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How to: Maintain Your Bow for Years of Good Shooting

Learning to shoot a bow is a lot of fun. Something a bow instructor might not show you is how to care for your bow. You need to maintain your bow. It’s such an important step and sometimes, gets overlooked.

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Lea’s “Lessons and Legends” is sponsored by Girls with Guns Clothing.

There are 3 main parts of any bow that need maintenance: bow, arrows, accessories.

The Bow

It’s easy for someone to check a bow and assume that since it’s in one piece, it doesn’t need care. That’s not the case. The first thing to do before you go out to shoot is to check the string. Many times your bowstring can dry out. If the string looks and feels dry, it is frayed. A simple way to fix this problem is to use bowstring wax, which you can pick up at any bow shop. Bow wax looks like a big tube of ChapStick. It is easy to quick and easy to apply.

Waxing bow strings

Waxing the strings. (Mia Anstine photo)

You also want to make sure the string isn’t twisting. To check this, when you draw back, look at your peep sight. If the string is twisting, it will be hard to look through the peep sight. In this case, it might be time to get a new string. String lifespan depends on how much you shoot and ranges of weather conditions your bow goes through.

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Lea checks her strings for twisting. (Mia Anstine photo)

Don’t forget to check your bow’s limbs. They can get cracked just from general wear and tear. Checking them is as simple as giving a close look and running your hand over them, checking for any cracks. Give your bow a gentle twist as you turn it and examine its limbs.

 

Arrows

Arrows may seem as simple as choosing the ones you prefer in the correct length, but there is a lot more to the process than that. When you first get your bow, you want to match the right arrow spine to the bow. Matching the 2 is important because if the arrows are too heavy, they won’t shoot to their potentials. If an arrow is too light, it could potentially blow up on you.

The easiest way to match arrows to your bow is to go to your local bow shop. They have charts to match arrows to bows. When you get your arrows, you can shoot with the help of a technician from a reputable bow shop. I highly recommend working with an expert to get the proper arrows in your quiver.

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Always check your arrows for splinters. (Mia Anstine photo)

When you get really good at shooting and shoot tight groups, or if you’re outside and miss a target, you need to check your arrows for any splintering. In fact, whenever you retrieve an arrow, get into the habit of checking it for damages. If an arrow is splintered, it can blow up the next time you shoot it. To check your arrows, simply look at them. DO NOT EVER run your hands up and down them, if you think they’re splintered. They can cut you.

You need to check your fletchings as well.  Fletchings often get hit by other arrows and can fall off or get torn. Take a quick look at them, and while you’re at it, take a look at the knock, too. Knocks can twist, causing your fletching to hit when it leaves the bowstring. Simply hold your bow up,  and make sure the knock is even with the main vane.

Accessories

There are a lot of accessories on bows. The most important one is the sight. Depending on the type you have, your pins could be exposed and could easily get hit or broken. That is pretty obvious to see. To maintain accuracy while shooting, you always want to make sure your pins are straight and tight. Double check them, especially at the distances you’ve set them for, after you have moved them, so they don’t move again or fall off.

Bow sight pins

Always make sure your pins are straight and tight. (Mia Anstine photo)

The arrow rest is also very important. I have a drop-away rest, but many people choose whisker biscuits.  Make sure the fibers of a whisker biscuit are straight. Check for wear on any style rest. Always double check your rest to be sure it is on tight.

With any rest, it’s important to check its function.

Similar to a firearm, you should draw, pointed in a safe direction. The rest can be checked, without drawing the bow. Check for loose or wobbly rests. Some drop aways stay up after the let down. others don’t.

It’s always important to do a check-up on your bow. Checking regularly prevents risk of injury to yourself, your bow and others.

Have fun out there and keep shooting arrows downrange.