LAST UPDATED: May 1st, 2015
Keeping your bow equipment protected from the elements is one of the most important aspects of a successful hunt. An equipment malfunction can wreck a bowhunt in an instant. If you’re hiking to your hunting spot or putting a stalk on an animal and a stick gets caught in your bow sight and breaks your fiber optic or worse, breaks your pins…that particular hunt will be ruined. Even with the improved materials in today’s bows, strings, rests, and sights, bad things can still happen to them since they are not indestructible. What can go wrong on a hunt will go wrong no matter how careful you are, and you will be left standing there in disgust. In the heat of the moment when you’re making a stalk on a buck, you may hurry through rough vegetation, slip on a wet stick and hit your bow against something. It is impractical to baby a bow by keeping it in a bow case during the entire travel duration while in the field. However, you can add a few items to your bow to keep it protected and easily accessible.
While on a stalk for this mule deer in 2012, I slipped and fell down a steep ridge while holding my bow in my hand. My lower limb slammed into the mud, but luckily for me my cam and string were protected from getting mud built up in them
A dual purpose item for protection in the field is a bow sleeve/sling. Put simply, it is a sleeve that goes around both the top and bottom cam, and normally it will have a sling on it so you can carry the bow hands free. The sleeve will also protect the string and cams, which in my opinion is the main attraction to a bow sling. A bow sling is worth its weight in gold on a dark hike in the mountains or local woods. During this time (or any time) something as simple as a stick can wreak havoc by putting a slight tear in your string, or you could even have a stick hit the peep sight and knock it out of place. Both could have drastic results when you come to full draw and try to release an arrow.
Another advantageous time to have a bow sleeve is during a rain storm. A bow string has the ability to absorb water which will cause the string to be heavier. This could have negative effects if you make a shot and your string is saturated with water. A bow sling will help eliminate some of this water from soaking into your string.
When the weather takes a turn for the worst and dumps snow or rain on your hunt, you can trust that vital pieces of your bow are protected for that critical moment
While backpacking in the mountains, it is sometimes nice to have your hands free while climbing a hill or walking up a trail so strapping your bow to your backpack is a great idea. The only problem with this solution is that your bow will most likely be taller than your pack, causing it to hit limbs as you’re walking through the mountains, which will beat up your string. This example is just another reason why having a bow sling is so important.
Another simple addition to your bow while traveling in the woods would be a scope cover for your sight. This simple device comes in many different styles, yet has one purpose: to protect your pin from damage. I normally keep my scope cover on my bow until I am close to an animal. It is very easy to remove with practice and can easily be placed in a pocket when closing the distance on a stalk.
A bow sleeve and scope cover will protect your bow as you make a stalk on an animal. No matter how careful you are, you never know when a rock will give out on you, causing you to scrape your string on a sharp object or have a stick crash into your pins
This fall, while bowhunting for moose in British Columbia, I was on a horse and got bucked off because the horse thought it saw a grizzly in the brush. As the horse bucked, I got thrown into the air and ended up falling right into a small tree, landing on my backside and partially on my bow that was strapped to my pack. To top things off, this was on the first day of the hunt! Luckily for me my bow string and sight were protected and received no damage.
Preventing equipment damage on your bow is quite easy if you take a few steps and a little time to invest in products that will protect your valuable bow. When it comes to bowhunting, preparing for the worst can save your hunt.