Maintaining your bow and arrow is crucial if you want to have a successful bow hunting trip. Like any other major piece of equipment, a bow and arrow need to be tuned, adjusted, and monitored closely in order to ensure that they are functioning properly and able to perform at their best.
You should always check with your local archery shop’s bow experts if you have major questions or concerns, but we can help answer some common questions. If you’re wondering how often you should you take your bow in for check-ups, what you need to maintain your equipment, or what you need to look out for, read on.
Basic Tuning and Maintenance
Tuning can be complicated, so if you are new to bow hunting, be sure to find a coach, experienced archer, or bow mechanic who can help you learn the process. Tuning increases accuracy by adapting your weapon and adjusting to your personal needs. Before adjusting anything on your equipment, make sure that you are using proper form and technique with your bow and arrow. If you aren’t using the bow properly, nothing else really matters. Proper form and a basic understanding of technique will prevent injury, increase accuracy, and form the foundation for a successful bow hunting experience.
Every time you modify your form, you will need to retune your bow, so it’s a good idea to wait until you have your form established to tune it.
Always check your bow and arrows before you shoot. Whether you are just doing target practice or on the actual bow hunt, do not shoot until you have checked the bow for cracks, nicks, dents, and proper stringing. It helps to lightly run your hand over the bow limbs and feel for twists or bulges. Examine all metal components for rust or corrosion, especially if you are in a humid or rainy climate.
If you continue to use a bow that needs repair or replacement parts, it could break, which can be incredibly dangerous. If you notice any damage, stop using the bow immediately, carefully unstring the bow, and consult an expert.
Arrows go through a lot of wear and tear, so it is very important to check them every single time you plan to shoot them.
Inspect the points to ensure that they are tightly glued or screwed. Look at the fletching and make sure they are completely attached. Replace anything that is cracked.
If you use carbon shafted arrows, flex the arrow and listen carefully for any cracking sounds. These sounds might indicate that your shaft is splintering. If you find a crack, do not touch the splinters, as they are very dangerous. Do not shoot that arrow again.
If you use wooden or aluminum arrow shafts, check for straightness by laying on a flat surface with the fletching off the edge. Rolling the arrows back and forth will make it pretty obvious if any are bent or crooked. Check wooden arrows for cracks. A cracked wooden arrow can break in the middle of a shoot, which can be incredibly hazardous.
No part of the bow sustains more wear than the string. Bow strings need constant maintenance and will eventually require replacement.
Before shooting, check your bowstrings for a fuzzy appearance and examine for dryness. If either situation is present, apply a light synthetic wax by rubbing it in with your fingers until it completely melts into the string. Some manufacturers recommend doing this every couple of months. Also check for fraying as well as loose or broken strands.
To prolong your string’s life, store it properly. If you use a recurve or longbow for bow hunting, remove the string between shooting to avoid overstretching. Avoid storing at high temperatures, which can also stretch strings.
A properly maintained and stored bow string should last about three years. Your local archery store can help you determine if it is time to replace your string, and they will usually have different colors so that you can customize your weapon.
Always store your equipment carefully and properly. Use a padded bow bag or bow case. If you plan to travel with your bow, the case must be able to either zip completely or shut and lock. Unstring before storing. Make sure that the temperature is consistent and that your bow will not experience extreme heat or cold, as either could seriously damage your bow.
Reasons to Take Your Bow to a Professional
Annual Tune-up—Your bow goes through a lot in a year, so it is smart to take your equipment in for yearly checks. They will look at the string’s stretch and the bow’s other parts that have gotten out of alignment or have been vibrated loose, tuning, etc.
Growth Spurts—If you have grown in any way, of if you have a young bow hunter in your life, the bow will need to be adjusted as growth occurs. This ensures comfort and accuracy, as well as a proper fit.
Drops or Dry-Fires—Accidents happen. You might drop your bow, or you might dry-fire it. Dry-firing is shooting without an arrow, which can happen accidentally. Bows are not designed for this, and releasing the string without a bow sends all of the energy that was meant for the arrow right into the bow.
Dry-firing is very dangerous, but it happens even to seasoned bow hunters. First, check yourself for injuries. Then, place the bow in a case. If the bow breaks, all of the parts will be secured in the base. Immediately take it to your local archery shop so a professional can check it out and make any necessary repairs. Do NOT fire your bow until a professional has looked it over.
With proper maintenance and care, your bow and arrow will be ready for your next bow hunting trip!