Can a Compound Bow Get Wet? Exploring Wet Weather Archery

As an archery enthusiast, you’ve probably wondered: can a compound bow get wet? Whether you’re caught in a sudden rain shower during practice or you’re planning to shoot in wet conditions intentionally, it’s essential to understand how moisture affects your bow. In this article, we’ll explore the impact of rain on a compound bow, share tips for preventing damage from moisture, guide you on shooting in the rain, and provide a step-by-step process for drying out a wet bow. Let’s dive in and ensure your compound bow stays in top shape, rain or shine.

Table of Contents

How Rain Affects a Compound Bow

When rain meets your compound bow, important things to know:

Moisture Matters:

Rainwater can sneak into critical bow parts, causing trouble.

Bowstring Blues:

Bowstrings don’t like moisture – it messes with their stretchiness and performance.

Limbs at Risk:

Wet limbs can change flexibility, causing accuracy troubles.

Stay Proactive:

Knowing these risks helps you guard your bow investment.

how rains affects a compound bow

Preventing Damage From Moisture

The importance of keeping your compound bow dry cannot be overstated. While compound bows are built to withstand various conditions, prolonged exposure to moisture can lead to rust, corrosion, and decreased performance. To prevent such damage, consider using protective covers or plastic bags during rainy sessions. These simple measures can go a long way in preserving your bow’s integrity. Keep some plastic bags handy in your archery kit, and cover your sight to shield it from rainwater.

Shooting Your Bow in the Rain: Tips for Success

Shooting your compound bow when it’s raining might seem tricky, but with the right strategy, it’s definitely doable. Here’s how you can tackle this challenge and keep your accuracy intact:

Dress Smart:

Before you step out in the rain, make sure you’re dressed appropriately. Opt for clothing that’s designed to resist rain while allowing you to move comfortably. Being wet and uncomfortable can throw off your focus, so a good rain-resistant outfit is a must.

Handle Slippery Grips:

Rain can make your bow’s grip slippery. To counter this, consider using accessories or gloves that enhance your grip, especially in wet conditions. This will help you maintain control over your bow and ensure a steady shot.

Enhance Visibility:

Rain can affect your visibility, so take extra care with your line of sight. Consider using a rain hood or cap to shield your sight from raindrops. Having a clear view of your target is crucial for accurate shooting.

Stay Prepared and Practiced:

Practice makes perfect, even in the rain. Before you find yourself in a situation where you need to shoot in wet conditions, practice on a rainy day. This will help you adapt to the differences in feel and performance that rain can bring.

Mind Over Matter:

A positive mindset is key. Shooting in the rain might feel different, but it’s essential to stay focused and confident. Don’t let the rain discourage you. Instead, use it as an opportunity to test your skills and improve your adaptability.

Safety First:

Remember that shooting in the rain can present additional safety concerns. Ensure your shooting area is safe and free from slippery surfaces or potential hazards that rain might amplify.

Drying Out a Wet Bow Archery in the Rain

If your compound bow happens to get wet, taking proper steps to dry it is essential in order to prevent potential damage. Here’s a simple guide on how to do it right:

Disassemble the Bow:

Begin by disassembling the bow. This means removing all the accessories and disconnecting the strings. The goal is to expose each part of the bow for effective drying.

Wipe Down with Care:

Using a clean and dry cloth, carefully wipe down each part of the bow. Pay extra attention to areas where moisture might be trapped. Thoroughly drying these components will help prevent any long-term damage caused by lingering moisture.

Air Drying in the Right Spot:

Find a well-ventilated area where you can let the disassembled components air dry. Avoid direct sunlight, as it might cause excessive heat buildup. Instead, opt for a cool, shaded spot.

Avoid Heat Sources:

While it might be tempting to speed up the drying process with heat sources like hairdryers or heaters, it’s strongly advised against. Excessive heat can actually warp the materials and cause further harm to your bow.

Thoroughness is Key:

Make sure every part of the bow is completely dry before proceeding to reassembly. Even a small amount of residual moisture can potentially cause problems down the line.

Reassemble and Ready to Go:

Once you’re certain that all components are thoroughly dry, proceed to reassemble the bow. Put the accessories back in place and reconnect the strings. Your bow should now be ready for your next archery adventure.

Best Tips for Protecting Your Bow in the Rain

To ensure your compound bow remains in excellent condition, even in rainy weather, follow these practical tips:

Clean and store the bow correctly: 

After shooting in the rain, clean the bow thoroughly and store it in a dry, cool place. This prevents moisture buildup and helps maintain its performance.

Use protective covers: 

Invest in high-quality waterproof covers designed for compound bows. These covers offer an extra layer of protection during rainy sessions.

Avoid extreme weather conditions: 

While compound bows are durable, it’s best to avoid shooting in heavy downpours or during storms. If you’re unsure about the conditions, it’s better to wait for a clear day to ensure the longevity of your bow.

What to Wear When Shooting Archery in the Rain

Tips for Dressing Right When Archerying in the Rain:

Stay Dry: Wear waterproof or water-resistant clothing to keep rain out.

Move Freely: Opt for gear that doesn’t restrict your movement.

Essential Gear: Use a rainproof jacket, waterproof pants, and proper footwear.

Grip Matters: Wear wet-weather gloves for a secure bow grip.

Bow Protection: Cover your bow to prevent water damage.

Will Shooting in the Rain Affect My Score, and Is It Harder?

Shooting in the rain can indeed affect your accuracy and overall performance. Rain can make your bow and arrows slightly heavier, potentially leading to adjustments in your shooting technique. Additionally, visibility might be reduced, making it challenging to aim precisely. However, with practice, you can adapt to these conditions. Focus on maintaining a consistent shooting form and stay patient. Over time, you’ll learn to handle the challenges, and your rainy-day shooting skills will improve.

Dry All the Equipment

After shooting in the rain, it’s crucial to dry all your equipment thoroughly. Take the time to wipe down each arrow and inspect them for any signs of moisture. Ensuring that both your bow and arrows are completely dry before storage helps prevent potential damage and maintains their performance. Make drying your equipment part of your post-shooting routine, and it’ll become second nature.

What Happens If Your Bow Gets Wet

A wet bow can lead to several issues, impacting its accuracy, durability, and overall functionality. Moisture can affect the string’s tension, leading to changes in draw weight and consequently affecting your shots’ consistency. Additionally, wet limbs might experience temporary changes in flexibility, potentially leading to minor accuracy problems. While compound bows are designed to handle various conditions, it’s essential to take proactive measures to prevent extended exposure to moisture.

What Happens If Your Arrows Get Wet

Wet arrows can also affect your shooting performance. Rainwater can alter the weight and balance of the arrows, leading to inconsistent shots. Additionally, damp fletching might affect arrow flight, causing deviations from your intended target. To counter these effects, make sure to dry your arrows thoroughly before the next shooting session. This ensures that your shots remain consistent, rain or shine.

How to Prepare for the Rain

Preparation is key when shooting in the rain. Start by checking the weather forecast to anticipate rainy conditions. If rain is expected, pack extra plastic bags and covers to shield your bow and accessories from moisture. Ensure that your archery kit includes a dry cloth for wiping down the bow after shooting, and consider investing in a waterproof case for storage and transportation. Being prepared can make a significant difference in preserving your equipment.

Keep Some Plastic Bags Handy

Having plastic bags on hand is a practical solution for sudden rain showers. They’re lightweight, easy to carry, and can quickly protect your bow and accessories from getting wet. Keep a few plastic bags in your archery kit, and you’ll be ready to shield your equipment whenever the weather takes an unexpected turn.

Cover Your Sight

The sight on your compound bow is a delicate component that requires protection from rainwater. Invest in a sight cover or use other methods to keep it dry during shooting sessions in the rain. A sight cover not only prevents moisture damage but also ensures that your sight remains accurate and dependable.

What to Do If Your Bow Gets Wet

If your compound bow does get wet, don’t panic. Follow these step-by-step guidelines to ensure proper drying and maintenance:

Disassemble the bow: 

Remove all accessories and disengage the strings.

Wipe down all components: 

Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe down each part of the bow, focusing on areas that might hold moisture.

Air dry the components: 

Allow the bow components to air dry naturally in a well-ventilated area. Avoid exposing the bow to direct sunlight, as excessive heat can cause materials to warp. The drying process might take some time, so be patient. Take this opportunity to inspect the bow carefully, ensuring that no moisture remains hidden in crevices or hard-to-reach areas.

Reassemble the bow: 

Once all the components are thoroughly dry, reassemble the bow. Reattach the accessories, ensuring they are properly aligned and secured. Pay close attention to the bowstrings, making sure they are correctly seated and tensioned. A properly reassembled bow is essential for consistent and accurate shooting.

Inspect for any damage: 

After drying and reassembling the bow, perform a thorough inspection for any signs of damage or corrosion. Check the bowstrings for fraying or weakness, examine the limbs for any warping or unusual changes, and inspect other components for wear. Address any issues promptly to prevent them from worsening over time.

Apply bowstring wax: 

Applying bowstring wax after your bow has been exposed to moisture is a good practice. Bowstring wax helps protect the strings from further damage and maintains their elasticity. Gently apply the wax to the entire length of the bowstring, following the manufacturer’s recommendations. This step can extend the life of your bowstrings and ensure consistent performance.

Store the bow correctly: 

After the drying and maintenance process, store your compound bow in a dry, cool place. Avoid leaving it in areas with high humidity, as this can promote rust and corrosion. Using a bow case designed for storage is an excellent way to provide extra protection. Proper storage ensures that your bow remains in optimal condition, ready for your next archery session.

Is Your Compound Bow Waterproof?

It’s essential to understand that while many modern compound bows are designed to be durable and withstand various conditions, they are not inherently waterproof. Manufacturers typically build compound bows to be resistant to moisture to a certain extent, but prolonged exposure to rain or other wet conditions can still lead to potential issues. This is why it’s crucial to take extra precautions when shooting in the rain or storing your bow in damp environments.

What Could Go Wrong If a Compound Bow Gets Wet?

A wet compound bow can experience several problems that affect its performance, accuracy, and overall functionality. Some potential issues to be aware of include:

String changes: 

Moisture can affect the tension and elasticity of bowstrings, leading to changes in draw weight and potentially impacting shooting consistency.


Wet limbs might experience temporary changes in flexibility, which can result in minor accuracy problems. These changes should revert once the limbs dry, but it’s essential to ensure proper drying to avoid any lasting effects.

Accessories and components: 

Rainwater can potentially damage sensitive accessories like sights, stabilizers, and other electronic components. It’s essential to protect these accessories from moisture, as repairs or replacements can be costly.

Rust and corrosion: 

If the bow isn’t dried properly after exposure to rain, it can lead to rust and corrosion on metal parts. This can not only affect the bow’s appearance but also its overall durability.

By being proactive in preventing prolonged exposure to moisture, you can mitigate these potential issues and keep your compound bow in excellent condition.

Damaging the Sight

One particular aspect of a compound bow that requires special attention in wet conditions is the sight. The sight is a crucial component for accurate shooting, and any moisture damage can significantly impact your performance. Rainwater can seep into the sight’s mechanisms, leading to rust, corrosion, or even temporary malfunctions. It’s essential to protect the sight from rain by using a sight cover or other methods designed to keep it dry. Regularly inspect your sight for any signs of moisture and address them promptly.

The Worst Case Scenario

While compound bows are designed to be robust and durable, it’s essential to acknowledge that extreme scenarios can lead to significant damage. If a compound bow is exposed to prolonged and intense rain without proper protection or maintenance, the consequences can be severe. Rust and corrosion can affect critical components, strings can weaken, and overall functionality may be compromised. In worst-case scenarios, these issues could necessitate costly repairs or replacements.

However, by following the guidelines provided in this article and being diligent in protecting your bow from moisture, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of encountering such extreme situations. Proper care, maintenance, and smart shooting practices ensure that your compound bow remains a reliable and enjoyable tool for archery.

Inspect After Each Use and Routinely

To ensure the longevity of your compound bow, make it a habit to inspect the bow regularly, especially after shooting sessions in wet conditions. A routine inspection allows you to catch and address any issues before they escalate. Pay close attention to the bowstrings, limbs, accessories, and any areas where moisture might have accumulated. By staying proactive, you can keep your bow in top-notch condition and enjoy consistent and accurate shooting.

Compound Bow Maintenance

Whether you’ve been shooting in wet conditions or enjoying sunny days at the range, regular maintenance is essential for the longevity and performance of your compound bow. Here are some general maintenance tips to keep in mind:

Clean the bow: 

After every shooting session, take the time to clean your bow thoroughly. Wipe down all the components, remove dirt or debris, and ensure that no moisture remains on the surface.

Inspect for damage: 

Routinely inspect your bow for any signs of wear, damage, or corrosion. Address any issues promptly to prevent them from worsening over time.

Apply bowstring wax: 

Regularly applying bowstring wax helps protect the strings from friction, moisture, and other factors that can lead to deterioration.

Store properly: 

When not in use, store your compound bow in a dry, cool place. Consider using a bow case designed for storage to provide extra protection.

By incorporating these maintenance practices into your archery routine, you’ll keep your compound bow in excellent condition and ready for action whenever you’re ready to hit the range.

Apply Bowstring Wax After Each Use

Bowstring wax is a valuable tool in preventing moisture damage to your bowstrings. After each use, take a moment to apply bowstring wax to the entire length of the strings. This helps maintain their elasticity and prevents them from absorbing moisture. A few minutes spent applying wax can significantly extend the life of your bowstrings and ensure consistent performance.

Store in Waterproof Case

For long-term storage or transportation, consider using a waterproof case specifically designed for compound bows. These cases provide an extra layer of protection, ensuring that your bow remains dry and safe from the elements. Waterproof cases are an investment that pays off by preserving your bow’s condition and helping you avoid potential damage.

What the Rain Does to Your Arrows

Rain can affect the performance of your arrows, leading to deviations from your intended target. When arrows get wet, they can become slightly heavier, and the balance may shift, causing inconsistencies in your shots. Additionally, damp fletching can affect arrow flight, further contributing to accuracy problems. To counter these effects, make sure to dry your arrows thoroughly before your next shooting session, ensuring that your shots remain consistent and true.

What the Rain Does to Your Performance

Shooting in the rain does present some challenges that can affect your performance. The added weight and balance changes in wet arrows, coupled with potentially reduced visibility, may make it slightly harder to achieve pinpoint accuracy. However, with practice and adjustment, you can mitigate these challenges.

Consistent form: 

Regardless of the weather, maintaining a consistent shooting form is essential. Pay close attention to your anchor points, grip, and release technique. By focusing on consistent execution, you’ll minimize the impact of external factors like rain on your shooting accuracy.

Adjust your sight: 

In rainy conditions, it might be necessary to make slight adjustments to your sight to account for the changes in arrow weight and flight. Take the time to fine-tune your sight, considering the potential effects of wet arrows. This proactive approach can help you maintain a more accurate aim, even when dealing with rainy conditions.

Stay mentally prepared: 

Shooting in the rain requires a positive and adaptable mindset. Embrace the challenge, and view it as an opportunity to hone your skills under different conditions. Keep a confident attitude, knowing that your preparation and practice will pay off. The mental aspect of archery plays a significant role in maintaining consistent performance, rain or shine.

Preparation Before Shooting in the Rain

Effective preparation is key to a successful shooting session in rainy weather. Here are some essential steps to take before heading out to shoot in the rain:

Check the weather forecast: 

Always check the weather forecast before your archery session. If rain is expected, you can prepare accordingly by bringing the necessary protective gear and covers for your bow and accessories.

Choose appropriate attire: 

Wear waterproof or water-resistant clothing that keeps you dry and comfortable. Opt for rainproof jackets, waterproof pants, and suitable footwear. Staying dry will ensure that you can focus on your shooting without distractions from discomfort.

Perform equipment checks: 

Before you start shooting, perform thorough checks on your compound bow and accessories. Ensure that everything is in good working condition, and address any issues you find. This step is crucial, especially when shooting in rainy conditions, as it helps prevent any unexpected problems during your session.

Mental preparation: 

Mentally prepare yourself for shooting in the rain. Embrace the challenge, and stay positive. Trust in your skills and practice, and remember that adapting to different conditions is part of the learning process in archery. A positive mindset can make a significant difference in your overall shooting performance.

Bring protective covers: 

Have plastic bags or protective covers on hand to shield your bow and accessories from sudden rain showers. These covers are lightweight and easy to carry, making them a convenient way to protect your equipment when needed.

maintenance after shooting in the compound bow

Post-shooting maintenance is essential to ensure the longevity and performance of your compound bow. Here’s a routine to follow after shooting in the rain:


As mentioned earlier in this article, thoroughly dry your compound bow and all accessories. Disassemble the bow, wipe down each component, and allow them to air dry in a well-ventilated area. Proper drying prevents moisture-related issues.


After drying, clean your bow, arrows, and all equipment. Remove any dirt, debris, or residue that might have accumulated during the shooting session. Cleaning ensures that your equipment remains in top-notch condition.

Inspect for damage: 

Perform a careful inspection of the bow, paying attention to strings, limbs, accessories, and other components. Look for any signs of wear, damage, or corrosion that might have occurred due to exposure to rain. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage.

Apply bowstring wax: 

If you haven’t already done so after drying the bow, apply bowstring wax to maintain the health and performance of your bowstrings. This step helps prevent moisture absorption and keeps the strings in optimal condition.

Store properly: 

Finally, store your compound bow and accessories in a dry, cool place. If you’ve invested in a waterproof case, use it for storage to provide an extra layer of protection. Proper storage ensures that your equipment remains ready for your next archery adventure, rain or shine.

Can Snow and Cold Weather Damage Your Compound Bow?

While we’ve primarily focused on rainy conditions, it’s essential to consider the impact of cold weather and snow on your compound bow. Snow and extreme cold can indeed affect your equipment, and it’s crucial to take appropriate precautions when shooting in these conditions.


Snow can accumulate on your bow, potentially affecting its performance. Moisture from snow can lead to rust and corrosion, especially if the bow isn’t thoroughly dried after exposure. Additionally, snow can make surfaces slippery, so be cautious when handling your bow in snowy conditions.

Extreme cold: 

Extreme cold can make materials more brittle and affect the flexibility of the bow’s limbs. Bowstrings may become stiffer in very cold weather, leading to potential accuracy issues. If you’re shooting in extremely cold conditions, it’s essential to keep your bow warm and dry between shooting sessions.

To protect your compound bow in snow and cold weather:

Thoroughly dry your bow: After shooting in snow or cold conditions, make sure to dry your bow meticulously to prevent moisture-related issues.

Use a waterproof case: 

If you anticipate snowy or wet conditions, using a waterproof case for storage and transportation is even more crucial. It provides an extra layer of protection against moisture.

Be mindful of extreme cold: 

If you’re shooting in very cold weather, consider bringing your bow indoors to warm up between sessions. This helps maintain the flexibility of the limbs and prevents potential issues.

By being aware of the impact of snow and cold on your compound bow and taking appropriate precautions, you can enjoy shooting in winter conditions while keeping your equipment in excellent shape.


In the world of archery, shooting a compound bow in wet conditions is entirely feasible with proper preparation, care, and maintenance. By understanding how rain can affect your bow, learning preventive measures, and following a post-shooting routine, you can ensure that your compound bow remains in optimal condition, rain or shine. Remember to focus on consistent form, adjust your sight as needed, stay mentally prepared, and be proactive in protecting your equipment from moisture. With these guidelines, you’ll be ready to embrace the challenges of shooting in the rain, and your archery skills will thrive regardless of the weather. So, keep practicing, keep adapting, and enjoy the art of shooting a compound bow in all its diverse conditions.