The winter months can be rough, especially for residents of areas that experience dark days and cold temperatures. Winter weather drives some active people indoors. But that doesn’t mean you need to stop being active. For archers, winter brings the indoor season. Practicing and competing at indoor ranges provides an opportunity for archers to shoot under comfortable conditions.
For other archers, it can be tempting to keep the bow in its case until the mercury rises. But you don’t have to stay inside when the weather drops to single digits. You can shoot your bow in any weather. Some archers enjoy practicing in different weather conditions. It’s just a matter of personal preference and preparation.
Bundle Up but Be Careful
Dress in enough layers to keep yourself comfortable. If your muscles are cold, they won’t perform. Being cold can also affect your form. Some archers find if they’re too cold they can’t even draw back their bow. However, bundling up can come at a cost. Bulky clothing can get in the way.
Down jackets, commonly called puffy or puffer coats, can be a real problem. The puffy sleeve can come into contact with the bowstring when the arrow is released. This can cause poor arrow flight and/or equipment damage. Wearing an arm guard over the jacket’s sleeve can help compress the jacket enough to provide clearance. Another option is to wear a vest instead of a jacket. This provides insulation yet keeps the arms less covered.
Inspect Your Clothing
It’s not just sleeves that can get in the way of the shot. Buttons, scarves, large pockets and sweatshirt strings can all get stuck in the bowstring. Remove or tuck in items that can get in the way. Always test the outfit before the shot to make sure you have a clean draw. If you don’t typically wear gloves, this can also throw off your shooting. For example, your release strap may fit differently over gloves or it may take a while to get used to the feeling of shooting with a glove on.
Careful With Your Equipment
Modern bows are built with materials that hold up well in a range of weather temperatures. In extreme temperatures, though, problems may arise. Always do a routine inspection before shooting. Winter can be dry, so be sure strings are waxed. Store your equipment in a climate-controlled space. If you keep it in extreme cold, it’s more likely to experience malfunctions.
Avoid setting your bow down in snow and ice. If you do set it down, look for snow buildup that could cause bad arrow flight or other problems. Before putting your bow away, make sure it’s dry. Storing it wet can cause rust or other damage.
Whether winter weather drives you indoors or you get properly prepared and continue practicing outside, archery isn’t a seasonal sport. If you need help finding a place to shoot, you can look for ranges at local archery shops.