Follow these three simple steps to keep your bow in top shape and ready to hunt next year.
I am an avid bowhunter that does not discriminate based on bow type. As such, the term bow in this article applies to long, recurve, compound, and even crossbow. If you can put meat in the freezer with it, it is good enough for me.
Once the season is over and it is time to put that bow away, it is very important to pay attention to bow maintenance if you want it to perform next year as well as it did this year. By following these three simple steps, you will be ensuring the long life of your bow.
There are some steps which may, if not performed with care, cause damage to your bow or to yourself. By proceeding you agree to assume all risks and responsibility yourself. This article is based off my opinion and experience and you should not proceed if you do not agree with it.
1. Check the string
It is never a bad idea to check your string before and after every use. Just a quick once over to make sure there are no areas of obvious distress or fraying will do.
If you are going to put your bow away for more than a few weeks, then give it a little more thorough inspection.
Make sure your string has an adequate amount of wax. Strings can become damaged if stored without enough wax to protect them. If there is build up or if more is required, remove the old wax and apply a fresh layer.
To remove the old wax from your string you can take a piece of an old string, fold it over, and rub it up and down the length.
If you do not have another piece of string there are solutions you can buy that you apply, wait a few minutes, and wipe off.
Make sure you apply heat to get the wax into the string. To achieve this, some people use their fingers or a piece of leather folded over and let the friction from rubbing cause the heat.
Other people use a hair dryer, but if you have not done this before it is advised not to unless shown by someone who has. You must take care not to overheat the string. Use the lowest setting so as not to damage the string. Strings can melt, which could cause them to weaken and snap under pressure, so be cautious.
2. Check all screws
Now is the time to tighten everything down that is supposed to be tightened down, or loosen everything up that is supposed to be loose.
Check and hand tighten those screws to your sights, arrow rest (such as a whisker biscuit), quivers, and adjustable cams. Do not over tighten, or the pressure and time in storage could cause them to snap.
If you have an adjustable poundage to your bow, now is the time to loosen it right up. It is important to know the maximum number of turns your bow can take and leave it screwed in by a turn or a half turn. Check your manual, as you could literally unscrew your bow if you go too far, which will result in a violent explosion of pieces as the pressure from the string pulls it apart.
3. Check the body, cams, and limbs
Give a thorough inspection of the bow for any cracks, bends, dents, or other signs of distress. If you do notice anything, make sure to address it before you put the bow away. Leaving a small sign of distress for too long can lead to a failure which could damage the bow or you.
Look for any signs of wear or tear. Cams on modern bows can easily derail the string if the is a dent or bend in the lips of the groove that hold the string in place. A failure like this can be very painful indeed.
Check for rust or corrosion which may occur from exposure to the elements.
Now that your bow is completely checked over and ready for storage, there are a few more things you should consider. Do not store your bow in a bow case without some sort of moisture absorbing material such as silica packets. Store your bow in a warm and dry area and not in the basement or garage. Make sure you check on your bow regularly at least once every couple of weeks to make sure there are no signs of rust or corrosion. If there are, clean it and store it in a different area.
By following these steps and performing bow maintenance prior to putting it away your bow will be ready for you next year. I don't know about you, but I cannot usually go longer than a few weeks before taking it out and shooting a few arrows anyway.