Bowhunting is all about being sneaky. To be as quiet as a church mouse and as fluid as a cougar can lead an archery hunter to success. In a perfect world, we’d go completely unnoticed until after releasing an arrow. You and I both know, though, that things are rarely perfect. Aside from us going unnoticed, there are other things that can make us loud in the field like our gear. Squeaky boots, swishy pants and, even, our bows. Yes, the very weapon that we wield can send everything ablaze without a little forethought. Silencing your bow is an absolute must and not something you should take lightly. It’s the little things that add up to big results here. Take a gander down below at some ways to quiet down your compound bow before your next outing.
In my first years of bowhunting, it wasn’t uncommon for me to shoot three times a day. I was so excited about this new endeavor of mine and just couldn’t get enough of releasing arrows. All of that shooting has an impact on things, though. Much like a vehicle, with time, things just start to come loose. So, it’s up to us to make sure everything stays tight. I noticed a rattle every time I’d shoot. Not knowing what it was — and being slightly paranoid to be honest — I brought the bow into the pro shop. Turns out a mod on my cam was loose. It was literally rattling and hanging on for dear life. A disaster in the making and I wasn’t even aware of it. Now, I make sure everything on my bow is tight before a hunt and even during. An allen wrench is always in my backpack for this very reason. This doesn’t just go for your cams, like in my case. Anything can rattle loose. Could be a quiver, broadhead blades, stabilizer weights, rest, bow sight and so on. My best friend lost an opportunity at a buck because his quiver came loose and decided to show itself when he was coming to full draw. So, not only is keeping everything tight going to help silence your bow, it could downright save your hunt.
If everything on your bow is nice and tight, but you’re still getting some type of noise — particularly on the shot — consider some type of vibration dampener. These can be anything from limb savers that go in between or on your limbs, stabilizers or cat whiskers on your string. All of these will help out. On one of my first bows, I remember adding a limb saver in between my bow limbs. The difference was immense and my bow was suddenly quieter than it had ever been. Stabilizers are also not just for stabilizing. There are models that are fantastic for absorbing noise and vibration. You’ll notice on many that there is rubber somewhere on them. The rubber is there to soak up noise and vibration. And then for the string, I’m sure all of us have seen the classic cat whiskers that adorned the recurve bows of the past. These are still valid. There are also other more updated options, too, that merely look like small wings called a leech. The company Limbsaver is a great option to look into for all things dampening. Many bows today already have this stuff, but these options are on the table should you need them.
So far we’ve covered noise that happens on the shot. From something that came loose and tightening it to simply adding some type of dampener to mitigate noise. Silencing your bow doesn’t stop there, though. There are other things that can and will happen along the way. For instance, if you shoot a thumb release and like to hang it on your D-Loop. That release can easily swing over and knock your quiver, resulting in a very unnatural sound in the quiet of the woods — a sound that would surely send that buck you’re waiting for the other way. These are the things we don’t think about until they happen.
Moleskin, or some variation of it, is going to be your best friend here. Cover any potential problem areas with this stuff and you can rest easy. A few to pay attention to are the side of the quiver that is closest to the D-Loop, your arrow shelf and the bottom of your bow sight. The arrow shelf might already have some type of rubber on it, depending on the company, but many don’t. An arrow can clank all around on that and ruin a good situation in a hurry. I’d also pay attention to the part of the riser that comes up from the shelf. The same can be said about the bottom of your bow sight. If not careful, an arrow can pivot on your D-Loop and clank the bottom of your sight. Take some time ahead of your hunt and apply some adhesive moleskin or padding to these areas and you’ll be in the clear. They even come in camo colors!
Another thing to consider that I think flies under the radar (no pun intended) is a heavier arrow. By simply upping the weight on your arrow, you can quiet down your bow quite a bit. I’m not saying to shoot a 700 grain arrow by any means, but jumping from 350 to 430 will yield a difference. I recently increased my arrow weight earlier in the year and have been pretty impressed with how much more silent the bow is. Yes, your arrow will be clocking lower speeds. However, if the animal doesn’t know you’re there when you shoot, the chances of them jumping the string drop significantly. Not only will a heavier arrow absorb much more noise than a lighter arrow, you’ll also get better penetration downrange. So, by doing this, you’ll get better penetration paired with a more silent setup. It might not be a good fit for everyone, but it’s tried and true.
In bowhunting the little things absolutely matter. Whether it’s playing with different arrow setups or changing the type of clothing you wear for a more silent stalk. It is so dang hard to successfully put arrows through critters on a consistent basis. Any slight edge you can put in your corner that is ethically sound is appreciated. This whole silencing your bow business really comes down to trying to squash a problem before it happens. Like a game of chess, we’re thinking ahead and anticipating moves. Calculated thinking like this will absolutely lead to more success in the long run. It’s going the extra mile. And when you’re at full draw with your pin resting on that buck’s vitals? Checkmate.