Bowhunting Tech Tip: How to Quiet Your Bow

If you’re using a compound bow for hunting, then you need to make sure it’s performing as quietly as possible. A loud bow can cause game animals to turn inside out with freight if they hear a loud crack at the shot. And their reaction to that freight can cause your arrow to miss its intended mark.

In this video, Lancaster Archery TechXpert P.J. Reilly runs through a series of tips for making your compound bow as quiet as possible.

Those tips include shooting heavier arrows, and adding vibration dampeners and string silencers. Reilly’s tips include demonstration of how to tie on “cat whiskers” – one of the most popular types of string silencers.

Trad Life: Chris Hurt Trick Shooting

Chris Hurt remembers being a young kid watching the great Byron Ferguson do some trick shooting with his longbow. Ferguson shot behind his back and hit flying and tiny targets – all of which blew Hurt away.

Fifteen years later, Hurt, of York County, Pa., now entertains others with his own trick-shooting act.

“A lady down the street got me into trick shooting,” Hurt said. “That’s where I did my first show, at my local senior center. And from there it just kind of blossomed doing shows all over the East Coast.”

Hurt shoots upside down, he holds his bow with his feet, he shoots blind-folded and he shoots all kinds of flying targets, from a frisbee to a BB.

He says it’s equal parts hand-eye coordination and timing.

“What goes up, must come down,” he said. “My goal is to try to shoot the target as it starts to fall.”

This video of Hurt was shot at the Eastern Traditional Archery Rendezvous held in Potter County, Pa., in July 2016. Hurt has performed at this annual event every year for about five years.

He drew big crowds of adults and children for every performance, but there’s no question his biggest fans were kids – kids like he was when he was inspired by Byron Ferguson so many years ago.

Bowhunting Tech Tip: Arrow Spine vs. Arrow Weight

In this video, LAS TechXpert P.J. Reilly addresses the difference between arrow weight and arrow spine.

An arrow’s spine determines how much the shaft flexes when it leaves a bow. Archers want their arrows to flex some, but not too much.

Arrow weight refers to how much the arrow actually weighs. That weight can change as you look at arrows of different spines, but simply choosing a different arrow spine in order to change your arrow’s weight is not a good idea.

We sometimes see bowhunters opt for weaker arrows when they want to cut arrow weight, or choose stiffer shafts if they want a heavier arrow. Either can cause problems with accuracy, especially if a fixed-blade broadhead is added to the shaft. Such broadheads tend to magnify flight problems.

Lighter arrows fly faster than heavier ones, but heavy arrows generally result in better penetration. Depending on what they’re hunting and where, bowhunters might prefer a heavy arrow or a light one.

Bowhunters choosing an arrow should stick with the spine recommended by the manufacturer. That recommendation will be based on draw weight, arrow length and point weight.

If bowhunters want to change their arrow’s weight, they can opt for heavier or lighter shafts without changing spine. They can also increase or decrease point weight, but then that could affect the manufacturer’s spine recommendation.

Bowhunting Tech Tip: Peep Sight

In this video, Lancaster Archery Supply TechXpert P.J. Reilly takes a look at peep sights for bowhunting.

Reilly discusses the purpose and function of the peep sight as it pertains to correctly lining up the archer with his or her bowsight. Some bowhunters prefer not to use a peep, either because it doesn’t allow enough light to get to the eye, or because it can cause confusion at the moment of truth. Absent a peep, bowhunters must find a way to consistently anchor and take aim, to make sure they are looking through the sight the same way every time. If there’s any change from shot to shot, accuracy will suffer. Reilly suggests a solution for these archers.

The peep sight is an easy way to line up a hunter’s eye with the sight on every shot. Since it’s tied into the bowstring, it forces the hunter’s eye to the same point every time the bow is drawn.

Peeps come in different sizes, and it’s important to note that smaller peeps tend to allow for more precise aiming, but they also allow less light to reach an archer’s eye. When that happens, it’s difficult to see beyond the peep.

In bowhunting, the low light times of early morning and late evening often are the best for deer activity, and so archers may want to employ a larger peep to make sure sufficient light is reaching their eyes so they can see the target at the critical moment.

Living Traditional: Exploring Archery’s Roots

Living Traditional: Exploring Archery’s Roots is a Lancaster Archery Supply short that explores the world of traditional archery.

Shot during the 2016 Eastern Traditional Archery Rendezvous – the largest gathering of traditional archers in the U.S. – the film focuses on three perspectives on traditional archery – the newcomers, the rendezvous organizer and the life-long traditional archer.

Through their words and our video, we try to answer the question of, “What is traditional archery?”

Bowhunting Tech Tip: Stabilizers

In this video, Lancaster Archery Supply TechXpert P.J. Reilly talks about the use of stabilizers for bowhunting setups.

Reilly walks through factors bowhunters should consider when choosing a stabilizer for their compound bow, such as the amount and distribution of weight they are willing to carry into the woods.

Along the way, he also discusses the purpose and function of stabilizers, including talking points about the choices available to bowhunters, and about how stabilizers can affect accuracy. The discussion also covers the use of side rods, and how they can help balance a bowhunting rig.

Bowhunting Tech Tip: Choosing a sight for a compound bow

There are so many sights on the market today geared toward bowhunting with compound bows, that choosing one can be a daunting decision. In this video, LAS TechXpert P.J. Reilly runs through some basic factors bowhunters should consider when they are picking a sight for their bows.

The selection process starts with deciding if you want a sight with one adjustable pin that you set for the correct shooting distance before drawing, or a sight that has multiple pins fixed in place for predetermined distances. Each type has its unique pros and cons, which Reilly discusses.

Reilly then talks about the importance of pin size, and the lengths of the fiber optic and the sight bar. All of these sight features have different options from sight to sight and manufacturer to manufacturer.

Dan McCarthy’s guide to killer 3D archery arrows

For more than a decade, pro archer Dan McCarthy has been working his way onto podiums at 3D archery tournaments.

He knows what it takes to succeed at the game’s highest level.

Not surprisingly, McCarthy is meticulous about setting up all his equipment. But when it comes to his arrows, he is especially particular. And he builds his arrows with a single purpose.

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“Accuracy is the most important factor, PERIOD, for any tournament shooting,” McCarthy said.

Let’s find out what McCarthy has to say about building tack-driving, 3D arrows.

LAS: What is your bow and arrow setup for the 2016 3D season?

DM: I have two bows that I’ll be using this 3D season – a Mathews Halon-X and a Mathews Chill-X. Both bows will be equipped with Axcel Achieve sights with Feather Vision 4x lenses; AAE Pro Blade Rests, AAE Hot Rodz stabilizers, my signature-series PS23 arrows by Black Eagle Arrows, High Demand Archery Grips, and I’ll be shooting a T.R.U. Ball Absolute 360 release with both bows.

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LAS: What is your draw length and weight, and what is your arrow speed.

DM: My draw is 27.25 inches. I usually pull around 73 pounds. My arrows weigh approximately 370 grains, and my bows are shooting 293 feet per second.

LAS: What is it you look for in a 3D arrow?

DM: Accuracy is the most important factor, PERIOD, for any tournament shooting. Other less important, but still influential factors, include the arrow’s weight. I need to get that arrow up to speeds around 290 fps. So the arrow must be light enough to achieve those speeds. It must also be heavy enough to not exceed the 298 fps limit enforced by the tournament organization. Also important is arrow diameter. I choose the largest diameter arrow that I can shoot accurately without going so large that wind and minor form and shot execution flaws hinder my accuracy and score.

LAS: Describe your whole 3D arrow for this season.

DM: My Signature Series PS23 arrow by Black Eagle is a 23/64-inch outside diameter shaft, and I shoot a .350 spine. The shafts weigh approximately 7.9 grains per inch. My arrows are 26 inches long, they’re fletched with Flex Fletch Silent Knight Vanes, and fitted with a standard .245-inch bushing and nock, and a 120-grain point.

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LAS: What’s a common mistake you see archers make in choosing a 3D arrow?

DM: Thinking that they need to use as large an arrow as possible to “cut lines.” Large diameter arrows, by simple theory, should cut more lines. However, an archer that has the tiniest form flaw or shot execution flaw, will generally lose more in minute of angle accuracy (MOA) than what they will gain from using the larger arrow.

The smaller an arrow is, the more accurate that arrow will be. Small arrows are affected less by outside factors like wind, rain, or the archer’s form and execution flaws. The best solution is choosing an arrow in the middle that’s not huge and not tiny.

LAS: When you are on a course, do you shoot one arrow over and over? Or do you rotate arrows?

DM: I always shoot one particular arrow, over and over, until it gets damaged. I number my arrows, and I start with the arrow that is numbered “1.” I only will switch to the arrow numbered “2” when No. 1 becomes damaged or compromised.

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LAS: When you get to a shoot-down, how many arrows will you pick to compete with? Do you mark them in any special way to shoot in any special order? If so, why?

DM: I choose 5 arrows for my shoot-down because there’s 5 targets to shoot in the shoot down. I don’t mark them special for the shoot down; they’re already marked and numbered as I mentioned above. I don’t shoot them in a special order. Every arrow, that I bring with me to a tournament, is an arrow I’ve already tested and I’ve made sure, at home before the tournament, that it will hit behind my bow’s sight pin–if I do my job correctly.

LAS: Do you put fletchings on your arrows straight, simple offset or helical?

Fletchings can be glued to an arrow shaft in several configurations. They can be placed to run straight up and down the shaft; they can have the point end offset from the nock end to encourage the arrow to spin; or they can be curled around the fletch in a helical fashion, which is the most conducive for causing arrow spin. The flight of a spinning arrow is more stable than one that doesn’t spin.

DM: I fletch using a simple offset. I use a straight clamp and about a 1-degree offset. My reason for choosing this is to minimize the likelihood of vane contact on my rest. Generally, the more offset you use, or the stronger the helical you use, the more common it is to get fletching contact on your rest. In short, vane contact will hurt your accuracy more than strong helical fletching will help it.

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LAS: Why do you use the fletchings you use?

DM: I’ve used, tested and compared all different kinds and brands of fletchings. I sound like a broken record, but the reason I use a certain vane on a certain arrow is because of ACCURACY! The Flex Fletch Silent Knight vane works incredibly well on my PS23 arrow.  The AAE Pro Max vane is also an accurate vane choice for the PS23 arrow.

LAS: Why do you use the nock system you use?

DM: I always use the heaviest-duty nock system I can – that the diameter arrow I’m using will allow. The plastic nock is the weakest link of the fully-built arrow. Choosing the strongest, most heavy-duty nock helps with accuracy. If your nocks get hit by other competitors’ arrows, the stronger nocks won’t bend as easily as smaller/thinner/weaker nocks. Arrow accuracy suffers if the nock gets hit and bends.

LAS: Why do you use the points you use?

DM: Accuracy. I shoot all different weight points. The 120-grain points shoot the best for me, and I’ll choose accuracy over speed, shape, or any other point characteristic – ALWAYS!

Follow Dan McCarthy on Facebook for more archery advice and answers.

And here’s a look at how you can custom order arrows from LAS by calling us at 800-829-7408.

How to tie a peep sight into a bow string

Lancaster Archery Supply TechXpert P.J. Reilly demonstrates how to tie a peep sight into the string of a compound bow in this video.

There’s great value in putting a peep sight into your compound bow string. It’s key to helping consistently align your eye with your sight at full draw.

Tying the peep into the bow string ensures that the peep won’t slide once you set it in the right place. Reilly demonstrates two ways to tie in a peep in this video, using two different types of peeps.

 

Cara Kelly: How to use a sight tape for 3D archery

Precision is critical to success on the 3D course. The archer who is the most precise with arrow placement is the one who wins the day.

You could certainly say that about any archery tournament, but precision is especially important in 3D archery since archers only shoot one arrow per target. And the shot distances vary from target to target. So there is no time for making adjustments on a given target. You get one chance to be perfect, and then you move on to the next target.

Sight tapes are key to helping archers achieve that precision.

What is a sight tape?

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It’s is a sliver of paper, plastic or metal on a bow sight that allows an archer to properly adjust the scope or single pin to shoot targets at varying distances. Sight tapes account for the arrow drop from a specific bow, so they are highly individualized. Arrow drop is affected by a host of variables, including an archer’s draw length and draw weight, and arrow weight and speed. And as you might imagine, those variables can change dramatically from archer to archer.

Basically, a sight tape features 1-yard, incremental markings from about 15 yards to 80 yards or more. When an archer approaches a 3D target, he or she will determine the distance to that target, and then use a sight tape to adjust the bow sight to shoot at that range. It’s a critical piece of equipment for aiming exactly where you want an arrow to hit, regardless of whether the target is 24, 32, 45, etc. yards away.

Pro archer Cara Kelly says she’s “one of the most (diligent) individuals you will meet when it comes to sight tapes. It has to be absolutely perfect!”

She must be pretty good at it, given her long list of world and national titles on the IBO and ASA circuits.

She is the ASA’s reigning, Women’s Pro Shooter of the Year, and the Women’s Pro 2015 IBO World Championship winner, and is working to defend both those titles this year.

Here are Kelly’s thoughts on sight tapes.

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LAS: What is your 3D setup for 2016?

CK: This year I will be shooting the Elite Impulse 31 for 3D, with a CBE Vertex 3D sight. I will be running the Shrewd 600 series stabilizers, same as in years past, with a 24-inch front bar and an 8-inch side bar. I will be using a Spot-Hogg rest. For ASA, I will be shooting the Easton Light Speed arrows, and for IBO I will be running the Easton ACE arrows.

LAS: What is your draw length and weight?

CK: I have a 27.25-inch draw length. I joke around that my dad put me on an arm stretcher when I was young! For the first time in years, since my shoulder injury, I will be shooting 51 pounds out of my Impulse 31. The draw cycle to the Elite bows has been a blessing for my shoulder, allowing me to be able to pull more poundage and shoot a heavier arrow again.

Many pro archers use computer programs to make their own sight tapes. They input a host of information pertaining to their bows and arrows, and the program creates a custom tape with distance markings that should match the performance of a particular bow shooting a specific arrow.

LAS: Do you make your own sight tapes?

CK: Yes, we use Archer’s Advantage to make sight tapes. It is important when using the software to ensure that all your information in the program is accurate, measuring your bow, the weight of your arrows, speed, etc. It is all critical to making a correct sight tape.

There are other programs you can work with to print sight tapes, such as those provided by OnTarget2! and Rcherz.com. Or you can select one from a collection of pre-made tapes, or you can make your own by shooting various distances and marking your sight location accordingly.

LAS: If someone is bent on making their own sight tape, what process would you suggest for them to do it?

CK: If you absolutely insist on making your own sight tape, take the time to triple check your marks before moving on. For example, one of the biggest things I find is that I may aim one particular way on a dot, then when I walk over to a 3D target, I may aim a little bit differently, causing me to hit maybe a yard to half-yard different. So make that 30-yard mark, then go check your 30-yard mark on a 3D target. It’s a pain to change your marks once you have laid out your entire sight tape.

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LAS: Do you ever change sight tapes during a tournament? Or a season? If so, why would you change?

CK: Well, one time I got a new sight, and we forgot to adjust the sight tape to the clicks on the sight, making my entire sight tape off from 35 yards and out.

A competition sight moves by turning a dial that clicks to lock it in place. If a sight mark falls between two clicks, there’s no way to adjust the sight precisely to that mark.

I didn’t realize it until I was on the range – in a national tournament – because I hadn’t shot on the bales past 30 yards. Not smart. Lesson learned.

Always check your sight tape out to 50 yards after you put on a new one. I had to hit the breakdown bale and re-write out my entire sight tape. It worked out because I came back and finished second.

The breakdown bale is an area where archers can fix equipment issues that arise during competition.

I honestly have never thought about it until now, but that’s probably why I’m so (diligent) about sight tapes now!

LAS: At some point, do you check every single marking on your sight tape to verify it is accurate by shooting at each distance?

CK: Yes. As soon as I put on a new sight tape I start at 30 yards, then 40 and end out at 50, ensuring it is on. I then circle back going to 20 and back out to 45 to make sure it’s all good and ready to run. But it’s never absolutely final till I aim at a 3D target to ensure I’m hitting right behind my pin.

LAS: Do you stick with full-yard markings, or do you have a way to account for half-yards?

CK: I stick to full yards. If I think I need a tick more or a tick less, that’s where I find the need to use the half yard increments. I may also put a half yard on to aim at an upper 12 or the opposite for a lower 12.

Targets used in ASA tournaments typically feature two 12-point scoring rings inside the larger 10-ring. One 12-ring is high inside the 10-ring, and the other sits low.

LAS: Are there tournaments where you find your sight tape just seems to be off?

CK: I wouldn’t say there are particular tournaments that I find that to be the case. It could be more of where I tend to be aiming, and I may need to add a yard or subtract one.

Don’t be afraid to move that pin. If you feel you aren’t hitting right behind the pin and have nailed the number, make the adjustments.

LAS: Do you ever get to a target and set your sight using your tape, draw back, get on the target and say to yourself, “No, that setting doesn’t feel right?” If so, do you let down and adjust your sight? Or do you hold high or low to compensate for what feels right?

CK: Once you pull back your bow, you can’t reset your sight (under ASA and IBO rules). You are committed to that number you have dialed up, even if you forgot to set your sight from the target before.

I pay attention to where others hit, and try to play my yardage off of other arrows to aim at. Or if everyone has hit low, why not aim center and add a little for comfort?

LAS: Do you cover your sight tape during competition, so others can’t see how you’ve judged the distance to a target?

CK: It is an ASA rule that your sight tape is covered during competition. As a result, I have my sight tape covered for all 3D events.

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Chance Beaubouef checks his sight tape, which is hidden behind a piece of Velcro tape.

I think it’s a respect factor. No one wants someone to see their sight tape, nor do I even want to catch a glimpse of one! What someone may shoot a target for could be 3 yards different from what I need to hit it, so keeping it covered is just a common courtesy.

LAS: Is it common for archers to try to look at someone else’s sight tape?

CK: It without a doubt happens, unfortunately and sadly! Just to keep everyone honest, keep it covered. It comes down to a sportsmanship factor. Be a true sport of the game and follow the rules.