How To Setup & Tune A Compound Bow – Part I

Over the next couple of months I will show you, step-by-step, how I setup and tune my Elite Energy 35.

Even if you’re not interested in learning the entire process of setting up a bow from scratch, stay tuned to this series!  Along the way we will be covering topics that every bowhunter needs to know, such as installing and tying d-loops and peep sights, making arrow rest adjustments, and much more.

Getting Started

What’s the first thing you want to do when you get a brand new (or “new to you”) bow?

Shoot it, of course!

I used to be the guy that hurried to tie on a d-loop, slap on a rest and sight, and hit the range ASAP. But I discovered that a little bit of planning and patience up front will result in a much easier setup, tuning, and sight-in process in the long run. Now when I get a new bow I’m much more methodical about the process that I go through before I start sending arrows down range.

Regardless of what bow you shoot – and whether or not you’re setting up a brand new bow, setting up a bow that you purchased used, or even looking to re-tune your existing bow – the first step is the same…

Know the Numbers

A bow’s specifications – such as axle-to-axle length, brace height, peak draw weight, etc. – are more than “selling points”. These numbers tell you how the bow is meant to be configured for optimal performance.  The first step in setting up a perfectly tuned bow is making sure that all of these numbers are what they should be.

The perfect place to start with any new bow is the owner’s manual.  Make sure that your bow is within the manufacturer’s specifications.  Take the few minutes required to make these measurements, and save yourself from hours of frustration that could have occurred later on in the setup, tuning, and sighting-in process.

“The River’s Divide” DVD Giveaway and Broadcast Debut on Sportsman Channel

Donnie Vincent Hunting

There’s little that I can say about Donnie Vincent’s The River’s Divide that won’t sound cliche. Any description of this film that I attempt to write is going to include buzzwords like innovative, groundbreaking, and refreshing – all of which are true.

I would say that Donnie’s work (along with the crew at Sicmanta) is setting a new standard.  That sounds like marketing fluff, but again – it’s 100% true.

Regardless of interest in hunting, anyone can immerse themself in the story, applaud the creativity, and marvel at cinematic quality of this film.  And if you’re a hunter, you’ll just love it all the more.

The River’s Divide has been released on DVD (enter to win a copy below!), viewed on the big screen as part of the Full Draw Film Tour, and selected for multiple film festivals across the country.  Now it’s coming to millions of homes across the country with a debut on the Sportsman Channel. Watch The River’s Divide on Monday, April 7, at 7:00pm Eastern.

The River's Divide

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But that’s just the beginning!  Preview more of Donnie’s upcoming adventures to be aired on the Sportsman Channel…

State of the Union – An Explanation & A Thank You

It has been a little over 3 years since I started Sole Adventure. What was a simple way to catalog and share my hunting experiences has turned into something that I could have never imagined. My favorite thing about doing this site is that it gives me an opportunity to document things that I am interested in, while at the same time connecting with other passionate hunters from around the country – and even around the world.

2013 was my most ambitious year ever. As you likely know, I published dozens and dozens of articles that outlined how I prepared for my first elk hunts. That project was a labor of love; and laborious it was! I will continue to publish articles about elk hunting, deer hunting, turkey hunting, other outdoor adventures, and archery information, tips, and tactics. Basically, nothing’s changing!

Okay, one thing has changed.

I have grown as a writer, which has opened up numerous opportunities for me to write elsewhere. These opportunities are great, and I am thankful for them, but they compete with the time that I have available to continue to contribute here, at Sole Adventure.

Turning Sole Adventure into a “successful” or profitable website has never been my goal, nor is it an aspiration that I have now. But, given the economics of time and money, something had to change. I have limited time to write and numerous paid opportunities to write outside of Sole Adventure. So to make it worth my while to continue devoting so much time into this site, I had to be able to “pay myself” something.

That’s why you see some ads on the site now. But these aren’t just any ads. I’m not taking money from anyone that willing to give it. These ads are from carefully selected (by me) partners that I know and trust. The guys at Exo Mountain Gear, First Lite, Extreme Elk, and the Elk101 Store, offer products that I know, use, trust, and would recommend to my closest of friends. I am happy to have their support, and I hope that you would consider supporting them when possible.

It’s odd, maybe even silly, to explain all of this. Many of you have probably seen the ads and didn’t think anything of it. After all, ads are everywhere these days. But this wasn’t a decision that I made lightly, and I wanted to clarify why it’s happening. In terms of my content, my passions, and my direction for this site – nothing is changing.

Check back for another giveaway later this week, and then next week we’re diving into a multi-part series on bow setup and tuning. I’m going to take you with me, step by step, as I setup my elk hunting bow for this year – an Elite Archery Energy 35.

Thank you for reading, sharing, commenting, and emailing.


Hiking with Cameron

“September Calls” Giveaway & Interview with Promont Outdoors

It’s time for another giveaway!  Check out this interview with Weston Paul, founder of Promont Outdoors, and be sure to enter the giveaway for a “September Calls” shirt.  The entry form is at the bottom of the article…

September Calls T-Shirt

What drove you to start Promont Outdoors?

I started Promont Outdoors after a 7 year stint in the science/biotech industry and after getting laid off for the third time, I knew I had to pursue something on my own. No longer was I willing to sit back and be a by product of a poorly run business. Turns out that I had gained enough experience in those seven years to realize that the outdoor industry was where I wanted to make an impact.

My upbringing and the presence of my parents throughout my childhood are at the roots of my company’s message. They were always there for my sister and I, and I want to encourage everyone in the outdoor industry to strive for this type of presence in the lives of their families and friends as well.

“Our children are not going to remember us for the number of fish we caught or the size of our trophies on the wall. They will remember us for our presence in their lives.”

Hazen with Shed Antler

What does the name mean?

The name Promont has a couple of meanings. It is short for promontory which is where I’ve learned the elk like to hang out. I’ve spooked plenty of game while trying to make it to those great vantage points! It also stands for Pro (Mont)ana. I truly believe everyone is a Pro in their own respect. This isn’t to tout our hunting successes, this is simply a way of looking at our own lives. For example, I’m a Pro at being a husband and a dad. No one is better at this than me and I am constantly striving to become better.

Your brand reaches hunters and fishermen.  Do you see a lot of cohesion between these two groups?

Hunters and fisherman have a lot in common. We love adventure and conservation and gear! What I truly appreciate about these two groups is that it is so easy to incorporate our families into our way of life. My wife and I learned this after having some of our very good friends set an example for us with their children. Floating the river, camping, scouting, and hunting were all activities that we incorporate a child into. Our friends took their kids everywhere with them, and this was a huge encouragement to us. Hopefully, Promont will be an encouragement to other hunters and anglers to do, or continue doing, the same.

I really love the whole lifestyle apparel design and production process. As an avid fly-fisherman and bowhunter, I mostly just create items that I would wear. When people put on something from Promont I hope that it invokes a little bit of that same sort of feeling you get when you open up a letter containing a fresh hunting or fishing license. We all know the excitement that brings!

What’s your most memorable hunt?

I’m a fairly new hunter so I feel that each year my hunts get better and better. This year I did go on my most memorable hunt to date. It was with my brother in law and he was able to harvest his first bull elk. The look on his face was priceless. He is a very accomplished hunter and guide and to see the joy in his eyes after taking a mountain bull, well it’s hard to describe. I’ve never felt so good after packing meat out of the mountains. To share that with him was truly a blessing.

Rich with Big Rub Rich Smiling

What can “everyday” hunters and fishermen do to protect the future of their pursuit?

Pass the love onto our children. If you don’t have children, volunteer for an organization such as Fathers in the Field. Also, be ethical and respectful. Follow the rules; they are there for a reason, and I cringe when I see them getting broken because I know that that person is potentially ruining it for the rest of us.

Hazen in Treestand

As a relative newcomer, what has surprised you most about working in the outdoor industry?

I was blown away by how helpful and supportive people are. A few years ago I was fortunate to shoot archery league with David Brinker and Jeff Sposito from Sitka Gear. They were humble, approachable, and truly genuine, and it changed how I thought the hunting industry operated. I’ve continued to meet individuals just like them, and that is why I am so excited to be a part of the hunting world. Of course, there are always exceptions and people with heads so big I don’t know how they navigate the downed timber of a north facing slope. But that dynamic is changing, and I feel that there is a growing camaraderie amongst my generation. It isn’t a competition out there. It’s a “Sole Adventure”.

The Giveaway

I have to give props to Weston for taking the time to answer these questions for us.  I know that I’m inspired, as I’m sure you are, too.  Weston wants to hook one of you guys up with a September Calls shirt, and here’s your chance to claim the prize…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Anchor Your Way to Archery Accuracy

Every bowhunter strives to shoot with consistency and accuracy.  Their objective – whether practicing on a target, or shooting at an animal – is to do everything they possibly can to ensure that the arrow finds its mark.  But minor deviations in form or alignment can have disastrous effects on accuracy.  Any degree of inconsistency is magnified as the arrow travels down range, moving further and further off of its intended course with every passing yard.

The “anchor point”, or more properly – anchor points –are reference marks that can increase consistency (and therefore accuracy) for every shot.  Without proper anchor points, the release hand is free to “float” while at full draw, which will cause the arrow to deviate in a myriad of directions.

Anchor Points at Full-Draw

Using anchor points do not ensure that the bowhunter is setup with proper shooting form or alignment; they simply ensure a consistent position is used for every shot.  And in the end, consistency is king.

An archer with a 100% consistent, yet imperfect form, is more effective than an archer that uses picture-perfect form some of the time.

Identifying Anchor Points

Anchor points can vary from archer to archer, but there are three general criteria that bowhunters should use when identifying and selecting their anchor points…

Anchor points must be…

  • Identifiable
  • Repeatable
  • Comfortable

These three aspects of good anchor points are inextricably connected.  After all, an anchor point cannot be repeated if it is not able to be easily identified, nor comfortable to maintain.  If the bowhunter has to twist, turn, or contort themselves to achieve proper anchor points, then they are either practicing incorrect form, are not fitted to their bow properly, or they are simply attempting to use incorrect anchor points.

An Overview of Common Anchor Points

Common Anchor Points

A simplified understanding of an anchor point has historically been identifying where the archer’s hand meets their face while at full draw.  In traditional archery, this has often meant that the shooter’s index or middle finger rests somewhere near the corner of their mouth.  Hand-to-face contact is a great starting point – but remember that the average bowhunter (shooting a compound bow with a sight, and using a release aid) should strive for multiple anchor points.  Here are some of the common anchor points that are used…

Release-Hand Contact

This is arguably the most important anchor point for the bowhunter.  Depending on the type of release aid that they use, the hand may contact the shooter’s face in a variety of ways.  The goal with this anchor point is to be very specific and identify the exact part of the hand that contacts a specific spot on the face, jaw, or neck.

Bowhunters that use a release with an index-finger trigger will often have the last knuckle of the index-finger somewhere back near the bottom of their ear lobe.  Some may stretch it even further and anchor with a specific portion of their hand in contact with an exact spot on their neck.  Shooters that use a handheld release, such as a thumb-trigger or back tension release will often look for a specific knuckle, or gap in-between knuckles, to rest at a specific place on their jaw line.

It is important to remember that the bow’s draw length setting, as well as the length of the release aid itself, are critical factors when determining the release-hand position.

Nose to String

An ideal anchor point to supplement release-hand contact is to have the bow’s string lightly touch the archer’s nose when at full draw.  This is anchor point is made possible when the draw length and string angle of the bow fit the archer’s form.  (How to analyze your shooting form.)

This anchor point isn’t for everyone.  In fact, striving to make nose-to-string contact can often lead to bad form, if the archer does not fit the bow’s geometry in a way that makes this anchor point easily attainable.  This is an especially difficult anchor point to achieve naturally and comfortably when an archer with a longer draw length is using a bow with a shorter axle-to-axle length – which produces a very acute string angle.

String to Mouth

This anchor point is commonly used in conjunction with a “kisser button”.  String-to-mouth contact, just like nose-to-string contact, is dependent upon the draw length and the angle of the bow’s string at full draw.  This anchor point has become less common with the current trend of shorter axle-to-axle bows, but it is still a very effective way to ensure consistent alignment at full draw.  When this anchor point is used properly the bow string should pass by the corner of the archer’s mouth, and by adding a kisser button or nock on the string, the archer can get have a physical point of contact.

Peep Alignment

Peep sight alignment isn’t a physical point-of-contact anchor point, but it should be part of the overall strategy in ensuring consistent form from shot to shot.  The goal with peep alignment is to eliminate the need of “getting into position” at full draw.  If the archer closes their eyes, comes to full draw, and ensures the rest of their anchor points are where they should be, then the peep should be properly aligned each and every time.  If the shooter’s anchor points are doing their job, there should never be a need to twist, bend, or otherwise align the neck and head to see through the peep clearly.

Finding your anchor points is a process of experimentation and may require adjustments in your bow’s draw length, peep height, release setup, and even shooting form.  Strive for anchor points that are easy to identify, natural to repeat, and comfortable to shoot with.

What anchor points do you use?