For most of us hunters, deer season is OUR season. After months of preseason scouting and trail camera efforts in August, September, and October, November rolls around and we are consumed by deer. For a few short months, every minute of every day we spend either hunting or thinking about hunting. Then, all of a sudden, it is over. We find ourselves asking, “Now what?”.
There are plenty of ways to make crossbow hunting and shooting a year-round activity. If you’re fortunate enough to go from deer hunting, to hog hunting, to turkey hunting, and possibly even small game hunting, there’s no need to winterize your crossbow.
Or, if that’s not an option, consider participating in recreational shoots to continue honing your crossbow skills. Using and staying familiar with your crossbow will not only make you a better shooter come fall, you can perform better crossbow maintenance and address issues as they come up.
If you’ve already cleaned out the space and are storing your crossbow until next deer season, make sure you check off the following items before putting your crossbow away.
1. Check all nuts, bolts, and screws for tightness.
A great deal of energy travels through your crossbow during each shot. This energy wave causes the crossbow’s parts to vibrate, which can lead to loosening of the nuts, bolts, and screws after 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 all parts are tight and secure and that your crossbow will be ready-to-go when you take it out in the spring or summer to begin using it again.
2. Inspect the condition of your bowstring and cables and apply wax or string conditioner if needed.
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 all the wax has been transferred from your fingers to the strands. Some people cut a small leather square, apply the wax to the leather, and transfer the wax from the leather to the bowstring using the same motion. In either case, ideally you should feel some heat generated from friction with the strands, which will melt the wax and help it to soak into the fibers. For the sections of the string and cables that are served, apply Scorpion Venom Target Arrow Release Fluid to the servings and end-loops.
3. Apply oil to the trigger mechanism, Dry-Fire-Inhibitor (DFI), axles, and cam bearings.
To oil the trigger mechanism on a TenPoint, Wicked Ridge, or Horton by TenPoint manufactured crossbow, slide the safety knob to the rear, white, “Safe” position. Apply one drop of oil to both sides of the safety slide through the safety knob window in the trigger box. Cycle the safety mechanism forward and backward multiple times to ensure the oil spreads evenly over the internal parts that contact the safety slide. Again, with the safety knob in the “Safe” position, apply one drop of oil to the string latch through the string slot in the trigger box and cycle the safety knob forward and backward to ensure coverage. To oil the Dry Fire Inhibitor, apply one drop of oil to both the left and right sides of the DFI wedge just underneath the steel pin. Cycle the DFI up and down to help spread the oil. To lubricate the axles and cam bearings, apply one drop of oil to the top of each cam where the axle and bearings pass through. Use a cotton swab to wipe away any excess oil from the parts you have oiled in the trigger box or on the cams.
4. Give your crossbow a thorough cleaning and inspection, including:
- Clear any dirt or debris from the flight rail and barrel cutouts.
- Clean the scope lenses and lens covers.
- Check, clean, and lubricate the cocking mechanism.
5. Secure your crossbow in a TenPoint crossbow 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. Allowing it to be exposed 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 relatively dry and cool, even during seasonal transitions. Place your crossbow in a crossbow case and hang the crossbow for the off-season.