Whitetail Bowhunters: Best to Shoot With a Quiver On or Off?

Most whitetail deer hunters remove their quiver after climbing into a treestand. Do you? If so, maybe you should rethink your choice.

Whitetail Bowhunters: Best to Shoot With a Quiver On or Off?

When I climbed into my first-ever whitetail stand in the great state of Illinois, my quiver remained attached to my vertical rig. Being a western bowhunter, that was just the norm for me. An hour into that hunt, I skewered a respectable Land of Lincoln whitetail. Years later, I started hunting with my quiver detached from my bow while 20-feet up. Why did I make the switch? Most every whitetail hunter I knew hunted that way, and I did feel that removing the quiver from my bow and attaching it to the tree ushered in a heightened sense of accuracy. Sadly, during one October day in 2017, disaster struck.

The unsuspecting doe made her way through a maze of burning red maples. I could already taste her backstraps on the grill. Unfortunately, I didn’t take notice of a low-hanging branch, and my arrow sailed harmlessly over her back. The doe, mostly unalarmed, bounded a few yards and resumed her steady gate. Slightly panicked, not wanting the opportunity to slide through my fingers, I reached around the tree to grab another arrow. After retrieving my new projectile, I bumped my elbow on the tree and the arrow fell to the ground below, but not before banging and clanging against my aluminum treestand. The doe bounded off.

Seconds later, I turned in my stand to see a wide 8-point making his way toward my stand. Trying to keep an eye on the approaching buck and grab an arrow from my detached quiver, I accidently knocked the entire quiver out of the tree. Obviously, the buck walked away unscathed. Lesson learned — but not really.

After climbing down and retrieving my quiver and at-the-base-of-my-tree arrow, I climbed back up and made the decision to pull an all-day sit.

As the sun sank and shooting light faded, I started loading up my pack and prepping for the descent. My last mission before climbing down was to put my arrow back in my quiver and then attach my quiver to my bow. Just as I locked the quiver back onto my bow, I heard a deer blow and bound off. Yep, a glance through my binos confirmed it was a monster 10-point. The movement he caught was me reaching for my quiver and attaching that quiver back to my bow.

Where do you stand on the great quiver debate? In finding the answer that’s right for you, make sure to consider all the pros and cons.
Where do you stand on the great quiver debate? In finding the answer that’s right for you, make sure to consider all the pros and cons.

Of course, I encourage you to hunt however you feel comfortable, whether that’s with your quiver on or quiver off. As for me, a day full of quiver mishaps has caused me to rethink the detached-quiver idea, and I will spend the remainder of my whitetail days with my five-arrow holder attached to my bow. With the quiver attached, arrows are close at hand, they are easier to retrieve, there is no chance of knocking the quiver out of the tree, and at last light, no extra movement is required to attach the quiver back to the bow. I encourage you to think about it, too.

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