Whether you’re swapping out a few accessories or trading in your entire rig for a new setup, it’s important to give yourself plenty of time to get comfortable and confident before hunting with your bow.

Draw weight, sight, rest, release, arrows, broadheads — anything you change could affect speed or accuracy. Change one element, and you’ll likely have to adjust your sight at minimum, so it’s critical to get this done earlier rather than later.

Whenever possible, shoot for having all your tweaks and changes made at least two months before your first hunt of the season so you have adequate time to practice with your updated setup. This is why spring is a great time to revisit your rig and upgrade any components. Overhauling your setup in September? Not so much. 

It can take several practice sessions to fine-tune your new setup. You’re looking for consistent accuracy to ethically take down an animal — not just “good enough.”

If you’re in a pinch because something broke and you’re forced to make changes just a few weeks out from hunting season, increase your practice sessions. Instead of a dozen-arrow practice session every day, switch to two-a-days with 20 arrows each. Get in as much practice as possible in that short period of time.

Of course, the longer you’ve been doing this, the easier it will be to adjust to any changes. But even the most experienced archers should get in plenty of practice reps before taking a rig into the field. We owe it to the animals we pursue.