Summer Bow Maintenance Checklist
So, the hunting seasons have ended. Deer season has been done for months and spring turkey seasons are wrapping up. With that comes the early summer lull. For a lot of people, their bows will be put away until that night right before opening day of archery season. While some are shooting in outdoor tournaments or leagues to hone their skills, many will put them away pining for the early days of fall. Don’t waste this window of down time to make sure your bow is in top condition for fall when it arrives.
Right now is one of the best times to get your bow into the hands of your local bow technician at your favorite pro shop. Why? Because this is typically the slow time of the year. The early rush for new bow models has started to tail off, and last-minute pre-season prep hasn’t wound up yet. They have plenty of time to go over your bow, and as a bonus, if they happen to discover an issue you won’t be losing any hunting days to get it fixed. Many dealers run summer or tune-up specials that can save you some money too.
Here is what you should be doing with that bow instead of putting it in storage, in no particular order.
Arrow Rest and Sight Alignment and Mounting
You wouldn’t believe the number of times as a tech I’ve seen a customer come into the shop saying they missed on a deer and don’t know how. Once the bow is looked at, we find they had inadvertently bumped or moved the rest ever so slightly. Small movements here can make major differences down range. This can also include checking the third axis and level on your sight to make sure it is also tight and properly aligned. If your rest is out of alignment or mounted insecurely, it doesn’t matter what you do, you’re asking for trouble.
If you shoot a fixed rest such as a whisker biscuit, this isn’t an issue. Today however, many hunters rely on the precision of a drop-away rest. While it is true that a limb driven rest is much more consistent, they too can be out of tune and cause issues. The main culprit here is the cable driven drop-away rests. While they are great tools for helping your accuracy, maintaining their timing is a must. Just a little creep in your cables, or a slip of the serving or football that holds the pull rope to the cables can have a huge impact. In some situations, it could also be a failure of the internal parts of the rest, like stretch in the spring-loaded mechanism. Ensuring the rest is in time removes another possible issue from the list.
Overall Condition and Cleanliness
Everyone has a pet peeve when it comes to their bow. For me, I’m particular about my cams. I like to inspect my cams for any nicks or dings that could affect my strings and cables. Also, take the time to run a cotton ball along the limbs to check for any cracking. These things can happen, especially after a long season in the woods, living in a case in your truck. Be sure to check for any loose or missing screws on the draw modules and draw stops as well. Don’t forget to inspect rubber components like dampeners and stops for cracking or dry rot. It can be easy to fall in the trap of thinking the bow is fine because you just had it in the woods. Things can happen fast with disrepair, and a deep inspection can save time and money.
Strings and Cables
While this is the last listed, it might be most important. Without a properly maintained string and cable system the bow will not function at peak performance, if it functions at all. I think of the limbs as the motor creating energy for the bow. If that’s the case, strings are the drive shaft. Without them there is no transfer of energy to the ground, or in this case, your arrow. Strings should be checked and waxed on a regular basis especially when your bow has been kept in a case. Check for fraying and broken strands, but don’t forget to check your serving. Some separation is acceptable and normal at places on the cams where the string makes extreme curves, as long as the serving is intact and in place between the cam and the string material. As a bow tech with years of experience I recommend you think about changing strings and cables out every couple of years even if they look ok to the naked eye, the materials do break down over time. So, to keep peak performance, replacing them at regular intervals isn’t a bad idea.
Take advantage of the seasonal slow-down, get in, and get your bow ready now. Be prepared so you don’t miss out on the trophy of a lifetime, because your bow wasn’t in proper condition.