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Top Tips for Shooting in the Rain

Deer moving? Archery competition still a go? It's up to you to stay on target even if the raindrops keep coming. Here's how!

Top Tips for Shooting in the Rain

Arrows tend to hit low when you're shooting in the rain. The reason? The cable guard and slide on your bow isn't allowed to move as freely as it usually does. Do your best to keep your equipment dry, even if that means applying a slight lubricant for temporary aid. 

Living in the Pacific Northwest, we are no strangers to the rain. Our best tip to deal with wet conditions is "don't go out in it."

While some of us will skip a tournament or delay a morning hunt when we see it’s a downpour, others will go out and give it their best. Over the years, we’ve had more than our fair share of rainy-day shooting experiences, and even though it's a challenge, we have learned a few tricks and tips.

A lot of times a "little rain" doesn’t really affect the shootability of our equipment, but it can cause some of our equipment to gum up or even rust. So, keeping things such as releases, axles, rests and roller guards properly lubricated is important. We suggest following the manufacturers’ recommendations. We won’t often see failure right away, but sometimes it’s noticed weeks later. It doesn’t take a lot of moisture to cause long-term damage.

When going out to hunt or compete in a downpour, our equipment’s shooting ability can change, and the biggest change we usually see is we start to hit low. A lot of people believe this is because the rain is hitting your arrow on the way to the target, but we have found that’s not the biggest factor, unless it’s a torrential downpour.

Instead, one of the biggest factors is our cable guard and slide. When they get wet, it changes the ability of the slide to move freely; sometimes, it will even skip. The slide’s inability to move freely slows down the bow, causing us to hit low. Conversely, keeping them dry helps us hit where we are aiming.

When it’s impossible to keep the cable guard and slide dry, a slight lubrication can help. We don’t use wax or grease, because they speed up the bow and it slows back down once they wear off — the bow speed just changes too much. We learned that when things get wet enough that they are not sliding freely, if we wipe our finger alongside our nose — getting just a hint of oil from our skin on it — and wipe that finger along the moving slide area, it’s enough lubrication to keep things from skipping but not enough to change the bow’s speed.

In our experience, a roller guard works well in the rain; it doesn’t tend to change as much as a cable slide as it gets soaked.

Another factor that can slow down the bow is when strings/cables get waterlogged. When they soak up enough water, there is actually enough weight added that it slows down the string. We’ve seen huge sprays of water coming off our bowstrings when shooting in a storm. As a result, more times than not, our equipment will be impacted because of the water weight.

One trick we’ve discovered is to make sure our strings are waxed/conditioned to assist in repelling the water. It helps a ton and will keep our setup stable for much longer. We even wax the serving to keep water from soaking in.

If we are shooting in a downpour all day, eventually the water will affect our strings. But with waxed/conditioned strings, we can usually get through most of the day. The bow changing/slowing down in an all-day downpour is usually inevitable; however, with a few tricks we've been able to minimize or delay the impact.

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