By Al Quackenbush
The off season is the perfect time for bowhunters to take the time to review what gear they have and what they might need to replace. Bowhunting in Southern California has many advantages; there is plenty of public land, you can hunt in many ‘no firearm’ areas, and deer season is much longer. Due to the different land, weather and lengthened seasons, many bowhunters forget to stay on top of one key ingredient – caring for your archery gear.
One of the major factors in the deterioration of your bow parts is dirt getting into places it doesn’t belong. Add in the dry heat of SoCal and you have a recipe for disaster if your gear is not attended to regularly. I have learned over the years that after each hunting trip I go on, whether it be a day trip or a week-long adventure, I need to carefully look over my gear and clean it if necessary.
Cleaning should be easy. Wipe dirt away with a rag and also use an air compressor to blow dirt and sand out of any small crevices. If the limb pocket grease spreads out or splatters, clean it up. Don’t use water or harsh abrasive cleaners, just compressed air and possibly a bit of alcohol on a rag. Do this with the limb pockets, any holes or crevices and also the additional components such as the sight, arrow rest, etc.
Wax the string on a regular basis, but don’t allow dirt or grime to build up. That means you are putting too much wax on the string. Rub it into the string and wipe away the excess. Once you have everything clean, shoot a few arrows and make sure everything is functioning properly.
The same principles apply for your optics and release aids, too. Check the eyecups of binoculars for dirt and debris. If there is debris, clean it out, but USE CAUTION! Don’t just stick a rag in the eyecup and wipe as you could scratch the glass. Blow the majority out of there and then use an optics cloth to carefully clean the lens. With release aids, check the trigger for dirt and rust. Use a scent-free oil to lubricate the moving parts of the release often.
By carefully checking and cleaning your gear after each outing you will decrease the chances of any malfunctions that may arise and increase the life of your gear allowing you to focus more time on bowhunting.
Albert Quackenbush has been bowhunting for more than 29 years. He shares his adventures on his blog, www.SoCalBowhunter.com and is a PSE Staff Blogger. He is a Pro Staff member for TightSpot Quivers, HHA Sports, and Piranha Custom Bowstrings. He is a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, California Deer Association, and is a Life Member of the North American Hunting Club.
Albert was born and raised in New York State where he learned to hunt everything from squirrels to whitetail deer. He lives in Southern California with his wife and daughter and hunts year round.