Developing excellent archery skills involves some precise techniques which have a scientific basis. There are several parameters involved and one main factor which influences the accuracy of your shot is knowing how to measure draw length.
While other things like knowing how to determine draw weight, how to determine arrow length, recurve bow draw length and bow length are also important, we shall focus on the process of drawing a bow and arrow in this article.
The issue regarding draw length while shooting is something well-understood by veteran marksmen. However, if you are new to bow hunting, you might make the same assumption that many archers do, which is that if you have bought a branded bow and arrow, the draw length should be adequate and the arrow designed to fit the draw length of the bow. Why then should we have to get involved in knowing how to measure draw length or how to adjust it?
The answer to this question is quite logical. You can buy a set of bow and arrows and start shooting right away. However, to optimize the accuracy of your shot, you need to make a few fine adjustments to both the bow and arrows. If you can measure certain parameters, you will be able to control the way your bow shoots arrows and which is why I felt it important to explain how to measure draw length for a better shot.
You will need to have some basic stuff at hand to prepare for this simple procedure. The actual process is quite simple, and the measurement is not likely to take more than a minute. You can vary the materials slightly according to availability, but I have just listed the basic stuff to get the job done. Here’s what you should have ready:
There are several methods of measuring draw length, and here are the three most popular ones:
1. Holding the pencil or marker in your right hand, face the wall
2. Note a fixed point on the wall (a corner or a joint in the tiles or paneling)
3. Place your left hand on the fixed point
4. Still facing the wall, outstretch your arms as far as is comfortable
5. Now, with your arms still outstretched, mark off the furthest point with your pencil or marker
6. Release your arms and measure the distance between the two points in inches
7. Divide the figure by 2.5
8. The resulting number you get is the exact draw length of your bow
1. Hold the tape measure in your right hand
2. Place the tape measure at the point where you button your shirt
3. Now, hold the tape measure at that point with your left hand
4. Extend your right arm sideward to your right, keeping the tape as you do so
5. With your right hand extended, have someone to measure the distance from your chest to your wrist with the extended tape measure
6. The length of the measuring tape is your bow draw length
1. Hold the tape measure in your left fist against the wall
2. Pull it back with your right hand as if drawing a bow until your hand touches your mouth
3. Measure the distance from the top of your fist to the corner of your mouth
4. The resulting length is your bow’s draw length.
Now that you are familiar with how to determine your draw length, you would perhaps like to relate draw length to arrow length. The rule of thumb that is usually followed is that your arrow should be longer than the full draw length of your bow by about 1 to 1 ½ inches. It is for this reason that you need to know the draw length of your bow, to determine the size of your arrow.
Following this logic, for a 30-inch draw, you would need a 31 ½ to 32 inches long arrow. The draw length of a bow can vary then, from one person to another, depending on their body dimensions, which is one of the reasons why you get different lengths of arrows.
This also explains why the bows and arrows of the Pygmies of Central Africa are so small – the average bow draw length – about 7 inches and the arrows are about 9 inches long. A person of average height may find these bows and arrows almost impossible to use, but for these small-statured people, they are just right.
One of the main reasons behind the need for arrows to be slightly longer than the draw length of a bow is for safety. An arrow is said to be overdrawn if it gets pulled so that its tip is positioned before the bow riser. This situation is dangerous, as you will not have the guidance of the arrow rest and on release, there is no knowing where your arrow may go, and you may even end up shooting your hand!
If you use a recurve bow, you are likely to get more energy and thus more arrow speed than a regular straight-limbed bow. However, the additional power is limited and extreme recurves can make the bow unstable. There is a definite relationship between recurve bow draw weight and draw length, and this is an important factor to be considered while optimizing bow efficiency.
We have discussed in detail about draw length. But what about draw weight? Draw weight is defined as the maximum weight that an archer may exert on the bow while drawing it, usually expressed in lbs.
The draw weight on a regular bow increases proportionally with the draw, so that the more you draw, the more is the draw weight. A recurve bow, however, behaves differently. Here, as you increase your draw, the pressure increases to a point, and then it drops by 20% to 30%.
Draw weight varies depending on the stature of the person, the governing factor to define size being gender and age of the shooter. You may find this simple chart useful in understanding the draw weight for people of different stature, based on age and gender:
Suggested Draw Weight
Small Children (70-100 lbs.)
Larger Children (100-130 lbs.)
Small-Frame Female (100-130 lbs.)
Medium-Frame Female (130-160 lbs)
Small-Frame Male (120-150 lbs)
Medium-Frame Male (150-180 lbs)
Large-Frame Females (160+ lbs)
Large Frame Men (180+ lbs)
So, now that we know the importance of draw length and have also learned how to measure draw length. Here are a few additional points that you would do well to keep in mind while dealing with this subject:
We hope that you have enjoyed going through this tutorial and that you benefit from the information given here. For acquiring the best archery skills, it is important to know about your equipment, to gain absolute control over it. It is critical to know how to measure draw length because a lot depends on it for determining other vital factors like arrow length, draw weight and other parameters that can contribute to optimizing the accuracy and efficiency of your bow
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I am Kevin who is a founder of deerhuntingfield.com; Here at Deer Hunting Field, we want to teach and educate. Hunting is a passion which has existed in mankind since almost the beginning, and with the advent of the internet, we can now share information, tips, and more with each other faster than ever before. This is a crucial part of our philosophy.