Tuning a Bow for Hunting Season

Most people who bow hunt are pretty fanatical and know what they need to do and when tuning a bow for hunting season.

Randy Ulmer and Chuck Adams I am not, however, I can usually hit the broad side of a barn if my target is close enough to it. However, I have noticed we all seem to be a lot busier these days and we spend less time than we should or can with our equipment. Tuning a bow isn’t has hard as it sounds.

Tuning a bow for hunting season

I recently purchased a new bow and have been going through the set up and tune. What a pain this is; tying in nocks, peeps, drop away rests, sighting in, setting Center Shot, Axle To Axle, Brace Height, and Cam Timing. Good grief, I should just take it to the bow shop! Nope too stubborn and broke now that I have a new bow.

Here are few things to check and keep checking throughout the season:

Things to Look For when Tuning a Bow

  • Check idler. Look for damage on the string channel etc.
  • Check idler alignment.
  • Check QCC (quick clip connectors) for cracks, alignment, and damage.
  • Check idler axle for smooth operation etc.
  • Check String, even one damaged strand can lead to disaster, replace it! The string should be replaced every year or two max.
  • Check cam. Look for damage on the string channel etc.
  • Check cam timing.
  • Check Cables and yoke ends.
  • Check serving anywhere you have serving. Fix or replace.
  • Check all bolts. Quiver, sights, rest, stabilizers.
  • Check limbs. Look for any damage to ends, axle points, cups.
  • Check cable guides, roller or slider for damage or wear.

Release Aid

  • Primarily just make sure the strap and buckle or Velcro is in good condition and the jaws and trigger are in proper working order. I happen to have a spare.


  • Check all the arrows in your possession. If you shoot carbon make very certain they are not cracked, shows signs of stress, or are damaged anywhere and that nocks are in good or new condition. Nocks are cheap. I had a arrow blow up on a shot at the largest muley I have had a chance at. It was 10F, the arrow exploded due to a crack I had not noticed. It could have been a disaster if that broken arrow decided to penetrate my arm vs scattering in front of me. Bad nocks can cause a dry fire situation and that will most likely wind up destroying your bow. I happen to have hunting arrows and practice arrows. Make certain you have the correct spine for your set up. I have seen a lot of problems associated with incorrect spine.

Tuning a Bow

  • If all is in good condition, simply shoot your bow. I suggest shooting the broadheads to see how and where they fly. A properly tuned bow and arrow combo will almost always result in broadheads and field points having the same point of impact (POI). If you are having broadhead flight issues now is the time to figure out what the problem is instead of a few days before the hunt. HINT: bow shops are slammed from Mid August to October here in the west. If you need to start from scratch try paper tuning first, then walk back method, then broad head tuning, and broadhead walk back.
  • Links for viewing a diagram of walk back tuning:


  • If you start shooting now your form and muscle memory will be ready for archery season. It seems like I shoot well right off the bat but then I tend to get out of whack before coming back to shooting well again. So for me, I need to shoot enough to NOT THINK the shot. That usually means several hundred rounds in a few weeks in the 50-60 yard range. Generally, if I shoot tight consistent groups without worrying about “what if I miss” thinking I am good to go.


  1. Tom Sorenson says

    Awesome advice. I find myself going through that routine, too – I shoot well right off the bat, then go through a stretch where I don’t shoot well…I’m going through it now, in fact, and it’s frustrating me big time! I gotta work through it, though. I’m going to have to check on that list, too….I seem to have something out of whack, because while I’m not shooting well, I’ve also got arrows that are just flying weird and it doesn’t seem to be the arrow. I need to give my bow a good look over.

  2. Jeremy Hoefs says

    Good stuff. There are so many people who buy their bow a month before the season and expect to kill something! They need to read this and buy the gear in the spring. Good luck this fall.

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