Mastering close range shots with a Single Pin Bow Sight when Bow Hunting.

Mastering Close-Range Shots with a Single Pin Bow Sight

Following our previous discussion on single-pin versus multiple-pin bow sights, this blog post focuses on mastering close-range shots with a single-pin sight while deer hunting. Hunting deer within 30 yards or closer presents an exciting and rewarding challenge, especially when using a single-pin sight. The clear sight picture provided by a single pin sight, combined with the flexibility of a 4-inch aiming window, allows for quick aiming adjustments in high-pressure situations.

In this blog post, we’ll share valuable tips and techniques to help you optimize your shooting opportunities with a single-pin sight when hunting deer at close range. By understanding your equipment and honing your skills, you’ll be better prepared to make the most of those thrilling, up-close encounters in the field.

I have had a great deal of success using single-pin bow sights over the years. The techniques I’ve learned have helped me take quick accurate shots when deer hunting without the worry of deciding what pin to use or having to change the yardage set on my sight. Follow the steps below and you will be able to take advantage of the lessons I’ve learned and become a better shot when it counts, no matter if you are hunting from the ground or a tree.

Single Pin Bow Sight

How to Optimize Your Shot at 30 Yards or Less

  1. Set Your “Sweet Spot” Distance

To maximize your shooting opportunities with a single pin sight, set your pin to a “sweet spot” distance—typically 20 yards—where you can still shoot accurately at closer and slightly farther distances without needing to adjust the pin. With your sight set at this distance, you can aim slightly high or low to compensate for shots that are closer or farther away, making quick aiming adjustments when time is of the essence.

  1. Establish Your Baseline

Make a mental note of where your arrow hits the target when you aim directly at the bullseye at 20 yards. This will be your reference point for making aiming adjustments at other distances.

  1. Determine Aiming Adjustments for Different Distances

Now that you have your baseline established, you’ll need to determine how many inches to aim higher or lower for targets at various distances. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Practice shooting at various distances: Shoot at targets placed at 10, 15, 25, and 30 yards, paying close attention to where your arrow impacts the target in relation to your aiming point.
  • Measure the difference in inches: Measure the vertical distance between your aiming point and the point of impact on the target. This will give you the number of inches you need to aim higher or lower at each distance.
  • Record the results: Keep a record of the aiming adjustments required for each distance. You can refer to this information during practice or while hunting to help you make accurate shots at various distances.

READ: How to Shoot a Compound Bow: Beginner’s Guide

  1. Apply Your Aiming Adjustments in the Field

When you’re in the field and encounter a target at a different distance than your baseline, use the information you gathered during practice to adjust your aiming point.

For example:

  • If you’re shooting at a target 10 yards away and your practice results showed that your arrow hits 2 inches higher than your aiming point, aim 2 inches lower than the bullseye to compensate.
  • If you’re shooting at a target 30 yards away and your practice results showed that your arrow hits 3 inches lower than your aiming point, aim 3 inches higher than the bullseye to compensate.

Remember, these adjustments may vary depending on factors such as the arrow speed, bow poundage, and the specific characteristics of your equipment. Practice regularly and adjust your aiming points as needed to ensure accurate shooting at various distances.

  1. Develop Your Distance Judging Skills

Accurate distance estimation is crucial for success with a single-pin sight. Practice judging distances in the field and on the range to become more proficient at estimating yardage in real hunting scenarios. This skill will help you determine how much to adjust your aim when a deer is closer or farther than your set “sweet spot” distance.

  1. Understand Your Arrow Trajectory

To effectively shoot within 30 yards using a single pin sight, it’s essential to understand your arrow’s trajectory at various distances. Practice shooting at different yardages to develop a mental picture of where to aim for each distance. This knowledge will allow you to make quick aiming adjustments in the field without having to move your pin.

  1. Prepare for Quick Shots

In some hunting situations, you may not have enough time to adjust your single-pin sight. Train yourself to shoot accurately from various positions and angles, so you’re prepared to take quick shots when necessary. Practicing these shots will build muscle memory and confidence, increasing your chances of success in high-pressure situations. More on this is below.

  1. Use a Rangefinder

A rangefinder can be a valuable tool for bowhunters using a single-pin sight. While it’s essential to develop your distance estimation skills, a rangefinder provides accurate distance readings that can help ensure you’re aiming at the right spot for your shot.

I always use my rangefinder immediately after getting set up at my spot and it’s light enough to see. I range trees or other landmarks around my stand location so I know in advance what those distances are. We’ve all been in that situation where a deer comes in hot and we don’t have the luxury of pulling out our rangefinder to range the distance before taking a shot. That’s why it is important to know the exact yardages of potential target spots that deer might come into when hunting. I use the Bushnell Bone Collector Rangefinder for this as it’s high quality and priced right.

Mastering close range shots with a Single Pin Bow Sight when Bow Hunting.

Mastering Elevated Shots from a Tree Stand or Saddle

Hunting from an elevated position, such as a tree stand or saddle, requires a different approach to shooting, especially at close range. Understanding how to adjust your shot angle and aim when shooting from above will help you make accurate and ethical shots of deer within 20 yards or closer.

Here are some tips for mastering elevated shots:

  • Practice shooting from an elevated position: Set up a practice scenario that mimics your hunting setup, and shoot from an elevated position at various distances, including 20 yards and closer. This practice will help you become familiar with the unique shot angles and aiming adjustments required when shooting from a tree stand or saddle.
  • Adjust your body position: When shooting from an elevated position, it’s essential to bend at the waist to maintain proper form and alignment with your target. This adjustment will help you maintain the correct posture and ensure a consistent, accurate shot.
  • Understand shot angle and aiming adjustments: The steep angle of an elevated shot can alter the impact point of your arrow. In general, you’ll need to aim lower than you would when shooting from ground level. Be sure to practice these aiming adjustments during your elevated shooting sessions to develop a mental picture of where to aim for each distance.
  • Use an angle-compensating rangefinder: An angle-compensating rangefinder can help you accurately determine the horizontal distance to your target, taking the angle of your shot into account. As we discussed above, this information can help you make more precise aiming adjustments when shooting from an elevated position.
  • Familiarize yourself with deer anatomy: Understanding deer anatomy is critical for making ethical shots from elevated positions. Study the anatomy and the location of vital organs to ensure you’re aiming for the most effective shot placement, considering the angle at which you’re shooting.

Incorporating these tips into your bowhunting practice will help you become more proficient and confident when shooting from an elevated position, such as a tree stand or saddle. By mastering these techniques and understanding the unique challenges of elevated shots, you’ll increase your chances of success and make the most of your close-range hunting opportunities.

Shooting arrows within 30 yards

Making Aiming Adjustments for Deer Hunting

When hunting deer with a single-pin sight, the ability to make minor aiming adjustments within a specific window can be advantageous. Considering a deer’s vital area provides a fairly generous target for a kill shot, you can assume a 4-inch window for aiming within 30 yards or less. This approach allows you to adjust your aim slightly higher or lower, depending on the shot, without needing to move the pin.

I have been using this technique for years and it has helped me take quick shots without the need to make sight adjustments or adjust my sight yardage tape. While I use a 4-inch aiming window, you might find that you have to adjust this based on the speed of your arrows and the distances you hunt on a regular basis.

Here are some benefits of this aiming strategy:

  • Faster shot opportunities: In high-pressure situations, you may not have time to adjust your pin. By aiming within a 4-inch window, you can quickly take an accurate shot without adjusting your pin, increasing your chances of success.
  • Increased confidence: Knowing you have a flexible aiming window can help build your confidence in the field, as you’ll be more prepared to make quick adjustments and take accurate shots.
  • Improved accuracy: By practicing shots within this 4-inch window at various distances, you’ll develop a better understanding of your arrow’s trajectory, ultimately improving your overall accuracy.

Incorporating this aiming strategy in your deer hunting practice will help you make the most of your single-pin sight, allowing for quick and accurate shots in various situations. Embrace this flexibility in aiming adjustments to increase your success rate and overall enjoyment of close-range deer hunting.


Deer hunting at close range with a single pin sight offers an exhilarating and rewarding experience. By setting your sight to an optimal distance, developing your distance estimation skills, understanding your arrow’s trajectory, and practicing quick shots and elevated shots from tree stands or saddles, you’ll enhance your preparedness for those up-close encounters in the field. Embracing the flexibility of a 4-inch aiming window for shot placement within 30 yards or less allows for faster shot opportunities, increased confidence, and improved accuracy. Gain confidence in your equipment and hone your skills to fully enjoy the excitement of close-range deer hunting and boost your chances of success.

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