When you’re out there in the woods hunting you want your bow to be as silent as possible.Silence and bow hunting really do go hand-in-hand. Each time you step out into the field it’s like entering the world of stealth warfare. You do everything you can to blend into the environment through camouflage, but often ignore sound altogether.
When bow hunting you’re probably not ripping through the woods in your ATV to get to your stand, but that doesn’t mean you’re being quiet. With a few simple tricks you can make your bow quieter than ever before. So how do you silence your compound bow?
Why Quiet Your Bow?
So what are the benefits of having a quieter bow set up? Imagine if you were out eating in a quiet field and suddenly heard a loud thwack. You would probably get startled and instinctively jump looking for danger. Deer are going to respond in exactly the same way.
Deer are constantly on the lookout for dangers all around them. With senses that are stronger than most dogs, they have a really good sense of everything around them. Plus they have lightning fast reaction times allowing them to quickly jump out of the way of even the fastest arrow. With a quick dip and arch of his back that buck will be long gone in a matter of seconds.
How To Make Your Bow Quieter
There are a few simple adjustments you can make that will significantly affect the sound of your bow. Don’t learn the hard way when a buck jumps your arrow this season. With about 30 minutes of work and simple planning you’ll get the most out of your bow without all that noise.
1. See if Your Bow Has a String Stop
The first thing that you’re going to want to do is see if your bow has a string stop. A string stop is really going to cut back the overall noise your bow makes. Most modern compound bows are going to come with a string stop pre-installed, but you can also add one of these LimbSaver String Decelerator Kits.
The Limbsaver decelerator slows your bow string down eliminating the strings slapping noise. They’re extremely easy to install and can be fitted to just about any bow.
When you release your bowstring it comes forward hitting the rubber end of the string stop. It will kill just about any noise that your string was going to make. You’d be surprised just how quiet your bow will be after this one little upgrade.
2. String Silencers
Hunters have been using string silencers for ages. Old school silencers used scraps of fur to reduce the noise, but new models have really came a long way. They come in a wide variety of styles to suit just about any hunter.
I’ve used a cat whisker/monkey tail style silencer like this Mossy Oak Silencer for as long as I can remember. They’re cheap and will really reduce the string noise without much fuss.
The only downside to whisker style silencers is their size. Just think of it as strapping a puff ball onto your bow and expecting it not to snag on anything. I’ve zipped it up into my jacket more times than I care to admit.
This season I switched over my primary hunting bow to these Pine Ridge Cable Dampeners. They’re a lot smaller and offer decent sound reduction. I’m not sure if I’ll keep them on my bow, because they’re a little louder, but they’re well worth your consideration.
3. Use Limb Dampeners
Limb Dampeners are another great product that will significantly reduce the noise of your bow. A bunch of manufacturers make dampeners, but my favorites are the LimbSavers. They make dampeners for both split limb bows and bows that have one solid limb.
Regardless of the brand you choose limb dampeners are all going to work in about the same way. Limb dampeners work by significantly reducing the vibration and noise of a compound bow. Dampeners are cheap and extremely easy to use. Simply peel the backing and stick/screw the dampener onto your limb. There’s no cheaper way to reduce the sound of your bow than with the installation of limb dampeners.
4. Change Up Your Arrows
Another thing you’re really going to need to look at is your arrows. Beginner hunters always seem to make the mistake of using the same arrows hunting that they use at the range. This is a huge problem, because range arrows aren’t meant to perform like hunting arrows.
Range arrows are designed to shoot fast and flat. While that might be beneficial when shooting a 3d target you’re going to want something different in the field. I would suggest switching to heavier arrows.
Heavier arrows are going to not only provide more take down power in the field, they’ll also make your bow quieter. Light arrows coming off a bow will have a distinct crack to it, whereas heavier arrows tend to be a lot quieter.
5. Slow Down Your Setup To Avoid Quick Reactions
Bows today are firing arrows faster than ever and that’s a good thing, but we often forget to think of how speed impacts noise. The faster your bow is the louder it’s going to sound.
Remember that sound is always going to get to the deer before the arrow is. The speed difference between 250-300 fps isn’t really going to be all that noticeable, but there will be a serious difference in sound.
With a loud setup deer will react quickly and often duck/jump your string. Through years of bow hunting they’ve learned to instinctively duck and roll their backs dodging arrows. Speed isn’t going to be the answer. The only way to avoid this is with a quieter setup.
6. Increase Your Bows Weight
Most of the time bigger bows are going to offer a quieter setup. Just like using heavier arrows, a heavy bow will quickly eat up vibrations. With a denser/heavier setup you’ll be able to reduce the overall vibration which minimizes sound.
7. General Maintenance
Don’t forget to do all the little things that make your bow perform better. That includes oiling your cams and rubbing string wax over every inch of exposed string. I’ve been using Allen Bow String Wax on all my bows and shoot constantly without any trouble.
Waxing your bow strings is really important for not only quieting your draw, but also extending your strings life. I bring out my wax every time I use my bow. It takes like 30 seconds and will really make a big difference.
8. Don’t Forget About Your Quiver and Other Accessories
Hunters love customizing gear and perfecting their setup, but they often overlook basic issues. Since quivers normally come with the bow they’re often overlooked. That’s really a shame because they’re notoriously noisy on budget setups.
You need to make sure your quiver is tightly attached to your bow and consider using a little bit of silencing material between your quiver and bow. You’d be surprised at just how much noise your loose quiver is actually making.
Do Bow Stabilizers Reduce Noise
So you’ve probably been told at some point in your life that bow stabilizers reduce noise. While there might be some truth to this, I’ve never noticed any noise difference after installing a bow stabilizers. The additional weight might cancel out some vibration, but the difference is negligible.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use a stabilizer. You’re almost always going to be more accurate with a well tuned stabilizer, but it won’t really impact noise.
How Noise Affects Shooting Distance
As you increase your range bow noise reduction will really play a very important role. At closer range a loud bow probably won’t make that much of a difference, but things get tricky out at a distance. As the length of your shot increases the deer will have more time to react.
Once you get out past 30 yards things start to get a little bit difficult. A buck with a good reaction time can easily jump/duck an arrow shot out of a loud bow. Sound will arrive faster than the arrow so they’ll have enough time to react.