Maintaining Your Bow During the Off Season

It has happened to most of us at one time or another. September has arrived and you’re just now taking your bow to a local archery shop and having it serviced for the upcoming bow season. The stores are packed full of other archers waiting in line, and your chances of getting your bow checked in a timely manner are slim. You ask yourself, “Why didn’t I do this earlier?” Well, unfortunately, sometimes time slips away from us. However, one way to prevent this last-minute stress is to maintain your bow throughout the year— especially in the summer months leading up to the bow opener.


Strings and cables

One of the simplest things that a person can do to keep their bow in proper working condition is applying a light coating of commercial bowstring wax to their string and cables. This should be done about every third or fourth time you shoot a group of arrows on the target range. When an arrow is drawn, the fibers that make up the string slide against each other. Therefore, the wax acts as a lubricant, allowing them to twist easily. It also provides your string with protection against moisture.

Always inspect your string and cables before releasing any arrows to ensure that your bow is safe to shoot. When they become badly frayed or worn, then it is time to replace them. Also, check your string’s serving periodically for separation. According to Bryan Schupbach, owner of Schupbach’s Sporting Goods in Jackson, Michigan and a bow technician for over thirty years, “The average bowhunter should have their strings and cables replaced every two years in the springtime and re-checked after about two hundred times of shooting.” Continuing to shoot arrows off of a bad string will eventually cause timing problems with your bow’s cams, leaving you shooting inaccurately or worse it could break at the moment of truth.


Another part of your bow that should be inspected on occasion is the cam axle and bushings. Wet days that you spent afield with bow in hand last season could have left both rusted and weak. Applying white lithium grease to axles on compound bows that are ten years and older about once every two years will allow the cams to rotate smoothly. However, newer bows don’t require any grease because they have sealed bearings. Water can also affect other parts of the bow, such as the screws attaching your accessories, which include your sights, arrow rest and quiver. These rusted parts should be replaced before bow seasons gets underway.



In summertime especially, it is extremely important to store your bow out of the sunlight and away from the heat. Keep your bow in a cool, dry place in your house or garage when not in use. The epoxy in the laminated limbs on bows that are left in vehicles in the heat for an extended period of time could separate, causing them to fall apart. It could also cause severe stretching of your bow’s strings and cables. Purchasing a hard case for your bow is a great way to protect it from the sun, and also its parts from becoming jarred loose when being transported to and from the target range or field.

If you feel uncomfortable maintaining your own bow or are not sure of what types of malfunctions to look for, don’t hesitate to travel to an archery pro shop. For a small fee, these professionals can repair and maintain everything dealing with your bow that you could imagine. Taking in your bow well in advance of bow season will ensure that you can pick up your bow in a timely manner, without the stress of missing a few days afield if you wait too long.