful hunt.

An alarmed whitetail is capable of moving more than four inches at the twang of a bowstring. In fact, through slow-motion video tape, it has been proven that an alert buck is capable of moving 12 to 24 inches to escape an arrow.

Let us logic this matter out. Some modern bows are shooting 300 feet per second. Sound travels at about 1100 feet per second--nearly four times faster than a quick, modern bow. According to neurologists, an arrow must travel at a velocity of 750 feet per second to make contact before any Big Game animal can drop, jump or twirl out of the way of a perfect shot. This popular phenomenon is known in the archery hunting world as "string jumping".

String jumping is an archers worst nightmare. Arrow speed in itself will not combat string jumping.

Using a good stabilizer is often overlooked. A good rubber-loaded or hydraulic stabilizer system will absorb bow noise drastically. Always make sure a stabilizer is the perfect weight. A stabilizer should cause the bow to sit straight up and down in your extended hand. This will drastically decrease muscle tension. Muscle tension will throw off your accuracy.

Don't ever shoot at a Big Game animal that has it's ears forward in a cup-like position. It is not reccommended that a bowhunter takes a shot if an animals radar is bearing down. It is also important to shoot when an animals muscles are relaxed, not tense. It is wise to wait (sometimes hard to do) for the animal to feed or become pre-occupied with another animal.

Make sure sleeves and other clothing are completely out of the way of the bowstring. A string that is intercepted by a sleeve will make a loud whack. The collision of a bowstring and hunting clothes will cause an arrow to hit left or right. An arm guard will often pull a sleeve out of the way.

When practicing on the backyard 3-D, I wear the actual clothes that I plan to wear hunting. I realize it may be an inconvenience sometimes, however it will pay off in the long run.

String silencers will also help to dampen the vibration of a bowstring. You should attach string silencers at both ends of the bowstring. Keep in mind, the closer to the middle of the string, the more inertia the string must overcome. I attach my string silencers about six inches from each end. Silencers made of rubber filaments or fleece will often work well. Some bowhunters simply use skirts from bass plugs.

Always be sure to check arrow rest screws. Coat the prongs of a metal arrow rest, such as the TM Hunter, with rubber tubing. Using rubber on a metal arrow rest eliminates the sliding noise that tends to inform everything in the woods of an archers presence. Rubber tubing is put on by melting it around the prongs with a lighter. I suggest putting the rubber on closer to the season. Shooting during off season will rapidly wear it down.

Most importantly, always check for loose sight pins or screws. A zing of a loose sight pin will always put a deer's belly to the ground and tail in the air. Screws tend to rattle loose if they are not occasionally tightened. Make sure all quiver attatchments are tight. I prefer to use a hip quiver that I strap around the tree when I am in my tree stand.

Silencing your hunting bow for the upcoming season is not time consuming, it is smart. A quiet hunting bow consists a of solid noise dampering system. Let's face it, arrow speed alone will not combat string jumping. With a quiet and accurate bow you will have one heck of a season!

Good luck and good bowhunting!

Jason R. Snavely

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