There are certain questions that a new archer must have answered whether they know it or not, before progressing in the hobby of archery. One of those questions is, can you leave a recurve bow strung?
When we say “strung” what we mean is to leave the string on the bow, under tension. So let’s answer the following question:
Can I leave my recurve bow strung?
If your recurve bow is a fiberglass or composite bow then chances are good that you can leave it strung for longer periods of time. However, if your recurve is a made from wood, it can cause you significant problems when you go to use it again. It may even break. Another issue with leaving a recurve bow strung for longer periods of time, regardless of what it is made of, is that your bow may warp over time depending on how it is stored. A good rule of thumb is to leave it strung if you shoot it a lot. If not, then unstring it.
Strung Composite and Fiberglass bows
Composite bows, fiberglass bows, and modern recurve bows using modern materials are pretty safe generally speaking. Some archers leave their bows strung for longer periods of time and don’t experience any issues with warping or speed reduction.
Fiberglass can hold its shape and strength under pressure for long periods of time with no issues, therefore allowing it to remain strung for long periods of time.
The key here, however, is that you must periodically shoot it if you plan to leave it strung, and not just store it that way. The reason why is because you may end up with limb twist, even on a fiberglass or composite bow.
Un-strung Wooden Bows
Wood bows are a different story entirely. Leaving your wooden bow strung for an entire day is fine, and you can probably get away with a few days.
However, wood does not have the same resilience to being under large amounts of pressure as modern composite or fiberglass materials do, so they should be unstrung when not being used.
Another reason you may want to leave your bow unstrung when not in use is your string will eventually start to stretch because it’s under constant tension.
Unstringing your recurve when not in use will drastically increase the life span of the string and reduce stretch significantly.
How You Store Your Recurve Matters
It’s important to recognize, as well, that most of the stories from folks who have issues with a warped, strung bow happened because they did not store the bow properly.
Placing it in a dry environment is a good practice, as well as either hanging the bow on your wall or putting it in a proper case. What you want to avoid is just sticking your strung bow in your closet, leaning up against the wall.
One final thing to consider if you have children or people at your house on a consistent basis who aren’t versed in the ways of archery is that leaving a strung-up recurve is asking for trouble.
Kids will be kids, and the potential for them to grab your recurve and try to pull it back could result in a dry fire which is not good for the bow.
Suppose your friends are over and visiting. Seeing a strung bow could make people curious or think trying to pull back your bow could be fun, or not knowing that dry firing is a death sentence for a bow in most cases, leading to cracked limbs or your bow blowing up in someone’s hands.
Despite modern materials being able to handle the stress of being strung, why risk it at the end of the day? In my opinion, I would tell you to unstring your bow whenever it’s not in use just to be safe. It will ensure you don’t have any issues and allow you to shoot your recurve for years.
If you do it right and use a bow stringer, it’s not that hard.
Next, read about what a recurve bow stringer is.