Archery Fit Archery Tips | Centering Nocking

Center Nocking and Tuning a New Bow

Setting up a new bow is always a challenge and can at times be frustrating. The best approach is to make the process as simple as possible and minimize the frustration by developing a step by step procedure to use as a guide.

Tuning a New Bow

The first step is to adjust a new bow to the desired draw weight and draw length plus properly timing the cams. Once that is accomplished the next important step in the process is the centering of the nocking point between the axles of the bow. This is simply done by measuring the distance between the axles and using the midpoint to locate the position of the physical nocking point. This is the initial step in what can be a prolonged tuning procedure but it is the best place to start as it develops a base around which the remainder of the process centers.  The nocking point and the horizontal position of the arrow rest are at the heart of a well tuned bow. By centering the initial nocking point between the bows axles and adjusting the arrow rest accordingly with the string splitting the arrow when viewed from the string side it puts you in the ball park. (Note: The horizontal position of the arrow rest indicated is for a release shooter. Finger shooters may find the point of their arrow laying slightly outside the string when viewed from the string.) This now becomes the basis for the tuning procedure.

Ultimately bow tuning is a series of adjustments followed by trial and error. There is no one size fits all. Everything you do, touch, or adjust when tuning a bow does not act by itself alone. It is combined with the entire bow and you as the shooter. So when you make a slight change to the nocking point you could find you may also have to make a slight correction to the position of the arrow rest which in turn could require another very slight adjustment to the nocking point. This is not meant to be confusing or intimidating but to stress that tuning a bow is a series of steps each of which brings the bow closer to a perfect tune. Centering the nocking point between the axles helps minimize the number of steps and changes required as it puts you closest to what will be the final position for the nocking point. It also helps minimize the total number of steps required in the tuning procedure which makes it a very logical first step.

The results of a perfectly tuned bow should be a bow/arrow set-up that hopefully produces perfect arrow flight but also a set-up that not only shoots well but one that is forgiving and minimizes shooter errors.


Shooting machines eliminate the human element and therefore human error. They are excellent for the testing of new products such as arrow rests, stabilizers, different styles and fletching shapes, broadhead flight, and a whole host of other tests that have led to some major advancements in archery technology. In addition they are capable of shooting exceptional groups and can clearly show the difference in arrow spine and fletching combinations. They also can produce excellent groups from an outoftune bow because the “machine”, unlike a human archer shoots every arrow exactly the same. An archer should strive for a bow that is tuned for not only the mechanical components, bow, arrow, rest etc. but for the archers form as well. The ultimate bow is one that minimizes human error as much as possible and allows what should have been a 10X to be a 10 if form is not perfect instead of a nine or even an eight. 

Bow Tuning Methods

There are numerous methods used for bow tuning from the bare shaft test to paper tuning and all can produce excellent results.  All involve a series of shots followed by recommended adjustments and retesting. When using the method of centering your nocking point between the axles of the bow physically it may not be necessary to move your actual nocking point if the tuning method you are using suggest to do so. Moving the arrow rest vertically will accomplish the same desired result. Raising the rest actually lowers the nocking point while lowering the rest raises the nocking point all while keeping the nocking point centered between the axles. It is also important to note that effective changes can be made when using certain arrow rests without actually changing the rests physical position. When using an arrow rest with an adjustable spring tension, tightening the spring tension will act the same as raising the rest while weakening the spring has the opposite effect. When using a springboard or lizard tongue style rest, changing the thickness of the rest will act in the same way. A stiffer, (or thicker), launcher acts the same as lowering the nocking point and a thinner, (or weaker), launcher acts the same as if the nocking point was raised. 

Normally when making adjustments most archers simply reshoot the bare shafts or perform another paper tear test. This is fine, but adding another “group test” after each adjustment is highly recommended. Sometime the smallest change will change the size and shape of the group produced.  Make up a series of simple targets with the same size aiming dot. Fire four to six arrows at the same distance after each adjustment. Number each target and record the measurement of each group overall noting anything unusual. Note on each target the adjustments made and number the targets in order of sequence. As the groups grow tighter repeat the shooting part of the test from longer ranges again noting conditions and changes. Observe your targets for the tightest groups overall over a series of shots. The tightest groups will also be from the most forgiving set-up for your shooting style. That now becomes the ultimate set-up for that bow.

Once you are done with the tuning process record everything. Note the vertical and horizontal position of the arrow rest, the height of your peep from the nocking point, the distance between axles etc. This is valuable information if in the future you have an equipment failure or as a reference guide when you go to set up your next new bow.

When shooting different bow models and different bow manufacturers pay particular attention to the ones that “feel” the best. All modern bows are basically good shooters but some bows will fit your shooting style better than others. Many shooters think they can buy accuracy by spending more money but accuracy comes from shooting, shooting and more shooting. When you have enough shooting experience you can actually feel the difference between different bows. When selecting your next bow don’t immediately spring for the most expensive one but instead go for the one that “feels the best”.

Archery Tips for Hunting the High Country

4 Bow Hunting Tips for Rugged Terrain Hunts

Archery hunting is often characterized as a sport that requires a high level of patience and persistence.  Becoming an effective and efficient archer is not an overnight process.  It requires a level of commitment and dedication that is virtually unmatched within the sport of hunting.  With that said, success in the archery woods is often predicated on not only how sound you are as an archer, but also the conditions in which you are hunting. Making an effective shot with archery equipment can be tricky enough on level ground in ideal conditions.  However, toss in the challenge of navigating uneven terrain, extremely variable winds, and difficult shooting angles, and you have certainly stacked the deck against you.  Archery hunting big game in the mountain high country of the Western United States and Canada is where these situations are encountered. Here are a few simple bow hunting tips and techniques that you can employ that will help ensure that you are sending your best arrow down range despite hunting the difficult conditions.


Of course, when discussing any type of hunting in rugged terrain one of the first “tips” must be to be in shape! Why? This video should be sufficient reason enough…


Archery Tips for High Country Hunting


Below are 4 quick bow hunting tips that could drastically improve not only your experience with your high country bow hunt, but also that critical moment just before releasing your arrow.



Tip 1. It’s all in the Hips


Without a doubt, one of the biggest challenges of hunting in rugged terrain is overcoming the difficulty of shooting uphill or downhill.  Though it may seem simple, shooting at an angle requires a little more thought than you might expect.  The trick to mastering an uphill or downhill shot is all about bending at the hips and waist, and is an archery tip that you can master very quickly.



The proper technique for mastering a shot such as this, regardless of the angle, is draw the bow back as you would normally on level ground.  Once you have your anchor point set, bend at the waist toward your target.  This method will ensure that you maintain your form and your anchor point, which is critically important in maintaining your accuracy.


Read my full blog on shooting tough archery angles here.


Tip 2. Keeping the Time


Shot timing is an important part of being an effective archer.  From the time that the bow comes to full draw to the time the arrow leaves the bow is different for everyone. However, everyone has the window of 3 to 4 seconds when the arrow needs to be released.  Push it too far one way or the other, and your rhythm and form can be off which can greatly affect your accuracy.  Why is shot timing relevant to the topic of hunting in rugged terrain?  When you have hiked all day and you have finally worked to within bow range of your target, the adrenaline can be pumping.  As a result, you will most likely have a tendency to rush the shot.  It is critically important that you remain patient and make sure that you are calm and ready to make the shot before drawing your bow.  This will help you keep your shot timing as consistent and effective as possible.  You want to do all you can to make that first shot count, it may be the only opportunity you will have.




Tip 3. Reduce Your Target Panic


Hopefully you are reading this months or weeks out from your western or high country hunt. If that is the case, taking the time now to reduce your target panic could drastically increase the chance that you make a well placed shot on the game animal your pursuing. Rugged terrain, long distance shots, high wind, and threading the needle through brush can, and probably will, be encountered on your hunt. If you have even the slightest bit of target panic at home, it will be compounded on the mountain. If left uncorrected, this feeling of anxiety and fear of poor shooting can spread to every time you draw your bow back. If you think it’s frustrating not hitting your mark on the target in your backyard, you will reach a new level of embarrassment and frustration when you miss your mark on your big hunt! So what can you do to fix it before it gets to that stage? Check out the archery tip video below.



Tips 4. Take a Hard Look at Your Hunting Gear


Archery hunting in rugged conditions can be extremely hard on you and your archery equipment.  Automatically assume that your equipment will take a few bumps and knocks along the way. Therefore it is critically important that everything from your optics and pack, to your bow, arrows, and other hunting gear is durable enough to withstand the abuse.  The last thing you want is to hike uphill for several hours and finally get in a position to make a shot, only to find your archery equipment damaged and unusable.  If you find yourself heading to the high country for the very first time, do your homework and take some time to research the area.  This can help you get a feel for exactly what you will be facing when you step out of the truck and can help plan ahead and ensure that your hunting gear and archery equipment are up for the challenge!




If you have the opportunity to hit the high country with your archery equipment, toss your bow and hunting gear in the truck.  Archery hunting in these landscapes can offer some of the most exciting experiences that an archer could ever ask for, and if you keep these 4 simple bow hunting tips in mind, you will set yourself up for success!