Can A Compound Bow Get Wet?

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Every bowhunter and 3D archer find themselves in unexpected situations from time to time. You might just be wandering around the woods with your equipment, or participating in a field archery tournament when suddenly it starts to rain. But can you still enjoy your time, and can you be sure your compound bow won’t be damaged by being wet?

In general, compound bows can get wet without being damaged, since they’re made of waterproof material. A compound bow can still rust if stored without being properly dried and maintained.

What makes it difficult to shoot in the rain is the loss of vision, taking into account the added weight of water on the arrows and shooting the bow with proper form. If you manage to still shoot the bow with harder conditions, you might gain an experience to tell your friends about later.

It’s important to note that you have to properly maintain your bow if it got wet. Storing it as is can seriously damage it. I cannot stress this enough – NEVER STORE A COMPOUND BOW WET. I’m going to explain the details of how to maintain your bow after it got wet later in this post.

Remember that as a serious archer you can’t let a little adversity demotivate you. Difficult experiences are an extremely important part of building a great skill set. With a bit of preparation, you’ll always be ready for rainy terrain.

So Let’s start with understanding how rain affects your equipment, and then discuss what you can do to protect it from being damaged.

Will rain damage my bow?

Rain will not damage your bow. Nowadays most compound bows are made of plastic and anodized aluminum, which are waterproof. The strings are made of polyethylene which is also waterproof. The rain itself doesn’t really affect the functionality of the bow, so technically you can shoot it as you normally would.

We start running into problems when our bows aren’t properly maintained. A compound bow contains a lot of components, most of which are large and resistant to water. The screws and bolts that hold the bow together are vital to the functionality of the bow, and can quickly rust if kept wet for a long time.

Most archers know that it’s important to wax your bowstring for optimal shooting. It really does help with keeping your shots accurate. It’s also really important for preventing water from going into your string. The wax basically blocks the places where water can go into the string, making it water-resistant.

These days even other types of bows, which can be made of wood, are considered waterproof. They are coated with paint and wax to repel water. So even traditional and recurve archers don’t have to stress if they find themselves practicing in the rain.

So as long as you keep your compound bow well-maintained water can’t hurt it, and you can shoot in the rain normally. But does rain damage your arrows?

Does rain damage arrows?

Most compound bow arrows are made of plastic, which is waterproof. The rain won’t damage your arrows, but it will make it much harder to properly aim. The water adds weight to your arrows, making it difficult to precisely aim, and the raindrops themselves may drive your arrows from their natural path.

The added weight basically means that your arrows will move slower through the air, and eventually land in shorter distances than usual. Especially if you have arrows with fletching made of non-waterproof material, they can soak a lot of water and become significantly heavier.

How to shoot a compound bow through the rain

If you find yourself in a situation where you have to shoot your bow through the rain, you will have to make some adjustments to maintain good form. You can use some plastic bags and towels to avoid the most significant issues that come with shooting in the rain.

The first thing you need to consider is that unless you’re shooting instinctively (don’t know what that is? check my instinctive archery guide) you will have to use your bow sight. But when it gets wet it’s pretty much unusable – everything gets smugged.

I suggest you cover your sight with a small plastic bag between shots. This will keep it somewhat dry. Use a small towel to cover the top of the sight while shooting. It will keep most water drops away. Remember to only wipe your sight with dedicated wipes – you don’t want to accidentally scratch it!

The next issue with shooting in the rain is your arrows getting soaked with water. As I explained before, wet arrows are heavier, meaning you shoot them slower through the air.

To avoid your arrows getting wet, I suggest covering your quiver with a plastic bag as well. Keep your arrows covered as long as you’re not using them. When you remove the bag to take an arrow, do it quickly – and try to shoot quickly as well, to avoid the arrow getting wet in your hands.

I would pretty much suggest you always have plastic bags and a small towel handy when you go on a shoot – they come really handy. Add them to your bag when packing. You never know when it’ll start raining, so this way you can avoid being caught off guard.

Maintaining a compound bow after it got wet

As I’ve covered before, compound bows are safe to shoot in the rain. Problems arise when they are stored wet – the screws and bolts inside the bow may rust, which can render it unusable. This is why it’s so important that you maintain your bow before storing it if it gets wet.

To maintain your bow after being used in the rain, you first need to dry it completely. Later you’ll apply oil to the small screws and bolts of the bow, and wax to the bowstring. This will ensure that the bow will remain rust-free.

The first and most important thing you need to do is to make sure every part of the bow is completely dry. Start by wiping your bow with a towel and drying most of the water off its body and the string.

When you’ve dried your bow as well as you were able to, leave it out to dry in a non-humid room. This will ensure that the bow is dry. Leave it for at least half an hour, and then come back to finish maintaining it.

After the bow dries out, you’ll need to take care of the small parts of the bow. To do that, take a small brush (you can use a toothbrush), a paper towel, and oil. Use the paper towel to dry the small screws and bolts of the bow. When they’re dry, apply oil with the brush to lubricate them. Don’t forget to dry the limb and the sight.

When that’s done, all you have to do is wax your bowstring. This will ensure that it dries correctly and keeps its form.

Before storing your bow away, don’t forget to check that your bow case is dry as well if you took it with you on the shoot. Also, dry your arrows and leave them out, so they properly dry as well. Clear the rest of your equipment as well.

Can snow and cold weather damage your compound bow?

It really depends on the material your bow is made of, but most compound bows can handle extremely cold weather really well. The effect of cold temperatures on the bow is tightening, but bows are designed to handle a lot of stress. The effect of snow and coldness on a bow is minimal.

Some archers claim that cold weather slightly increases the draw weight of the bow. Freezing temperatures can make the string hard to pull because it’s covered in frozen wax. Generally speaking, it’s known that bows can handle low temperatures much better than high temperatures.

The real problem when shooting a bow in cold weather is that the archers need to protect themselves by wearing gloves and thick coats. These can make pulling and releasing the string with proper form somewhat awkward. It should not affect an experienced archer though – practicing with winter gear will definitely prevent it from decreasing your accuracy.


A compound bow is designed to be able to shoot even in rain. It can get wet without being damaged, but you have to properly maintain it before storing it. It’s really important that you do, otherwise, the bow can rust and quickly be damaged. To maintain it before storage you simply need to dry it completely and apply oil and wax. This will ensure a long life for your bow.

Remember that shooting in the rain might be difficult and uncomfortable, but that’s exactly the time your skills are being tested. You can still practice and enjoy the challenge, and by properly taking care of your equipment your bow will remain completely fine.

The Best Compound Bows I’ve Reviewed

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Genesis Genx

A great budget option for beginner archers, who are looking for a great first bow at a reasonable price. This bow is perfect as an entry bow you can progress with, since you can adjust the draw weight between 25 lbs and 40 lbs, and the draw length between 21″ and 30″.

Like most other things, you can find it in Amazon.

Diamond Infinite Edge Pro

This is my absolute favorite recommendation to beginners, who are looking for a bow to start and progress with. This highly adjustable compound bow comes with an insane draw weight range of 5 pounds to 70 pounds, and draw length of 13″ to 31″.

Check what it’s going for in Amazon.

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You can also read more in the full compound bow buyer’s guide.