If your arrows fletching looks a little rough, don’t worry.
Fletchings are extremely important: They stabilize your arrow flight from your release to the target. Without proper fletching, your arrows will not fly the same way and your arrow groups will be scattered rather than nice and tight.
One problem, fletchings do not last forever. As you practice and your shooting improves, your arrows will group more tightly. That’s good, of course, but it makes your fletchings bump or hit each other regularly, and that causes wear and tear on the individual feathers or vanes. Also, wear occurs when you miss the target and your arrow passes through brush, grass, limbs and twigs or other obstacles. Eventually, all fletching wears out and requires replacing.
Replacing your fletching varies by how much abuse they endure. Well-maintained hunting arrows can last over a year or more, but if you shoot a lot they will need new fletching more frequently. This is a natural part of shooting archery, and one that’s easily remedied. An archery shop will inspect your arrows and replace your fletchings, if needed. Best of all, replacing fletchings provides an opportunity to personalize your arrows with crests with fun colors and patterns.
Here’s how to tell if your arrows need new fletchings.
Loose fletching makes a fluttering noise when shot. When you inspect the arrow, you’ll notice one end of the fletching has separated from the shaft. Loose fletching causes drag on your arrow, which makes it fly and hit differently from your other arrows. Set it aside and have an archery shop repair it.
When using plastic vanes for fletching, inspect them often for tears. Ripped fletching also makes a fluttering noise in flight as the loose section creates extra drag. If any of your fletchings get torn, set those arrows aside and have an archery shop repair them.
MISSING A SECTION
Feather fletchings are authentic and beautiful. But after hundreds of shots, you might notice a section of missing feather. The arrow shoots fine if the missing section isn’t too large, but you must replace it eventually. When in doubt ask the pros at your archery shop.
Feather fletching tip: If your feathers get flat or crinkled, rejuvenate them with steam. Simmer some water on the stove or use a steam iron to bring your feathers back to life. After a few minutes of steaming, they’ll look new again.
A FLETCH IS MISSING
Strong super-glues hold fletchings to the shaft, but sometimes an entire fletching comes off in extreme heat or when the arrow strikes something hard and breaks the bond. If an arrow is missing a fletching, you’ll need to get it repaired.
Fletchings aren’t delicate, but they need proper care and maintenance for optimal accuracy. Part of that maintenance is replacing damaged or worn-out fletchings. An archery shop can easily replace all your arrow components, whether its new points, nocks or fletching.