How to Maintain a Hunting Bow (Compound bow & Crossbow)
A good crossbow or compound bow is an investment and investments need to be maintained. Most crossbows and compound bow maintenance is easy to do and it should be completed the way the manufacturer recommends.
Care for Strings
The best crossbow maintenance involves caring for the strings. In most cases, this is the one step that should not be overlooked. It is important to have wax specifically designed for your crossbow strings and in most cases, the cables will need to be waxed, too. The bow strings need to be waxed regularly and the owner’s manual will explain exactly how often it should be done. When applying wax, be sure to avoid the trigger box. It is important to use your fingers to rub in the wax because your body heat will soften it to a point where it will properly stick to the strings.
Lubricate to Reduce Friction
Along with caring for the strings, the crossbow rail will need to be lubricated to keep friction to a minimum. With added friction, the accuracy of the shot decreases. The rail can usually be covered by using only two drops rubbed in with the fingers. The trigger box and mounting bolts often need lubrication, too. The only mounting bolts that require lubrication and the ones that are visible. This will reduce damage from moisture caused by weather conditions.
Inspect the Weapon Regularly
Prior to shooting, it is a good idea to take a good look at the bow and the arrows. Because the crossbow is a weapon, any problems with it could cause injuries. Check the bolts, the limbs, and the shafts of the arrows to be sure everything is in good working order. It is also helpful to check the string to see if it is separating or becoming frayed. Most strings will last for hundreds of shots, if they are properly waxed on a regular basis.
Clean the Scope
The lens of the scope will also need to be properly cleaned. It should be cared for like a good pair of glasses, using lens cleaning products instead of towels, fingers, or other abrasive materials. Fingerprints, dust, and smudges can reduce the accuracy of the shot.
Clean Out the Small Spaces
Many hunters will use canned air to remove dirt from the small spaces in the crossbow. This is a good habit to get into after every hunting expedition and it is wise to remove dirt and debris prior to lubricating the bow. You will most likely spend a few minutes completing this task, but it will be worth every second.
The bolts will also need to be tightened occasionally. The spots that will require tightening are on the quiver mount, the stock, and the stirrup. Since most crossbows come with hex keys or Allen wrenches, it is easy to keep the tools in your crossbow case. Most crossbows need to have the bolts tightened after 50 shots.
Care for the Compound Bow
Caring for a compound bow involves many of the same steps that crossbows need. The best compound bow will require regular maintenance to keep it in tip-top shape. Like the crossbow, the compound bow does require bowstring wax to be applied regularly. Manufacturers will suggest how often the bowstrings need to be waxed, but in most cases, a weekly waxing will suffice – especially during hunting season. The wax should be applied to strings and cables. But, unlike the crossbow, the wax should not be rubbed into the strings, because it could stretch out the strings. If the wax is hard, it should not be used either, for the same reasons.
Check for Damage Prior to Use
It is also important to check the compound bow for damage. If the bow makes strange noises, it is helpful to bring it into a pro shop to have it serviced. These are weapons, so damaged parts can cause injuries. It is highly recommended to avoid shooting it if there is anything wrong with the bow. If the strings are worn out, they should be replaced. Since bows have such quick FPS speeds, the strings can become worn out rather quickly.
Avoid Dry Firing
Crossbows should never be dry fired. If this does happen, whether by accident or on purpose, it is important to check the arrow and the bow to be sure everything is ok. If arrows are damaged or nocks have cracks, it is best to properly dispose of them and use new ones. Using damaged goods can cause problems that can be costly or dangerous.
Respect the Limits
It is also a good idea to respect the bow and not push it beyond its limits. The draw length should not be over extended because the cam could break. Cams can survive small dents, but if the dent is large and close the cam, the cable could break during a draw. This could seriously hurt the shooter.
Store the Bow Properly
Lastly, anyone who owns a crossbow or compound bow needs to properly store it when not in use. Most states require bows to be in cases when they are not being used and when they are in a vehicle. The bow cannot just be locked, it should be in a protective case. The case needs to be able to fully close and hard cases should be able to lock without any difficulty.