Draw weight is a measurement of the force required to draw a bow. Bows with higher draw weights generate faster arrow speeds by transferring more energy to the arrow. The result is a flatter trajectory, deeper penetration, and greater likelihood of pass-through shots when bowhunting.
Even so, you don’t need to pull 100 pounds to effectively bowhunt. But if you want more “umph” in each shot, you can easily achieve it by increasing your draw weight.
To shoot heavier draw weights, you must strengthen your archery muscles, and that means shooting your bow frequently. A convenient way to get that exercise is to shoot a target just a few yards away. This lets you shoot lots of arrows in a short time.
Another way to increase your strength is to repeatedly pull your bow and hold it at full draw. Be careful, however. Accidents can happen, even if you don’t intend to release the bowstring. Therefore, always keep an arrow nocked and pointed toward a target when doing this exercise.
What if you have no place to shoot at home? Use a stretch band or an archery training device like the ACCUBOW to help strengthen your archery muscles. Exercising your core, legs and rotator cuff also benefit your shooting.
Just because you can pull a bow to full draw doesn’t mean it’s your best draw weight. Bowhunting involves unique challenges like cold weather, holding at full draw, and shooting in different positions. These factors make drawing and aiming a bow more difficult. That’s why you must test your strength before increasing your draw weight.
The first test is to slowly pull your bow straight back in one smooth motion. Animals can see movement exceptionally well, so you must draw your bow with as little movement as possible.
And while bowhunting, you must sometimes hold at full draw while waiting for a shot opportunity. To test your strength, draw your bow, hold it back for at least 30 seconds, and then make a good shot.
For a final test, draw your bow while seated, kneeling and with your feet in unusual positions. This practice mimics the awkward shooting scenarios you’ll experience while hunting.
To adjust the draw weight on a compound bow, take it to an archery shop. A bow technician will evenly tighten the limb bolts and check the draw weight. One full turn of the limb bolts usually changes its weight about two pounds. By increasing your draw weight just a few pounds at a time you’ll avoid injury. And by consistently training, you’ll hit your shooting weight in no time.
Increasing your draw weight can change your arrow’s tuning, and you’ll likely have to adjust your sight. While you’re at the archery shop, talk to the bow technician about your desired draw weight and buy the arrow spine they suggest.
Need help finding an archery shop? Find one near you, here.