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Off-Season: Top Pin, Part 1

top pin huntingEarly summer is prime time for setting up a hunting bow. You still have lots of time before early deer seasons open up to get everything just so, make sure any new accessories work as advertised, and start getting your shooting dialed in. When it comes to getting hunting bows ready I am a firm believer in the slow but steady approach, knowing that it is better to do a little bit of tinkering and shooting over the course of many days than trying to cram it all together at the last minute.

Lately I have been experimenting with my sight pins. I usually set them for 20, 30, 40, and 50 yards. But I have been thinking, maybe I should set them for 25, 35, 45, and 55 this year. Here’s why that might make a difference. Most shots at whitetails occur in a zone of 15-25 yards, though the more you bow hunt deer the more you realize that opportunities at good bucks also occur at longer distances. So what I want is something that will allow me to use my top pin for any opportunity of 30 yards or less while still being able to make a longer shot.

The first step in understanding what distance that pin must be set at is understanding arrow trajectory. The factors affecting our sight pin include raw arrow speed, in feet per second (fps), and the size of the average whitetail deer’s chest cavity kill zone (roughly an 8-inch circle.) Let’s assume your bow is sending a hunting weight arrow out at somewhere between 250-270 fps, which is what most of you are shooting.

You want to be able to place that top pin right on the center of the deer’s chest and cut the shot knowing you’ll be hitting inside the 8-inch kill zone.

So, what distance should that top pin be set for? Check out Part 2 of this discussion at Bob Robb's Whitetail Hunting Blog.

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