You awake on your third day of your big once in a lifetime elk hunt deep in the backcountry of Montana. The weather is perfect, the animals are moving, and you have been hearing bugles and rutting bulls all around. You know exactly where you need to be as the sun peeks over the hills to the east to get your chance this morning. You know exactly where the bull of a lifetime will be at first light and you have everything prepared.
After you finish your morning oatmeal and instant coffee you turn to getting your daypack and bow ready for the day. You throw in some snacks and your water. You gather up a lighter jacket to swap into as the day gets a little warmer and you throw in your cleaning kit. You know, because it is going to happen this morning!
You look up and the sun is starting to peek, and you rush to grab your bow and start the trek to your spot. In your haste you decide to skip looking over your bow, like you always do.
Taking your last step into your natural blind, about two miles from your camp that you found the day before, you pull your bow off your pack and get set up. You look down at your bow and… YOUR PEEP IS MISSING!
Now what are you going to do? It is two miles back to camp and another three-hour drive back to town where you may or may not be able to find a replacement peep. And it is your last day on the mountain before you must head back home.
This an avoidable scenario! There are some key pieces of equipment that you can kit up to be able to keep yourself on the hunt in any situation when $#*& hits the fan.
- Portable Bow Press
This is an essential! When things go wrong, like losing a peep in the middle of your hunt for instance, you will inevitably need to work with your strings and having a press could be the end all or do all. The best portable presses are ones that have a solid lockup with your limb tips and are made to pull evenly inward mimicking the pull of the string. When all else fails I have seen a simple ratchet strap used to get you a little bit of the pull you need to get a string or cable back in its track. A quick disclaimer here, make sure you are knowledgeable in how your press works and how to work with your strings and cables before you go around messing with your strings.
- Serving Material
This is another must have, in fact, if you take nothing else make sure you have some serving material with you. When you have to make some adjustments to your peep, or you need to put a new peep in you will need to tie it in. There are other uses like if you need to repair your cable driven drop-away arrow rest timing or serve in a new cable for your rest. Not to mention it is always good to have a few feet of good string on hand when you are on the mountain.
- Allen Keys and Star Wrenches
These are essential in being able to make quick and easy adjustments and make sure that your components are solidly tightened down on your bow. Seems self-explanatory, however, there are more uses for these simple tools than I can go into here.
- D-Loop Material and Pliers
When setting up a bow one major safety issue encountered is some wear in the d-loop that is already installed. This can cause dry fires and other injurious complications. You never want to hear stories of people punching themselves in the face due to a broken d-loop. Having a few lengths of d-loop material and pliers to replace a d-loop in the field is a must. Not to mention if you have a drop-away rest this is another potential fix in the making. You never know when you might snag that actuation cable.
- Replacement Nocks/Broadheads/Bushings/etc.
Going into the field with 5 built up arrows is no a guarantee that they will not see some damage before you ever pull one out to take a shot at an animal. Having some extra nocks and bushings on hand could save your bacon in a pinch when you realize you dropped your bow down on the end of your arrows and broke all your nocks.
On the same note having a spare couple broadheads on hand could get you back up and running with an arrow that had some unexplained damage to a blade or ferrule. And having a couple field points to check your zero could also be a great idea, not to mention may be fun for those pesky deer sized squirrels.
- Replacement Sight Tapes
This is one we all run into one time or another we have our equipment running perfectly and that sight tape is money for your slider sight. Then you experience a rogue rain cloud that decides it is time to thoroughly moisten that sight tape you have on your sight. In my experience having a good spattering of sight tapes with plus and minus a few feet-per-second on their calibration on hand from your current set up could help you in situations such as this as well as if you notice any issues that have changed your point of impact at a distance in which you have confidence. One example of this could be if you are currently using the supplied tapes, that came with your sight, and you have No. 77 on your bow and that pesky rain storm washed it away without your knowing; having the No. 76 or No. 78 tape on hand would get you by in a pinch.
- Extra Set of Strings and Cables
This one explains itself, however, as with the bow press make sure you are competent in making these kinds of repairs to your equipment before you go monkeying with things. The last thing you want is a bow blowing up on you in the field. Also having a simple string wax tube with you could help you keep your strings from getting water logged during those freak rain or snow showers.
- Razor Blade, Snips, and a Lighter
These are the ones that many guys forget about. Having the d-loop material will do nothing for you if you can’t mushroom the ends to make sure that is a safe and properly installed d-loop. Also, if you are working with serving material you will want to make sure that your ends are cleaned up, so your repair doesn’t come undone prematurely. Having some of these pieces of kit could also come in handy in situations outside of bow repair and are always a good idea to have on hand when you are out in the woods.
These can be kept in a simple tool roll or small plastic box to keep things easily organized and reachable.
Field bow press
Extra set of strings/cables
Replacement sight tapes
Replacement rest felt
Extra string silencers
Super glue -or- hot-melt glue
A simple kit like this can keep you in the hunt even when the inevitable happens.