How to Replace Your Hunting Bowstring

One of the most basic maintenance skills you can learn as a bowhunter is how to replace your own bowstring. Not needing to go to your local bow technician to have it restrung can save you some money and learning how to do it yourself will help you to become familiar with how your hunting bow operates. That being said, you should only try this once you feel confident in your understanding of the bow and the risks that are involved with restringing it.

How to Replace a String on a Recurve Bow

Recurve bows are incredibly easy to restring, which is good because you should remove the bowstring whenever it’s not using it. The easiest way to restring a recurve is with a tool called a stringer. It acts as a loose bowstring to keep tension in the limbs while you replace the actual bowstring. They come in two different varieties: pocket & saddle and double pocket. A pocket and saddle design has a sleeve that slides down one of the limbs, while a small pocket fits over the end of the other limb. Double pockets fits over the ends of both limbs. The pocket and saddle is slightly easier to use as it keeps one limb end exposed. With either style, you’ll need to choose a stringer designed for your specific draw weight and length.

  1. To restring your recurve bow, start by placing the stringer on one end of the bow. If it’s a pocket and saddle design you’ll slide the saddle (sleeve side) down the upper limb of your bow. If it’s a double pocket, just place the one of the pockets on the end of the upper limb.
  2. Now place the pocket on the lower limb and turn the bow so the bowstring and stringer are facing the ground and the rising is pointed up.
  3. Step on the bowstring to bend the limbs back slightly, just enough to create slack in the bowstring.
  4. Remove the old bowstring and repeat the process in reverse to attach the new string.

How to Replace a String on a Compound Bow

Admittedly, this is quite a bit harder and will require some extra tools, the most important of which is the bow press. The press bends the limbs of the bow to take the tension off the cables and string.

  1. The first step in restringing the bow is to do an assessment of the old bow string. If the string is severely worn it could be dangerous to put it in the bow press. If you see a lot of fraying on the string or damage to the cables, it’s best to take it to a bow technician instead.
  2. Now take the new string (be sure it’s one recommended by your bow manufacturer) and apply some string wax to it so it’s easier to work with.
  3. Attach your bow to the bow press, usually this involves clamps that insert into the joint between the riser and the limb on each end. Consult the manual for the bow press to see if you need to loosen anything on the bow before operating the press.
  4. Begin loosening the bow by having the press bend the limbs of the bow inward. Alternate sides so that nearly equal pressure is being placed on each limb.
  5. If your bow has a teardrop-style attachment point for the string, add the new string first and then remove the old string (it has two points of attachment so they can be on at the same time). If it doesn’t have this attachment system, you’ll need to remove the old string first and then thread the new string through the cam.
  6. Retighten any screws that you may have loosened before operating the bow press, and then slowly open the press to release the tension on the limbs.


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Justin Archer
Hi, I'm Justin Archer a family man with 2 boys and a wife. I'm an outdoorsman who loves hunting, fishing, hiking and lots of other outdoor activities. I love testing new outdoor gear, learning new things and passing on the knowledge I have gained. Feel free to contact me anytime -

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