Being able to shoot straight is an essential skill if you’re hoping to master archery, so it can be pretty frustrating when you’re trying to line up your shots correctly, only for them to keep veering off to the left every time you let one of your arrows fly.
There are external factors that can influence the accuracy of your shots, like the weather, for example, but when there are clear skies without a cloud nor a gust of wind in sight, what else could be causing your arrows to lean to the left as they sail through the air?
The answer could be one of a few things, so this article is going to walk you through each of the most common reasons why your arrows could be leaning so that you can correct them.
Windy weather is one of the most common causes for wobbly arrows, as you can probably imagine, and for obvious reasons, it’s also the hardest thing to control or even predict.
Competitions and hunting scenarios require another level of precision where every single inch counts, so even wind as light as 10 mph can make a difference if shooting at 30 yards.
How can you correct it?
If the wind is making your arrows lean left, unfortunately, there’s no quick fix. The best thing you can do is practice, as the more you learn how wind at different strengths and in different directions can affect your arrows, the more you can work with this rather than against it.
For example, if there’s no way around the wind because you’re shooting in an open space, with enough practice you can learn how to aim off in the first place which factors the left lean into the shot and makes allowances for it.
By aiming slightly off to the right, the left lean will bring it back on target rather than allowing the arrow to stray off course.
One other thing you can do is to shoot from a slightly shorter distance which will lessen the amount of time the wind has to affect the arrow’s journey.
Every archer has different needs and equipment, so choosing the right type of arrows for you can be a slightly complicated task. It’s mostly a case of finding the right equipment that works for you and your shooting style, but there are a few things to look out for.
Shooting with arrows that have the wrong draw length for you can hugely influence the accuracy of your aim as this can throw off your grip and affect the form you’re shooting with.
The same thing goes for any part of your archery equipment – if you’re shooting with the wrong bow and arrows, whether it be the wrong size or style, you’ll struggle to shoot straight.
How can you correct it?
It can be difficult to know which arrows are best suited to your bow at first, so if you’re still new to archery, you may benefit from a trip to the local professional archery store to pick the brains of the workers who will be able to give good recommendations based on your bow.
To work out if you’re using arrows that have the correct draw length or if you’re trying to find out what the right draw length for you to use is, you can measure the distance between the tip of your middle fingers, from one hand to the other.
Divide whatever number this gives you by 2.5 and voila, you have an estimated draw length.
Poor Quality Equipment
Another reason arrows can lean to the left in flight is because of their construction.
Some arrows have weaker spines than others, and if the spine is too weak for your bow then there is more chance that they will bend causing them to lean left and hit off target.
How can you correct it?
Like the last issue, first, check with your local archery store to make sure you’re definitely using the right arrows for your bow.
Make sure you always buy quality arrows from reputable suppliers and brands that you know you can trust. Saving a few dollars upfront may be tempting, but if there’s a deal that sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and your arrow’s aim will suffer for it.
The technique you use to shoot is another important aspect of archery, and getting this even slightly wrong will cause your arrows to fly left or right rather than straight.
Looking up to see the direction your arrow is flying in too early, for example, is a sure-fire way to make sure it ends up veering to the left as you release it from the bow, so it’s important to remember to follow through with every single shot you take.
If you’re torquing the bow, which means applying an unintentional twisting force to the bow as you aim, the additional force will cause the arrow to fly left of where you were aiming.
The same thing can happen if you cant the bow, as this is a more advanced technique that can also change the path of an arrow. Unintentional canting, therefore, can cause it to fly in a direction that you were intending it to which can cause your shot to be off-target.
How can you correct it?
If you do find yourself torquing the bow, the easiest way to correct this is by adjusting your grip. From the elbow down your grip should be relaxed with the meaty part of your hand under your thumb resting against the bow grip and your fingers not gripping too tightly.
Canting the bow is easy to rectify, once you’re aware that you’re doing it in the first place. Simply keep your eye on the level to see that it remains so during the shot. You could even record yourself so you can watch it back and see where you need to make improvements.
Why do my arrows go right?
If you experience your arrows going right (or left, for that matter), then the issue you are looking at is likely to be drifting, caused by torque. You may also experience arrows going right or left if you move your sight, even for a fraction of a second, or if you are canting your bow. Be sure to check for these issues, too, if you are sure your grip is fine.
However, as we say, the most likely cause of arrows going right will be torquing. There are two common causes of torquing. These are gripping the bow too tightly, and letting your arms twist at the last moment before releasing. Luckily, both of these issues can be fixed with a little practice.
The best thing you can do to help prevent bow torquing is to adjust the grip you have on the bow. Do this by relaxing your grip from the elbow down. You should also ensure that your grip never crosses over the lifeline of your hands. You should also ensure that the area of your hand under the thumb (this is the meatiest part of your hand) presses against the bow grip. This will ensure your grip is sturdy, firm, yet not too tight.
Why do my arrows hit the target at an angle?
There are a number of reasons why your arrows hit the target at an angle. The most common reason is that your fletching is hitting something, such as your rest, when you release it from your bow. You may also find that your arrows hit at an angle if your string is not in line with your rest. It is worth checking for these issues first and foremost if you have that issue.
If you are certain that your fletching and string are fine, then it may be worth checking to see whether you are torquing your bow with your grip. Check the question and answer above to find out more about how to fix torquing if you believe this is the issue. Lastly, it may simply be that you have arrows that have a wrong spin. Thankfully, any of the issues we have listed above are easily fixed. Work through each of them until you find the cause of your angled shots and correct it as needed.
What is bow tuning?
Bow tuning is the simple act of adjusting your bow using a variety of different methods to get the best shot possible. There are many different types of bow tuning such as torque tuning, paper tuning, walk back tuning, and bare shaft tuning.
You may hear experienced bowhunters complain that they need to get their bows tuned and wonder what on earth it entails, and to make it even more confusing, all of the types of tuning we have listed are slightly different.
Torque tuning, for example, is the act of adjusting your rest by placing it forward or further back so that even if your grip is bad, your arrow will still hit precisely.
Walk back tuning is a method used to ensure that your bow’s center shot is accurate and your rest is properly positioned. To do this you shoot at the same spot on a target multiple times at varying distances to check the results.
Paper tuning is where you shoot through a piece of paper at a target to get a perfectly centered hole rather than an uneven tear. This ensures that your bow is leaving with true flight.
Bare shaft tuning is where you check the true flight of your bow using bare shafts alongside fletched arrows to shoot at one spot. The aim is to get them all at the same target. Provided the bow is well tuned, it should group all of them together and allow them to hit the target at the same time.