Bowhunting season has come to an end and, hopefully, you had a successful harvest with your crossbow. But before you store your crossbow away for the winter, there are some things to take care of so that it will be ready to go next season.
Here are six maintenance tips that you should follow to prepare your crossbow for off-season storage:
- Wipe surface dirt and remove debris from your crossbow.
To clean the surfaces on the crossbow, use a cotton towel and purified water. A cotton towel is best because it’s nonabrasive and using water only is critical because cleaning agents or solvents may react with the coating on the stock or limbs and cause it to flake or peel. Wring out the towel prior to wiping, as you do not want excess water to drip onto any of the steel parts. If you see debris down in the flight groove, you can use pressurized air to blow out any pieces or use a cotton swab to sweep the debris out.
- Check all nuts, bolts, and screws for tightness.
A great deal of energy travels through your crossbow during every shot. This energy causes the crossbow’s parts to vibrate, which can lead to loosening of the nuts, bolts, and screws over time. Periodically checking to make sure that everything is tight on the crossbow is a good maintenance habit to develop throughout the season. Performing a final check before storing your crossbow will ensure that your crossbow will be ready to go when spring arrives.
- Apply rust-protective oil to exposed nuts, bolts, screws, and steel parts.
Most of the nuts, bolts, and screws that hold your crossbow together are made from steel, which will rust if not oiled periodically. Applying oil to these parts prior to storage is essential. Using cotton swabs to apply the oil to the bolt heads and other parts allows you to be very precise. Applying the oil first to the head of a cotton swab and then using the swab to apply it to the bolts also helps to ensure that you get complete surface area coverage and that there is no excess oil to run or drip onto other parts.
- Wax and condition your string and cables.
If your crossbow has exposed strands of the string or cables that are not served, then a coating of bowstring wax should be applied to the exposed strands. Using a heat source, melt or soften the end of your piece of wax and apply some to your thumb and index finger. While squeezing the strands between your thumb and index finger, move quickly back and forth over the strands until they are well coated.
- Thoroughly clean the scope lenses and lens covers.
Remove the lens covers from your scope and check the lenses for dust and grime. To clean the lenses and lens covers, use a solution of purified water with one or two drops of dish detergent. This mild mixture is recommended because alcohol or other types of chemical glass cleaners could react with the coating on the lenses and damage them. Apply this solution with cotton balls and swabs.
- Secure your crossbow in a case and store in a cool, dry place.
The best place to store your crossbow for the long term is in a cool, dry place. Exposure to excessive heat (in a hot attic or next to a fireplace) can alter its tuning and subject the cables and string to dry rot. Likewise, storing it in a cold, damp garage or basement may cause some parts to rust over a period of several months. Choose a spot that you know will remain dry and cool, even during seasonal transitions.
Follow these simple steps and you’ll be able to get out and practice with your SpyderWeb Target as soon as spring arrives!