April 25, 2017

How to Measure Your Draw Length: All You Need to Know

How To Measure Your Draw Length

There is no way you can leave the comfort of your home to buy a bow yet you do not have an idea of what kind of bow you are going to be shooting. I mean, before you can make that tough decision, there are things you need to know. Otherwise, you might end up destroying your entire hunting experience if you ahead and make a wrong decision.

If you as any seasoned hunter, he won’t shy away from the fact that knowing you’re your draw length is the first step to having a bow that will be effective enough to make kills. Anyway, you have been saving to buy a bow so that you can add several trophies under your name.

  • The problem is, though many hunters want to know their draw length before buying bows, many of them do not know how to measure draw length.

Most hunters just walk into a store and buy any bow which is the reason many of them will make even shoot a duck. The best thing is to learn how to measure draw length so that you can have an idea of the size of the bow you want to buy. Before proceeding to the next step, let’s make ourselves familiar with these terms.

What is A Draw Length?

If you are not aware what draw length is, it won’t make any sense learning it should be done. For that reason, let me begin by defining a draw length. Modern bows, especially compound bows are not like traditional bows.

Traditional ones can be drawn backward as much as you can. Compound ones have been designed to be drawn only to a particular length and then stop. The trick here is to make sure that the mechanical setting of the bow matches the draw length of the user.

  • Therefore, if you have a drawback length of 29 inches, the bow should also be within this range for optimum results to be realized.

What is A Full Draw?

wwhat is a full draw

Before even learning how to measure drawing length, it is important to beware why you should have a bow that matches your draw length. Compound bows have been designed in such a way that they can be shot on a full draw.

Therefore, shooting a compound bow in the middle of the power stroke is strongly discouraged. You only release the arrow after you have achieved the maximum draw. For those who have not used a compound, this might sound like Greek, but in the real sense, it is not that hard.

The process is simpler when experienced than explained. Drawing a compound bow can be compared to a door. When it reaches its limit, you stop drawing and release the arrow. For optimum results, you have to draw the bow until it reaches its mechanical maximum.

What is Overdrawing The Bow


Once the bow has reached its mechanical limit, it becomes very hard for you to draw it any longer. You should even never think of trying such a thing because you can break it. If the bow has been set at 29 inches, you should not even try to draw it to 30 inches.

If you want to draw it further, you need to modify it first. The bow should be drawn in a controlled way and once it reached its maximum, release the arrow. Modern compound bows require only 2o pounds to hold them at full draw.

  • So if you find yourself straining to maintain the bow at full draw, you are most probably over drawing the bow which could result in breakage.

What You Need To Know Before Measuring Your Draw Length

why is good marksmanship

If you feel that you can’t trust yourself in making this decision, go and get an experienced hunter or even a friend to help you with making the decisions. However, you can still do it by yourself and still achieve results.

As a self-made hunter, I suggest that you should determine your draw length yourself or with a hunter. This isn't rocket science or nuclear. By following very clear instructions, you should be in a position to come up with an accurate measurement.

However, you will need some exercise to ensure that the measurements can be trusted. I have written this article for those who feel that they should challenge themselves measure their draw length.

Even before I start showing you how to measure your draw length, it is crucial to keep in mind that your stance influences your draw length by several inches. This can make it hard for a novice to determine their draw length but with some exercise, this should not be a problem.

What Influences Your Draw Length?

What Influences Your Draw Length?

Several things determine your draw length. If you have some experience with bows, you already know what I am talking about. Novices will find it hard to determine their accurate draw because they are not aware of what influences their draw length and also how it affects it. Below, I have outlined some of the things you will need to consider before determining your draw length.

Some of the things you need to keep in mind include:

Poor Alignment

Before you embark in the process of determining your bow length, you need to ensure that your bow arm and shoulders are aligned on a straight line. The drawing elbow also needs to be behind your head.

Shoulder Position

Your shoulder needs to remain in a relaxed process throughout the process. If one or both of the shoulders stick out as if you are struggling, you will get the wrong measurements for the draw length. Maintain the shoulders on a low and natural position.


If you are going to be tying a D-Loop on your bow, it will slightly shorten your draw length by a few inches

There are also other factors that make your draw length look bigger than it should. If you get the wrong impression, you will not be in a good position to make accurate shots once time to bring down that deer or goose comes

Anchor point too far back

The position where you hold the string also means a lot. To avoid this, the position should be kept constant, either midway along your jaw or at the front of your chin.

Unusual head position

The neck and the head should be maintained in a relaxed position. Make sure that you are not straining backward if you want your head to remain in a central position on your body.

Long release aid

Take this factor into consideration when selecting a bow because the way you release an arrow will also affect the draw length.

Other Factors To Take Into Consideration

Poor posture will also give the wrong impression of a drawing length. You should avoid standing tall or slouching when determining your draw length. Ensure that you stand upright at all times.

Your wrist should always be maintained relaxed and supple position. If the wrist is arched, it can negatively impact your draw length.

  • Engaging your back muscles will also ensure that you get accurate results. If you move your shoulder towards the spine, you will be increasing the draw length consistency which is not a good if your aim is to get a perfect hunting bow.

How To Measure Your Draw Length

How To Measure Your Draw Length

Now that you are aware of what you need to do and avoid, it is time to get deeper into what brought you into this page. I understand that you want to know how to measure draw length and that’s where we are currently.

  • Like I noted above, it isn’t rocket science. Even beginners will easily go through this process and come with accurate results.

If you are looking to learn how to measure draw length, you must be aware the different types of arrows come with different draw lengths. For instance, the Bear Encounter will have a draw length of 32” while the Bear Apprentice 2 will only stretch to a maximum of 27”. Therefore, determining your draw length before visiting an archery shop remains to be crucial.

We are going to focus on the Arm span method. This method has been put to the test by several people and for several decades and it has been proved that it works. You don’t have to buy expensive equipment to get accurate results.

Measuring Your Draw Length at Home

Measure Your Draw Length

All you will need to accomplish this is a tape measure and the help from a friend. Your friend doesn’t have to be a professional hunter. Even beginners will be okay for this step. Here is what you need to do.

Step 1

First and foremost, get rid of your clothes and remain with a short of course. Clothes on the upper body will restrict arm movements which could hinder you from seeing whether your elbows are knocked in the right location.

  • On this step, ensure that you are also not hunching or leaning forward. You should be on a natural upright position.

Step 2

After ensuring that you are in the right position, stretch both of your arms and ensure that they form a straight-line which should be parallel to the floor

Step 3

While in this position, let your friend measure the length of the arms stretch from tip to tip. The measuring tape should be completely stretched to avoid any errors.

Step 4

After you have taken the measurements in inches, go ahead and divide them by 2.5

Double-Check Your Measurements

Scientific study has established that the length of stretched arms is equal to that of the body. To ensure that you have accurate results, measure the height of your body in inches. For the sake of accuracy, the measurements should be equal or very close indicating that you took the measurements the right way.

You might find a small difference, but that should not worry you. As long as the measurements are close to each other, you can rest assured that you did it the right way.

Stay On The Conservative Side

Stay On The Conservative Side

Stay safe! It is better to have a bow with a shorter draw length than one with a longer. Therefore, if you are doing calculations and you get 29” and 29.5” round it down to 28”. After getting the final measurement, give it an allowance of one or two inches.

  • So, if you find your draw length is 29” you should buy a bow with a maximum draw length of 30” or 31”. This provides a buffer zone in case you went wrong with the measurements.

If still not sure that you accurate results, you can take the measurement a third and a fourth time until you are satisfied that you have accurate results. Ensure that the measuring tape you are using to take the measurements is not that old. Older tapes can be overstretched which will give make your draw length bigger with half or a full inch.

Is There A "Proper" Draw Length?

Well, this is a hard question to answer. If you ask 20 experienced hunters this question, you will most probably get 20 different answers.

Why is this?

  • Every person has their best draw length. If you shoot best from a certain draw length, another hunter will be shooting from a different one.

No matter what the pamphlets and books say, the perfect draw is fully dependent on you. Even if you are new in hunting, you will also soon get your best draw length after gaining some experience. My role is just to help you estimate a starting point from which you are to perfect as the conditions demand.

Measuring Draw Length – Summary

Measuring Draw Length

Like I assured you when you started reading this post, the process is not hard at all. That’s the reason I was stressing that you need to do it yourself with the help of a friend. Even if a professional bow hunter or archer is not around, you can still make accurate measurements.

Once you have determined your draw length, getting a good bow should not be a challenge. Having a good bow is the key to making good and efficient kills. No hunter wants to get into the woods and come out with nothing.

I hope that this article has taught you what you wanted to know. Keep on visiting our blog for more information on hunting from professional hunters. Until next time, it is goodbye from me. I wish you happy and fun hunting expeditions.

Alex Ramsey

Work hard & live to hunt! Countryman Hunter , Archery, shooter, Freelance outdoor writer and Love USA. founder of thebigdeer.com where I share my hunting experiences and gear reviews to help you become more prepared. Knowledge will save you, but great gear will help! Let Get Out & Go Hunting

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