What’s Your Draw Length?

How to determine your draw length

If you have only ever shot traditional longbows or recurves, modern compound bows are an entirely different animal. Unlike regular bows, which can be drawn back at any distance, compound bows are designed to draw back only so far then stop. This is known as the bow’s “draw length”. It is controlled by the gears, pins and other mechanical systems of the bow and is determined by bow settings and the physical size of the shooter.

Compound bows are designed to be shot only from a fully drawn position. They should never be shot from the middle of the power stroke. Likewise, you should never try to over-draw the bow. You will feel the mechanical stop of the bow; this should feel quite firm and should never be forced or forcibly overdrawn. As you pull back your bow in a slow, controlled manner, you will feel the “let off” of pressure as you hit “the wall.” Most compound bows utilize less then 20 pounds of pressure to hold back so if you are still feeling a hard pull you are trying to force the bow or overdraw.

DrawChartDraw lengths will vary depending on the size of the shooter. Tall shooters will need more draw length. Shorter shooters, women and kids will require a shorter draw length. Most modern compound bows are easy to adjust and can be changed quickly, even in the field. It is important to understand that all bows have a “range of adjustment” and if the bow you are using does not reach your draw length, you will need to look at a different bow. Stand up with your arms spread out. Don’t stretch, just hold them out like your waiting for a big hug. Have a friend measure from tip of middle finger to tip of middle finger. Now divide this number by 2.5 and you will have your draw length. This will help you dial in on a length, but you may still need a little fine tuning. People who are lanky or stocky may vary from this rule of thumb. Also, keep in mind, if you are putting on any releases or add ons, subtract them from your draw length, for example, if your draw length is 29 inches and you put on a half inch D-ring then your draw length is now 28.5 inches. 

The Goose Hummock Pro Staff will gladly help you determine you draw length and set up your bow so that you can be tuned up and ready to go for the fall archery season. Be sure to stop by and see the full line of PRIME, QUEST and G5 products. Read more about them here.