Most new bowhunters start out with multi-pin sights — typically three- or five-pin models. Getting dialed in for the field can be a bit overwhelming, but it’s feasible if you follow these tips.

Understand the Variables

What works for one bowhunter won’t necessarily work for another. Your draw length, draw weight, and the bow’s speed itself will impact your sight pin setup. Some archers will need a 10-yard pin, while others can get away with their top pin set for 20 yards and below. It will take some tinkering to see where you stand. Where, how, and what you’ll be hunting can also affect the optimal setup, so keep those factors in mind.

Start Close & Slow

Stand a maximum of 10 yards from your target when beginning the sight setup process before slowly backing up and making slight adjustments at a time. You’ll likely need to send quite a few arrows downrange from every distance, so expect the whole process to take more than one sitting. You want to achieve repeatable accuracy before moving on — it could potentially save you a lot of headache down the line.

Choose the Right Increments

Setting your pin yardages in smaller increments can eliminate the problems that come with pin gapping, but it can also limit your range. And depending on the distance and your rig specs, your pins could be stacked so tightly that it’s difficult to differentiate them when aiming. Sticking to 10-yard increments works well for most archers, but it’s not a hard-and-fast rule. It will take some trial and error to find the right configuration for your individual setup.

Determine Your Maximum Effective Range

If you know you’ll never take a shot at a deer beyond 30 yards, there’s no need to crowd your sight housing with a bunch of longer-distance pins. It’s a great idea to practice shooting beyond your maximum effective range, but you should never go beyond that in a hunting situation. Once you have pins set for any possible scenario, you can eliminate extras to reduce any confusion or crowding. This can change over time, but it takes a significant amount of practice to become proficient at greater distances.