With the countdown starting for the opening of bowhunting seasons for deer and bear in WMU’s 2B, 5C and 5D on Sept. 16, and if you haven’t already, it’s time to check your gear so you don’t have an equipment problem come the opener.
To find out the prime problems bowhunters encounter after putting their gear away at the end of last season, I contacted Rick Weaknecht of Weaknecht Archery in Kutztown, one of the oldest and most popular archery dealers in a five-county area.
According to Weaknecht, hunters who use crossbows experience the most problems. He recommends changing the strings yearly as they stretch more as they’re under great tension and that goes for the cables as well as they will break. And particularly so if it’s an old one like my Horton crossbow.
As for compounds, the most widely used bow, their strings need to be changed if not yearly then every two years if the bow is shot heavily like for 3D shoots or a lot of practice. The wheels, says Weaknecht, aren’t particularly troublesome especially with the newer bows. But if you have an old one, like my trusty Oregon Bow that are no longer made, it’s best to get the strings and cables changed.
If using a climbing tree-stand or even a ladder stand, check for loose bolts or nylon straps that may have withered or worn over the years.
Another problem for hunters using a drop-away rest, over time they have a tendency to loosen and may fall-away too easily.
Arrows are not much of a problem said Weaknecht since the newer carbon arrows aren’t susceptible to bend like aluminum arrows. And they are faster for deeper penetration.
When asked what are his top selling compound bows he didn’t hesitate to say Matthews and Hoyt, two long-time favorites of bowhunters. And for crossbows, it’s the Ravin, despite its astronomical price. But Weaknecht adds that a lot of hunters are buying them. “They don’t seem to mind the price for Ravin’s speed and cocking convenience,” he opined.
One hunting item not covered with Weaknecht is camo clothing. It doesn’t matter what brand you like, it’s time to re-wash them and hang them outside to rid them of any indoor odors and that includes facemasks if you use them in lieu of camo makeup. Some veteran bowhunters package their washed camo clothes in plastic bags until the season opener. Same goes for hunting boots. With all the new anti-odor sprays and washes on the market, they make the chore less of a chore.
The first part of the archery deer hunting season in WMU’s 2B, 5C and 5D has split seasons running Sept. 16-Nov.11; Sunday, Nov. 12; Nov. 13-18; Sunday, Nov. 19; Nov. 20-24 and Dec. 26-Jan. 27, 2023. Statewide, the season kicks off Sept 30- Nov. 11, Sunday, Nov. 12; Nov. 13-17; Dec. 26-Jan. 14, 2023.
But before the bowhunting season kicks off, the multi-part squirrel season starts this weekend Sept. 9 – Nov. 11; Sunday, Nov. 12; Nov. 13-18; Sunday, Nov. 19; Nov. 20-24; Dec. 11-23; Dec. 26-Feb. 29, 2023. Without a doubt, squirrels are our most abundant game animals. And they’re good eating if prepared properly.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.