Don’t neglect your bow string

I should have known something was wrong with my bow. It’s been getting heavier and heavier, in terms of draw weight. I thought I was just getting weaker, but that’s not the case. And I should have known better.

If you shoot a compound bow, keep an eye on your string and cables. Check your limbs and any screws or bolts from time to time, too. I guess that’s true of any bow – pay attention to all the parts, and make sure they’re all in good working order. If anything’s not working the way it should, you could end up with a catastrophic failure of your equipment. To put that in simpler terms, if something on your bow breaks, it’s liable to whomp you upside the head.

I’ve been shooting my old Browning Mirage with my boys when they go to 4-H archery. That bow was the cutting edge of technology when it was new back in 1990, but compared to today’s bows, it might as well have been whittled out of a yew tree by a Viking. To get the arrow speeds archers were asking for back before the turn of the century, it relies on a heavy draw weight, rather than high-zoot cams and crazy cable configurations.

It’s supposed to have a peak draw weight of about 80 pounds, but for the last several years, I’ve had it cranked as low as it’ll go, and I couldn’t get it under 85. Back in my younger days, I’d have been happy shooting a 90-pound bow, but now it just makes my shoulder ache. And it seemed to get heavier each time I shot it. At the last archery practice, I actually had to sight it in again, because it was overshooting the pins on my sights. I should have known then that something was wrong. With compound bows, the longer your string is, the more weight you’ll draw. That’s because the cams rotate farther at rest. And that should have been my first clue that my string was stretching. In fact, it was breaking.

Luckily, it broke all the way in the case, and not while I was shooting it. But it’s still a good lesson in paying attention to all the parts of my bow. I shudder to think what would have happened if that sucker had come apart in my hands.