The Devil's In The Details -- Is Your Bow Whitetail Ready?

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Little Details Make The Deadly Whitetail Bow

Being an equipment junkie, and forever attempting to better understand the "average" American bowhunter to better serve my reader, I scrutinize every bow outfit I see. I really study them, even asking questions about wy certain bow models or accessories were chosen.

One of the things I notice regularly is bows without proper riser and accessory padding. Adhesive-backed fleece can save you a lot of heartache, as much a part of assembling a serious whitetail bow as an arrow rest or sight. I stick it to every surface an arrow could conceivably contact to create game-alerting noises; riser shelf, arrow-rest arms (replacing factory plastic sleeves), around sight-pin guards, inside drop-away arrow-rest cages and so on. 

I also notice many bowhunters today rely solely on facotry-installed string-capturing systems for bow silencing. There's no doubt such designs make bows quieter, but with whitetail there is no such thing as too quiet. So, even if my bow wears a string bumper I add silencers to bowstring and buss cables (Cat Whiskers applied with overhand knots). You'll notice an immediate reduction in shot noise. 

My remaining recommendations are strictly personal preferances, but there's sound logic behind each. The first regards super-short, ultra-fast bows; to my mind anything less than 33 inches long with brace height less than 7 inches. Short bows are popular, being "maneuverable" and easy to carry, and of course, speed's everything to many bowhunters. But shortest and fastest isn't the ideal recipe for forgiveness and accuracy. I don't know about you, but I get pretty worked up when a big buck saunters into view. Hands shake, my heart pounds. I need the added forgiveness of a longer bow (33 to 36 inches), higher brace (7.5 to 8 inches) - willing to sacrifice 15 or 20 fps to assure I score when nerves are redlined and hands unsteady.

Forgiveness is also behind my arrow rest of choice. I install only containment/drop-aways on my whitetail bows. Period. I understand the popularity of Whisker Biscuit-style rests, but I also believe most bowhunters don't understand the disadvantages - namely full-length arrow contact after release calling for unfailing follow-through. Is your follow-through 100 percent after dropping the string on a season-making buck? The newest containment/drop-away rests keep arrows completely under control, but also provide added forgiveness and accuracy after release.

The need for speed also seems to dictate many bowhunters' arrow choice. Lightweight speed arrows translate into increased bow noise (and less reliablity and penetration). Shots at whitetail are seldom very long. Laser-flat trajectory isn't an urgent concern, but decreasing shot noise is. Choosing heavier arrows (around 10 gpi) means your bow will automatically shoot quieter.

Finally, adding stabilizer and wrist sling will also help you shoot better in whitetail scenarios. An active stabilizer (Doinker or Vibracheck, for instance), even if just a stubby fellow, absorbs bow shock and vibrations creating shot noise. A properly-adjusted wrist sling promotes a loose, cradling grip eliminating accuracy-eroding torque while shooting under intense pressure.