The coolness of the morning air has been a welcome sight and has triggered many of us to start preparing our bows for the opening of archery deer season. We are now less than two weeks away from the start of archery season. If your final preparations have not been made, it certainly is time to do so.

Hopefully, most of you have been shooting your bows for the last month or longer and are simply counting down the days for the season to begin. By the business of the local archery shops I would say there are several of you who have waited until the last minute. Waiting until the last minute is one of a few no-nos I would like to discuss this week, which can prevent you from having an enjoyable archery experience.

Probably the most common mistake I have witnessed is archers shooting a bow that does not fit them. Many assume that bows are like guns and one size fits all. This is not the case. Having a bow that is too short or long in draw length will hinder you from becoming a consistent shot. For those of you walking around with a black-and-blue forearm, you can personally testify to the downside of shooting a bow that has a draw length that is too long.

If you are in the market for used bows, make sure its draw length can be adjusted to fit you. If the bow has no adjustment, make sure you can purchase cams from the factory. By changing the cams you can usually get the bow to your draw length.

Another mistake made is shooting a bow that is not in tune. Many times the bow will be shooting where you are aiming; because of this most archers assume the bow has no problems. If your broadsheads do not hit where your practice points do, most of the time it is because your bow is out of tune. Other signs of an improperly tuned bow are poor arrow grouping or an arrow that is fish-tailing during flight.

The last thing I would like to stress is to be sure to shoot your broadheads before you take to the field. Having your dream buck standing in front of you is not an opportune time to find out you’re shooting eight inches low and to the left.

Most of the nightmares mentioned above can be prevented by quick visit to your local pro shop. Tuning bows is not difficult but there is some specialized equipment needed. I have shot and tuned bows for several years now but I still have local pro shop owner Mike Hitt of Mike’s Outdoors go over my bow before preparing for a hunt.

No one wants a hunt ruined by a minor detail, so be sure to give your bow a good going over before heading to the woods. For those who are getting a late start, practice, practice and then practice some more.

Brian Williams’ outdoor column runs every Friday. To reach Brian about your outdoor experiences, photos or general comments, e-mail him at

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