By Tracy Breen
-- I'm sure you have been in this situation: you come to full draw and shoot an arrow at a deer. You watch in disbelief as the buck or doe jumps the string and disappears into the woods. There was probably a time when you didn't even get your bow to full draw because the deer heard the noise of an arrow sliding across your rest. The good news: these problems can be solved!
Regardless if you have a bow that is fresh out of the box or one that is five years old, if you haven't added noise and vibration dampening devices to your bow you could encounter one of these scenarios. Eliminating vibration allows your bow to shoot smoother and will put the odds in your favor.
Photo: Give yourself an advantage and fine-tune your setup before going afield. This simple process will cut down on unforeseen noises you might experience on stand.
Most bows on the market come with a few vibration dampening devices on them. Over time, all bows begin to make noise and vibrate a little. Eliminating most of the noise and the majority of the vibration from any bow requires a little time and is fairly straightforward. Below are some quick and easy steps you can take to eliminate bow noise and vibration.
Eliminating Limb Vibration
The quickest and easiest method to reduce vibration in bow limbs is to add small Limbsavers to the bow limbs. These small rubber devices help eliminate vibration and noise. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes and can be applied to limbs, sights, quivers, and other bow accessories that clang and vibrate during a shot. Limbsavers are great because they can be applied to any bow quickly and easily.
Photo: Limb dampeners help reduce noise and shock that can damage your bow. There are many quality limb dampeners on the market to choose from, including LimbSavers by Sims.
Remember to make sure the area you are applying them to is clean before you stick them on. This will only take a few seconds. There are other rubber dampening devices in addition to Limbsaver on the market that perform similarly.
A bowstring produces large amounts of noise and vibration during and after each shot. By having a bow shop apply string leeches or cat whiskers to your bowstring, you can eliminate this problem. They are fairly inexpensive and can make a world of difference. String leeches and other devices that are attached to bowstrings can reduce the overall speed of arrows. Although you may lose a foot per second by adding string leeches to your bowstring, the amount of noise they eliminate is worth the trade off.
Photo: Adding moleskin to the arrow rest or shelf can eliminate noise if an arrow falls off your rest. It's a simple and inexpensive addition that makes a big difference in the field.
Recently, dozens of bow stabilizers have been introduced to the market. Most stabilizers come with rubber built into the body. The rubber acts as a vibration dampening device that helps eliminate vibration in the riser of the bow. Choosing the right stabilizer can be a difficult decision because there are so many to choose from. Most hunters use a small stabilizer. I prefer a larger stabilizer. Tournament archers typically use a long, heavy stabilizer because the heavier the stabilizer, the steadier the bow will be when shooting. If you are in the market, take a look at some of the larger stabilizers that are eight inches and longer. They will help you become a more accurate shooter and help eliminate vibration.
No one likes handshock. Extremely fast bows typically have a little handshock. If your bow falls into this category, there are a few things you can do to eliminate the handshock. Eliminate the grip that is currently on the bow and use an aftermarket grip. Many companies offer grips that are rubberized. They work great for bowhunters who want a grip that is thin, easy to grasp, and eliminates vibration. Another option is wrapping your current grip in a rubberized material designed for bows. Either method will tame even the meanest bow.
Photo: Stabilizers help eliminate bow noise and vibration. Additionally, stabilizers aid in balancing bows, making them easier to shoot.
The rest and the shelf of the bow are often the most overlooked areas of the bow. However, the rest and arrow shelf are often the two areas of the bow that cause hunters to go home empty-handed more than any other. The sound of the arrow clanging against the arrow shelf or rest is all it takes for you to go home with a frown on your face. Two dollars worth of moleskin turns any arrow rest and shelf into a silent but deadly weapon. Moleskin can be purchased in camo colors and comes with a sticky adhesive backing that makes applying it to any rest quick and easy.
Tighten Up Add-On Items
If you enjoy tinkering with bows, make certain that every nut, bolt, and screw is tight on your bow. If you don't enjoy working on bows, take it to a bow shop and have them give it a thorough inspection. Loose bolts and screws can make even the quietest bow noisy. I have heard more than one story of unlucky hunters who had pins fall off their sights when it came time to shoot at a trophy buck.
Quivers, sights, rests, and a variety of other accessories attached to your bow can become loose after numerous shots. Paying attention to these little things can result in big dividends in the woods. Eliminating bow vibration can increase the longevity of the bow and the attached accessories.
Some hunters believe adding the little bells and whistles to a bow aren't worth the time or the money. I think any item that can quiet a bow, help hunters shoot better, and increase the odds of harvesting a fidgety buck is worth every dime.
The most successful hunters are often the ones who pay close attention to the little details. A couple of those details include eliminating bow noise and vibration.