There is nothing more frustrating than being out hunting with your recurve bow and having a perfect shot lined up, only for your target to drop low or swivel directly after you release the arrow.
This is often caused by "string jumping", where the animal is reacting to the noise given off by your bow.
At an average temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, sound travels at about 770 mph, yet arrows shot from recurve bows can only reach up to 150 mph so it's no wonder skittish game can react so quickly.
That's why the best bow string silencers are designed to dampen noise and have as small an impact on your arrow's speed as possible. The quieter you can be, the higher chance you have of a successful hit.
So what makes a bow silencer effective and which one is right for you? Let's find out!
There are a number of factors at play when hunting, so it's important to make sure you're doing everything right.
While having a correct technique is essential, it will only form part of your overall success. There's no need to get too technical here but it's still important to understand the basic physics and the forces at work when you shoot an arrow.
On the initial draw, the tension you feel in the bow is the potential energy. Everything from the limbs to the string is straining to return to the shape it holds when at rest.
Once you release the arrow, the energy is converted into kinetic energy which launches the arrow forward and makes the string vibrate. This is what causes the familiar "twang" sound that can alert game to the oncoming shot.
Since the energy travels in waves throughout the bow and the string, the best thing you can do is give that energy somewhere else to go or cancel it out.
That's where bow string silencers come in.
A bow silencer works by absorbing some of the energy created by the shot which helps prevent excessive vibration and slow the string down faster.
This has a number of advantages:
To find the best bow string silencer for your needs, it's important to know if you want to prioritize noise reduction, arrow speed, or cost.
While cheaper options are always more appealing, just be aware that they tend to wear down faster and replacing them may end up costing you the same in the long run.
The main options available are as follows:
These are some of the best selling silencers and are often recommended on forums by other seasoned archers.
They are very lightweight, which gives you easier drawing power without reducing the impact they have on your arrow's speed. They are often made with rubber, which makes them weather-resistant and much more durable than fabric-alternatives.
They also come quite long, and this gives the kinetic energy more surface area to travel helping reduce the noise generated further. If you find them too long, they are designed to easily be cut to a length you prefer.
Despite their popularity, there are many who dislike the synthetic silencers and prefer to use furs for their performance, traditional look, and the variety of options available.
The fur used is often naturally water-resistant and the thickness can mean they are heavier than synthetics, making them extremely effective at reducing noise vibrations. Because you can choose anything from beaver to otter, you may need to read up on the individual qualities of each fur to see which one is more likely to serve your needs best.
Effective and quiet, weighted bow string silencers offer many unique benefits unmatched by the alternatives.
The design and shape make the string more balanced and the weight itself reduces noise considerably by preventing the string from vibrating as far. Think of the difference between a guitar string being plucked gently or with force.
Bear in mind the increase in weight can initially affect your accuracy as you get used to the subtle increase so be sure to spend time trying them out at a range before heading off on your next hunting trip.
Silencers that you place on the string itself are not the only option. Groove silencers are placed at the tip of your recurve bow to dampen the noise made when the string slaps against the limb.
The strips usually have an adhesive back making them very easy to install and their small size keeps from interfering with the overall look of your bow. When used with a string-attached silencer, you'll experience even more reduced noise for an effective shot.
We'll be honest, the jury's out on whether string stops noticeably increase arrow speed or improve your shot accuracy consistency. However, many people do report a drop in the vibration of the string which reduces noise.
While not the first pick, those looking to hunt game that's often on high alert such as the whitetail deer should consider using every tool at their disposal. The noise you prevent can be the difference between a shot to the vital organs or a messy wound and resulting chase.
There's a lot to consider, but even after you've decided on the right type, you still need to ensure you maximize its potential.
Once you have a good idea about what bow silencer will best suit your needs, you need to understand where to place it.
Conventional wisdom says that the string produces the most amount of noise around one-quarter or one-third of the bow length from the tip. This is simple to calculate.
Just measure the length of bow string from where it contacts one tip to the other, divide by four (or three) and you'll know where to place your bow silencer.
The reason there's no exact spot is that every bow is different. The quarter or third mark is a great starting point and you just need to make small adjustments from there. Just give the string small plucks as you go until you find the spot that produces the least amount of noise.
Now that we've covered the technical aspects of bow silencers, you can understand the advantages of what's available.
We've compiled a short list of the best products to help ensure your next trip is as successful as possible.
To make the list below, each product needed to meet a set criteria of durability, value, and, most importantly, noise reduction with as little interference with your shot as possible.
We saw this item recommended a number of times on separate sites and forums, and for good reason. They are also one of the highest rated whisker silencers on Amazon.
People love them for their reasonable price and find them very effective at reducing string vibration giving them a more quiet and stable shot. They're lightweight and made of rubber, which gives them excellent durability and keeps them light even in the rain.
This is a great option for anyone seeking a cheap and reliable silencer. Just be sure to install them correctly to avoid them coming apart while you're out on your next trip.
You don't have to search for long to see that this beaver fur silencer is a favorite among many archers in the field.
Made from tanned beaver hide, the end result is a large and authentic looking bow silencer that provides superior noise reduction. And since beavers are aquatic creatures, this silencer comes with natural water-resistant properties, meaning they function just as well in the rain shaking water off without issue.
A top seller, this is Bowjax's most popular model known for helping improve overall performance and silence with little compromise.
Each dampener is well balanced and weighted to ensure vibrations are kept to a minimum while keeping your arrow speed consistent. Sold as a pack of four, this will give you a lot of adjustment options so you can find the configuration that works best for you.
A perfect addition designed specifically for recurve bows.
Made from natural leather, these bow silencers are built to last over many uses. They have an adhesive back for easy application and Traditional Archery went a step further by including padding for extra noise absorption.
If you still wish to further reduce noise produced by your bow, then there are other important factors that can significantly help you.
Even the best bow silencers can't fix a bow that isn't properly adjusted. This part is at the end of the guide because it's actually better to do the adjustments with the silencers already installed.
Here's a quick rundown of what to be aware of and what you can do to fix it.
Adjusting the brace height of your recurve bow is a great way to help reduce the noise level. It also helps improve your performance and accuracy so be sure to adjust it for your level and activity.
If you've been enjoying going out with your bow a lot this year, you should take a closer look at every part of your bow. The more you use it, the looser things like screws and other sections can become, causing rattles and unwanted vibration.
While heavier usually means louder, when it comes to hunting arrows the opposite is true. The extra weight makes them able to absorb more energy, meaning less is transferred to the bow itself.
With all that in mind...
Hunting is a thrilling activity that requires extreme patience and dedication. While there are missed shots and difficult days, the rewards of hitting your target make it all worthwhile.
That's why you should do everything possible to ensure you give yourself the best chance of success and come home with a wall-worthy prize.
While there are many factors involved, nearly all hunters agree that silence is one of the most important. Especially when the difference is based on just a few crucial milliseconds and the reactions of your target to any noise you might cause.
Understanding your equipment and knowing what you can do to improve it is an essential part of being a good hunter. Hopefully, by reading this guide, you have learned what the best bow string silencers are, why they are effective, and the best way to use them.
Don't feel discouraged if the results aren't immediately what you hoped.
Every hunter has their own preferences and it takes time to try out different accessories to find the set up that works for you. Just continue to use your bow and make adjustments as you go.
Be sure to check out our other blog for other useful guides or simply contact us with any questions.