Compound Bows photo

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

When all compound bows had two wheels, tuning one was a complex process best left to a pro. Now that most are single-cams, you can do the job yourself in a short time with only a few tools. Follow these steps to keep your arrows flying straight.

[1] CHECK THE ALIGNMENT. Hold your bow vertically out in front of you. Now, without drawing it, check to make sure that the bow’s string, rest, and sight are all aligned. If not, adjust the sight and rest using the appropriate Allen wrenches.

[2] GET SQUARE. Attach a bow square to the string, resting the long end on the arrow rest. Then use nocking pliers to install a single nock on the string, 1/8 inch (about the width of a nock) above the centerline indicated on the square.

[3] FRAME YOUR SHOTS. If a nearby range lacks a tuning frame, make one yourself to hold a piece of paper measuring at least 2 feet square. (A simple wood frame tacked together with nails is sturdy enough for this purpose.) Place a large foam or layered cardboard target directly behind the paper as a backstop. Then step back 6 to 8 feet and shoot through the paper. Your goal is to produce a neat, round “bullet hole.” Tears in any direction will diagnose flaws in arrow flight that can be corrected as follows:

Tear to left: Move rest to left.

Tear upward: Adjust nocking point down.

Tear downward: Adjust nocking point up.

Once you’re shooting neat holes, install another nock just above the original to prevent slippage. Then, after tightening the setscrews on your rest and sight, make small pencil marks by each so that you’ll know if they move.

Then go punch some 10-rings.

The excitement of drawing down on game can make even veteran bowhunters forget shooting fundamentals and muff the shot. The best way to overcome the sudden adrenaline rush and hit that buck is to memorize a shot sequence–a short checklist of the keys to sound shooting technique.****

Shot sequences are as different as the shooters who use them, but I’ve settled on a five-word mantra: Arm.Anchor.Sight.Spot.Release.

These key words remind me to hold my bow arm straight, lock in my anchor point, put my sight pin on the target, pick a particular spot on the target, and release smoothly. I run through it on each shot in every practice session.

Does it work? Well, during last fall’s archery season I was able to chant myself into making a perfect shot on a monster Iowa 10-point that came charging in to my rattling horns.