At the end of the season, if you are anything like me, you're just plain wore out with a laundry list of chores staring you in the face. For me, this typically results in every piece of hunting gear hastedly piled up or thrown in a corner as an afterthought until the next time it's needed. Many times my bow is include in that neglected heap of gear, which doesn't make much sense when you look at the price tag we have wrapped up in modern compound bows. Honestly, it's embarrassing to even say out loud.
Most of us have lots of room to improve when it comes to off season maintenance and storage of our bowhunting gear. A little TLC not only helps our gear to operate more efficiently but it also keeps us one step closer to being ready when the season rolls around. From the top down it starts with our bows and here's what to do!
STRINGS AND CABLES
One of the easiest items to tackle is taking proper care of your strings and cables. While many of us follow through with string and cable maintenance when we are religiously shooting through the spring and summer, it's often overlooked before hanging it up.
Waxing reduces friction between the cable and string fibers when shooting but also adds moisture and UV protection during storage.
Doing a thorough inspection is a great place to start by simply looking for any major frays, cuts, tears, serving separation, and abnormal wear. This allows ample time to order new strings and cables if needed. Tony Sangialosi, custom string builder and owner of 33OH Archery considers inspection the most important step of bow maintenance.
Tony also added, " If you do not shoot in the off-season, we recommend you take the tension off your stings/cables with a press, and wax before storage. Our bows are under constant tension 100% of the time. If we expect high performance out of our bows, we must maintain them as we would any high performance equipment. Schedule the maintenance before it schedules itself."
HARDWARE AND BOLTS
Unless you're a fair weather hunter, your gear has been in the field with less than ideal conditions. Moisture and carbon steel don't exactly mix well, and that's exactly what you have holding your bow and accessories together. Throw in a bunch of moving parts taking on extreme forces and you're actually lucky if you only have to deal with some audible squeaks.
While we don't recommend disassembling your bow to clean bolts, it is wise to take care of any rust before storing the bow away. You can do this with something as simple as a toothbrush and an application of 3-1 oil or gun oil. You should stay away from anything super abrasive as you may actually do more harm than good.
With most newer compounds having sealed bearings on their axles they likely don't need much attention but it's always a good idea to give them a quick glance and to draw your bow in a silent room listening for any little squeak. If needed, have someone next to you to pinpoint any unwanted noises. Penetrating lubricant does wonders here. Give attention where attention is needed.
Exposure to heat and/or extreme temperature changes are typically the biggest culprits that impact the overall condition of your bow. Luckily, most bowhunters don't have to worry about this in the offseason. However, there are some things to keep top of mind.
- Avoid exposure to excessive moisture
- Keep your bow out of direct sunlight
A hard sided protective case is your best bet for off season storage. It helps eliminate any bumps, drops, or accidents that may damage your bow or accessories. If you decide to keep your arrows, field points, and broadheads in the same case, make sure you keep them isolated and away from your strings and cables. It sounds like common sense but we probably all know a guy..
While we always encourage folks to tinker with their equipment, sometimes it is best to talk with your proshop. At any point, if something is in question or you're not 100% confident in your ability go talk with pro. Listen to what they say and bank it for future reference.
Author: Chad Sylvester, Team Afflictor