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Fact checked by Steven Lines, lifelong Hunter and Outdoorsman.
You’ve bought your bow, gone to the range, had a fantastic first archery session, and you head back to bask in the glory of starting an amazing new hobby, but how do you store your new recurve bow when you get home?
If you are wondering how to store a recurve bow without ruining it, keep reading as we will cover the myriad of storage options available for bow storage.
You can use hard or soft cases, backpacks, bow stands, or pegs to store your bow correctly. The power of a bow comes from its shape. All the parts of your bow have been finely tuned to provide an accurate, powerful, repeatable shot without damaging the materials of the bow. Proper storage will help maintain this shape as any warping or bending will alter the functioning of the bow and could even make it unshootable.
One thing you want to make sure you never do is damage your bow when you store it. Leaning it in a corner, hanging it incorrectly, or stacking other objects on top of your bow can and will ruin your bow.
The limbs and riser of your bow are specially designed and highly engineered pieces of equipment that will not function properly if their alignment is even slightly altered. Even short periods of improper storage can warp your bow leading to an inaccurate shot, operating that will damage your bow further, or even worse a bow that no longer works.
Before we review the many storage options available for recurve bows, we should take a look at why it is essential to store your bow correctly. Then you will be aware of your bow’s vulnerabilities and can take care of it to keep it in good firing condition for years to come.
How Improper Storage Can Damage Your Bow
Recurve bows are simple by design, meaning there are no excesses built-in. This makes them small and compact. They are also designed for accuracy and power, which means that they endure a lot of stress when you pull back on that string but must still deliver a straight shot. This is accomplished by designing and crafting the shape of the bow carefully.
Recurve’s, especially those made from wood, can have their shape easily altered if you lean them up against a wall, leave them lying on the floor, or hang them improperly. Resting the bow so that one limb is supporting all the weight can lead to twisting or bending in the limbs.
Storing your bow in places that are excessively cold, hot, moist, or dry can also cause warping as can rapid changes in either temperature or humidity.
Thus, you want to be considerate of the environment you stow your bow in as well as the position in which you set it.
So, how do you store a recurve bow without damaging it? Let’s look at the considerations you have when storing your bow.
Store Your Bow Somewhere with Climate Control
Because temperature and humidity can affect the shape and function of your bow, you want to store it somewhere that is not too dry or humid, and not too cold or hot. Generally, this just means you don’t want to store it in a shed, a basement, or a garage (unless the space is climate-controlled year-round).
You also do not want to store the bow in an environment where it will experience rapid changes in temperature or humidity, as this can also cause twisting and bending.
All of this amounts to keeping your bow in an environment in which you would feel comfortable. Keeping it in your house usually means it will not experience extreme or rapidly changing conditions.
To String or Unstring That is The Question
Okay, there are actually several questions when it comes to storing your bow, but whether or not to unstring your bow is the next question you should answer before deciding on further storage options.
Experienced archers will all have different answers to this question based on their bow’s materials and how often they shoot.
For archers that shoot every day or every few days, you can generally leave your bow strung without causing any damage. Stringing and unstringing your bow places a great deal of stress on the bow and introduces opportunities for damage. Thus, you do not want to be going through this procedure every couple of days. If you shoot a few times per week, you can leave your bow strung. This is especially true for fiberglass bows, as this material is less affected by the stress placed on the limbs when it is strung.
If you use your bow once a week or less, you will want to unstring your bow as keeping the line on the bow means there is constant pressure on the tips, which could cause warping over extended periods of storage. Once unstrung, you can cover it with a bow sock to protect it from dust, debris, dents, and dings.
Some recurve bows can be taken apart, i.e., the limbs can be detached from the riser. These are called takedown recurves, and you can follow the same guidelines for unstringing when considering whether to take your bow apart or leave it intact. In general, if you are unstringing your takedown recurve, you should take the limbs and riser apart as well. The only time this may not be the case is if you are hanging your bow on pegs or a rack.
How to Position Your Bow
You already know not to store your bow where it is resting on one limb. But, in what position should you store it? There are three often used positions when storing a bow: hanging it horizontally by the string, laying it flat on its side, or resting it upside down with the limb tips on two pegs. While all of these options will suffice for short term storage, the best option is always to store your bow horizontally and upside down. This positioning will best maintain the shape and structurally integrity of your bow for years of consistent shooting.
If you do not have a rack of pegs on which to rest your bow upside down, then on its side is the second-best option. While storing the bow hanging from the bowstring won’t necessarily cause damage over a short period, leaving it in this manner for any length of time increases the stress on the bow and can lead to it becoming misshapen.
At Home Storage & Transportation Options
Some storage options like hard and soft cases can be used to both transport and store your bow. However, the long-term storage options that will best protect your bow are racks or wall pegs as they keep your bow up and out of the way, which will prevent damage from shuffling your bow around when it is in a case. You could also use a bow stand. However, most stands are best suited as a spot to place your bow when you are gathering arrows or doing other activities while shooting.
Wall Pegs & Rack
These methods are very similar, except a rack is just prefabricated for storage, while wall pegs will need to be spaced appropriately.
These are an especially great option if you would like to display one or more of your bows in your home.
You can buy a rack that holds one or multiple bows depending on your needs. Mount the rack on your wall. Then hang your bow upside, resting horizontally on the rack with the weight evenly distributed. Even distribution is critical because if one limb or tip is supporting more weight than the other, you could still warp your bow also though you have it on a rack.
If you want to create your own rack, you can simply mount two pegs on your wall and store the bow in the same position as on a rack. Just make sure that the pegs are appropriately spaced so that the bow can rest in an area where its weight is split evenly between the two contact points.
Racks or pegs are a great option whether you keep your bow strung or unstrung. It also keeps the bow stored in a place where it won’t need to be moved until you want to use it next, reducing the chance of damage from being stepped on or moved around.
Cases & Backpacks
These are great options for transportation, but they can also be used to store your bow. However, you will still need to find a place where you can lay the case horizontally that is out of the way.
You don’t want to put your case and bow in a high traffic area where it could be knocked around or on the floor where it could be stepped on. You also do not want to pile anything else on top of the case. Place it on a high shelf with little else on it and enough space to lay the case containing your bow on its side. A case will provide protection; however, you still need to find a safe place in your home to store it.
These specially designed backpacks are generally designed for takedown recurves as they cannot accommodate a bow’s full length. They have specialized compartments for your limbs, riser, and other accessories. They work best as transportation for bowhunters or hikers who need to carry their bow through the bush.
They are made of soft materials that provide little in the way of structural support to protect your bow from a blow. While they have foam padding interiors, it is still possible to damage the bow with a hard-enough hit or drop. Thus, backpack options work best for transportation. However, if you have a designated spot to set the backpack that is safe from being knocked around, then it can also function as a storage container.
Soft cases are a bit like a duffle bag or golf bag and usually have pockets for arrows and other accessories. They are an excellent option for taking your bow to and from the range. However, they are not excellent transportation or storage options if the case is placed near other items that could knock the bow around.
If you are packing your bow away in a storage closet, taking it on a plane or otherwise transporting it where it won’t always be in your control, soft cases may not be ideal as other items can still cause damage to your bow if they bump into it or fall on it.
Many soft cases have a foam lining with cut-outs designed to hold your recurve bow parts as well as accessories.
Soft cases also come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit your equipment needs and storage space.
Hard cases will provide the most protection for storage. These sturdy, usually plastic cases will protect your bow better than any other solution should it be bumped or knocked around.
Inside the case, there is usually a foam insert with distinctive cut-outs to hold limbs, risers, and accessories. Often, they also have slots for arrows and other pieces of kit. You can also add your own cut-outs to make space for anything that does not have a spot, just make sure to leave enough foam buffer between each piece of equipment.
Like their soft counterparts, these protective cases can carry almost anything you will need to take to the range or out to the bush for hunting. This makes it less likely that you will lose anything or forget it when you head out to shoot your bow.
If you have a takedown recurve, you can opt for a more compact case as you can disassemble the bows before storing it in the case. If your recurve is a single piece, you will need the longer hard cases that can fit the length of your bow.
With most cases, you are going to store your bow unstrung, so a rack, pegs, or a bow stand are going to be better storage options if you want to keep your bow strung.
Some bow stands are made to be small and portable; others offer more excellent stability at a loss of portability.
The bulkier, sturdier options can be a great place to store your bow if you have the floor space away from high traffic areas. They are generally big enough and have enough material surrounding the bow to offer adequate protection if placed in a low traffic area of your home.
The small portable stands are designed to hold your bow while it is strung and ready to shoot so that you can set it down somewhere safe while you do something else. The stand keeps the bow off the ground where it could be stepped on or tripped over.
They come in many different models, but the most basic is essentially a small tripod that can hold your bow while it is strung. You can often fold them up and take them with you quickly.
If you plan to use this option for storage, you will need to make sure you have a low traffic area to place the stand with the bow on it as it is still very vulnerable to being knocked over. It can work in a pinch, or if you have the space to set it out of the way; but, bow stands do not provide any protection for your bow.
Bow stands are a great piece of gear but work best as a safe place to set your bow when you are shooting. The basic tripod styles are also usually quite inexpensive.
Bows are a highly engineered piece of equipment, and to keep their accuracy consistent, you must store them properly to avoid warping the bow.
Bow racks and wall pegs are a great option that keeps your bow up and out of harm’s way. They are also an excellent choice if you would like to display your bow. You can use them to store a strung or unstrung bow.
Backpacks and cases can be great ways to transport your bow to and from your shooting location. Backpacks are a good option for hikers and hunters but are less suited to storage because of their soft exterior, which offers little in the way of protection. Soft cases have the same limitations as backpacks but can work well for taking your bow to the range or for storage on a shelf where there is little else around that could bump into your bow.
Hard cases and larger bow stands are a good option for storage as long as you have a space to put them that is out of the way and won’t see the bow stand or case being knocked around.
Don’t forget that you also want to keep your bow in a climate-controlled environment to prevent warping from temperature and humidity factors.
Caring for your bow and adequately storing it will keep it shooting well for years to come.
Steven Lines is a hunter and outdoorsman from Safford, Arizona, USA. He has been hunting and fishing since a child, and has over 20 years of experience in the outdoors. Steven works as a hunting guide in Arizona during his spare time and runs a Youtube channel dedicated to sharing his outdoor adventures with others.