Can You Leave Crossbow Loaded? Detailed Explanation

Can you leave crossbow loaded? How long can you keep a crossbow cocked? Have you ever returned after a hard day of hunting with empty hands and a crossbow remaining cocked? Many hunters frequently encounter this matter. You might simply think leaving it cocked is convenient for the next hunting excursion. 

The following article will answer all your questions about this issue. Let’s follow us to discover.

Can You Leave Crossbow Loaded? 

In fact, you can keep your crossbow cocked for as long as you like. But you shouldn’t do that. 

Maybe you think leaving it loaded will be more convenient for your next hunting trip. However, it can cause damage to your crossbow and even endanger your life and many others.

Shorten Crossbow’s Lifespan 

Wear and tear

There have been instances of hunters leaving their crossbows loaded for weeks or months without experiencing any damage. Although they don’t realize any damage, their crossbows may endure visible pressures and strains.

While it can withstand this tension for a short period of time, exceeding its restriction can be destructive to the bow. Your crossbow will rapidly deteriorate over time. In other words, its lifespan will be decreased.

Especially those cocked crossbows left out in the sun. The strings will dry out and lose their elasticity. It will no longer be able to return to its original state.

Damages To Components

This can also result in overstrained cords, expanded limbs, twisted axles, broken cams, and many other component failures. There have also been stories of bows being caught in the cocked place if maintained in that posture for an extended period of time. How can you shoot a bow while it’s stuck?

Besides, stretching strings for a long time can cause the crossbow to bend or warp to some extent. You may not realize it’s bent, but repeatedly missing the target will make you aware.

can you leave crossbow loaded

Unintentionally Cause Accidents

It might also be a matter of safety. Several reports of hunters keeping their crossbows primed and unattended have been released and found that their bows had dry fired. In reality, dry shooting can do significant harm to the crossbow as well as the users.

After a tiring day of hunting, you go to bed, but your crossbow is still loaded. It is very dangerous if your child picks up and pulls the trigger while you are asleep.

In addition, the bow that is sometimes dropped will also automatically shoot arrows, endangering the people in the house and the bowhunter.

How Long Can You Keep A Crossbow Cocked?

Depend On The Brand

The durability and the safe time to crossbow loaded depend on the type of crossbow. Particularly, the average time is between 4 and 8 hours. 

Note that some brands design them with better quality, so the endurance time may be longer. By reading the manual, you can determine the exact time allowed to bow cocked. Most crossbows are built to last you all day hunting. 

However, manufacturers generally recommend giving bows a break every 4 hours. It would be best to uncock it after keeping it loaded for 4 hours straight.

Consult Experts

Most seasoned hunters will always answer that you can keep the bow cocked for the duration of the hunt, from 4 hours to 24 hours. Yet, they do not think that keeping it loaded for too long will reduce the performance as well as the life of the bow.

Obviously, short stress or operating times will prolong the service life of crossbows. Parts can be used for a long time without needing to be replaced, saving you some money.

Keeping the bow cocked for long periods of time, especially overnight, is not a good idea. Both seasoned hunters and bowsmen warn about “dry firing”. It can injure others or even endanger life.

Depend On Local Laws

How long it takes to leave the crossbow drawn depends on your local laws. Many places forbid keeping bow cocked after the hunt is over. 

Many other places prohibit crossbows operation while in a vehicle because of the risk of injuring others. Your crossbow should always stay uncocked when there is no hunting activity.

Therefore, learning about your local bowhunting laws and regulations is a good idea. It ensures you don’t break the law and do your hunting safely without disturbing the people around.

How To Unlock A Crossbow?

Firing The Arrow

Firing the arrow is the simplest method to uncock the crossbow. You need to pick a safe, untrodden location and shoot it out. Commonly chosen locations are the ground, target boards, or tree trunks.

This method is extremely suitable for those new to bows because they are not experienced enough to occupy the bow’s clutch properly. In addition, this way is quite safe, and users are less likely to be confused.

Use A Decocking Arrow

It’s an ideal option for individuals with greater expertise. Rope cocking kits are used by somewhat more experienced hunters. On the other hand, using the rope kit to uncock your bow will reduce the possibility of breaking it and provides a more convenient, secure, and simpler solution.

The most significant advantage of the rope cocking kit is that it lessens any concerns of a damaged crossbow. Before unlocking the bow, you should unload an arrow. If you are cautious from the outset, there is no way that something could ruin the bow.

Use The Rope Cocking Kit

Decocking arrows have a one-of-a-kind effect breaking technology that slows the arrow as it glides up the arrow after contact. After retrieving the arrows, this movable decelerator effortlessly slips back into place and is available again to be used.

This type of arrow is safer when you shoot it. Still, you should choose soft ground locations to prevent these decocking arrows from cracking or breaking.

Read More: How To Attach Bow To Backpack?


Can you leave crossbow loaded? In general, you should not do this as it will shorten the life of the crossbows, affect their components, and possibly endanger the people around. 

Hope you found this article useful. Thank you for taking the time to read our post! See you again!

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