Bowhunting Tip: Sight In for the Cold

I am bowhunting with Bestul in southeastern Minnesota this week, and the weather has been brutal—mostly single digits with 15- to 20-mph winds. I hate dressing up like Ralphie Parker’s (“I-cant-put-my-arms-down!”) kid brother for a hunt because it makes everything harder, including getting into your stand, getting drawn, and finding your anchor point—not to mention moving, in any direction, at all. More to the point, wearing all those extra layers can change your bow’s point of impact.

On the afternoon before our first hunt here, it was seven degrees, with a wind chill of 12 below. Knowing that it can be harder to get drawn in cold weather, I dropped my bow’s draw weight by a few pounds. Then I put on all my heaviest clothes, including a glove on my release hand, which effectively changes the length of the release, and a heavy balaclava, which messes up your anchor point. Then I shot my bow—and found that I was hitting four inches low and a little left.

All of which is to say, as I do in this video, that when you have to put on a whole lot of extra clothes for bitter-weather bowhunting, it’s critical that you re-sight your bow and reassess your effective maximum range. Because when it’s so cold that it’s all you can do to stand up and get drawn, you want to make sure it’s all worth it—by hitting where you’re aiming.