John's Journal...


Have a Clean Release

EDITOR’S NOTE: "Yes!" I exclaimed as the arrow I released from my bow hit the bull's-eye 30 yards from my backyard deck. Well, I still seemed to possess my bowhunting magic from the previous year's season. Later, feeling confident after a week's worth of practice in my backyard, I packed all my equipment into my bow case and left my house in a last-minute frenzy for a bowhunting trip to Montana. When I arrived at the famous Milk River in Montana near the Canadian border, I took a few practice arrows out of my bow case and started shooting. Although my arrows did hit the target, they wouldn't consistently fly straight. I asked Ralph Cianciarulo, an archery pro from Lanark, Illinois, to check out my equipment and my shooting form. I wanted to know what changes he thought I Click to enlargeshould make in my bowhunting tackle. I realized that when you hunted with a master hunter, you needed to learn all you could from him to idiot-proof your bowhunting. He'll enable you to hunt better, shoot straighter and take game more efficiently.

Cianciarulo also taught me to carry a small can of WD-40 or some other type of lightweight oil with me to lubricate my wheels and/or cams when needed. If you squirt a small amount of oil in the cam and axle and draw the bow back several times, you'll see the oil actually work the dirt and dust out of your cam or your wheel. "Dirt builds up constantly in your cams and your wheels," Cianciarulo emphasized. "If you don't clean this area of your bow before you hunt, your draw will be rougher, and your shooting won't be as accurate."

Click to enlargeAs I sighted in my bow before the hunt, Cianciarulo noticed that my mechanical release didn't click onto the string of the bow as easily as it should before I drew back the bow. "Archers often forget that dust and dirt build up inside the mechanical release," Cianciarulo reported. "If that release isn't cleaned before the hunt, it can malfunction at the moment of truth." After spraying the release with WD-40, Cianciarulo tapped the release on a piece of paper. To my amazement, the oil washed out dust, dirt, grime and sediment from my release. "If you'll work the trigger of your release back and forth and oil the release as the dirt and grime come out of it, in a very short time, the release will work as smoothly as it did the first day you bought it," Cianciarulo assured me. We noticed that the dirt and grime tended to have a brown, rusty look as it came out of the release. "Most archers never think about their releases rusting," Cianciarulo observed. "However, because most releases are metal, and there's not enough lubricant between the metal parts, rusting can occur." When you shoot a release that has dirt and rust in it, that release may not perform properly when you face that buck of a lifetime.

Click to enlarge To learn more about bowhunting, order John E. Phillips’ book “The Masters’ Secrets of Bowhunting” for $13.50, which includes shipping and handling, and his “Jim Crumley’s Bowhunting Secrets” (Crumley is a longtime, avid bowhunter who created Trebark camouflage) for $15.50, which includes shipping and handling, by sending a check or money order to Night Hawk Publications, 4112 Camp Horner Road, Birmingham, AL 35243, or using PayPal, account – . You can see more information at
To order both bowhunting books, pay only $25, which includes shipping and handling.


Check back each day this week for more about “IDIOT-PROOF YOUR BOWHUNTING”

Day 1: Spin-Check Your Arrows and Stop the Rattle
Day 2: Listen for Quiver Noise and Squeaks
Day 3: Check the Tube and the String
Day 4: Have a Clean Release
Day 5: Inspect the Edge and the Wind Checker



Entry 319, Day 4