In-the-Field Bow Repairs

Do you have what it takes to fix minor archery equipment issues in the field? The right tools and know-how could save your next bowhunting adventure.

In-the-Field Bow Repairs

The Easton Archery Essentials 12 Piece Pro Archery Tool Kit ($79.99) includes the following: D-loop pliers, L bow square, small folding Allen wrench set, arrow prep tool kit, extra-large Allen wrench set, nock tool, wedge arrow puller, bowstring wax, serving thread, D-loop rope, and broadhead wrench. All items fit inside a zippered case.

Tina was a cool chick, had some experience bowhunting and had come to the Wyoming pronghorn camp with her husband, who also had some bowhunting chops. Her husband was her home bow mechanic, but when Tina went to the range and had trouble hitting anything, we all wondered what the heck was going on. Then we looked on the ground and somebody said, “What’s this?” One of her draw modules had fallen off the cam!

Holy buckets, it was all hands on deck! We searched high and low for the missing screws but could not find them. We had some experienced archers and bow mechanics present, so we thought, no problem, right? My friend, Jim Velasquez, has been in the business since the 1970s and works in a pro shop to this day. Ralph and Vicki Cianciarulo — yes, that Ralph and Vicki — were there, too. Most people don’t know they owned an archery pro shop for years before they became hunting celebrities. We all had our little field repair kits with us — but nobody had the proper screw.

Luckily, there is a nice little pro shop in nearby Douglas, Wyoming, Douglas Feed & Sporting Goods. I’d already filled my tag, so early the next morning I drove into town with Tina and her guide, and the pro shop was able to cobble her bow back together. We had her shoot through paper, and because Jim had also fixed some obvious set-up flaws — arrow rest way out of line, for one thing — she re-sighted it, and we had her in her blind by 10 a.m. That evening she killed her buck.

I’ve often said that Murphy of Murphy’s Law fame was a bowhunter. How else do you explain the million-and-one things that can go wrong with a compound bow at exactly the wrong time? If you’ve shot a compound much you know exactly what I mean. You have it perfectly tuned with your hunting arrows, the sight pins are dialed in like a laser bomb, it draws smoothly and quietly — then, BAM! For reasons hard to fathom, all of a sudden it isn’t shooting where it needs to be shooting, something has rattled loose, something has broken and needs a quick fix.

That’s no biggie if you’re on the practice range back home. If you’re in the field, even the smallest problem can ruin a hunt.

All bowhunters should be able to make quick repairs to minor troubles with their bow-and-arrow setup on the spot. To do so requires having the right tools and parts on hand. Many archers use a small fishing tackle box to store and keep their repair stuff organized. There are even pre-assembled bow-repair kits available from Cabela’s, Easton and others, and these make a great starting point.

However, be sure to customize these kits with accessories unique to your particular bow setup. Finally — and this should go without saying — tools and parts do you absolutely no good if you don’t know how to use them properly. Watch online videos or hang out at your local archery pro shop and watch how they do it. That way when something slips out of kilter you can fix it right now, and not waste precious hunting time.

Pre-Trip Planning

There are some basic things you should do before going hunting. First, measure and mark everything — where your string loop is tied, peep sight location, limb bolts, your bowsight — so you know at a glance if anything’s moved. If it has, it’s now easy to return it to the proper position. Magic Markers are perfect for this.

You also should tighten every screw and bolt on your bow, and on your release aid. They will all back themselves out over time if you don’t, and you don’t want one falling out as Tina’s did. After checking your cables and bowstring for nicks, wax them. I also look over every arrow in my quiver, looking for tears in the fletches, nicks on the shaft, and make sure the broadheads are snugged up and blades sharp.

Unless I’m flying, I never go to a hunting camp without a target. Amazingly, I’ve been on outfitted bowhunts where the outfitter did not have either a target or a place to shoot (there’s a red flag for you!) Now, I ask before I book if there is a place to shoot in camp. Upon arrival, the first thing I do after unloading my gear is shoot some arrows. Got to make sure my form is still good, and my sights are on.

Here’s one reason why this is so important you may not have ever thought of. I live at sea level, and Douglas, Wyoming, is at 4,836 feet. The thinner air and hot August temperatures had my arrows impacting high, so an adjustment was required or I’d make a poor hit on a pronghorn.

When I travel, I’ve made it a habit to do some internet research prior to departing to search out the nearest pro shop to my hunting location. Many years ago, I was on a mountain lion hunt near Victor, Montana, in the dead of winter. During a chase along a snowy, icy creek in a blizzard, I slipped and fell, my bow went flying, and somehow the string came off the cams. There was a little pro shop in town, so I drove in, got the string popped back on, retuned and sighted it in. I was back hunting the next morning, and shot a big cat, too!

Have you ever had to repair in-field bow troubles on a Back 40 whitetail bowhunt or backcountry elk adventure? What do you do to solve these pesky problems? Drop me a note at and let me know, I’d love to hear from you.


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