Backcountry Bowhunting Field Repair Kit Essentials
By Jared Gortsema
It’s a common saying that could make or break a hunt. Whenever we escape the luxuries of civilization to embark on adventures out in the wilderness, there is a fair bit of planning that comes into play. We’ll take time to consider locations, animal densities, mode of travel and the food we’ll take with. However, many hunters fail to plan for the unexpected. On a bow hunt in the backcountry, this can have disastrous consequences.
Unexpected issues can come out of nowhere and they happen all the time. You may drop your bow, lose a screw to a quiver or even clip your bowstring with your broadhead. These kinds of mishaps can eat up entire days and significantly diminish your chances for success. Often, time is of the essence on hunting trips so the quicker you can fix gear problems the better. Having the right tools is key to getting you back in the woods and, hopefully, back to taking some grip-and-grins with a big old buck.
Surveys have shown that less than 30% of hunters carry a repair kit with them while out hunting. Repair kits are extremely easy to assemble, can fix most of the unexpected situations you run into and, for the most part, can be reasonably lightweight and budget friendly. On top of that, they can be customized to your personal bow setup and to your exact liking. While the thought of repairing your archery equipment in the field seems intimidating, after some familiarization, most hunters are able to repair their equipment fairly easily.
During your offseason, start to get familiar with your tools and extra parts. Watch some online videos, or hangout with your local archery shop and glean some hot tips. With a basic understanding of your kit and its contents you’ll be able to fix most minor issues in no time.
Here are the top repair kit items we at Bowga Hunting believe every bowhunter should have.
1. Moleskin/Felt Strips
That chunk of moleskin you keep in your first aid kit has a duel purpose. Stick on soft material used for silencing eventually wears out or falls off. Always have some spare strips in your pack along with a knife to form it to the shape you need. Often silence is critical for your success; have some spare felt or moleskin and avoid the dreaded “clank”.
2. D-Loop String
D-loop string is obviously great for fixing broken d-loops but it’s also handy for replacing a damaged drop-away rest. Plus, it’s great for use as emergency cordage. We’ve used it for everything from repairs to hanging game meat. We’ve even used it to hold together a hand-made ground blind. We generally take a roll of around 4-5 feet with us at all times.
Editors note: the paracord used for the drawstrings on the Argali Game Bags and stuff sacks is strong enough to be used as a D-loop cordage and makes for a great field repair. It also has a dual purpose so if you forgot to bring extra D-loop cord, you're covered.
3. Dental Floss
In a pinch dental floss can be a great way to re-serve your bow strings serving. While it won’t last forever, it should last long enough for one or two shots. It can also be used to tie in a new peep sight if lost or damaged. Plus, a little extra minty freshness in the backcountry can make sleeping in close quarters a lot more tolerable.
4. Super Glue
Glue is one of the most important items in our repair kit. A good tube of super glue can fix almost anything pretty quickly. Broken pins, split vanes, loose arrow inserts happen. Plus, glue can be used as a first aid item to close up cuts. Look for stuff that is strong and dries fast and you’ll be back up and hunting in no time.
Electrical, Duct, or reflective tape, make sure to carry some of this quick magical fix. We usually go with a roll of hockey tape. It’s strong, durable and won’t lose its stick in the cold. Plus, it’s not shiny and dampens sound pretty well. And if you want to cut weight, wrap your lighters and other small items with your tape of preference so you always have a little with you.
6. Allen Wrench Set
No bowhunter should leave their home without a proper set of Allen wrenches. Your quiver, sight, rest or and other parts can come lose after several days of hunting and using your bow. With most of the fasteners on your bow requiring some size of Allen wrench, make sure you have the right wrenches for the head sizes on your bow. If you don't want to take an entire set, you can usually get away with 2 or 3 small allen wrenches and be able to tighten and fix most items on your bow. Before heading out, take a look at the different sizes you’ll need to make sure you’re ready in the field.
7. Extra Peep Sight / Release/ Bow String and Cables
If you’re like us, you occasionally lose things. Bowhunting is gear intensive, which means you’ve got to keep track of a lot of things. Plus, you’re often dealing with sharp stuff. Occasionally you’ll drop something you needed to hang on to or cut something that wasn’t meant to be cut.
At a minimum, keeping an extra release in your car is a must. And importantly, make sure you've shot with it before going into the field as shooting with a different rest may cause your anchor point to change, thereby changing your sight pattern and ultimately where your arrow will land.
I keep an extra set of strings and cables so I can repair my bow at my truck if need be. It isn't an ideal situation to have to replace your stings in the field, but if you are a long ways from a bow shop, knowing how to do this can be the difference between going home or staying in the field.
This is a good start but, ultimately, your kit should reflect your personal preferences and needs. Take stuff out that you don’t need and take note of what you should be taking next time. We’re constantly tinkering and will often switch stuff out based on the hunt. Regardless, before you go on your next big adventure bow hunt, make sure you’re prepared. A little preparation goes a long way.
Jared Gortsema is one of the founders of Bowga Hunting. He's a Michigan native and spends as much time as possible in the woods or on the water. He's a Marine Corps Veteran and an accomplished bowhunter.