How to Measure Draw Length for Bow Hunting

How to Measure Draw Length for Bow Hunting

Most bow models are built to provide a three-inch range in maximum draw length depending on which draw length module is installed. You can determine which model you have by examining the brace height and the length of the cam.

Measuring Your Draw Length

With the help of a friend, place a full-length arrow on the bow and draw with a release or fingers according to your shooting style.

  • Draw to your anchor point.
  • Have your assistant grasp the arrow at the front of the riser and pull it off the string.
  • Let the bow down gently.

Now you can measure the arrow from your assistant’s fingers to the arrow nock. This is your draw length to use in selecting your draw length module.

Remember: When using an overdraw, your draw length does NOT change, only your arrow becomes shorter.

Note: You may decide to actually shoot a shorter arrow if your rest is located behind the riser. The actual length of the arrow should be the number you use on an arrow selection chart to determine the correct stiffness and arrow shaft weight.

Another Method

You will need a yard (meter) stick, a tape measure or any long, straight object:

  1. Stand in a comfortable upright position
  2. Raise your arms equally to a straight-out perpendicular position, so that your body resembles an upside-down “L”. Fingers should be outstretched and fingertips should be touching. Shoulders should be forward but not overly stretched and strained.
  3. Hold the measuring device in your touching fingertips place the other end in the middle of your chest.
  4. Now, measure the distance (in inches or centimeters) between your fingertips and the center of your chest bone.

This will be your TRADITIONAL Draw length.

Most people have a draw length of between 26″ and 29″. Smaller people will have a shorter Draw length and taller people will have a longer one.

Perfect Draw Control

Once you have determined the correct module, you can fine tune the draw length to give your bow a precise feel. *To adjust to your exact draw length, enlist the aid of a friend to loosen the allen screw on the opposite side of the riser.

*Draw the bow to your anchor point and have your friend rotate the PDC until the nylon screw is in contact with the cam. Let down and tighten the PDC to lock in place.

Draw Weight

Draw weight is defined as the maximum level of force needed to draw the bow back to the full or cocked position.

Modern compound bows come from the factory with adjustable draw-weight ranges of between 10 and 15 pounds. The most common two are bows with draw weights between 55 and 70, and 65 and 80, pounds.

That means that these bows can be adjusted within that draw-weight range to whatever setting the archer chooses. To measure the correct draw weight for you, take these simple tests.

Standing flat-footed, hold the bow at arm’s length and pull it back. If you have to “cheat”-lift the bow up above your head to achieve a full draw, it’s too heavy.

Next, do the same thing from a seated position, as if you were sitting in a treestand or ground blind. Finally, do it from a kneeling position.

Being able to draw your bow with the minimum of movement, even from weird angles, is important when bowhunting. Any extra body movement can spook an animal, so the less the better.

Draw Weight Adjustment

It is permissible to adjust the weight bolts up to 2 turns each – always equally, without releasing timing hub. However, if the tension on opposite ends of timing cables varies from one end to the other, the hub should be loosened and the bow should be tillered.

The timing cable is the small black cable running through the riser. The weight bolt is equipped with two fiber washers which, when properly greased, act as bearing surfaces allowing the steel washer to rotate freely.

The weight bolt hole in the riser is threaded with a super hard stainless steel thread insert and does not need additional lubricant unless exposed to extreme moisture. Do not use bearing grease which may allow the weight bolt to loosen on its own. Light lithium grease is recommended.

The bottom line when choosing a bow is simply this – does it feel good to you?

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