Archers, are You Making this Common Mistake?

By Lisa Metheny published on in How To, Hunting

Improvements and enhancements on the bow have taken the once-held myth that archery was only for the tough, rugged guys and made it a sport that has something for nearly everyone. Archery is no longer just about a stick and a string. For many of the theses reasons the sport of archery, primarily bowhunting, welcomes newcomers by the thousands each year.

Becoming a skilled bowhunter takes some time. Just ask any veteran bowhunter to recount some of the mistakes they made over his or her bowhunting career, and chances are, some of those mistakes will seem so simple you might find it difficult to believe they even happened. A common mistake often made by rookie bowhunters is allowing your broadheads to become dull. Regardless the brand, it is challenging to keep them razor sharp. Despite what you may think, broadheads can easily lose their factory-made razor sharp edge. It only takes a few slides into your bow’s broadhead cover sleeve, or even just one misguided flight into the dirt, to dull a broadhead. Moreover, we all know shooting a broadhead into any type of target will obviously begin the dulling process.

Plie of rubber bands

Cheap rubber bands will help you test the sharpness of your broadheads.

Keeping your razor edge can be a daunting task and trying to figure out if the blades are dull and need sharpened can be a dangerous task at times, especially if you use the edge of your finger to check for sharpness. If you ever use one of your valuable digits to determine the edge on your broadhead, please stop before you end up in the emergency room getting stitched up. There is a simpler and safer method. Use this method instead to check the sharpness of your blades.

Test Your Blades in Two Easy Steps

1. Take several rubber bands and stretch them around a small square.

The size of the square really doesn’t matter. It can be just a few inches in width or larger. The square can be made of cardboard, an old picture frame, four small sticks taped together—basically any type of frame that allows you to stretch rubber band over it in order to put tension on the bands. Use whatever you like as long as you can stretch several rubber bands over the edges, I like to stretch bands horizontally as well as vertical.

2. Ever so gently and without effort or force, slide the broadhead portion of your arrow through the woven maze of rubber bands.

If bands start snapping and popping with even the slightest touch you can bet your blade is sharp. If it takes a little effort to cut through the bands, you probably need to sharpen your broadhead. If you end up trying to saw through the bands in order to get them to break than you have a lot of sharpening in your future.

Soaking a broadhead with dried blood on it in a small container of dark soda pop, such as Cok-Cola, for about 10 minutes will help clean the broadhead, so you can use it again.

While you are inspecting your blades for sharpness do not forget to inspect them for any other type of damage such as nicks on the blades or damaged tips. Maintaining scalpel-sharp broadheads is one of those things you learn to do in Hunting 101.

Are you a bowhunter? What is one mistake you learned from? Share it with new archers in the comment section.


Lisa Metheny is a published award-winning outdoor writer, photographer, speaker and outdoor skills instructor. Lisa holds several instructor certifications and conducts a number of women-focused outdoor seminars on topics such as archery and hunting throughout the year. She regularly teaches hunters education and archery classes and has become an advocate for promoting traditional outdoor recreation to families across the United States. Lisa is also an avid and accomplished hunter with many big game species to her credit. She is a member of POMA and former Board of Directors member as well as a member of the NRA, RMEF, MDF and DU.

View all articles by Lisa Metheny

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Comments (1)

  • morris quimby


    What I’ve learned since I started bowhunting is that on top knowing how to shoot you need to know how to hunt, something that many bowhunters lack. Getting within bow range of a wiley old bull elk is a lot different than picking him off at 300 + yards with a 300 Winmag.


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