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Do Your Own Bow

Text & Photography By Marc Murrell

PhotoBowhunters who know how to rig their own bows can easily make repairs away from the local pro shop. Not only does this save time, but it also lets archers become more familiar with their bows and the weapon’s mechanics.

You’ve saved for and anticipated this out-of-state bowhunt for months. The bucks are moving; the rut is in full swing. The first morning on stand is a good one. You pass up several smaller bucks, hoping for a chance at the wallhanger you watched slide by just out of bow range. Before you get down for the morning, you shoot a practice broadhead at a leaf. The shot is good, but, as you replace the arrow in your quiver, you notice that you’ve broken your serving. The nearest pro shop is hundreds of miles away, and you’re in camp for a week. Now what?

This frustrating scenario could cost you plenty of time. But if you know how to outfit and service your own bow, you just might be sitting in that same stand for the evening’s hunt without missing a beat.

Don’t get me wrong: A local archery shop is invaluable for getting supplies, practice and advice on equipment. But if you’re totally dependent upon it, you might be in a heap of trouble when Murphy’s Law rears its ugly head.

Setting up your own bow is smart for several reasons. It not only gets you familiar with the overall performance and function of your bow, but it also, and maybe most importantly, allows you to make minor repairs. In addition, although most pro shops don’t charge much for many of their services, you might save yourself some money.

You don’t have to invest a lot of dough to buy the necessary supplies to work on your own equipment. And frankly, once you get the bow, arrows and broadheads, your expenses are next to nothing compared to those items. Mail-order retailers like Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops provide special free archery supply catalogs. Or buy the supplies through your local archery shop. Here are just a few pieces of equipment that should be in every bowhunter’s arsenal with instructions on how to use them.


Bowstring Wax

Bowstrings need regular maintenance to extend their life. Simply rub the wax on the string occasionally and work into the strands by sliding your fingers up and down the string until most of the excess wax is cleared. Be sure to check your string periodically for nicks or cuts, too, and always replace a bowstring that shows any sign of deterioration. Bowstring wax costs approximately $3.

Nock Sets

Nock sets typically come in two sizes — small, for bowstrings with 12 to 14 strands, and large for bows with 16 to 18 strands. Nock sets are obviously used to mark nock locations for arrows, but many bowhunters also use them to secure kisser buttons or release loops in place as well. Nock sets cost approximately $3 for six.

Nock Set Pliers

This tool is a necessity, and its performance can make it easy for you to make adjustments and install new nocks. It can also, however, lead to major problems like cut servings or, even worse, severed bowstrings. Buy a set of nock pliers that allows both the installation and removal of nocks with minimal damage to either the nock or serving. Nock set pliers cost approximately $15.

Serving Accessories

Most bows come with a monofilament serving installed, but they often wear out and break, especially with lots of practice. Any wrist slap of the bowstring also will reduce the life of the serving. Serving your own bowstring might look intimidating, but it’s not difficult to do after a little practice. Buy each item to do it yourself, or use a couple of household items in a pinch.

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