Jumping the String

Most Bow Hunters know what I mean by "Jumping the String" even if they have not heard the phrase. For the new hunters or those thinking of taking up bow hunting I will discuss.

One of the most disappointing hunting experiences is to sit for hours waiting for a deer to get close enough and in the clear enough while being positioned just right for a clear shot and have it jump out of the arrow's flight path because it heard some noise as you shot. Most hunters having this experience thinks it is because the deer heard the string twang. Because this is what they heard. They sluff off the experience and before the next hunting trip they stop by the Archery shop and get a new set of different "bow string silencers". These installed they regain confidence and head for the woods confident that they have fixed the cause of jumping the string. To their amazement it happens again. They may even get more or different string silencers and head out again to be disappointed by a jumping the string experience.

This happens way too often but it can be avoided when understanding that the string is not the only thing that can give away a shot. This not only happens to bow hunters but it can to gun hunters also. The reason it does not happen to gun hunters more often is they usually do not let deer get as close before shooting.

  • Metal running against metal, fiberglass or hard plastic makes noise you might not hear but deer can thus Jumping the String.
  • Fletching hitting the riser or arrow rest can make noise and then Jumping the String.
  • The wrong clothes for bow hunting may be one of the Jumping the String culprits.
  • You may not hear it but loose compound bow wheels or axles can click, squeak or rattle causing Jumping the String.
  • I even had a bow which when shot would rattle at the point where the limbs attached to the riser. The limbs would move forward above the adjustment screw then fall back toward the resting position but slap against the riser in the process. I am sure this caused several Jumping the String incidents.
  • Shifting weight during setup can rustle leaves or crack twigs can result in Jumping the String.
  • If in brush, touching the bow or gun on nearby limbs as you aim you will experience the dreaded Jumping the String.
  • Tree stands are notorious for causing Jumping the String because of squeaking with every move.

The last three items have to be addressed by the hunter in the field prior to the animal showing up. Trim the brush limbs within range of your moving equipment. Scrape away leaves and twigs. Do a couple of set-ups for shooting in several directions listening for noise and/or brush interference. Get rid of every noise maker that will cause Jumping the String.

Carry a can of silicone or Teflon spray lubricant to the field and spray contact points of the stand installation. One application should last the season unless it rains a lot. Teflon lasts longer.

To alleviate the metal to metal or hard surfaces problem get some mole skin from the first aid section from the drug store and apply it, adhesive side to any surface the arrow might touch while at rest or traveling. As it wears replace it often, cheap fix.

I found that my waterproof duck suit is not suitable for archery deer hunting way too noisy and causes jumping-the-string. Cotton is the quietest fabric. Spray with 3M water repellent. String striking the wrong sleeve material is very noisy. Rule of thumb - if you scratch the fabric with your hand or flip a finger lightly across a cuff at arms length and can hear it it may bee too noisy for bow hunting.

Lubricate all moving surfaces, wheels, axles and pivot points. Don't forget the release if you use one, they can be a source of noise as the shot is released.

I solved the limb noise problem by adding a good Shock Absorbing Stabilizer. The stabilizer adds mass to the riser which causes the arrow to accept more energy and it absorbs energy itself due to a rubber or hydraulic absorption system inside. The more added mass the better but too much will cause a tiring imbalance if it keeps the bow from having a naturel vertical hang position when held loosely in the hand.

Before practice put everything on which you wear while hunting in the woods and listen for noise while practicing. Better yet, have a friend with good ears stand by you and listen while you set up and shoot. If he hears anything new try to pinpoint the cause and fix it.

Finally if possible let the animal get relaxed and comfortable with the area before you try to shoot. If it dips it head to eat or smell the ground it has convinced itself  there is no immediate danger close by. Use food or sex based scents on the ground at your chosen target locations to help induce the capture of the deer's attention. Better yet if possible shoot just as the deer raises back up and lifts a front leg to take a step, this puts them a little off balance and there is less chance of a crouch before they bolt. Do not listen to the impatience monkey on your shoulder, he whispers to you in reaction to adrenaline not logic.

Even then do not shoot at a moving deer if you can help it. If a deer looks like it will just keep walking by follow it with your fully drawn bow and stop it by opening your mouth and make a deep "uuurrp" sound, not too loud but loud enough for the deer hear it the first time. Take your shot as soon as you can because it will not stay still long. As said earlier be set up and ready to shoot because soon it will be looking directly your way trying to find the buck. Whatever you do don't listen to those who say just whistle, trust me that does not work.

Deer can jump a twig if the arrow hits one on the way. It might still hit him but sometimes they are fast enough that between the slight deflection of the arrow and the jump you can miss completely. Patience is the key here wait for the right shot or do not shoot at all. There are two many deer out there to take marginal shots.

One final tip the closer the deer the less time it has to react before the arrow gets there.

Advance warning is the key: You can position your stand so you can see game coming from as far as possible to give more time to get set up. The only problem is if you can see them they can see you. A Game Pager gives you more time than anything because your TrailEyes Trail Radar can be set to page you before the deer can see you or you them. This may help avoid the jumping the string phenomenon.

You can find more information on quiet bows, clothes and arrows on Google.