A compound bow has numerous eye-catching advantages and has, unsurprisingly, been flying off the shelves.
But can you use it when raining? Or to ask it in a better way, can a compound bow get wet?
Well, the short answer is YES!
Compounds can soak but luckily, they are pretty fine even in the rain.
The primary reason is that most compound bows are nowadays made of non-soaking material such as aluminum/plastics.
They hence withstand extremities such as heavy rains and very wet conditions.
This means so you can shoot confidently in the rain as the bow’s functioning is very much intact.
Enough of the short answer..
Now (warning: Long answer ahead), there are things you have to do when the weather suddenly turns sour to avoid a decreased performance.
While it’s true that your compound will tolerate bad weather, you cannot obviously expect to maintain good form and great results when the heavens open.
“If it’s raining, you can shoot (fine) through it, but the rainfall forces your arrows lower since they’re being hit by raindrops when flying to your target.” Ariel Gibilaro, a member of TeamUSA to the 2015 archery World cup says.
And it’s not only the arrows that are getting hit hard, some parts of the bow become slippery too causing you to struggle to get a firm grip of the bow.
You are also likely to feel uncomfortable- you are sometimes freezing- when it’s pouring.
This can, for example, make you strain to sight targets properly.
The wind also tends to be stronger during thunderstorms so aiming might be a herculean task.
In short, rain affects your shooting significantly.
Fortunately, you only need to take a couple of precautionary measures to overcome some of these difficulties.
We are looking at them next…
How To Maintain Good form when shooting through the rain
I will divide my recommendations into two categories..
- Technical recommendations
- General advice
This section is dedicated to measures that can help you maintain superb shooting form despite the rain.
1. Check your peep sight
Because of rain, your peep sight might get wet messing up everything.
And you know the results – you will score more misses than hits since you cannot see through your sights appropriately.
The solution is really simple….
Just cover the peep with a tiny towel- you can use magnets to fix the towel in place to prevent it from falling off as you walk around.
It will never get damp again.
Before we leave this point, always wipe the water drops off your glasses (to create good vision) if you shoot with glasses on.
A towel/piece of cloth works great for this purpose.
2. Shoot fast!
You might be aware that heavy arrows fly slower.
Now, if the rain is prolonged, you will also have to contend with heavier arrows.
The way out is to avoid taking too long preparing the shot.
This prevents the arrows from soaking and becoming heavier.
Arrows with feather fletchings particularly become waterlogged pretty quickly.
I know it might take a bit of practice but when you crack it, it’s going to be very easy.
3. Use accessories made to help you shoot in the rain
Take it from me: There are archers who love it when it’s raining.
The difference between you and them is that they use certain accessories to negate the impact of rainfall on their weapons and themselves.
To begin with, they will always bring plastic bags along.
Swamped arrows are a big headache and one way of keeping them dry is to cover them using a plastic bag.
That’s not all..
You can protect the bow parts that can get wet by covering it as well using these bags.
Do the same for all other gear to keep them dry.
Many shooters know about the importance of wearing rain-resistant gear so I won’t go into much detail.
1. A rain jacket
You will need to wear a good rain jacket.
Be careful when buying since a baggy jacket might make you to change the way you pull the string and eventual release leading to the arrow flying off the target.
Specifically, you should invest in tighter-fitting rain jackets as these allow free movement and won’t block your string.
2. A hat
A lot of veterans wear hats when shooting under terrible weather. Your hat should be wide enough to prevent raindrops from beating your face but not oversized as this might again mess how you pull the string.
Baseball caps are also great when it comes to rain shooting.
An umbrella can also serve depending on your needs.
3. Rain-proof shoes
I don’t know about you but during the rainy season, I personally prefer wearing boots anytime I am venturing outside.
Whatever your choice, ensure your shoes have sufficient traction to help you walk safely on wet terrain.
But don’t pick the ultra-heavy types because they will tire you quickly.
4. Waterproof Archery gloves
These will improve your grip and will ensure that you don’t slip as you aim.
They can also help shield your hands from various shooting-related injuries.
Ideally, you should get a pair that is soft and super comfortable.
They’re fairly inexpensive.
5. Warm clothing
You can end up sickly so don’t forget to wear warm clothing inside.
It’s better to be safe than sorry so you can even pack an extra pair of socks to change into at an opportune moment.
· Clear the water
Make it a habit to remove any lingering water from all over the bow to make your rain archery adventure easier…
Use a regular towel or even paper towels to wipe the bowstring, arrows, tap, and every other wet part before you line up a shot.
Plucking the bowstring twice or thrice will clear any water droplets remaining on it.
Compressed air can help you blow out water drops in hard to reach spots.
· Ignore the weather
Don’t overthink about the worsening weather as it will create a psychological barrier.
Instead, concentrate and focus on getting your usual great shots.
You will soon get used and you might even start finding your battle against the weather quite thrilling.
Other frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Q: Will rain hurt my bow in the long run?
A: That depends on whether you’re able to take good care of your bow.
First, you should wax your bow’s string to thwart water from getting in and damaging its shape. A well-waxed string will last longer besides raising your accuracy.
Secondly, oil the components that can get rusty. Screws and bolts are especially notorious and will start rusting from minimal moisture contact.
Rust is generally bad news for your bow and will lead to essential parts coming off if ignored. Even if the bow doesn’t disintegrate, things will not be alright as the rusty parts frustrate proper aiming and overall bow performance.
Finally, you need to store it correctly after use.
This requires that you first dry it off.
If you, unfortunately, don’t, it will grow mold and rust and you will soon be back to the shop angry that your bow didn’t last, yet it’s you who ignored standard storage practices.
Once dried, pack it in a plastic case and store it in a dry space (avoid basements/garages because of moisture).
It will remain dry inside and in good condition until your next planned session.
Q: Does rain affect arrow flight?
A: Arrows might behave differently on the flight when wet.
Again, you have already altered the way you normally shoot –because of the conditions- so that may also affect the way your arrows fly off.
How much distortion arrows experience will depend on how soaked they are and importantly, your shooting form.
That’s why I proposed that you should try to always shoot without delays when it’s raining to minimize the amount of water that gets absorbed by the arrows.
All in all, you might have to adjust your aiming point to a higher position than usual to achieve good flight in driving rain.
Having said that, competitors shoot in heavy rains oftentimes so sometimes the effect of rain on arrow flight is minimal.
But if you’re talking of torrential downpour, that’s a different story.
Putting it all together
On the question of whether a compound bow can get wet, we have seen that yes, it can. But the materials, predominantly aluminum and composite plastics are not affected an inch by rain.
And so the answer to the question of whether you can use your bow when it’s raining is a big yes.
That’s pretty exciting, because, truth be told, archers need to shoot as often as possible to improve their game and/or meet their goals.
But the reality is that you will need to put in place some measures to help you shoot properly in the rain since the water might make shooting relatively difficult.
These include using the right gear, shooting fast, and using the right accessories to defeat challenges caused by damp conditions.
Not it’s your turn..
Tell us, do you shoot with your compound when the skies open up? And what are your survival tactics?
Drop us your comments below…