Pros Advise Archers to Hone Skills
High-tech bows capable of shooting an arrow at blazing speed with considerable accuracy, and hunting clothing designed to mask the human appearance, provide the modern bow hunter with significant tools in the pursuit of deer.
But with less than a month before the start of the state's six-week whitetail deer archery season on Monday, October 13, archery professionals said good equipment provides few advantages if archers fail to tune up their bows and shooting skills prior to the start of the hunting season, and if they don't have adequate safety equipment.
Most of the Island's more than 200 archers hunt with compound bows made of high-tech materials that use a system of wheels and pulleys to substantially increase the speed of the arrow while decreasing the amount of strength needed to hold the bow at full draw. Some archers favor a traditional recurve bow, not substantially different from the type used hundreds of years ago, made with modern laminated hardwood. All require annual maintenance.
Chris Reedy, owner of Reedy's Archery Shop off Route 495 in Middleboro, a popular stop for Island archers, said it is very important that people carefully check their bows.
"People can get hurt if strings are unsafe," said Mr. Reedy.
Over time, strings can begin to fray. One stress point is where the arrow meets the string at the nock, a small metal clip that holds the arrow in place. Mr. Reedy said the string may appear fine, but constant bending can create a weak point.
Depending on the type, a bow string can cost between $20 and $70. Mr. Reedy advises archers to change their bow string every two years. Given the stress a modern bow exerts on a string, he said, and what can happen if it breaks while under pressure, the money is a worthwhile investment.
Mr. Reedy thinks improvements in archery gear are helping the sport. "People are getting better and better," he said.
Archers can start preparing for the season by checking all their equipment. One item often forgotten is a drop line that is used for hoisting a bow up into a tree stand. Another is a safety belt. Stories of hunters severely hurt after falling from tree stands are not uncommon.
Good archers who take the time to practice have little respect for poor archers. Mr. Reedy, who maintains an indoor range at his shop, said that is because everybody can be a good archer.
"There is no reason why somebody cannot shoot a bow good enough to kill a deer and keep a nice group. But guys go out and they borrow bows, and borrow arrows, and it is not set up for them and they go hunting," he said.
"I do not think it is respectful of the animal, or fair."