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Aiming options: there's more to hitting bull's-eyes than settling the sight pin and releasing.

A LOT OF THE FOCUS on aiming involves sight choice, and rightfully so. However, to truly get the most from the latest and greatest in sights, it's important to consider how you conic to settle your pins in the first place.

For many of us, this starts with a view through a peep sight. Originally peep sights featured a pinhole aperture, and consequently didn't allow much light or margin for error. They also required a section of tubing to ensure they were oriented exactly square to the shooter's eye. Some of us still use alignment tubing, although with a lot of bows it's largely unnecessary. If you opt for alignment tubing, consider replacing it often. Through practice sessions and exposure to the elements, the tubing will wear out and stretch. In addition to occasionally snapping in the cold, a stretched-out alignment tube can develop the annoying tendency to sound like an extremely detuned low-E string on a guitar being plucked by an amateur musician during the shot. When this happens, you'll have a great opportunity to see firsthand how quickly a whitetail can react to the sound of a bow going off and miraculously drop out of your arrow's path.

If you would rather not use alignment tubing, you will need to "train" your peep to come back to your eye correctly. This is something to be cognizant of throughout summer practice sessions, and eventually it should be a non-issue. It's still a good idea to draw your bow and aim at something before every hunt, just in case your string has settled and your peep has rotated slightly. This is not something you want to discover when aiming at an actual animal, because by then it's far too late.

When choosing a peep sight, the most important consideration is the size of the peep's aperture, or opening. This will depend on a few aspects of your aiming style and typical hunting scenario. In regards to aiming style, if you choose to center your peep on a single pin to aim, it might be better to choose a peep with a smaller aperture, like those in the 3/16" or smaller range.

If you're like me, and instead opt to center the sight guard in the peep, a larger aperture is a better choice. A larger aperture will also allow more light to reach your eye, which is a no-brainer for whitetail hunters. Also, if you should slip up in your routine and draw back on an animal only to realize that your peep has rotated slightly, a larger aperture might still allow you to aim correctly and execute the shot.

One of my go-to peep sights is the Meta Aluminum Peep Sight ($10) from G5 Outdoors. I prefer the 5/15" model, although they also offer 3/16" and 1/4" peeps as well. The Meta Aluminum Peep Sight is constructed of 7075 aluminum, which is lighter and stronger than magnesium or 6000-series aluminum. If this doesn't seem like a big deal, consider that any weight added to your string will reduce arrow speed, meaning the lighter the add-ons, the faster your rig will be. These new peeps are available in G5's signature blue, red, pink, and green to match your hunting bow. G5 also offers the Meta Titanium Peep ($23). This souped-up peep is designed to handle the rigors of high-energy, high-poundage bows, and is offered in sizes ranging from 3/16" to 5/16".

If you're looking-for: a peep that is largely unaffected by string rotation and will consistently square-up to your eye without string training, look into the Sure View String Peep Sight ($9) from Allen Company. The Sure View requires you to split the string into three equal sections of threads upon installation, which results in consistent alignment.

Although they are most well known for their sights, TruGlo also produces peep sights, with their latest offering being the Versa Peep ($19). True to its name, the Versa Peep allows for customization of the peep opening from 1/8" to 3/16" with the black, red or green inserts, and 1/4" with the standard aluminum peep (without an insert). The Versa Peep is extremely easy to customize, and is designed with an angle that is perfect for today's short axle-to-axle bows.

Directly addressing the issue of robbed bow speed, Pine Ridge Archery created their new Feather Peeps ($6). To achieve an extremely lightweight yet durable design, Pine Ridge uses high-impact resin to produce their Feather Peeps. Available in a multitude of colors, Feather Peeps are offered in either 3/16" or 1/4".

Specialty Archery has also taken bow speed into consideration. Their Ultra Lite 37 Degree Peep ($18) and ['lira Lite 45 Degree Peep ($18) are available in a host of colors and offer 1/4" apertures. The 37 Degree Peep is designed for bows measuring under 40" axle to axle, while the 45 Degree Peep is meant for bows measuring over 40". If you're in the market for a new peep but have battled with fuzzy pins or unclear sight windows, you owe it to yourself to check out Specialty Archery's Verifiers and Clarifiers. Essentially, both are peep sights fitted with lenses to address near and far-sighted individuals and their specific needs. After spending some time shooting with one of Specialty Archery's Verifiers, I feel confident in saying they might be the best product out there that most of us have never heard of If you've ever experienced a less-than-clear sight window at the range or in the woods, a verifier or clarifier is probably the remedy.

While using peep sights is easily the most popular method for aiming, it's not the only path to take to achieve downrange accuracy. A growing movement of shooters and hunters have found that a few other products can do a darn good job of fostering proper form and increasing accuracy.

Most notable is Field Logic's IQ Bowsight, and more specifically, the Retina Lock Technology featured on the IQ. The Retina Lock is designed to combat one of the hardest things to control--bow torque. You may feel like you have perfect form, and may even try to confirm it with a sight-mounted bubble level, but the reality is a slight change in grip or the challenge of shooting angles might result in torque not shown with a bubble level. Retina Lock, on the other hand, ensures that you maintain perfect alignment with every shot and drastically reduces accuracy-robbing torque. The IQ Bowsight is available in a 4 Pin ($200) and a 7 Pin ($220) model. It should be noted that while the IQ allows you to forgo using a peep sight, to truly get the most out of these sights it's a good idea to employ a kisser button as well. This simply works to reinforce proper form and consistent anchoring.

If you're in the market for a truly unique alternative to using a traditional peep sight, consider the Center Shot in HD ($N/A) sight from Hind Sight, Inc. Hind Sight has long been known for their crosshair-style aiming systems, but the Center Shot deviates from that design to include a two-power magnifying lens fitted with two suspended, .019" fiber-optic cables. Simply line up your front sight pin between the two featured on the 1.25" lens of the Center Shot and fire away.

Another product that eliminates the need for a peep sight is the Archery Innovations Anchor Sight ($85--$105). I recently had the chance to shoot an Anchor Sight, and was impressed with its ease-of-use and effectiveness. Essentially, the Anchor Sight uses a magnifying lens with a red circle on it and cross-hairs similar to a riflescope to ensure that your form is spot-on no matter the difficulty of the shot. Once drawn, you simply center the circle in the crosshairs and you know that you haven't imparted any torque or altered your anchor point at all.

Whether you stick to the traditional peep sight route, or veer off-course a bit and go peep-less with one of the products that allow you to do so, consider how you come to aim. Shot execution demands repeatability, and real-world hunting situations require the ability to see your target clearly and decide on when and if to shoot. All of these considerations should come in to play long before you step into the woods, making right now an excellent time to tinker with different aiming options.

Manufacturer's Contact List

* Allen Company, (303) 469-1857,

www.allencompany.net

* Archery Innovations, (218) 563-2800,

www.anchorsight.com

* Field Logic, 1-866-574-8741,

www.igbowsights.com

* G.5 Outdoors, 1-866-456-8836,

www.g5outdoors.com

* Hind Sight, Inc., (734) 878-2842,

www.hindsightco.com

* Pine Ridge Archery, 1-877-746-7434,

www.pineridgearchery.com

* Specialty Archery, 1-800-555-2856,

www.specialtyarch.com

* TruGlo, 1-888-8TRUGLO,

www.truglo.com

Equipment Editor

TONY J. PETERSON
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Title Annotation:Tried & True
Author:Peterson, Tony J.
Publication:Bowhunter
Date:Feb 1, 2013
Words:1471
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