Hunting/Draw length


I'm completely new to deer hunting...a beginner.  I went to a sporting goods store to find my first compound bow.  I've done some reading and studied up on basic essential equipment I need to begin.  My problem is that the 'expert' at the store told me the opposite of everything I have learned about 'draw length'!  I measured my wingspan and divided by 2.5 to determine my draw length at (30.5) and the expert told me that it is really (33)!  I practically ran away from this FYI my wingspan is 77 inches.  Can you shed some light on this?

Most archers say the proper draw length is found by dividing the finger tip to finger tip length, with arms spread, by 2.5 (as you have called wingspan).  

Some say the the draw length is a little longer when releasing by fingers instead of using a release device, but most say that the draw length should always be the same, with only the hand position changing for finger release.  

A few say that the best way is to draw with a calibrated arrow and note the measured draw length.  But most just say to just divide the "wingspan" by 2.5, as you have supposed.

My personal opinion is to use the wingspan divided by 2.5.  And after shooting a while, if you find it might be more comfortable with a slightly longer or shorter draw length, most bows can be adjusted to accommodate.  But it's most likely that an adjustment shouldn't be necessary.

Hope this helps!



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Dave Nyce


I have been an NRA certified rifle, pistol, and shotgun instructor for over 15 years. I was on the Temple University archery team, and was a pistol team captain at a gun club in Pennsylvania for 5 years. I have built muzzle loader handguns and rifles. I have used all of these weapons for hunting. I hunt North American big game, small game, and waterfowl. I can answer questions on hunting safety, getting started as a hunter, equipment and techniques for various types of hunting.


NC certified CCW instructor (concealed carry of weapons). Endowment member of the NRA, Life member of: NC rifle & pistol assoc., National Trapper's Association, and Grass Roots NC.

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