The basics of tuning your new bow!

If you kept up with The WON last month, then you’re probably pretty intrigued by the sport of archery. Let’s assume you’ve gotten your hands on a bow, have found a place to shoot, and are ready to start. Besides finding a coach to help you with your technique, you’re going to need to tune your bow. Tuning is the process of setting up your “stick and string” to shoot accurately.

A tuned bow is a happy bow, and a happy bow shoots great groups! (Emily Monroe photo)

In last month’s column, I detailed what you would need to start shooting a compound bow. Although a lot of factors combine to make a bow accurate, I’m going to specifically focus on your sights, arrow rest and stabilizers.


There are quite a few options for bow sights, and depending on your tastes, brand preferences and budget, you can go in a few different directions. Most hunting and beginner bow sights use fiber-optic pins. You aim by placing those pins over the object of interest, which is either a target or the vitals of a game animal. To explain how to adjust your sights, I figure “showing” is better than describing just with words, so please check out this video.

For reference, I have a single-pin HHA Optimizer Lite sight with a sight-extending arm. I chose a single-pin sight to simplify my sight picture and to reduce the number of potential sources of error (#engineer) on each shot. If you have a multi-pin sight, you will want to adjust each pin individually at the specific distance you want to set it for, following the method I show in this video. A sample set of distances would be 15 yards or less, 25 yards, and 30 yards.

Remember to keep your sight level as you shoot. Many sights come with a built-in bubble level, and with practice you can make leveling your sights a subconscious part of your shot process.

Sight alignment is also important. If you’re having trouble seeing through your rear peep sight, ask for help. I tried adjusting this myself, and I can make small tweaks. But if it is far out of alignment from the factory settings, the archery tech at a pro shop or the coach at your archery club is your best bet for adjusting the peep sight while looking at your position at full draw.

Emily prefers the simplified sight picture with a single-pin sight. The bubble level helps with consistency between shots. (Emily Monroe photo)

Arrow Rest

It’s critical that you align your arrow rest so that…

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