Summer Prep for Crossbow Hunters
By Burt Carey
Summer is the perfect time to hone-in your crossbow shooting skills in preparation for the upcoming season. Before sending arrows downrange, though, turn your attention to any repairs or maintenance needed for your crossbow.
“Proper maintenance of your crossbow is essential for accuracy, safety, and reliability,” says Bryan Zabitski, service manager of TenPoint Crossbow Technologies. After checking the owner’s manual for proper maintenance procedures, Zabitski recommends inspecting every element of your crossbow, beginning with the condition of the string and cables, which can show some wear and tear from previous seasons.
“A crossbow is a complex machine with many parts that must work together for the bow to function properly and consistently,” Zabitski said. “TenPoint recommends changing the string and cables every two to three years due to the stretching of the material that occurs over that period of time.”
In addition, check the cams to ensure they are working in unison, and be sure that all screws and bolts are tightened.
If repairs are needed, take care of them immediately with your bow shop to beat the late summer rush.
Your crossbow’s rail should be lubed every 75 to 100 shots under normal conditions. Be careful, though, as applying too much lube can cause excessive wear on your string’s center serving. If your crossbow is equipped with an ACUdraw unit, too much lube could cause your ACUdraw felt pad to fall off as well.
Rail lube should also be used anytime your crossbow gets wet. When this occurs, dry the crossbow thoroughly, and then re-apply a fresh coat of rail lube. About one hour after application, the rail lube will dry to a thin glaze.
TenPoint offers one of the finest collections of Instructional Videos on their website, including one on crossbow maintenance.
After making sure your crossbow is in top working condition, select the correct crossbow arrow and broadhead – this is critical.
“In today’s market, there are several different types of finished arrows available for crossbows, and there are even more broadhead offerings,” says Zabitski. “To narrow your options, reference your crossbow manufacturer’s owner’s manual for weight, fletching, and nock requirements. For your safety and for a proper functioning of your crossbow, it is critical that you strictly follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.”
If you don’t already have a preference for carbon or aluminum shafts, Zabitski recommends researching the pros and cons of both to decide what’s best for you. You should take into account the maximum distance you will be shooting in the field and the game you will be pursuing. If you aren’t sure, ask your local bow shop proprietor.
The length, weight and broadhead design may also be regulated by state or local hunting regulations. Be sure your selection is within allowed parameters.
Now you’re ready for the fun part – sending arrows downrange. While crossbow shooting may seem like an easy task, you’ll want to work on your technique every chance you get.
Target practice is about much more than just shooting arrows. This is when crossbow hunters should develop a routine for cocking, loading and firing the crossbow, steps you’ll want to perform in a practiced, smooth technique once hunting season opens. Those who cock their crossbow by hand may want to consider investing in a cocking mechanism for consistency.
“Familiarize yourself with the correct method for using your cocking device and follow this method every time,” says Zabitski. “Not only will this help you avoid cocking problems in the field but it will also help to ensure that the string latch engages the string in a consistent fashion every time.”
Load your arrow so that it makes contact with the flight rail and string the same way each time, being careful not to put your fingers or hands in the path of the bowstring.
Regardless of how confident you feel or how experienced you are, your first shots downrange each summer should be taken from a bench. This establishes the accuracy of arrows and that the crossbow is shooting correctly and safely. After you’re satisfied with the crossbow’s performance, your shooting regimen should include taking shots from various positions and distances you will expect to shoot during the hunting season.
“Establishing a consistent shooting practice routine will help you be confident when the moment of truth arrives,” says Zabitski. “These recommendations do not necessarily guarantee a successful hunt, but they will help you achieve better results when hunting season arrives.”
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Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle.com