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I'm thinking about getting into bow hunting, and I'm wondering about the mechanics of crossbows. I assume that I wouldn't cock the crossbow at the time I see a target, and I also assume that I wouldn't cock the crossbow and then leave it like that from one hunting season to the next.

So how long is it safe to keep a crossbow cocked? Can it stay cocked for a full day in the woods? I'm concerned both about my personal safety as well as keeping my equipment in good shape.

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Refer A Beginner's Guide to Hunting with a Crossbow

You cock before you load an arrow....

You can leave your bow cocked all day (provided that you remove the arrow before walking or exiting a tree stand, of course), but you should uncock the bow at the end of the hunt.

Clearly, you should not be walking around all day with an arrow in a cocked cross bow, that would be incredibly dangerous.

  • Why should the bow be uncocked at the end of a hunt? For safety, or can it have an adverse effect on the equipment? – feetwet Feb 23 '16 at 2:36
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    @feetwet Both. A cocked crossbow is storing energy, which would be released if the catch was tripped in some way. That could conceivably hurt someone handling the crossbow at the time or damage whatever the crossbow was resting on. Dry firing (releasing the string without a bolt nocked) can damage the limbs of the bow, and possibly cause them to fail. Storing the bow cocked also leaves stress in the limbs, which over long periods of time can cause creep and reduce the power of the bow. In short, there's no reason to store it cocked. – Carl Kevinson Mar 1 '18 at 18:36

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