How Long Can You Keep A Crossbow Cocked?

There are many reasons why people use crossbows for hunting and one question many people want to know how long you can keep a crossbow cocked or drawn.

Crossbows are easier to use in kneeling or sitting positions than traditional bows. Crossbows work well with most kinds of telescopic sights, and often have higher draw weights and better velocity than recurve or compound bows. Therefore many hunters are looking to use xbows for deer and other large game hunting.

One thing to keep in mind is how long your crossbow stays cocked. It’s perfectly okay to keep your crossbow cocked while hunting. Most experts recommend to let the bow down after about four hours.

Take a half-hour or so to relax it before cocking the crossbow again. If your day out in the field ends and you haven’t taken a shot, load a practice or decocking arrow to shoot into a target at your camp before you leave. This decocks your bow so that it’s ready to use the next day.

crossbow online

Having the crossbow cocked and loaded can cause stress on the firing mechanism, cable, limbs and string increasing the chances of limb repair. Bowstrings are built to last for a hundred shots or more. Taking the time to keep them clean and free of dirt, debris, gouges, nicks and other hazards can help to extend their useful life.

Most hunters replace their bowstrings every two to three years or so. A bow press is used to replace strings.

Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind when considering how long to keep a crossbow cocked:

-It’s safe to keep your xbow cocked when you stay in a stationary position. You should not walk back and forth from your hunting stand with the bow cocked. The bow could accidentally go off and hurt yourself or other members of your hunting party. Also, never point a cocked xbow at other people.

-Draw your crossbow before entering a tree stand. You can raise and lower your crossbow to and from the tree stand with a rope. Make sure that the bow is facing the ground. Do not load the xbow until you have successfully entered the tree stand.

-When you are having target practice, make sure that your crossbow is only pointed towards the target. Never point your crossbow towards another person. It’s an easy mistake to make if someone starts talking with you.

However, this can be very dangerous if you’re not paying attention. You could accidentally fire the crossbow when it’s pointed at someone or it could go off by itself. Do your best to minimize any distractions and focus only on the target.

– Don’t leave the crossbow cocked or drawn overnight. If the string wears or breaks, the crossbow can go off and cause damage to people or property. Decock your bow at the end of the day or when it is not in use.

-You should never drive with a cocked crossbow in your vehicle. Again, the crossbow could go off at any moment. It’s best to de-cock your bow any time that you’re going to be in an enclosed area, vehicle, house or garage.

-Use protective eyewear. You should always wear safety goggles or glasses whenever you use your crossbow. This includes assembly, maintenance, replacing strings, loading arrows or cocking the bow.

-Pay attention to where your hands are. When using your crossbow, pay close attention to where your hands are. They should never be in the cables or in the bowstring’s release path. You should also make sure that your fingers of your foregrip hand are not above the flight deck. Using proper handling techniques can prevent unnecessary injury.

-Focus on the target. Don’t shoot just because you hear movement. That movement could be from another animal or another hunter. Keep your line of sight clear, and remove any brush, branches or obstacles that could interfere with the arrow’s trajectory. Getting a clear shot is always key.

-Don’t move your safety into the firing position until you are ready to take your shot. Take as much time as you need to line up your target and survey your surroundings. Keeping the safety on can protect you and the other members of your party from any accidental injuries.

When you are done hunting and it is time to de-cock and discharge your crossbow, never dry fire it.

Dry firing a crossbow can cause the limbs to explode and cause serious injury to the shooter and anyone nearby.

There are 3 methods commonly used to discharge a crossbow and prevent it from being left cocked for too long.

A Crossbow Cocked

  1. Shoot an arrow into a small discharge target which can be easily stored in your vehicle or hunting blind for quick access.
  2. Use an arrow discharge spring device.
    These are designed to mount in the crossbow like an arrow so it can be fired safely to remove tension from the limbs.

  3. Use a specially designed discharge arrow which is shot into the ground.

Taking the time to practice safety can help make your day in the field less stressful. Every weapon can be dangerous, so use every precaution and only keep your xbow cocked when you are planning to use it.

Knowing how long can you keep your crossbow cocked and keeping your crossbow decocked when not in use or when it’s being transported can help to extend its useful life by reducing the stress and wear and tear on the limbs, strings, and cables. It helps you enjoy more successful days hunting with family members and friends.

Written by Mark Metzlov

A certified "Crossbow Guru," with over 35 years of bowhunting experience Mark loves to test new crossbow models at the range, and in the woods during hunting season. Mark is also a top-notch wild game chef who can cook up a wicked venison burger on a moment's notice!

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