Bow hunting is an exciting and adventurous sport. The best way to excel at bow hunting is to invest in a high-quality hunting bow. You want your bow to be sturdy, accurate, and comfortable to use. Putting a good deal of effort into selecting your bow is essential. However, it’s also important that you maintain your bow properly if you want your bow to continue to function effectively through the years.

Learn as much as you can about bow maintenance before you purchase a bow. To keep your bow in the best possible shape, it’s important to maintain it well from the beginning.

The Importance of Caring for Your Bow

Bows are durable and strong hunting tools. However, they can easily become damaged or prematurely aged if they are not cared for properly. There are many seemingly minor things you can do or forget to do that could easily destroy a bow.

You need to protect the investment you make in your bow through proper maintenance. A poorly maintained bow won’t only wear out more quickly than it should, but it also won’t function as accurately as it could, which will detract from your performance as a hunter. You need to inform yourself about bow care to get the most out of your hunting experiences.

How to Care for a Compound Bow

Compound bows are among the most popular types of hunting bow. They are especially frequently chosen as a bow of choice by beginning hunters who are just learning the sport. Compound bows generally have more parts that move than other types of bows. This means that they generally require a good amount of maintenance.

Compound bows include components such as the cams, limbs, riser, cables, and bowstring. Those who hunt with this type of bow need to know what all these components are and how they work. They also need to know what the signs are that indicate a malfunction in any of these components.

Check the Cam Synchronization

When it comes to compound bow functioning, proper synchronization is essential. Synchronization helps the limbs of the bow to function properly. One essential maintenance task is to check synchronization and have adjustments performed as necessary. You can evaluate the synchronization of a bow by checking how the cams rotate when the bow is at full draw. The cams should be moving in tandem with one another and display matched rotation. Otherwise, an adjustment is needed.

Check the Cam System Timing

In addition to synchronization, timing is another important consideration regarding compound bow functioning. Timing means where the cams are located as the bow is drawn in relation to how much energy they are storing. Timing is important when it comes to a variety of factors, including the feel of the bow’s draw and the bow’s draw length and poundage.

You can consult manufacturer guidelines to learn how to adjust and gauge the timing of your bow. Timing guidelines vary among different bow models and manufacturers. A newly purchased bow should be correctly timed. When you first purchase your bow, it’s a good idea to mark out your cam timing as a point of reference down the road.

Have Your Bow Inspected Once a Year

While you can do your own bow maintenance, you should also have a professional inspection of your bow performed on an annual basis. Take your bow to a shop. A professional can inspect areas like axles, axle bushings spaces, strings, limbs, cables, and more. A professional can look out for developing malfunctions that you might miss and handle tasks like axle lubrication for you.

Keep Away from Heat Sources

One of the simplest things you can do to preserve your compound bow’s condition is keep it away from any heat sources. Heat can harm bows in a variety of ways. Heat can increase the chances that the limbs will fail and break. Heat can also cause stretching of the cables. Make sure that you’re keeping your bow stored in a place where it will never be exposed to excessively warm conditions.

Lubricate Axles Regularly

Lubricating the axles of your compound bow is important for ensuring smooth movement of both the cables and the cams. With lubrication, you can prevent friction when you are drawing your bow. When lubricating a compound bow, you should make sure you’re using oil that doesn’t contain cleaning agents. However, you should not use oil on your compound bow if it has needle bearings. In this case, you should use a specially formulated grease lubricant on the axles.

How to Care for a Recurve Bow

A recurve bow is another common type of bow. Recurve bows have a more simple design than compound bows. While there are some similarities between compound and recurve bow maintenance, there are some significant differences as well.

Recurve bows typically include wood veneer with a protective coating over it. Part of recurve bow maintenance should include conditioning this wood veneer with polish.

Unstring After Use

You should never leave your recurve bow strung when it is in storage; in fact, you should unstring your bow immediately after every use. Even leaving your bow strung for only one night could cause the string to lose cast, which will detract from its functioning. Unstringing your bow is not only good for your bowstring, but for the bow itself as well. Unstringing your bow takes tension off your bow and can make it last longer.

Wipe Down to Prevent Moisture

A recurve bow can become damaged by moisture exposure. This is why it’s important for you to wipe and dry your bow after each and every use. Taking the time to make sure your bow is dry is especially important after you have been hunting in rainy or humid conditions. When you wipe down your bow and dry it, you should also scrub it and make sure there is not any residue, dirt, or mildew present on its surface.

Keep Away From Heat

Like a compound bow, a recurve bow can also be damaged by exposure to heat. You need to keep not only the bow itself away from heat, but also the bow string. Always keep your bow and string stored in a climate-controlled environment. Never store your bow outside for any length of time. The storage area for your bow should also be away from humidity. Like heat, humidity can also damage a recurve bow. Do not store your bow in a hunting cooler to transport it. The cooler is exclusively for the meat you’re going to process.

Never Fire Without an Arrow

You can damage your bow if you draw it and fire it without a hunting arrow in place. Firing your bow with no arrow in place is what’s known as a dry fire. A dry fire could cause your bowstring to snap. It might happen through normal use of your bow that you accidentally dry fire. When this happens, it’s important to look over your bow carefully and make sure that you haven’t accidentally damaged your bow or bowstring.

Wax Bow When Damaged or Scuffed

Through normal use, your recurve bow could become damaged. Minor damage could include scuffs on your bow’s surface. When you notice damage like this, you should wax the affected areas. This will minimize the resulting damage and help prolong the life of your bow.

How to Care For Your Bowstring

Your bowstring is an essential part of your bow. Regardless of what type of bow you’re using, you need to maintain your bowstring properly to ensure proper bow functioning. You also need to select your bowstring carefully. Invest in a quality bowstring that will be resilient and unlikely to wear or fray over time.

Your bowstring can be fragile, so it’s important to pay attention to its condition. Inspect your bowstring every time you unstring your bow. Also, inspect your bowstring after you take it out of storage and before you string your bow again.

Check for Fraying on the Whipping

One of the biggest potential bowstring problems that you need to look out for is fraying on the bowstring whipping. Fraying on your bowstring whipping won’t just detract from the performance of your bow, but it can also be extremely dangerous.

It’s not uncommon for bowstrings to develop fraying in the loop or eye whipping. Bowstrings can also begin to fray in the center. Be constantly on the lookout for even the slightest signs of fraying. If you notice fraying, you need to immediately replace your bowstring to hunt safely.

Wax Bowstring Regularly

In addition to unstringing your bow after use, you should also periodically wax your bowstring. This is important for conditioning the string and ensuring that it doesn’t lose its cast. If you have a compound bow, you should also wax your bow’s cables as well.

You can find a wax that’s appropriate for use on your bowstring at a hunting or archery supply store. You want to find a soft wax, and you want to coat the bowstring lightly. Make sure you’re using a wax that is specifically designed for use on bowstrings. Also, never put hard or hardened wax on your bowstring. If wax is hard, you will likely create heat when you apply it to your string or cables. This could damage strings and cables by stretching them out.

Check for Proper Serving

Proper serving of your bowstring is another important consideration. You need to make sure that there is no serving separation. Over time, serving separation could cause cables to snap or break. You should be periodically inspecting the serving to look out for any dents that are developing. While some minor dents are ok, larger dents could lead to serving separation that could eventually severely damage your bow.

Check for String Stretch

Modern bowstrings are typically made from synthetic materials. These materials are designed to be resistant to stretching over time so that the bowstring will not lose its tension. However, you still need to check the stretch of your bowstring periodically to make sure there are no problems developing. A string that has experienced stretching will make a bow less powerful and predictable during use.

You can check for string stretch by observing the length of your bowstring. If your bowstring is longer than it should be, it has stretched out. When string stretch is notable, the best thing to do is to simply replace the string. There is no way to remedy a stretched string because stretch usually occurs when the fibers themselves have lengthened over time.


Now that you understand what you need to do to properly take care of your hunting bow, it’s important that you institute an effective and thorough maintenance regime. A bow is often a fairly expensive piece of sporting equipment. Even slight abnormalities in a bow can drastically detract from your ability to hunt successfully. Therefore, it’s time to make hunting bow care a priority.

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