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Selecting Bow Accessories


In the last post we discussed selecting a new bow and all of the steps in choosing a new bow. Whether you are a hunter or competitive shooter there are many choices available for the archer. But the set up process doesn’t stop there. Now bow hunters have to choose, sights, rests, stabilizers, release aids, arrows, broadheads and quivers.

Again, for many this is purely a brand specific discussion. Many bow hunters will only use one type of arrow, or only one broadhead. But for those looking to expand their horizons let’s discuss some of the options.

Arguably the most important part of the bow for accurate shooting is the rest. If the rest isn’t correctly mounted and adjusted, no matter of tweaking will enable you to shoot accurately. While there are many different types it seems that most hunters and shooters use one of two types. Fall away and total capture. There are good arguments to both, and frankly I use both. I have fall away rests and total capture rests, and for my use, I prefer the total capture rest. On too many occasions while hunting, my arrow has had bumped my riser prior to being drawn with a fall away rest. I know there are safe guards to prevent this by most manufacturers, but the confidence of eliminating this with a total capture rest makes this a better choice for my uses.

The Whisker Biscuit revolutionized the capture rest market and still makes a great product. This design has forced other manufactures to reexamine this through process and we have benefited by having more options available to us in the total capture market. Now, a quick glance through an archery catalog will show not less than several dozen options for total capture rests by major manufacturers. Some even offer micro adjustments and independent “arms” that can be tailored to different size arrow shafts.

Fall away rests are designed to minimize arrow contact through the launch cycle. Basically, once the arrow is launched (String released) the rest falls out of the way producing zero drag on the arrow. There is a definite benefit to this option. Target and tournament shooters almost all use this style or rest for greater accuracy. And many successful hunters also use a fall away rest. I would recommend looking at the different options and choosing one that suits your style and one that will hold the non-drawn arrow in place to eliminate any unwanted arrow to riser contact.

Once the rest is chosen, the next item to choose is a sight. Here again, it can get very confusing. But for simplicity, let’s stick with fixed pin, one pin and adjustable pin sights. My experience shows that hunters seem to prefer fixed pin sights that offer everything from between one and five pins in their sight options. Hunters who choose one pin often set this sight pin for 30 yards. And making the adjustment depending on where the deer or other animal is. Personally, I like a four pin fixed for hunting. This allows me to set them in ten yard increments beginning at 20 yards and extending to 50 yards. Yet I also have a sight with three fixed and one adjustable sight for the longer ranges. This really provided the best of both worlds. Three fixed and for the random shots, one that is adjustable. While my experience shows that I have never used it in a hunting situation, I like having the option should the need arise.

Other hunters like the one pin adjustable sight. Preset at a specified distance, they can make micro adjustments as the target presents itself. Again this is purely preference for the shooter. Choosing a good sight that aligns well with your style can range the gamut from around $50 to well over $300. Most are somewhere in the one hundred dollar range and lasts for years.

Quivers are for many the least important item to choose. However, For my style, I really like one that is light and quickly detaches. I seldom take more than four arrows anyway so a six or eight arrow quiver is mute. Unless I am hunting in the west and doing a lot of spot and stalk hunting, four is plenty.

Release aids for bowhunters are basically in two categories. Thumb release and caliper finger release. I really like the thumb release when target shooting, but when hunting I prefer the caliper release, I find it easier to draw a bow in cold climates with the wrist strap. Using my upper back more allows me to relax my shooting hand and make more accurate shots. There are many to choose from, and I would recommend going to your local pro shop and asking to try different styles prior to purchasing.

Choosing arrows is also difficult at times. Easton, Beaman and Gold Tip dominate the market for carbon arrows. All make excellent choices. While there are other brands out there, Carbon Force, Carbon Express, and Victory to name a few, the big three are all excellent choices. For hunting purposes, the micro diameter arrows by Easton, Beaman and Gold Tip enhance penetration by reducing arrow drag through the animal. This leads to bigger blood trails, more clean pass through shots and better animal recovery. The Easton Axis, Beaman Night Force and Gold Tip Pro Hunter all are excellent shafts. The key component is to get one that fits your bow set up and this all comes to spine weight. As Mitch McKay at Gold Tip explained, “one cannot be over spined in arrow choices” When in doubt, choose the heavier arrow.  A stiffer arrow will always outperform one that is too light. All of the top brands offer charts to help bow hunters in their selection.

Getting a new bow and accessories is always exciting and can lead to years of enjoyment. A little research now can eliminate days and weeks of frustration for hunters and shooters. Take the time and get the best equipment you can afford. Fortunately most manufacturers have many models to choose from. Making the selections now can get you prepared for better hunting in the fall.