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There are two main methods for aiming bows—bowsights and instinctive aiming.

Bowsights work best when the distance to the target is known. For instance, when hunting from a tree stand or blind, you can measure the distance to the area where you expect the game to appear. Then it’s a matter of lining up the appropriate sight pin on the target. In hunting situations where it’s hard to know the exact distance to the target, bowsights may not work well. The key to using bowsights is to practice judging distances.

Illustration of a bowsight and sight pins

Instinctive aiming is more versatile than the bowsight method. You simply look at the intended target with both eyes open and release. You adjust the aim for different distances by instinct developed with practice. Instinctive aiming takes longer to perfect than the bowsight method, but it eliminates much of the guesswork from shooting under some hunting conditions.

Bowsights vs. Instinctive Aiming

Bowshot aiming: bowsight
With bowsights, you line up the appropriate sight pin on the target.
Bowshot aiming: instinctive
With instinctive aiming, you simply look at the intended target with both eyes open and release.