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.
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.
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.
short draw shooters:
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.
Archer Draw Weight
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.