How to Choose Your Compound Bow For Hunting

December 13, 2014

arc a poulies   Archery   archery tips   bowhunting   compound bow   legendarchery  

Legend Everest Hybrid Roller Bow Case - Airline Approved, TSA Lock-Legend Outdoor Industries
Everest Bow Case - Airline Approved
Legend Apollo Compound Bow Case | Lightweight-Legend Outdoor Industries
Apollo Bow Case
Alpha Bow Backpack
Alpha Bow Backpack
$119.99 - $149.99
Legend Back Quiver
Legend Back Quiver
Compound Bow Case Monstro-Legend Outdoor Industries
MonstroTM Bow Case

If buying real estate can be summed with location, location, location then buying a compound bow can be summed as fit, fit, fit. A poorly fitted bow causes shooting form errors which mean poor accuracy and an unhappy archer. Only buy a bow of proper fit, anything else will waste your time and money. Not sure how to fit your bow? This guide will show you.


There are three questions to answer when fitting your compound bow.

  1. Do I need a right hand or left hand bow?
  2. What draw length do I need?
  3. What draw weight should I shoot?


Right Hand or Left Hand

For most people this is easy to decide, a right handed person chooses a right hand bow and a left handed person chooses a left hand bow. A right hand bow will be gripped with the left hand and the string drawn with the right - vice versa for a left hand bow. A small minority of people have their dominant eye opposite their dominant hand. This can create problems with aiming. Some people solve this by aiming with their weak eye and closing their dominant one. Others choose a bow to match their dominant eye and accustom themselves to shooting it against their natural "handedness". If this is you try a friends bow (if possible) for comfort before making a choice. To determine your dominant eye make a small triangle with your hands and thumbs at arms length and look at an object a few feet or more away. Close one eye and then the other. When one of your eyes closes you will see the view through the triangle shift. The eye you just closed is your dominant eye. The view shifts because your other eye took over when your dominant eye closed.


Draw Length

When your bow is fitted at the proper draw length you will be at your most comfortable and accurate body position. If the draw is too short your peep will be too far from your eye for a clear view and your shortened power stroke will cost you speed and energy. Too long a draw and your release hand may not anchor firmly against your cheek, your bow arm will want to hyper extend causing a loss of control, and your bowstring can contact your cheek or clothing destroying the accuracy of your shot. Here is an easy way to find your draw length, simply stand upright with your arms stretched out (hold naturally, do not hyper extend) and measure your arm span from fingertip to fingertip. Take this measurement and divide by 2.5. This will give a good starting draw length for your bow. Many bows are adjustable in draw length and can be changed if you want to try a different draw. However I recommend you stay with the starting draw, straying too far will lead to instability and reduced accuracy. Use the following chart as a quick reference on choosing your draw length.


Draw Length

long draw shooters:



short draw shooters:


Draw Weight

Your ideal draw weight is one you can pull in a smooth, controlled manner under hunting conditions. If you hunt in cold weather which most of us do, the combined effects of cold muscles and adrenaline will reduce your controlled draw weight 10 to 15 pounds from what you can manage indoors or on a warm day. Every year I encounter hunters who failed to reach full draw in the presence of game animals! Don't make this mistake, the modern compound bow is highly efficient and maximum poundage is not required even for large game animals. Most men find somewhere between 55 to 65 lbs to be their comfortable maximum, for women it is 35 to 45 lbs. The following chart shows my recommended bow adjustment range for adults. Keep the following points in mind when using it to fit your bow.

  • Bows are adjustable over a ten to fifteen pound range but work slightly more efficiently when set in the upper end of their range. For example if you would like to shoot 60 lbs it is better to choose a 45-60 lb bow then a 55-70 lb one backed down to 60 lbs
  • When in doubt choose the lower poundage, you will have plenty of power for hunting and will be sure to stay in control
  • New archers will increase the poundage they can handle by 10 or more pounds in just two weeks of daily practice.


Archer Draw Weight

  • muscular young men 60-70 lbs
  • most men 50-60 lbs
  • women of above average strength 40-50 lbs
  • most women 30-40 lbs

If you followed this guide you now know the draw length, draw weight, and "hand" you will need for your compound hunting bow. Apply your knowledge to your purchase and you are well on your way to successful bow hunting.



Martin Douglas
Martin Douglas