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Aiming the Bow When Engaging in Archery

Aug 17, 2007
The archer has a choice of methods of aiming, or sighting. They may be loosely classified into three groups: direct, indirect or point of aim, and the hunting aim.

The direct, or bow sight method of aiming has in recent years become increasingly popular on the target range and has gradually supplanted the indirect, or point of aim method of aiming.

The hunting aim, generally employed in combination with the high anchor, is favored by field shooters. This method of aiming, erroneously referred to as the instinctive method, is comparable with the wing shot's method of pointing a shot gun when gunning for grouse or other fast flying birds. Neither shooter depends on mechanical sights of any kind. Both keep their eyes fixed on the target, fit the weapon, be it a bow or a shot gun, to the position indicated by this line of vision, and discharge the weapon.

Just as a good grouse shot cannot write out a step by step diagram on how to hit a grouse, neither is there a short course of instruction which will enable the archer to master the hunting aim. The grouse hunter acquires proficiency only through constant and repeated efforts to kill grouse. Note: The expert still misses lots of them. The archer will acquire the ability to judge unknown distances and to deliver an arrow to the mark only through continued practice. Once an archer has acquired this ability, he can draw and release an arrow quicker than by any other method. This is a distinct advantage when game is flushed from hiding by the hunter.

Using the high anchor, the hand is raised along the side of the face, and the head is tilted a bit to the right, to bring the right eye directly over the arrow. The arrow shaft is then lined up with the target. The top of the bow is also canted slightly to the right. Keep both eyes open and focused on the center of the target while shooting. As you draw, indirect vision will permit keeping the arrow in proper alignment.

The scores of target archers have shown consistent improvement since a sight has been adapted to use on the bow. Similar, in principle, to an adjustable rear sight on a rifle, the bow sight can be adjusted for elevation and windage, or horizontal deflection. The sight is affixed to the back of the upper limb of the bow, just above the grip. It permits the target archer to sight directly on the target, instead of using the former method of sighting over the point of the arrow at a point of aim. Since the anchor is a fixed point, raising or lowering the bow sight will incline the shaft of the arrow at an angle with the horizontal, and the trajectory of the arrow will be lowered or raised in relation to the horizon accordingly.

Manufactured bow sights range in price from $1.25 for the simpler type, to $6.00 for a bow sight designed for one of the well-known makes of metal bows. Regardless of the type of bow sight, it is wise to disregard any provisions the manufacturer has made to attach the sight to the bow with screws. A screw, inserted in a wooden or metal bow, creates a weak point. Disregard the screws and bind the sight to the bow with scotch tape. Adhesive tape will also serve well for this purpose. Attaching the sight in this manner, avoids the danger of damaging the fibers of the wooden bow, or creating a plane of weakness in the cross section of the wood or metal bow.
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