By Jace Bauserman
The first time I hit full draw, settled into my anchor and peered through a clutter-free housing sporting a single vertical post, I was love-struck. I loved that I didn’t have to worry about inadvertently choosing the wrong pin, which for me greatly reduced anxiety. And, of course, I relished my tighter arrow groups. But I still had my doubts. What if I was at full draw on a buck standing at 30 yards and he bounded to 40 yards? I’d have to make a snap decision and would need my 40-yard pin. What if I had a distant pronghorn at 62 yards and then, as pronghorn tend to do, he inched toward me an additional 10 or 12 steps? I’d have to let down, re-dial the sight and then shoot. By then he’d be gone. Yikes!
These worries kept me from adding a single-pin sight to my hunting setup. That is, until I missed a Pope and Young muley at 40 yards when I mistakenly used the 50-yard pin on my 7-pin sight.
Days after that miss, I went full-on single-pin and haven’t looked back. Now I feel obliged to debunk some of the single-pin myths for fellow bowhunters wanting to make the switch. I’ll also cover some of the many benefits single-pins sights provide, as well as make a few recommendations. Here we go.
Myth #1: I won’t be able to make a shot on an animal that bounds back a few yards without letting down.
The second I started shooting a single-pin sight, I wanted to shoot my bow more and more. Why? Because I was getting scary accurate, and the shooting anxiety I felt when looking at multiple pins was gone. The more I practiced, the more proficient I became with my sight. I trained myself how much over a particular target I had to hold when making a snap yardage adjustment. I also used fluorescent-orange model paint (a silver Sharpie works great as well) to make an additional 30-yard dot on my vertical post. And because of how much I practiced, I knew, when holding at 20 yards, where my arrow would hit using my sight bubble as a yardage indicator.
While sitting over a water tank waiting on a pronghorn to slake his thirst in 2017, I had a coyote stop by my tank. He was drinking at 26 yards, but when I drew my bow something spooked him and he ran back to what I guessed to be 10 yards. Because my sight was dialed to exactly 26 yards and because I knew where my orange-paint dot would hit, I simply raised my bow arm, settled my dot and smoked him through the lungs. Six hours later, I found myself drawing back on a pronghorn buck as he drank from the tank, only to have a doe catch his attention just as I was settling my pin. The buck walked back around 5 yards, and though I didn’t have the ability to pin-gap, I simply held my single-pin just a tad high and hammered the buck through the heart.
Myth #2: What if I have my sight dialed in and an animal starts walking toward me? I will never know how much under the animal to hold.
It’s true that if you have an elk at 40 yards that suddenly decides to come screaming in to 20, you won’t be able to simply use a painted-on dot or your bubble. This, however, is where practice comes in. As you learn and practice with your single-pin, you’ll know where exactly to hold in a particular situation. With my setup, I know that if I hold low on the bull’s heart, my arrow will impact him mid-body.
Once you get past the fact that if you practice a lot, a single-pin sight won’t hinder your chances at backstraps for the grill, you’ll start to appreciate the many advantages.
For starters, testing has proven that a five- or seven-pin sight can clutter your sight picture up to 45 percent. A cluttered sight picture can reduce accuracy, boost anxiety and, on distant game, make picking an exact spot very difficult. With only one focal aiming point, you’ll see your accuracy improve.
I keep a detailed bowhunting journal, and over the past three years I’ve taken 25 animals with my bow (including turkeys). On all but five of those animals I’ve had the time to dial my yardage indicator to the exact yardage and make a confident shot. The other five animals either came closer or moved farther away. In two of those instances I had time to let down, re-range and re-dial. A single-pin sight will teach you that you often have more time to execute a shot than you think. Two of the other instances were snap decisions, and both resulted in lethal hits. When you can dial your sight to the exact yard, especially on distant game, you’re giving yourself a much better chance to execute a clean and quick kill. I hate pin-gapping, and a single-pin sight eliminates the need to do it.
More and more shooters want to practice at long ranges, and a single-pin sight makes this possible. Many single-pin tapes allow shots well beyond 100 yards, depending on arrow weight and housing clearance. Archers are discovering that if they can execute flawlessly at 100-plus yards on foam, they can often find the 12-ring on a 40-yard whitetail.
My Top Two
Spot-Hogg’s built-like-a-tank Hogg Father with Double Pin — a single vertical post with two aiming points — ensures pinpoint accuracy and means you won’t need to add an extra dot with model paint. Its dovetail slide allows a custom from-the-riser setting, and the HDR (Hardened Rail Design) promises no slop or buzz.
The Pure Driven 75 from Black Gold Sights boasts a splined vertical drive gear that increases durability by 80 percent and ensures a quieter, more solid feel. Zero-Stop allows you to instantly move your sight to a pre-set distance without looking, and the sight tape can be viewed from the side or back.