By David Pardue
When I get to my stand, I do a dry pull of my bowstring.
This means I attach my release and draw my bow then let it back down quietly.
This simple measure helps take the popping noises out of a cold string and bow limbs before an animal arrives. On a quiet day, not doing a dry pull first is enough to get a deer's attention and cost some venison.
You'll want to do this with an arrow in place in case you accidentally hit your release. Dry firing a bow can destroy it.
Editor's Note: A lot can go wrong between the bow case and the treestand. As soon as I get settled in my stand, I like to perform an equipment check by doing a dry run of shot scenarios.
The dry run includes drawing my bow with an arrow in place as described by David, but it also incorporates turning my body into likely positions and at odd angles while holding the drawn bow.
I make sure nothing prevents me from shooting through lanes where I expect to see deer.
This routine allows my arm and shoulder muscles to stay loose, helps me locate problem limbs and vines, and gives me a sense of how things will go while wearing bulky hunting clothes. By anticipating what could go wrong, I can adjust before a buck walks up.
Simultaneously with the dry run, I do my equipment check.
Once while test drawing my bow, I discovered a torn peep site hose and was able to tie it back and continue hunting. Another time, I found a bent 20-yard pin and was able to fix that, too.
And once (this is embarrassing) I drew my arrow and noticed something looked odd. In the darkness, I had loaded my practice arrow with a field tip. Good thing I did a test run first!
-- Tim H. Martin/Buckmasters Online Editor