Postseason Bow Clean Up
By Allan Gunter (Team Harvester Outdoors)
What to do with your bow once hunting season is done? I guess the best answer to this question is, keep shooting. Your bow is not like a rifle. It requires year round consistent practice to maintain (and improve) your shooting. Even if its just a few arrows a day, or maybe just shooting close range in your basement, keeping that muscle memory intact is going to make it way easier to get back to speed when next season begins. Having said that, there are a few things you should do once you’re done hunting for the year.
Wax your strings
If you’re anything like me, your strings take a beating through the season. Between getting thrown in the back seat of my truck, and dragging it through all manner of thick bush and willows, to simply hunting in the elements such as rain, wind, snow etc. All of these things can dry out your string and cause them to prematurely wear out. A simple coat of wax at the end of the season will help you get more life out of those strings.
Check that everything is tight
In the craziness of the season, bolts and screws can rattle loose. Grab a set of allen wrenches and go through the bow checking to make sure everything is tight. *This is something you should do regularly throughout the season as well, loose screws can cause all kinds of bad things to happen.* Some key areas to check are the module screws on the cams. If these work themselves out, it can have catastrophic consequences. Sights and rests. Your rest is directly responsible for directing your arrow, if this comes loose, your accuracy and tuning will be greatly effected. Be careful with your sight, there are some sights that have screws that are not meant to be tight, but in general, you want the screws to be tight.
Check your arrows
This is a great time to go through your arrows. Make sure they’re all straight and structurally intact. Arrows that contain aluminum can bend, the best way to check this is to pick up an arrow spinner at your local pro shop (Pine Ridge Archery makes a pretty good one for a reasonable price). All carbon arrows will not bend, BUT need to be checked for cracks or splinters. If you find a crack or splinter in a carbon arrow DO NOT shoot that arrow! The best way to check carbon arrows is to hold them on either end, and flex. Don’t be afraid to flex that arrow a significant amount, they are designed to flex. If you hear or feel anything that would be suspect, inspect that arrow in further detail. Again, and I really can’t stress enough, DO NOT shoot arrows that are cracked, if you need evidence of why not to shoot a cracked carbon arrow, google it, you’ll see some gruesome photos. This is also a good time to get any fletching repairs done. Your fletching can take a beating through the season. Now that you have time to take a couple days off shooting to get them repaired, you might as well do it now rather than waiting until the last minute before next season.
Things to NOT do at the end of the season
This is a basic list of things that you shouldn’t do with your bow after the season:
- Oil the cams and axles. Oil will attract dust and dirt and in the long run will make things worse
- Put the bow in the case and forget about it. SHOOT ALL YEAR ROUND!
- Back your limbs out to “take stress off them” With modern materials used in limbs you don’t need to worry about them fatiguing, they’ll be fine at full strength. The best thing you can do for your bow when the season is done, is keep shooting it. If you’re continually using it, you’ll be more familiar with what things should look like, how the bow sounds and how it feels. You’ll be more likely to notice something is wrong if you are more aware of how things should be.
Stay ready for next season!