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Don't sleep on your rest: tuning your equipment will result in better performance both on the range and in the field. among the most critical pieces of equipment to pay attention to is your arrow rest.

Through the years, I've competed in countless 3-D tournaments. Then, when archery deer season would roll around, I'd set up my hunting bow the same as my 3-D equipment. I found I could easily shoot soft-ball-sized groups with my broadheads at 50 yards.


Early one season, as I positioned myself in an elevated stand overlooking a food plot, a large 10-pointer approached within 25 yards. I drew my bow several times, only to have a fierce wind whip the arrow off its rest every time. My shot never came, giving the buck a 3-week extension on his life. (The next time we met, I was better prepared.)

As an arrow is released, it's in contact with the string and the rest, with the rest serving as the last point of contact while guiding the "missile" toward its destination. In my failed encowith the string and the rest, with<unter with that 10-pointer, I'd previously set up my target bow with a blade-type rest, as do many other tournament archers. I discovered this wasn't a viable option when hunting under gusty wind conditions, because it was difficult to keep the arrow on the rest. The broad-head had acted like a sail on the end of the shaft, reacting erratically to the turbulent air.


Several factors need to be considered to determine if the rest on your hunting bow is doing its job. Does it allow you to shoot tight groups? Is there sufficient vane clearance without having a high nocking point? Can you keep your arrow on the rest in windy conditions?

A good hunting rest needs to hold the arrow in place without the shaft falling victim to the detrimental effects of wind or jiggling. The arrow should be drawn without bouncing, rattling or emitting any unwanted noise. You might discover that the shaft bobs up and down on the rest during the draw. Most often this is caused by debris stuck to the arrow, so always check a shaft before nocking it.

Do you find your bow and bow arm begin to shake when a nice whitetail approaches? If you fall into this category, I'd recommend a "drop-away" rest. Some of these have wide troughs and containment shelves to prevent the arrow from falling or bouncing out, making this style ideal for hunting. Drop-away rests are designed to automatically fall away by the time the vanes reach the shelf area, which in turn allows for a lower nocking point and good vane clearance.

The drop on this type of rest should be set so the pick-up arm falls clear when the arrow has moved 15-20 percent of the way across the rest after release. When properly tuned, the lower nocking point will allow the arrow to stabilize more quickly, because the "porpoising" movement in the tail end of the shaft is minimized.

Upon release, the fletch or vanes should never contact the rest. By the time the nock end reaches this point, the arrow should be completely suspended in the air. Otherwise, the slightest contact would adversely alter its course of travel.


How do you diagnose an arrow contact problem? One obvious sign that your rest isn't properly tuned is the sound created when the back of the arrow hits the rest. Also, watch for an erratic flight path, which usually presents itself within the first 15 yards before the spinning of the vanes stabilizes the flight.

Examine the vanes of an arrow that has been shot numerous times. Look for scratch marks, especially on the bottom of the right hen vane (for right-handed archers). If there's a problem, adjust the nocking point, the center shot and/or the nock rotation to correct it.

It's a good idea to occasionally lay all your arrows on a flat surface with the hen vanes down. View them from the nock end to determine if all nocks have the same degree of angle. Even slight variation in the angle can rotate a vane and cause it to make unwanted contact with your rest.

It can be difficult to achieve proper clearance when shooting arrows fletched with longer helical vanes. On some rests, the clearance is so minimal that any bow torque or rough release can produce contact with vanes longer than four inches. Shorter vanes offer not only quicker spin to stabilize the shaft, but also better clearance.

Some rests are more user-friendly than others. Look for one that allows for a wide range of adjustment during the tuning process. It's easier to tune a rest with both horizontal and vertical settings that can be corrected in small increments. Many rests now have micro-adjustment wheels that are both ergonomic and extremely accurate.

If a rest's shelf is made of metal, that can result in unwanted noise when the arrow is drawn. Some manufacturers provide shrink tubing or adhesive felt strips to cover the contact points. To improvise, a piece of tape from a bandage can work well. Also, if you routinely hunt in cold conditions, you might want to avoid plastic parts, which can become very brittle at low temperatures.


Your rest is a crucial piece of your setup, serving as the launching pad and guiding system for each arrow. The rest you select should allow a shot to be released in a smooth, quiet manner while securely holding the shaft in place. Analyze your equipment and don't "sleep" when it comes to choosing the right rest for your hunting bow.

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Title Annotation:GEAR WISE
Author:Wunderle, Terry
Publication:North American Whitetail
Date:Jun 1, 2017
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