Monday, February 6, 2012

Caring for Your Gear in the Off Season
Here is my second contribution to BowAmerica e-magazine for bowhunters. This is the February issue where I discuss end of season gear care (pg 18). I also have a gear review on Piranha Bowstrings. Be sure to check that out, too!

As hunting seasons end or end for many of us, we need to think about stowing our bowhunting gear. We wash our camouflage, hang it up to dry and put it away with care, but what about our archery tackle and hunting equipment? Do you take the proper care of it after the season ends and throughout the off-season? I have had to learn the hard way and I am going to try to cover some essentials to keep your archery gear in tip-top shape! I am going to focus on the compound bow archers out there because of all of the extra bells and whistles we keep on our bows.

In the high-desert of Southern California, we bowhunters should be taking great care of our gear during AND after the season. Carelessly, years ago I used to hang the bow up and leave it untouched for months, never even giving it a second thought. Times have certainly changed. Now I go through a checklist of gear care, but also some off-season routines to keep me sharp and to keep my equipment in great shape.

Top priority is to keep your gear in tip-top shape. Why on Earth would we spend our hard earned cash on quality gear only to let it turn to scrap? The first thing I do, after my camo is washed, dried and packed away, is to go over each piece of my gear to be sure it's going to stay working well for the next season. Instead of singling out each piece of my equipment, because I know each of our systems is different, I would like to generally cover what I do in the off-season to properly care for it.

Take inventory.
The first step is to lay everything out on the floor or some surface where you can view everything. If your hunting bench or garage looks anything like mine then you know you have your work cut out for you. Laying everything out gives you an idea of what you have and where you will need to store it. It will seem like a daunting task to have everything laid out before you, but trust me, this will be beneficial. Your checklist will vary and I encourage you to create one for yourself and the type of hunting you do. The photo below is just a sample of some of what is in my pack during the season.

Look over your compound bow and any added parts.
Each year, as I start to stow my gear, I tackle the biggest item first. I look over my compound bow (and any backup bow) and it's different essentials (sight, stabilizer, quiver, etc.) for missing or loose parts. On a few rare occasions, I have had some very close calls with my gear. A couple years ago, while I was practicing, I set my bow down to retrieve my arrows and noticed something odd. I couldn't put my finger on it right away, but I knew something didn't look right on my bow. As I looked closer, I noticed one of the e-washers on my upper limb was gone. As I looked closer, I realized that if I kept practicing there was a chance the bolt could slip out and I'd be in a world of hurt or that it may cause some irreversible damage to the bow.
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