Kevin Wilkey | KUIU Marketing Development Director
Mountain hunting takes a toll on your equipment, especially your bow. By the end of bowhunting season, my bow is looking rough—rock scars on the cams, strings are fuzzed, paint is chipped, bolts are rusted, and the grip is worn—but I know it’s still spot on from the extra measures I take. - Kevin Wilkey
Here’s what I do to ensure my bow can’t let me down:
For the hikes in-and-out, I highly recommend the KUIU Bow Holder. It protects your cam and holds the bow tight against your pack—which is way better than the alternative of busting through brush and tripping with a bow in hand. Avoid positioning the straps over your strings, only allow the connection strap to contact your bow’s riser or solid mounted accessories.
The KUIU SFS Bow Kit (Strings/Fletching/Sight) also adds protection to your strings, cams, sight pins, fletchings, and nocks. In a likely situation, slip them off and stuff them in one of your pack’s side pouches.
If your hunt is requiring a long and rugged hike in, and your bow won’t be cased, you may consider removing some accessories like your sight and stabilizer. I prefer a sight with a dovetail or quick detach system, so I may pack it away safely—away from harm of rocks and brush.
If your hunt is going to require an ATV, horses or bush plane and it’s unreasonable to bring a large airline worthy bow case along, you may consider a lightweight soft case to protect your bow.
How many arrows should I bring? It’s a question as old as time. When I’m going in for a week or more and pack weight permits, I’ll bring an arrow tube with a dozen.
At a minimum for extended stays, I’ll bring 2 extra practice arrows, which will be tipped with practice head and positioned between the quiver grippers and I’ll wrap a thick rubber band around the gripper to keep any arrows from popping out. I’ll take at least one practice shot into a rotten stump or soft ground each day. I leave the practice arrows in camp when it’s time to hunt.
If it’s going to be a gnarly hike in, I’ll take all but one arrow out of my quiver and store the rest in an arrow tube which I’ll strap to my pack. This ensures I have one arrow ready for an opportunity and the others are safe from getting damaged or lost.
The more you work on and tune your own equipment, the more proficient you’ll be—especially if something unfortunate happens—like a dryfire or derailed bow string. It happened to one of my friends—he didn’t notice that a small stick was lodged in his cable track—he drew back on a buck and his bow derailed. The strings were still good, but off the tracks. He didn’t know what to do and his hunt was over.
If I’m at a last resort, I get crafty to get back in the game. My friend’s failure inspired me to be prepared for the worst. In the case of a derailed string, I know if I back my limb bolts (weight adjustment) out to the last 4 threads, there’s enough slack in the system that I can hand press the limbs against the padded ground and get the cables back on.
To get the string back on, I’ll make a temporary string out of thin nylon rope (D-loop material) that’s 4”-6” longer than my shooting string. I’ll use it to partially draw the bow to the point the cams are back in position and then jam the cam spokes against the limbs with a dowel. Then, I’ll remove the temporary string and reinstall the shooting string.
Next, I’ll draw it back slightly and remove the dowels. Once the strings are back on, I’ll turn the poundage back up and take a few test shots.
I know I can do it on my bow, because I’ve practiced it. I’ve taken my bow completely apart with a bow press and safely put it back together without one. Be ready to pay the price if you go down this road, because you could cause some serious damage, void warranty or inflict personal injury if you attempt it.
I can’t say it will work on all makes of bows though, or that you should even attempt it. Luckily, I’ve never had to do it on my own equipment, but I’ve saved another hunter’s day more than once, all because I have some tricks up my sleeve.
Listen in as Jay Scott and KUIU’s Kevin Wilkey discuss archery on the Jay Scott Outdoors Podcast.