If you’re going out bow-hunting this season, here are some tips you should keep in mind to increase your chances of success.

1) Double-check your equipment before going into the woods.

Check for loose sight pins as well as any loose screws.

A loose sight pin can ruin your entire hunt even if you catch it before you find your game. Who wants to be in the woods sighting in a bow and making noise when you really need to be quietly waiting for game?

A loose screw on a quiver or a sight ring can cause awful racket while you are trying to silently stalk through the woods. The last thing you want to do is have to pull out a your Allen wrench to tighten things up. (You did remember to bring your Allen wrenches, didn’t you?)

2) Speaking of silence: The quieter your bow, the better off you will be.

For the last few years what we have been seeing is that bow manufacturers are advertising the speed of their particular bow. Over 300 feet per second is now not only the norm, but has turned in to,, “How can you possibly hunt with anything else?”

I hate to break it to you, but your bow’s feet per second is irrelevant.

People have been hunting with bows for thousands of years and nobody has needed 300 feet per second bows. Well, nobody except you, apparently. Really, what does that say about your own hunting ability?

The reason that your bow’s speed is irrelevant is because sound travels at 1,090 feet per second. Your arrow travels 300 feet per second under controlled conditions and over a fixed distance set by the manufacturer.

That means that there is over 7/10ths of a second between the deer hearing your bowstring fire to when the arrow impacts your target.

The 7/10ths of a second is 0.7 seconds. The estimated reaction time of a whitetail deer is 0.059 seconds. That means your deer will hear your bowstring and have time to react and possibly move a significant distance by the time your arrow impacts the deer – if your arrow does at all.

So much for your fancy, top-of-the-line bow. So what’s the solution? Silence.

There are many ways to silence a bow:

  • Purchase a quieter bow.
  • Install string silencers (dampeners).
  • Make sure everything on your bow is tight.
  • Make sure your bowstring is waxed.
  • Make sure your bowstring isn’t going to impact your hunting clothing on the release. If necessary, use an arm-guard to pull your clothing out of the way of your string.

3) Know your effective kill range.

A bow isn’t like a gun. You can fire a rifle from 50 yards or you can fire it from 200 yards and the point of impact is sometimes less than a few inches.

With a bow we’re talking feet. We’re talking the difference between hitting the 5-inch vital zone on a deer and burying your arrow in the ground 6 feet in front of the deer.

If your bow is sighted in for 20 yards, you probably shouldn’t take a shot at 40 yards. You’re not going to be able to estimate, with certainty, exactly where your arrow will end up. That’s why the bow manufacturers gave us adjustable (and multiple) sight pins.

A final word of advice

If you’re hunting with a 40 lb. draw bow, your effective kill range is not 60 yards. I don’t care how many poor whitetail deer you’ve lightly penetrated with an arrow from that distance and let bleed to death overnight before you claimed your trophy. It’s not ethical and it’s not right.