These are 4 of my favourite, slightly *ahem* unconventional ideas to deal with archery equipment mishaps. Fans of *correct* archery, I apologise: this is pure wild backyard archery :3
They are most suited for traditional archery since that is where most of my experience comes from, although the first two points may apply to other bows as well as long as no release aid is used.
Seriously, just grab a box of them and make them a permanent resident of your equipment bag. For me they are the number one piece of equipment to save the day.
First of all, shooting gloves and especially small finger tabs can get lost or worn out all of a sudden. If you are a “minimal-equipment-archer” like me and have shot bare fingers, its fine for an hour or too (depending on your bow and technique). (If you have not shot bare fingers before its not a good idea to do so for a prolonged time straight away.) The longer you shoot without finger protection, the higher the chance of blisters or even open wounds forming. After that happens, it can be painful to shoot for weeks. Therefore: bandaids make great temporary finger tabs.
For traditional archers shooting over their finger instead of an arrow rest, bandaids can also replace the bow-hand glove. The only area that needs to be protected while shooting over the fingers is the knuckle of the index finger, and that is also only a preventive measure against injury in case we make a mistake in our grip technique. Most of the time it is not needed, only if during training we decide to work on or experiment with the grip. Therefore using a simple strip of bandaid instead of a bow-hand glove is perfectly fine.
In worst cases sticky bandaids can also be used of fix stuff… hopefully it never comes to that though!
2. Shooting loose nocks
Fatigued, loose nock? No problem. With one tiny change in the draw hand technique they can still be shot, provided you draw with the arrow between two of your fingers. Simply hold onto the arrow with the two fingers. There are two important things to remember with this technique: firstly, be careful not to induce any horizontal force on the arrow, or hold onto it too tightly, as this will cause the arrow to fall off the arrow rest/your finger. Secondly, remember to let go of not only the bowstring but also the arrow during the release, in order to prevent fishtailing and possibly scratched fingers. This can be achieved by a simple motion apart of the two fingers, while maintaining a clean release.
Traditional arrows may have loose nocks by default, as in the past many arrows just had notches in the back of the shaft, so this technique applies there as well.
3. A good knife is the most handy thing ever.
Wrecked arrows can be really annoying. On the other hand many of them can be quickly *modified* and used again.
When shooting into harder targets the tip of the arrow can come off. Of course these can often simply be replaced, but if we don’t have any arrow tips, or if the arrow tip has broken off, this cannot be done anymore. What can be done instead is sharpening the shaft with the knife. This will result in a much lighter, although unstable arrow. I wouldn’t use these arrows for competitive target shooting because they tend to fishtail a lot. But they are great for just screwing around :3 or trying amateur level self-made bows that may be weak and so require lighter (and perhaps disposable) arrows. The two drawbacks of this are that the arrow will become slightly shorter and so might become too short, and the wood tip will wear down quite quickly.
If your shaft is the right size, you can even try to use a pencil sharpener xD
If your nock breaks and you cannot glue it or replace it, then it is also an idea to cut off the top part of the arrow, and cut a notch into the back as a traditional nock. It will make the arrow a few centimetres shorter and slightly lighter but this definitely works, and as long as you remember the small adjustment in aim, can be shot together with the intact arrows.
4. Nocking point gone?
I seem to have a talent for losing my nocking point, which is why i developed this technique for loading arrows (also great for shooting in the dark): use your finger to measure the distance from the top of the thick part of the bowstring. Of course this only works if you have measured it beforehand while you still could see your nocking point. This can be integrated as a fluid movement in the loading process with some practice.
~Hope this was educational, or at least fun to read ^_^ I’m happy to hear some other unconventional ideas from you readers in the comments! Happy shooting to fellow archers!
kitty hugs to all,