How to Choose a Sight for Bowhunting

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How to Choose a Sight for Bowhunting

Postby ca-archer » Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:37 pm

I recently have dealt with two customers who had sights that were not ideal for a bowhunter. The first was an archer who received a nice high end, quality sight, though not really designed for bowhunting as the sight housing was no more than 1.5". The second customer spent good money at an archery "pro" shop who could not guide him in any ways to the choice of bow to any of the accessories. He ended up with pins of 0.10 diameter and even with a LED light on, he couldn't see his pins in a blind with 15 minutes or more of daylight still present. He spend good money on the bow and good money on an Ohio hunt. Had a monster buck come in at last dark, the buck would have walked being not able to see his pins.

One of my first questions I always ask is how is your sight? Followed up by which eye is your dominant? I am left eye dominant and shoot right handed and know first hand how I loose the last ten minutes of light due to me having to close my left eye. Bad eye sight? The average shot on a whitetail is 18 yards. The average pin size used by bowhunters is 0.19 which is good for most, but I recommend 0.29 for those with poor eye sight or cross eye dominant. Your not trying to drill the X ring at 50 yards, a 0.29 pin will do just fine picking a spot and placing it on the chest as it may even help with the "hard focus on the front sight" (more on that later). Also see low power lens below.

Sights - there are many great sights out there and just like the arrow rest, both are extremely important as you want neither to fail when the moment counts. A quiver, a stabilizer; well as long as it securely holds your arrows (most detach when hunting anyways) or helps balance your bow, a lower end product is acceptable. There are many quality USA made sights out there. HHA makes some of the brightest sights I've seen as does Spot-Hog and Black Gold. I am however so-so for single pin sights for one main reason - the day before you were shooting 60 yards in the back yard and now the buck is at 30 yards and you forgot to adjust your slider or dial, or you have the pin squared away and settled at the 20 yard hash mark, you grunted and rattled that buck in but he's chasing a doe. Your adrenalin is pumping and he's now darts out to 35 yards. Do you remember to aim high? How high? Things sometimes happen fast in the whitetail woods and multiple pins allow for less chances of error. This is just my opinion as many do bowhunt with a single pin. I will say this, always buy a sight with a lot of fiber optic, the more the better. If it runs around the housing, great. A beginners mistake can be to buy a sight with just a small amount of fiber around the pin only - you're wasting money and will have to upgrade, not to mention it could cost you on that last minute shot after sitting long sits to get that chance. A new bowhunter usually get a lot less opportunities than an experienced hunter.

Sight Housing - a small sight housing should be left for target shooting. You want to see that animal and what is going on. You also want to match that housing to the diameter of your peep sight as another reference to know of proper anchoring. A 3/16" peep is standard. Most sights come with a bright sight ring around the housing. This is used to aide us in making sure all is correct. If you can get that housing to be centered in your peep or fairly close (not bigger), then you have another reference for correct anchoring. Your eye is amazing at centering circles as we can often tell when off even by the slightest amount. Spot-Hog has a large, interchangeable Multi-Ring Technology feature for assisting with sight alignment.

Mounting Bracket: Usually you have the choice to mount the sight to the bow's riser in two settings, sometimes more. Always extend the sight out as far as possible. Think about shooting a pistol vs. a rifle. The longer the distance from the rear sight to the front sight the more accurate you will be. It is the reason why you see long dove tail mounts on target bows. As always, I choose performance over looks - choose a sight with a solid, preferably non-casted bracket. I have seen my fair share of broken ones and your bow can take a beating on hunting trips.


Lights: A good quality LED light is also a must especially if ground blind hunting. There are many cheap finicky LED lights out there by quite a few manufacturers. I suggest reading up on a few or testing it out before purchasing if possible. Again, it could cost you the shot. Note: any electronic battery operated device on your bow, sight included, disqualifies you from entering a big game animal into the Pope & Young Club.

Lens: A low power 2x lens is ideal for not only those with vision issues, but for all bowhunters. It's just enough to help magnify the target and more importantly, the pin. At Front Sight Firearms Academy, during their pistol courses, all day you will hear "Hard Focus on the Front Sight" so much so that in the middle of the night it will become engraved in your dreams. That 2 power lens helps to accomplish just that - the number one area where your focus should be. Higher 4x and 6x lens require a peep sight clarifier or verifier and once again, IMO more beneficial to the target archer.

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