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What does It Mean to Tune a Bow?

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  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 24 August 2016
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In both bow hunting and competitive shooting, a marksman must rely on the performance of their bow for an accurate shot. For this reason, an experienced hunter or shooter elects to tune their bow. Much like tuning an instrument to pitch, when people tune a bow they are attempting to match its performance to their own specific standards. Some people elect to tune their own bow while others hire a professional.

There are several recommendations for the steps taken to tune a bow and some vary according to opinion. However, one steady particular that most experts agree on is that it is pointless to tune a bow before it is broken in. A new bow or one with new strings and cables should be shot several times to break it in and stretch the new strings. Beyond this important factor, many experts have conflicting opinions regarding the right way to tune a bow.

The importance of tuning a bow is lost on some shooters, but true sportsmen value their sport enough to recognize how taking care of their equipment and tuning it to their own standards greatly improves their experience and success. Still, many people new to the sport lack the knowledge or ability to tune a bow.

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Since there is a great deal of attention given to the details in tuning, it can seem daunting to tune a bow for the first time. If a bow is performing unpredictably, such as the arrows are not flying straight or making the distance or the release is catching, it may not be a bad bow, it may simply need to be tuned. To tune a bow properly, attention is given to the individual parts, including the tiller, the rest, the nocking points, and the peep sights, as well as the combined performance of all parts.

For those desiring to do it themselves, there are numerous articles written by experienced bow hunters and marksmen that give detailed steps on how to tune a bow. Since every bow is different, it’s best to read up on the subject from several different sources before attempting to make any changes to an individual bow. For those who lack the time, experience, or knowledge or are new to the sport, it is best to seek the services of a professional. Ask experienced bow hunters for recommendations and check with sporting goods stores for referrals.

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