When Do Bowsights Work Best? A Quick Primer

When it comes down to it, there're only a couple of ways to aim a bow. While you might be tempted to go with just instinctive aiming since it seems simpler, a bowsight can save you a lot of trouble in the right situation.

So when do bowsights work best? All the time, but you’ll need to follow some simple steps to get the most out of them.


Why A Sight?

when do bowsights work the best

Sights are especially important for hunting, while instinctive shooting may be seen as more natural there're other factors at play when you’re hunting. If you’re not a dead-shot, you risk only wounding an animal or missing completely, especially if you haven’t had years of practice.

Related: Ultimate Buyer’S Guide For The Best Bow Sights

They can be especially useful for stand hunters who know the distances from their stands, allowing you to make a nearly perfect shot every time. This works out for both you and the animal’s best interest.

When Do Bowsights Work Best? Adjusting the Sight

You’ll want to set aside some time to pick out a sight and adjust it to make sure that you’re able to use it properly. A couple of quick and easy tips will help you to make sure that you’re on the right track.

The first is to not just adjust the sight after each arrow fired. Fire a volley of three or four and try to find the center of where they’ve landed before you make your adjustments. Unless you’re actually off the target at your chosen distance you’ll be better off figuring out the average before you shoot.

Picking the Right Sight

bowsights three pins

For hunting, you’ll want to use a two-part sight system. A “peep-hole” sight on your string can help you align properly with the sight on the front of your bow. Take your lesson from rifle iron sights, it’s much better to have two components to align when you’re shooting.

One of the primary factors you’ll need to take into consideration when you’re picking out your sight is how durable it is. While you can get a great target sight for quite cheap, these models are usually made of plastic and they might not stand up to extended periods of outdoor use. Save yourself a headache and go with something metal right from the start.

bowsight five pins

For most hunting purposes, a three pin sight is sufficient since you shouldn’t be shooting at over thirty yards or so. This has less to do with your aim and more to do with the fact that an arrow is a large, fairly slow moving projectile and can be easily affected by the wind and other factors.

Related: Top 5 Best Arrow Rest For An Amazing Hunting Adventure

Lastly, take a look at the fiber optic system of the sight itself. The best will be made with several inches of fiber optics to trap the light and contain a casing which will protect the fragile glass wire from breaking. This can be crucial, especially when you’re shooting at dawn or dusk as it will allow you to more easily align the sights.

Knowing the Distance

bowsight Distance

There’s one main limitation when it comes to using a sight, and it can be defeated with a little bit of know-how and experience.

If you’re just getting used to using one, you’ll have to be able to quickly calculate differences in range in order to ensure you make a clean shot. From a stand or blind this is a relatively simple method, just measure things out and you’ll be able to know since you’re unlikely to move more than a yard or two during the hunt.

Related:  How To Build A Deer Blind-  Anyone Can Do it! How to Build a Box Blind

It can be a bit dicier when you’re hunting from the forest floor, and the only real way to make sure here is to get to learn the distances. This means a lot of practice at the range, which you should be doing anyways, but you should be able to catch on much more quickly than you would without using a sight.

They can also be a bit problematic for shooting moving targets due to the obstruction of sight and rapidly changing distances. If you’re actively stalking it’s worth investing a few thousand hours into making sure your instinctive shooting is up to par, rather than using a sight.


A sight is one of the best ways for the amateur archer to get involved in the world of bowhunting since they can allow for even a novice to get a perfect, repeatable shot fairly quickly.

There are some limitations, but the majority of bowhunters use stands and blinds anyways, in which case the question isn’t when do bowsights work best, but instead what sight you should be adding to your bow.

We hope that you’ve enjoyed this answer, if you have your own opinions on this matter or just want to ask some more questions, leave us a comment below!

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Kevin Steffey

Kevin Steffy is a veteran hunter who has regularly engaged in the hobby for decades.

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