Archers should not shoot bows with stands - bow pods - attached
An archer considering shooting a compound bow with a stand - bow pod - attached to the bottom limb should think again.
Don't do it.
The temptation is strong to just pick up your bow and shoot it, without removing and reattaching the stand before and after each shot. Ground-blind bowhunters watching a big buck sneaking into range don't necessarily want the extra movement needed to reach down to the bottom limb, unclamp the bow stand and then raise the bow to draw.
But you should remove it. Every time. For the sake of your bow, your safety and for accuracy.
"Adding weight and moving parts to the limb, in varying and/or inconsistent areas, can lead to trouble," said Mike Collins of G5 Outdoors - maker of Prime and Quest bows. "This trouble may be both structurally with the limb, and/or the end result - accuracy of the shot."
When you draw back the string on a compound bow, you are loading a lot of energy into the limbs. That energy is all unleashed when the string is released.
Bow stands are made to attach and be removed easily from a bow limb. Therefore, they are not secure. So the stand is going to vibrate at the shot. At the very least, that's going to make the bow loud. If there's a structural deficiency in the stand, it could break as a result of that vibration. And as the stand is vibrating, it could damage the bow limb. Limb damage can lead to limb failure.
That's when someone gets hurt.
Many compound bow limbs vary in thickness from end to end. So a bow stand can be affixed tightly in a thick area, but it could then slide off that spot to a thinner part of the limb. If the stand is sliding, it's possible for it to enter the path of the rotating cam. Obviously, that would be disastrous.
The potential for danger is why Jerry Tepps of Pine Ridge Archery - makers of the popular Kwik Stand bow stand - said his company recommends archers remove the stand before they shoot.
"We know people who shoot with them on without any problems, but we don't recommend it," Tepps said.
If all of those possibilities aren't enough to convince you not to shoot with your bow stand attached, we ran a little accuracy test.
WARNING: Do not try this at home! At Lancaster Archery Supply, we have expert staff on hand at all times to monitor shooting experiments, and we would never recommend anyone try this on their own.
We started with a bow that was perfectly sighted in without a stand attached, and shot an arrow into a target. We then attached a bow stand and shot another arrow that hit the target 3 inches below the aiming point. That difference surely would grow as the shot distance increased. So you can't count on being accurate if you're switching back and forth between shooting with the stand on and off.
Arrow grouping was worse with the stand on than it was with it off. Most likely, that's because the stand can shift from shot to shot, which means the weight placement changes. In that situation, consistent accuracy is sure to suffer.
At 30 yards, our arrow grouping was much tighter without the stand on the bow than it was with it attached. What would the grouping look like at 50 yards? 60? 70? Poor arrow grouping at short distances only gets worse the farther away you shoot.
Veteran professional archer Jesse Broadwater said the safety issues alone keep him from shooting a bow with his stand attached. But if that wasn't enough, he said he still would never shoot with a stand attached because of the accuracy issues he would expect.
"It will change impact point depending on where it is on the limb," he said. "There is a whole list of reasons why it's just better to take 3 seconds and take the bow stand off before you shoot."
Mathews is one bow manufacturer that makes its own bow stand designed specifically for its bows. The Mathews Limb Legs twists on and off split-limb bows, such as the Halon series. Even though this stand is made for its own bows, Mathews recommends taking the Limb Legs off before shooting the bow, according to Becky Thomas, Mathews sales specialist.
Bow stands are handy, valuable tools for keeping your bow upright, and protecting your limbs and cams from ground debris. If you go to a professional tournament where bow hangers are not provided, you're going to see most - if not all - compound archers using bow stands. But if you watch those archers compete, you're also going to see every one of them remove their stands before they shoot.
And we recommend you do the same.