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The Most Accurate Bow Sights
The list of 3-D innovations that have spilled over into bowhunting is long: speed bows, lighter arrows, better releases, string nocking loops and moveable pin sights. It is the final category that interests some bowhunters.
Moveable pin bow sights can be adjusted for the distance of the shot. There’s a pointer and scale and a locking nut that permit you to set the pin to the exact yardage of the shot. Moveable pin bow sights have their place in bowhunting, and with some recent changes in the way they’re designed they open up many possibilities. Some bowhunters always thought they weren’t for everyone, but now bowhunters are starting to change their mind.
Moveable Pin Bow Sight Tradeoffs
Nearly all archers are more accurate when they can aim dead-on with a single pin and have to figure the proper holdover with their pins or try to bracket between two adjacent pins. If it weren’t so, the pros wouldn’t be shooting moveable pin sights in the open class of 3-D tournaments. It’s a lot easier to make a 36 yard shot if you have a 46 yard pin than to try to decide the required hold for your 30 and 40 yard pins. Gapping is one way to improve accuracy when the distance is between pins, but it’s a common tendency to shoot left when gapping.
The only way you’re going to have a pin for every possible yardage is to use a bow sight that has a moveable pin. This is the most accurate possible system, but in previous generations, hunting models have had a glaring weakness.
A bowhunter’s heartbreak summarizes the downside of traditional moveable pin bow sights. Two bowhunters were hunting moose and bear hunting together in Newfoundland. One of the bowhunters was not a very experienced hunter. On the third day of their hunt, he was following his guide through the thick regrowth of logged pine timber when the guide suddenly stopped, backed up a few yards and then crouched down. After being waved up, the bowhunter quickly sneaked to the guide’s side.
“There’s a big bear eating berries just on the other side of that little pine tree,” the guide whispered. “He’s only about 30 feet away. Ease out around me and shoot him.” Those words would rattle nearly any bowhunter – but their effect on this bowhunter was even more profound.
This bowhunter couldn’t believe the range could be only 30 feet so he set his moveable pin bow sight for 30 yards and slowly sneaked past the guide until he could see around the tree. What a shock! The bear was right in his lap and completely preoccupied with his stomach. The bowhunter lost it and completely forgot that he had preset his sight for a much longer distance. He drew back, settled the bead on the bear’s chest and promptly shot right over his back. The bear beat a hasty departure as his guide watched in stunned disbelief. That’s how you miss a 300 pound bear at less than 10 yards. And, if you’ve ever been to Newfoundland you know that such a performance won’t quickly be forgiven. This poor hunter was the butt of every good-natured joke for the remainder of their time bear hunting.
The situation that this amateur bowhunter encountered is a classic downside when using moveable pin bow sights for hunting. Because the pin was preset, he had already removed the pin selection process from the shooting routine before he even the distance of the shot. If he’d kept his cool he still would have been forced to either take the time to move the pin once he got into position for the shot (not possible), or to hold low on the intended target. Adrenaline has a way of ruling out clear thinking during the moment of truth and all too often we aren’t able to make good, fast decisions. This bowhunter is living proof of that fact.
Another situation that puts moveable pin sights at a disadvantage occurs when game is moving. This has always been some bowhunter’s biggest fear when evaluating these sights. Whitetail deer are always on the move during the rut. Some can imagine seeing one approaching their tree stand. You know you need to draw before he gets in your lap, but you are not sure how far he will be when he eventually comes broadside, but you are not going to wait to find out. You set the 20 yard pin, draw the bow and get ready. Maybe, you’ll get lucky and he’ll be 20 yards when comes broadside, but maybe he won’t. Maybe he’ll stop to rub a tree or turn off his course. You are already committed with one pin. Some bowhunters don’t like that and are not a big fan of using only one fixed pin – even for deer hunting.