Archery is a super fun activity to engage in. There’s just something satisfying about firing a bow and watching the arrow hit the bullseye.
Is it possible to practice archery in the winter, though? Does cold weather affect arrow flight?
The answer is yes. During the flight, the cold air’s drag affects the arrow. Also, the limbs of your bow stiffen, making it more vulnerable to breaking. As a result, if the archer fails to take the necessary precautions, the cold will negatively impact their aim.
Let’s take a look at how the cold weather affects your gear and what you can do to mitigate the negative effects.
Does Temperature Affect Compound Bows?
Yes, temperature has an impact on the bow’s technical functioning. It also has an impact on the arrow’s flight speed and other related aspects.
If the temperature drops by more than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll need to adjust your gear in order to accommodate the cold.
Note that arrows are impacted by the air resistance while in flight. The density of the air actually determines the force of the arrow.
The greater the density, the more resistance there is to slow the arrow down. And as you might know, cold air is denser than warm air.
Also, the fletchings’ ability to stabilize the arrow flight decreases.
And if that’s not enough, as the temperature rises, the drag decreases. This decrease results in less speed reduction and a longer distance.
What Happens to Your Gear During the Cold Weather?
Frigid temperatures have an impact not just on your enjoyment but also on your bow. When it’s cold outside, your bow’s limbs tighten. Tight limbs are more susceptible to shatter. Furthermore, using your string in the cold causes it to break faster.
Now, even though wood, polymers, and carbon fiber are all unsusceptible to adverse weather conditions, prolonged exposure to the freezing outdoors can cause serious harm. So, it’s best for you to keep your bow inside (room temperature) when it’s extremely cold.
If you want to shoot your bow in the snow, you must take some precautions.
If you’re shooting with your bow during winter, keep an eye out for snow accumulation, as the build-up could hinder your accuracy. Any component clogged with snow can affect the arrow’s speed and precision.
It’s also a good idea to clean and dry off your bow after you’re done shooting. Water and snow accumulation on the bow over an extended period can develop corrosion and even permanent damage.
What to Do Before Shooting in the Cold?
Bows stiffen during the winter, putting extra strain on the string and limbs. The pressure makes the bow harder to pull back. So, before you venture out to the field, double-check that your bow is winter-ready.
Wax the strings thoroughly. The wax preserves strings from the humidity and prevents them from freezing. When you shoot with a bowstring that hasn’t been waxed enough, the fibers begin to fracture.
If the temperature drops below zero, you’ll need to wax your string before every practice. Before putting a new layer, make sure to remove any extra wax.
Furthermore, make sure the bow limbs are in good shape, with no cracks or deformations. The cold can worsen the brittleness of the damaged parts.
Bows constructed from wood need to be kept dry and protected from the weather. Make sure there’s no bare wood visible.
Make sure your bow is free of any snow. Water is a bow’s worst foe, and chilly weather can aggravate humidity issues.
Clogged components may not function at all. The build-up could alter the trajectory of your arrow, substantially altering your aim.
Ensure that your bow is completely dry and clean before using it.
What to Do After Shooting in the Cold?
After practice, try to dry your bow as much as you can. If you keep your bow damp, it could damage the string and maybe cause mildew to grow on it. As a result, you must only place the bow in your case when it’s dry.
You can use a piece of cloth to absorb the water and then dry it in a warm environment. While it might be tempting. Don’t place your bow near a heater. The bow should not become heated, as this might cause harm.
Before using the bow again, put a new layer of wax on it once it has dried. The strings are made of synthetic materials. If not waxed properly, they’ll deteriorate.
You won’t be able to fix your broken string after it’s gone bad, so you’ll have to change it entirely. If you want to preserve the string from breaking, avoid leaving your bow strung.
What Is the Most Practical Way to Dress?
When it comes to practice during winter, you need to dress practically.
Your legs and head are two places on your body where you can quickly lose a lot of heat. If they become chilly, your blood and core will cool down as well, so keep them warm.
If your core is warm, it will circulate warm blood to your hands.
Wool is great to wear during winter practice. You can purchase a wool sweater and pair it with a T-shirt to retain sweat.
It’s also a good idea to wear a thermal undershirt. To keep air draughts at bay, add a light jacket to your attire.
Jackets that are windproof or waterproof are ideal to wear. A breathable jacket that enables you to move and shoot freely is essential.
Shirts made of fleece and a body warmer that only serves as a secondary layer are perfect for a winter practice session.
Be sure not to get so confined in your movements. Avoid wearing heavy clothing that limits your movement.
If you still want to keep your hands warm, you can wear gloves. However, if you choose to wear gloves, make sure they’re suitable for archery.
Does cold weather affect arrow flight? Regrettably, yes. The limbs of your bow stiffen, making it more prone to fracturing. On top of that, snow accumulation might obstruct your aim and cause damage to your equipment.
Wax your bow before and after shooting. The wax ensures that the string on your bow lasts for long and that you have good accuracy.
Wear clothes that allow you to move freely. Also, avoid clothes that cause excessive sweating.
With these pointers, you’ll be able to shoot and hit the golden circle like a champion.
If you’re interested in learning more about arrow flight, be sure to check out our post on arrows spinning in flight.