How to ship a compound bow

Packing and Shipping a Compound Bow: Steps and Tips

Shipping a compound bow requires careful preparation and packing to ensure it arrives safely. With hunting season coming up, many archers need to know the proper way to ship their bows.

This article will provide step-by-step instructions on how to properly package and ship a compound bow. We will cover topics such as finding a suitable shipping box, cushioning the bow, taping techniques, labeling, and selecting a carrier.

Following these tips will help prevent damage during transit so your compound bow arrives intact and ready for action. Whether you need to send your bow for repairs or get it to your favorite hunting spot, this guide has the information you need to ship a compound bow safely.

Choosing a Shipping Carrier

The first step is selecting a shipping carrier that best fits your needs. The three major carriers used for shipping compound bows are UPS, FedEx and USPS. Each has their pros and cons.

UPS and FedEx are national private carriers that offer tracking and insurance for lost or damaged items. Their quotes are often higher, but they provide safe transportation in fast transit times across the country. Both carriers require boxing up and labeling your compound bow properly according to their specifications.

USPS is the most affordable option but offers slower transit times and less package tracking. They limit insurance claims to $100 coverage for lost or damaged bows. USPS prohibits shipping handguns via Priority Mail, but compound bows are permitted.

Regardless of carrier, be sure to get insurance and delivery confirmation to protect your package. Also comparison shop quotes among the carriers. Shipping rates can vary dramatically based on weight, box dimensions and destination.

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Gather Recommended Packing Supplies

Before starting to pack up your compound bow, gather these recommended supplies:

  • New, undamaged cardboard box sized at least 4″ larger than the bow on all sides
  • Bubble wrap, foam blocks, or pipe insulation for immobilizing the bow parts
  • Packing tape, shipping tape, and filament tape for securing the box closed
  • Zip ties, plastic baggies, and paper for securing loose parts
  • Fragile warning labels for the box exterior
  • Foam peanuts, packing paper or air bags to cushion the bow in the box

Step-by-Step Packing Instructions Of Compound Bow

Once you’ve selected your shipping carrier, it’s time to start packing. Proper packing is crucial to keeping your compound bow safe in transit. Use new, undamaged boxes and quality packing materials designed for fragile items. Follow these key steps to properly secure your compound bow inside the shipping box:

  1. Disassemble the Compound bow and place the riser section in the bottom of the box, stabilizers detached. Protect the riser with bubble wrap or foam padding.
  2. Insert the limb tips into sections of pool noodle or pipe insulation to prevent contact with box edges.
  3. Place the padded limbs alongside the riser section and immobilize them with foam blocks, packing peanuts or crumpled paper.
  4. Wrap the cams, wheels, and axles thoroughly in bubble wrap and secure in place with more packing material to avoid shifting.
  5. Coil up the bowstring and cables neatly using baggies and paper so they don’t tangle during transit.
  6. Include any accessories like sights, rests, and tools in sealed bags or containers.
  7. Double-check that all bow parts are cushioned and cannot shift within the box. Add extra padding if needed.
  8. Tape box securely shut along all edges and seams using 2-3″ wide packing tape. Reinforce corners with filament tape.
  9. Label box prominently with “Fragile” warning stickers and the recipient’s shipping address.

Waterproofing the Compound bow box is also recommended in case of inclement weather during shipping. You can line the bottom of the box with a plastic bag before packing your bow inside. Spraying urethane coating on the box exterior also adds extra water resistance.

Insure the Shipment

No matter how carefully you pack the compound bow, accidents can happen during shipping. Always ensure the declared value of your Compound bow with the carrier and have tracking information in case it gets lost.

UPS, FedEx and USPS all offer parcel insurance for loss or damage. For expensive bows, also consider 3rd party insurance from private insurers that can cover beyond carriers’ standard liability limits. Thoroughly document your bow’s condition before shipping with photos or video in case you must file a damage claim later.

Legal Shipping Regulations

Several federal and state laws govern shipping compound bows, particularly when crossing state lines. Familiarize yourself with these regulations before arranging shipment:

– The U.S. Postal Service prohibits mailing handguns nationally but permits shipping compound bows through Priority Mail. Bows can only be mailed to eligible adults who are 18+.

– UPS and FedEx have no major restrictions on shipping compound bows within the domestic U.S., as it is legal to transport bows across state lines.

– Check both your state and the destination state’s laws regarding age requirements, licensing, and possession regulations for compound bows. Some states require hunting licenses to possess bows.

– International shipping of compound bows must comply with the customs regulations of the destination country. Many Asian and European countries prohibit or heavily restrict compound bow imports.

When shipping a compound bow for hunting purposes, be sure to check regulations for transporting archery equipment in the destination state. Regulations differ regarding broadhead tips, arrow length, universal hunting season dates and other factors. Check your individual state agency’s website for information.

Shipping Compound Bows by Air

Transporting compound bows via air travel requires meticulous preparation and understanding of TSA requirements. While allowed on certain airlines, stringent rules apply for carry-on and checked bow cases.

Call ahead to verify the specific airline’s policies. Some key considerations when flying with compound bows:

  • Compound Bows must be in a proper hard-sided case specifically designed for bow transport. Lockable cases are strongly recommended.
  • Arrows must be in a separate case from broadheads, which must have protected tip covers.
  • The Compound bow case must be checked at the ticket counter and cannot exceed 50 pounds. Fees often apply for specialty sports equipment.
  • At security, declare your bow case to be inspected separately from other luggage. Be prepared to demonstrate the unstrung bow for agents.
  • Upon arrival, immediately inspect the bow for damage and report any issues to airline personnel before leaving the airport.
  • Never ship a compound bow using freight airlines, only passenger airlines. Freight handlers lack the training to safely handle archery equipment.

Insurance and Liability Concerns

Before entrusting your compound bow to any shipping carrier, be sure to get insurance. No matter how carefully you pack it, accidents can happen.

Both UPS and FedEx offer declared value coverage up to $50,000 for loss/damage claims. Be sure to declare the accurate value of your bow – higher for customized models. USPS insurance maxes out at $1000 coverage.

Airlines are only legally liable for up to $3500 for lost or damaged bow cases on domestic U.S. flights. You can file for reimbursement of repair costs. Some airlines may refuse claims without proof of their direct negligence.

For expensive custom bows, it’s wise to also purchase secondary insurance through private insurers like Collect Insure. This covers any gaps left by carriers’ liability limits. Thoroughly document your bow’s condition with photos/video before shipping.


Shipping a compound bow requires diligent preparation and care to avoid damage. By selecting a reputable carrier, packing correctly, following regulations and obtaining insurance, you can ensure safe delivery. Be sure to inspect the bow immediately upon receipt and note any concerns for future claims. With proper care taken, your bow will arrive securely at its destination.

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