If you are new to bow hunting, one of the most important parts of keeping your equipment in top condition is off-season maintenance. This may sound like a simple task but seasoned hunters will tell you that this can be a tedious and difficult task. Today our big game hunting guides are going to be walking you through some key components to off-season bow maintenance, including expert cleaning tips and end of season recommendations.


Modern Archery Equipment

We’ve come a long way since the simple-yet-effective original long bow. Even the current model of the recurve bow looks dramatically different from the first iteration invented by the Mongols sometime around 1206 A.D. However, each of these still hold a firm place in today’s hunting culture along with two other types of bows, assembling the modern archery equipment list as follows:

  • Long Bow
  • Recurve Bow
  • Compound Bow
  • Crossbow

Each of these types of bows requires a slightly different set of maintenance steps. However, there are also several tasks they share. Next, we will walk through the top three off-season bow maintenance tips that will help keep your bow in top condition no matter the style.


Thorough Inspection

Off-season bow maintenance should always begin with a thorough inspection of your bow.

  • Check limbs for signs of cracks, damage, or bubbling
  • Check strings & cables for fraying, wear or serving separation
  • Compare current measurements to measurements at the time of your last tuning
  • Look for any evidence of rust (especially on compound and crossbow)
  • Anything that generally appears out of order

Once you’ve completed your inspection, you can determine if you need to have your bow serviced and/or tuned before putting it into storage. If you are unsure, we encourage you to err on the side of caution and take it in. Your future big game hunting self will thank you later.


Bowstring Maintenance

The two main tasks for bowstring maintenance include 1) changing out worn strings and 2) cleaning and waxing existing, healthy strings. Depending on what type of bow you have, changing out strings may be a simple DIY at home task, or you may need to take it in to a pro shop.

For optimal bowstring cleaning, we recommend first scraping off the old wax. One of the best tools to do this is a simple strand of dental floss. Hold the floss perpendicular to the bowstring and slide it up and down until it’s stripped off all the old wax. Then, apply a thin coat of fresh wax on your bowstrings and you’re all set!


General Cleaning & Proper Storage

This step tends to be the most tedious however it’s also one of the most important steps. General cleaning requires patience and attention to detail.

  • Take exact measurements before disassembling
  • Remove all pieces until you are left with the bare bow
  • Wipe down bow with a damp cloth; use a Q-tip to get into small spaces
  • Wipe down any pieces you removed as it applies to your specific bow
  • Reassemble bow and apply lubricant as needed

Once everything is back as it was, it’s time to put that beauty away for a nice little hibernation period. We recommend a padded storage case. If you are at all concerned about residual moisture from the elements, include a pack of silica get in the case.


What NOT to Do

Finally, we wanted to include four things you should NOT do with your bow as part of your end of season maintenance. We realize this list could be a mile long but also encourage you to consult your retailer’s specifications or speak with someone at a pro shop about your unique model to address concerns. Without further ado: 

  • Don’t put your bow away wet
  • Don’t forget to lubricate axles
  • Don’t store your bow vertically (on end)
  • Don’t store your bow in a location that may get excessively hot


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