"Can I leave my longbow strung up all the time? I have heard that it damages the wood over time, but I have also heard of some manufacturers claiming that it is okay to leave their bows strung up all the time. What should I be doing?"
- James R.
No, I definitely do not recommend that you leave your longbow strung all the time. If left strung the pressure the bow is under while strung will cause the wood to slowly become weaker, making your bow less powerful - and less accurate - over time. Keeping a bow strung for long periods could also damage the wood permanently so that when it is finally used it could just snap.
This is also true for recurve bows - both traditional recurve bows and Olympic style - and it also true for shortbows / horsebows as well.
There are of course exceptions. eg. Compound bows have to be left strung up all the time. Many crossbows are also left strung up all the time too.
When in doubt I strongly recommend keeping your bow unstrung whenever you are not using it. It lengthens the lifespan of the bow and keeps it strong.
When storing your bow(s) I recommend storing them either flat (on a table, shelf or rack) or using a vertical rack with pegs like the one shown below.
I even found you a video on YouTube that demonstrates just how much stress a strung bow is actually under when left strung. It is a surprising amount of power stored in a strung bow and that power will slowly weaken your bow if left strung for long periods of time.