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How to Adjust Your Bow Sight in Five Steps

Follow these five steps to get the most out of your bow sight.

A bow sight is a mechanical device mounted onto a bow's riser that helps the archer make accurate shots. A properly sighted bow can be the difference between a successful harvest and a wounded animal. By following these five steps, you will have a properly adjusted bow sight that will improve your accuracy.


1.  Nock an arrow and adjust the entire sight housing either left or right so that the sight pins are aligned with the bow string and the arrow. This will adjust the windage of the bow. Use a rough approximation. It should be fairly close and allow for the arrow to hit a target with some certainty.

2.  Set the elevation by adjusting the lowest yardage pin approximately a third of the distance from the top of the sight housing. More than likely, this will be your 20 yard pin. This will ensure adequate room for the sight pins required for longer distances but, more importantly, will place the 30 and 40 yard pins near the center of the sight housing.



3.  Make certain the area downrange is clear and position yourself 20 yards from the target. While aiming at the center of the target, release your arrow. Unless something is drastically wrong, the arrow should impact the target. Regardless of where it hit the target, do not change the point at which you are aiming. Repeat the process two more times. You want to develop a pattern, or group, where your shots are impacting the target. This will determine how you should adjust your sight. Shooting only three arrows each round will prevent fatigue, which will alter your shot placement and cause you to make unreliable adjustments.

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4. Shoot until you develop a defined group and readjust the entire sight housing based on your pattern. For example, if your shots are impacting the target high and right, adjust the sight housing up and to the right. Moving the sight housing up will lower the impact point of the arrow by forcing the bow arm down. Repeat this process until the arrows are hit the center of the target. Once you achieve this level of accuracy, do not adjust the sight housing anymore. From this point, you will only adjust individual pins.

5.  Practice good form and continue to shoot at 20 yards. Make subtle changes to the 20 yard sight pin based on the grouping of the arrows and never from a single shot. This process may take you several times before you get it right. When you feel comfortable with your shots, move to 30 and 40 yards and then repeat the process.


A properly adjusted bow and continued practice will help to ensure great shot placement when it matters most. Like any shooting sport, archery requires 100% of your attention to safety, both on the range and in the field. When you move to longer distances, move back gradually until you know the arrow is impacting the target at that distance. A glancing shot can travel great distances in any direction and can easily ruin your day.

And don't forget to introduce a youth to archery or bowhunting!


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How to Adjust Your Bow Sight in Five Steps