Arrow pulling is one of the first things an archer must learn to do. If you’ve ever fired multiple arrows into a target, you sure are no stranger to the fatigue that can be associated with arrow pulling. Certain targets can make arrow pulling a hassle, irrespective of your bow poundage or arrow type. And as your draw weight increases, arrows can get lodged even deeper in the target, making them a real pain to pull out.
If you’ve ever exerted more energy pulling arrows than actually shooting them during archery practice, we feel your pain, and we’ve got you. Hence, this piece we prepared just for you.
Understanding Safety in Arrow Pulling
The first and most important thing you need to bear in mind when pulling arrows out of the target is safety. Below are some safety tips you always need to remember:
Always stand to the side
When pulling an arrow, there should be no one standing behind it - and that includes you! Arrows unleash a great deal of force when they finally give way while you’re trying to pull them out of the target. Inflicting injury on yourself or a friend is the last thing you want to do when removing your arrows. Rather, you should stand to the side of the stuck arrow and double-check behind you to be sure it is safe to go ahead.
Stand clear of others too
Similarly, you should also stand clear when others are trying to pull their arrows from the target. It is generally good practice to be fully aware of your surroundings while you’re out on a shooting range.
Don’t run with your arrows
Running with arrows in hand is a very risky thing to do. You should never run up to arrows stuck in the target, either. In fact, running at an archery range is never a good idea in the first place. Remember that while archery is fun and relatively safe, you should never compromise your safety and the safety of others.
Tips For Easy Arrow Pulling
So you’re in the middle of an archery session, and your arrow has refused to come loose from the target. Don’t pull out a knife or try anything risky just yet. Read on to learn about the different tools and tactics you can try for safe and seamless arrow pulling.
Get An Arrow Puller
Usually, the first thought that pops into your mind when you want to pull out an arrow is to use your hands. But for arrows that are stuck deep or when you want to avoid wearing out your hand strength, arrow pullers can be an excellent option.
To make the process of retrieving your arrows seamless, arrow pullers give a better grip on the shaft, increase the shaft’s effective diameter for an easier hold while pulling the arrow, and add extra stiffening, which protects your arrow from being bent by your fist grip.
The safety rules involved in using an arrow puller are essentially the same as for arrow pulling by hand.
- Make sure there’s no one behind you or to your side, so they won’t get hurt by the nocking end of the arrow when it suddenly comes free.
- As you pull the arrow, make sure it’s being pulled past your body and not towards you.
- Retrieve the non-stuck arrows first before proceeding to the difficult ones.
- The arrow shaft should be gripped really close to the target to avoid bending or breaking it.
- Be sure you pull the arrow straight out. You should preferably place one hand on the target and the other on the arrow puller while attempting to pull the arrow.
- If you prefer using both hands to pull the arrow out, make sure that both you and the bale (or whichever target support structure is being used) are completely secured and won’t fall if the arrow unexpectedly comes free.
When selecting an arrow puller, make sure it is broad enough to wrap around your arrows and small enough to use within tight arrow groups. You can check out our Spear Arrow Puller - it is of perfect size, budget-friendly, and very effective.
Use An Arrow Lube
If you’ve been having issues retrieving your arrows from the target, you should try using an arrow lube. Arrow lubes are synthetic lubricants that prevent the target’s material from sticking to the arrow, making the shaft pull seamlessly from the target. All you need do is apply a thin layer of the lube to the front half of the shaft before shooting your arrow. It is particularly useful for 3D foam targets but can be used for any type of target.
Try The Arrow Twist
Giving your arrow a twist is a quick and easy trick to get the arrow out of the target. Try twisting your arrow before and while you pull to help break the target's grip on the arrow and make it come loose.
While the arrow twist method doesn’t always work, it’s worth trying, and you can easily resort to using an arrow puller or lube if it doesn’t work.
Get An Extra Grip
Another way to remove stubborn arrows from the target is to get someone to help you out. With one or two extra hands on the arrow, you’re able to grip more surface area, and there’s a better chance for success.
Get the help of one or two friends, count to 3, and everyone pulls straight back at the same time. But you should know this method only works when you are not shooting alone.
How To Save Errant Arrows
Sometimes, you can miss the target and find your arrows stuck in more complex materials, such as a wooden target stand, tree stumps, or in some cases, even a concrete wall. While arrows stuck in a concrete wall are mostly lost, those stuck in wood can sometimes be retrieved.
Below are simple tricks to save arrows stuck in wood without entirely scrapping the arrow out:
Wiggle From Side To Side
The wiggle method is the simplest trick to retrieve an arrow stuck in wood. Wiggle the arrow from side to side to create some space between the arrow and the wood. Then slowly pull it back until it comes off the wood. You need to be cautious when doing this and not apply too much pressure on the arrow shaft to avoid bending or breaking the shaft during the process.
Dig It Out
If wiggling doesn’t work, you can try digging out the arrow. Using a chisel or knife, slowly remove tiny bits of wood around the arrow’s tip as carefully as you can. After removing a considerable portion of wood, wiggle the arrow again to see if it comes off. Continue this process till you’re able to completely get the arrow out of the wood.
Unscrew The Point
If you’re still unable to retrieve the arrow after trying both methods above, you can try unscrewing the arrow from the tip. This only applies if you are using a screw-in point. Grip the shaft and rotate it in a counterclockwise direction to unscrew the point. You will end up losing the point but get to keep the arrow which is still better than losing on both ends.
Best Practices For Arrow Pulling
To avoid damaging your arrows or getting worn out while trying to retrieve them, below are a few tips to follow:
Pull The Arrows Straight Out
This is the most important thing to bear in mind when pulling your arrows from targets. Make sure you pull them straight out. Avoid bending them or pulling at an angle, as that can bend or break your arrow, rendering them useless.
Be Mindful Of Your Grip
In the same vein, mind how you grip the arrow while attempting to pull it out. Aluminum arrows, in particular, easily bend when gripped aggressively. Grip the arrow firmly enough to remove it from the target, but do not overdo it.
Mind Yor Arrow Fletching
The fletching is perhaps the easiest part of the arrow to get damaged. Shooting worn-out targets can cause your arrows to penetrate too deeply and affect or damage the fletching. If you’re using feather fletches, you should consider pulling the arrow straight from the back to maintain its integrity.
Arrow pulling can be one of the most tiring and least enjoyable activities in archery. And if you’re not careful as an archer, you might find yourself spending more time and energy pulling arrows than actually shooting them.
But arrow pulling doesn’t have to be one of your biggest nightmares as an archer. By following the guide above, you should be able to successfully hack the arrow-pulling process and learn to safely retrieve your arrows without any damage. Also, rush to our store to get our highly functional and durable arrow puller to seamlessly remove your arrows from any target whatsoever.