If you want to create the ultimate deer setup, try these steps.
By Joe Bell
After each deer season, I reflect on what makes a super-sweet bow setup. In my mind, it comes down to five critical things, with a forgiving, moderate brace height being near the very top (around 7 inches). After all, shots in the woods are rarely perfect, like they are on the backyard butt. However, there are other small details that make a big difference in bow Accuracy. Here are my essentials when it comes to dialing in my setup.
Anchor and Peep Sight Setting
When you draw back your bow, as my friend Randy Ulmer once stated, you should bring the bowstring to your face, and not your face to the bowstring. To achieve this, you really have to dial in your Anchor Point, so it’s completely natural.
My way of doing this is to first work on achieving a solid hand knuckle-to-cheek bone anchor point and then positioning the peep so it’s centered naturally with the center of my eye. If you’re scrunching the string a lot to your face, or just can’t seem to find a comfortable anchor spot when using a peep, you should first Shoot the bow a number of times without the peep sight installed, while adjusting the sight settings. Once this is done, then attach the peep and move it up or down until you’re hitting nearly the same (vertically) as without the peep. This seems to provide the most natural peep position based on your set anchor point.
Today’s bows have great, narrow grips, but that doesn’t mean it’s the ultimate for you. And the ultimate will only do for a super-sweet setup. There are trade-offs with shooting straight off the riser. For one, in cold weather, the grip is like grabbing onto an icicle. Yes, it may shoot great, but does it work well in the woods? It must do both. In many cases, a thin wool or leather glove can alleviate this icy feel on chilly mornings. But, sometimes a super-thin wood or plastic grip is better overall, so you can still shoot with your bare hand on cold days. Only you can decide what’s the sweetest for you.
Personally, when I shoot a Mathews bow with a replaceable wood grip, I swap it out for a Delrin plastic medium grip. I like a fairly flat base on the palm of the grip and a design that’s not too low-wrist is geometry. This grip gives me a consistent placement every time. With other grips that aren’t replaceable, you may have to experiment by adding hockey tape or special bow grip tape that’s now available (Lancaster Archery) in order to warm the grip, or simply get used to using a super-thin glove to shoot with.
Shooting by “stretching” or “rotating” your shoulder muscle is a great thing…it gives you strong tension on the bowstring and allows for a surprise, unanticipated shot. However, for the best result, and an ultra-sweet shot and feel, the string must break midway or so through this tightening of the muscles. Play with the draw length till the string breaks in about 4 to 5 seconds with a fairly strong pull through the shot (not maximum pull that goes on forever).
Also, one more tip. If you feel your anchor hand moving around somewhat, try to rotate the thumb down/pinkie up until the top knuckle of the index Finger is more locked into bone. This will keep it nice and steady while you stretch back that shoulder blade. It’ll feel like your elbow is rotating inward a bit, but your anchor hand will stay locked in till the shot goes. This prompts a sweet-feeling shot.
Release Aid and Finger Position
Of course, for this smooth back-tension to occur, you have to use a good release. If you’re still using a mid-grade wrist-strap release, then I’d encourage you to pick up a quality release like a Carter Like Mike. This release allows for totally crisp trigger action, without any perceived trigger movement, for that ultra-sweet pull through.
One more thing, be sure the tip of your finger is nowhere near the trigger peg. This generates too much “trigger feel” into the shot…something that leads to trigger punching. Instead, hook the finger slightly (while still keeping the finger bent relaxed and somewhat natural) around the peg somewhere between the first crease and half way between the first and second crease.
Optimize Arrow Flight
Don’t settle for a fast paper tune and tight groups at 30 yards. Instead, get out there and group tune a little, using broadheads and by experimenting with front-of-center dynamics, different fletching and arrow-rest and nock position. Adding a bit of serving below the nock (inside the loop) for that downward pressure on the arrow, also, almost always generates improved accuracy.
And don’t stop there. By optimizing the bow’s cams and limb lean, you can increase accuracy more so. The best way to do this, once the cams are set to manufacture specs, is to “creep tune” and to yoke tune. To learn how to do these methods, be sure to order a copy of my book Technical Bowhunting and consider the article “Precision Tuning” found in the January 13 issue of Bow & Arrow Hunting.
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