Western Hunting Journal, Premiere Issue whj001_premiere - Page 25

Anatomy of a Hunting Bow A t first glance, modern compoun D bows may seem a bit complex and con- fusing, however take a moment to break them apart piece by piece and they quickly become marvels of modern engineering. Cutting edge materials and design continue to allow advancements in weight savings, speed, strength and shootability. Understanding the components of modern compound bows will allow you to better choose from available models and options which best suit your particular ap- plications. ERIC MARTIN 1 Cams Single, Dual, Binary (pictured) Hybrid, or Round Wheel designs are common. Cam de- sign plays a role in arrow speed, ease of draw, let off, and the ‘wall’ felt at full draw. More rounded designs will generally have a smoother draw, be most forgiving in terms of accuracy, and may also be a bit quieter, however may produce lower ar- row speeds, have less let off, and have a spongy wall that can impact shot consistency. Hatchet shaped cams can produce blazing arrow speeds, high let off and a solid wall at full draw, but can be harder to draw and be a bit less forgiving. 2 Limbs Limbs power the shot process by releas- ing the stored energy created when the drawn bowstring flexes the limbs, and they spring back to their original position when the string is re- leased. Split limb designs better distribute the stress over the whole limb, extending the life of the limb, and help to save overall weight. Solid limbs are very durable and stable. 3 Limb Pocket/Bolt The ends of the limbs fit into the limb pocket, and attaches to the riser via a bolt which also provides adjustment for the draw weight range. Each bow is different in terms of how much adjustment is possible, so always follow manufacturer recommendations before making any adjustments. 4 Riser The riser acts as the foundation of the entire system, and provides the strength and sta- bility of the bow. Riser materials are typically alu- minum, magnesium or carbon, and may be cast or machined. These materials play into overall weight of the riser, as well as the strength. Risers may also feature cut out designs to further reduce weight. 5 Sight Sights commonly feature one to five pins, and may be fixed in place or allow quick adjust- ment in the field. Multi pin sights offer quick aim- ing points for a variety of yardages, and the gaps between pins can be used to help gauge distance to target with practice by the user. Single pin sights offer simplicity, and eliminate accidentally aiming with the wrong pin in the heat of the mo- ment. Single pin adjustable sights offer supreme accuracy as they can be set for a measured dis- tance in the field, though this requires a bit more time and experience, and is not recommended for beginners. Fiber optic sight pins offer the best visibility under low light conditions. 6 Grip Modern bows typically have very slim, minimalist grip designs. This results in less torque when gripping the bow, greatly benefit- ting accuracy. 7 Stabilizer Stabilizers help to reduce move- ment and aid target acquisition when aiming. Some feature vibration damping devices which reduce shock and noise from the shot. They can also help balance a bow, producing a better fol- low through after the shot. 8 Wrist Strap/Sling A relaxed grip will pro- duce the most accuracy, however if you are too relaxed, your bow may end up on the ground af- ter a shot. A wrist strap will add a bit of security. 9 Quiver A quiver will keep arrows at the ready while hunting. Most mount vertically off the ris- er, while some mount horizontally and double as a stabilizer. Quivers also affect the balance of a bow, so even if not being used when simply target practicing, make sure to practice with the quiver mounted to best replicate hunting scenarios. 10 Speed Buttons Small weights attached to the string near the cams will help to reduce string oscillations at the shot, allowing the string to track straighter and recover faster, reducing wasted energy and increasing arrow speed. 11 String Modern bowstrings are made from some of the strongest fibers available. Unlike strings of old, these newer fibers last longer, pro- duce little or no stretch, are less affected by tem- perature and weather, and require significantly less ‘break in’ time. 12 Peep Sight Accuracy comes from shot con- sistency, and use of a peep sight greatly benefits a consistent anchor and aiming point. Hunting peeps will have a larger opening to allow more light transmission, and may also have a piece of tubing to ensure the peep is always aligned cor- rectly when the bow is drawn. Target peeps will have a smaller opening for fine tuned aiming. Some peeps are even available with lenses to in- crease sight pin and target clarity. 13, 14 Cable Guard/Slide The cable guard moves the cables to the side to allow clear path of travel for the arrow off the bowstring. Guards closer to the rest will allow the best clearance while also producing the least amount of torque on the cables. The cables may be guided along the guard by either a slide, or a system of rollers. 15 Nocking Point The area on the string where the arrow attaches is the nock point. In the case of this photo, a “D Loop” system is used which produces even tension above and below the ar- row, and allows for a release aid to be attached directly behind the arrow. Finger shooters will typically use a knock button on the string. The nock point greatly influences bow tuning, so make sure this is set up by a professional. 16 Rest The rest holds and guides the arrow. The primary styles are shoot through, and drop away. Shoot through rests use fiber bristles to hold the arrow from several sides, and at the shot, the ar- row fletching simply passes through the bristles. It is argued that this can impact accuracy a bit, as well as reduce arrow speed. Drop away rests use a string attached to either the cables or limbs of the bow which pull the rest arms up into position as the bow is drawn. At the shot, tension on the guide string is released, and the rest drops away instantly for complete arrow clearance. A downside to drop away systems is more moving parts, and the possi- bility for brush, snow or debris affecting the move- ment of the rest at the moment of truth. 17 Brace Height The distance from the back of the ‘throat’ of the grip to the string is called the brace height. Short brace height is generally at- tributed with producing greater arrow speed. Short brace height is also less forgiving on form miscues, and may impact accuracy a bit. 18 String Suppressor A relatively newer fea- ture of most compound bows is a string suppres- sor. A rear facing rod mounted off the riser has a rubber bumper which stops the forward trav- el of the string after a shot. This helps to reduce string travel and oscillation, greatly reducing the amount of noise given off at the shot. 19 Cables The cables are the drive train of the shot process, helping to transfer energy into the limbs when the bow is drawn. Some cables go from the cam to the opposite limb axle (dual cam), while others run from cam to cam (binary cam) which ensures timing of the two cams remains consistent. Like the string, cables are now made with advanced fibers and can handle several years of heavy use before needing to be changed. 20 Axle to Axle Length The distance from the axle pin at the end of each limb is called the axle to axle. Modern, long riser/parallel limb design bows create incredibly short a2a lengths, which makes packing bows through brush, or maneu- verability when shooting out of a blind or tree- stand a breeze. Longer a2a bows are preferred by finger shooters, as the string angle is less severe at full draw, reducing finger pinch. Longer a2a bows are also more forgiving, benefitting accu- racy, and are a better choice for the beginning shooter. www.westernhuntingjournal.com 23