I want to be clear that this is how I set my bow for hunting. It’s not the only way, it’s just the way I do things and it works very well for me.
I find that most people go to an archery shop and expect the people there to be able to tune their bow for them but if you are like me you want to do this yourself. I start off with checking the bow to make sure everything is in spec, draw length, brace height, axle to axle, poundage that I wish to pull and timing. All this is the base of a good start. You can check your draw length by drawing the bow with a special arrow that has marks for draw length on it and anchor like you normally would; string touching nose coming along corner of mouth and hand in proper location on face. Make sure your bow arm isn’t locked out straight but slightly bent. Once you are comfortable and in form have someone standing to the side read the markings that the marked arrow shows at the front of the riser, this should give you a close measurement.
Once everything seems to be within tolerance then mount your rest and measure in your arrow for center shot. I shoot a Mathews Chill-R with Black Eagle X-Impacts and they like to be set at 11/16” from the riser to center of shaft. You may want to contact the manufacturer of your bow to see what they recommend for your center shot measurements.
Next I find my D-loop location. Some people will want the center of the arrow center with the Berger hole while other like the bottom of the arrow in the center of the Berger hole and some may like the top of the arrow in the center of the Berger hole. I myself like to put the bottom of the arrow center of the hole.
Place a level on your string and another that will set on your arrows shaft. Make sure the bow string is straight up and down then move your nock up or down as needed until your arrow is level and square with the bowstring. I recommend the R.S. Bowvise level kits for this. I take a piece of serving string and tie a nock point above and under my nock. I use a simple left over right knot and make about 4 loops around the string. It gives me enough room to be able to tie a good D-loop and control nock pinch as well. After I get the nock points in place I tie a D-loop on and stretch it so it will stay in place but can still be moved slightly if needed. At this point having a good arrow set up will be needed and I will cover this later on so let’s assume your arrow is tuned and ready to go.
Take your bare shaft arrow and bow and step over to the paper tuner. Shoot through the paper at 7 yards. This is the point where your arrow will be at its worst in flight. Looking at the tear the arrow made, you will either have High tear, Low tear, Left tear, Right tear or a combination like a high-right tear. Different bow companies have different ways to tune their equipment to a “bullet hole” so you will need to find what your bow company recommends to tune them. I will either move my rest or nock point for most tuning problems. If you are not able to get your bow to paper tune right you may have some other issues, at that point you will need to check your bow over again to see if there is a problem. Now let’s say you have tuned everything right but you fine some arrows are not showing the same tear in paper. Mark the top of your arrow and then nock it to the string. Give it a twist to relocate the nock and shoot it again. You should see a difference in the tear with a different point of the shaft being in the up position. The point of this is to get your arrows to tear the same, sometimes a “bullet hole” is just a twist of the shaft away.
Next is to install a sight and the peep. Most sights are simple and mount straight to the riser with no other adjustments needed besides sighting it in. While there are some that can be adjusted for 3 different axis points, these will need to be set up before and after mounting. If you are shooting this kind of sight simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions on set-up. Once your sight is mounted we can find the correct peep location.
Before setting your peep, I recommend you take into consideration what conditions you will be hunting under. I hunt in thick wooded areas with low canopy trees and very few open areas. My longest shot will be 40 yards so I want to set my peep to be level and natural at half that distance (20 yards). To do this I start at 10 yards with a good backstop behind my target. Draw your bow and anchor normally using just the pin to aim and release the arrow. Move your sight to where you are close but do not take too much time at this point trying to get very accurate, you just need it close. Move back to about your halfway point but pay particular attention to keep your best shooting form and proper anchor point. Get your sights as accurate as you can to your aim spot on the target.
When you feel you are shooting accurately, it’s time to place your peep. Draw your bow with an arrow nocked and have a friend mark the spot on the string that would be in line with the sight pin, a silver sharpie works really well. This will give you a starting point on placing your peep. Press bow and place the center of your peep where the mark is at on the string. Tie your peep just enough that it will stay in place while shooting but can still be moved with your fingers. Shoot your bow again at the desired distance. At this point, if you are hitting low or high, you will know if your peep needs to be moved. Move the peep and shoot again. When hitting where you want, tie the peep securely in place.
NEXT: PART II