How to Easily Find Your Bow Draw Length

Anthony Cote
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Did you know?

It’s true! The new 2015 NFAA rules allow you to use your tab to help fine-tune the draw length for maximum accuracy when you are shooting. Also, there are several easy field-honed ways to determine your draw length so you aren’t limited to a permanent bow press. Check out these tips below for how to easily find your bow draw length!

For the easiest way to find your bow draw length, you should incorporate a permanent bow press to your range day schedule. However, if you are in a pinch and you do not have access to a permanent bow press, here are a couple of other great ways to determine your draw length.

Use an Online Bow Draw Length Calculator

When using a Bow Draw Length Calculator, always ensure the information entered is correct. This would include the number of inches between your win-shoulder and the hand holding the bow. Enter the specifications, and your draw length should be displayed.

Use a Tape Measure to Determine Bow Draw Length

This is a simple 2-step process and only requires you to do the following:

Step 1: Stand upright with your back against a wall. Your feet should be shoulder width apart, and your toes should be touching the wall.

Arm Span Measurement

According to the PSE website:

"To find the proper string length use a tape measure and start at the center of the grip at the bottom of the grip and measure down the front of the bow to the bottom of the cams. This is your bow’s draw length. Bend your elbow to 90 degrees. You can now hold your bow’s string as if it were a bow. Measure from the center of the grip down the front of the bow to the tip. The length from the center of the grip to the tip is your bow’s draw length."

In other words, you can find your draw length in two different ways:

Measure from the center of the grip down the front of the bow to the bottom of the cams, and

Measure from the center of the grip down the front of the bow to the tip of the arrow.

ATA Draw Length

To find your bow draw length, you can use the following ATA Draw Length Reference Chart.

Measure from the center of the chest to the belly button, while standing straight.

Use a cloth tape, or a string, with ½-inch wide increments.

Hold the end of the tape to the tip of your nose with your arms relaxed and extended to the side.

Form a 90-degree angle at the elbow, placing the forearm, and the tape measure under the arm, against the body, making sure to keep it parallel against the chest.

Use a contrasting color on the tape measure to make reading easier, and mark the draw length with a pen or marker.

The ATA has published this reference chart for more than 50 years.

Recurve – Drawing Too Short or Too Long?

The only way to find your ideal bow length is to go back to the fundamentals – your own body. The process can be both quite easy and tedious, depending on how diligent you are. Who will benefit most from this process? Anyone who is determined to find the perfect length for their new bow.

Although finding your ideal draw length can be a bit of a challenge, it is just as difficult, if not more so, for those who find it necessary to constantly change draw length. In this case, you might not be physically suited to bow hunting, as you should be striving to draw a bow that YOU are most comfortable with.

First, we need to define a few terms and consider the variables.

Once you have done this, the process will be relatively simple.

The first thing you will want to do is establish your basic body proportions.

To do this, you'll need to measure your forearm and your fully extended hand from knuckle to finger tip.

You'll need to neutralize your shoulder joint in order for these two measurements to be accurate.

If you are right-handed, this means you will want to flex your bicep and hold your elbow raised in the air, parallel to the ground.

If you are left-handed, you will want to flex you index finger and hold your arm extended toward the sky, parallel to the ground.