Skip to main content

Better Ways To Use Your Peep Sight

Shooting a bow that has a peep sight installed is much like shooting an iron-sighted rifle; you must have good alignment of the front and rear sights for pinpoint accuracy. The peep sight is the rear sight, so don't take it for granted. Not only must it be the correct size for your hunting conditions, it must also be anchored solidly in place with a system that allows you to quickly determine if it has moved.

Your peep sight may seem like a fairly benign part of your bow and, if you are like me, you rarely think about it. But in reality, the peep is far more critical that many bowhunters realize. Anything that impacts your sight picture is a big deal, and few things impact the sight picture more directly than your peep.

You only have a few variables that you can control when aiming, and one of them is the size and position of your peep sight.


Improving your sight picture should be a priority during the off-season. In this column, I am going to offer three tips that will help use your peep sight to your advantage.


The Right Size
I use different peep sights for different hunting conditions. The Tru-Peep by Fletcher, which I use, comes in a wide variety of sizes and I use them all. When I know the shots are going to occur in full daylight, such as when I'm stalking mule deer or elk in the open terrain of the Southwest, I use a peep with a very small aperture.

There are two good reasons to use a small peep. First, by reducing the size of the aperture, I reduce my margin for error when aiming. It is easier to keep the pin in the center of the peep when it is small. For example, if I aim with the pin halfway between the center and the edge of the peep with a large opening, my arrow will hit much farther from the aiming point than if I aim the same way using a peep with a small opening.


Second, a small peep improves your depth of field. Depth of field is a photographic term. Photographers know that by reducing the diameter of the aperture in the lens (increasing the f-stop) they can increase the amount of the image that is in focus. When using a small peep sight, both the pins and the target can be in focus. You won't have to decide which one to focus on. Having to make this choice is one of the downfalls of using an extremely large peep sight that many bowhunters favor when centering their entire pin guard in the peep.


When I'm hunting in deep woods with a heavy canopy, I switch to a larger peep by necessity. The need for improved low light visibility outweighs my obsession with extreme precision. As a result, I realize I am not quite as accurate under these conditions and limit my shot distance accordingly.

Aiming Over The Peep
When you find yourself in a dark setting with a small peep, you have a very interesting option. You can drop your anchor point and aim using the gap in your string that is directly above the peep sight. Or, if it is more comfortable, you can aim below your peep sight. This gap between the string and your peep produces a giant opening.

Of course, you need to practice ahead of time to know how much difference this will make. For example, I am able to use my 40-yard pin for 20-yard shots when aiming under the peep. This simple trick is a good one to add to your bag, because it might well gain you a trophy under the right conditions.

Again, this is something you must practice extensively with each and every bow you use, because it will change with arrow speeds and different setups.

Securing The Peep
In the past, I have been lax in securing my peep sight in the string. I believe this is one reason why I sometimes found myself shooting slightly low or high at my daily practice sessions during hunting season. I rarely fought a left or right miss, but often had to adjust for slight vertical discrepancies.

I often wondered if maybe these were caused by my peep hanging in brush or on the bow case, or on some other object, and then moving slightly up or down. It takes only a few pounds of pressure with your fingers to move a peep sight up the string …›-inch. That is enough to throw you off on mid-range and longer shots.

I decided this season I would take this aspect of bow setup more seriously. Most bowhunters realize that by serving the peep into place they reduce the chances it will move, but even when served in, it can still be moved fairly easily.

Dave Holt stopped by our elk camp last season and we got to talking about peeps. He had an idea I am now using on all my bows. He suggested serving the peep as you normally would, then serve each of the legs of the serving beyond the point where the string splits.

So, when you are finished, you would have serving up to the bottom of the peep on the left leg of the split string and down to the top of the peep on the right leg of the split string. If the peep moves up or down, a gap will be created between one of these servings and the peep and will be easily recognized.

While this won't keep the peep from moving much better than a conventional serving job, you will be able to tell quickly if the peep has moved, because you can see this gap and you can move the peep back to its original position.

In the past, I often used white out on the peep and string to help mark the correct location, but the white out rubbed off quickly. Dave's serving method is much more permanent and will quickly reveal whether the peep is correctly positioned.

Pinpoint accuracy depends on a good rear sight, so don't take your peep for granted. Not only must it be the correct size for your hunting conditions, it also must be anchored solidly in place with a system that allows you to quickly determine if it has moved.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

CenterPoint CP400 Crossbow – First Look

CenterPoint CP400 Crossbow – First Look

CenterPoint Archery evolves in design and performance with the introduction of the new CP400 Crossbow.

First Look: Mathews Vertix Bow

First Look: Mathews Vertix Bow

"Petersen's Bowhunting" editor Christian Berg and Mathews design engineer Mark Hayes talk the smooth, quiet and fast shooting qualities of the new flagship Vertix bow from the Wisconsin bowmaker.

Ravin Broadheads – 3 New Mechanicals

Ravin Broadheads – 3 New Mechanicals

Designed exclusively for their crossbows, Ravin has announced three new mechanical broadheads to maximize penetration and overall performance.

Center Shots: How to Improve Your Bow Tuning

Center Shots: How to Improve Your Bow Tuning

Field editor Bill Winke goes over steps you can take to improve the tuning on your bow.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Don't give up on that seemingly untunable bow just yet.Untunable Bow? Nock Travel Could Be Your Problem Bows

Untunable Bow? Nock Travel Could Be Your Problem

Bill Winke

Don't give up on that seemingly untunable bow just yet.

Crunching the numbers on North America's most important game species2020 State of the Whitetail Report Whitetail

2020 State of the Whitetail Report

Jason Snavely - June 29, 2020

Crunching the numbers on North America's most important game species

Mid-Summer Is Prime Time to Watch Large-Racked Bucks — and Stoke Fall Enthusiasm!Summer Scouting Spectacular How-To

Summer Scouting Spectacular

Bill Winke

Mid-Summer Is Prime Time to Watch Large-Racked Bucks — and Stoke Fall Enthusiasm!

A perfect shot requires a perfect release.Proper Archery Release Aid Technique How-To

Proper Archery Release Aid Technique

Larry Wise

A perfect shot requires a perfect release.

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

These are the archery shots you should and shouldn't take on whitetails. Where to Shoot a Deer: Bowhunting Shot Placement How-To

Where to Shoot a Deer: Bowhunting Shot Placement

Christian Berg

These are the archery shots you should and shouldn't take on whitetails.

If you're consistently hitting everything at 30 yards, it's time to extend your range.How to Add 10 Yards to Your Effective Bow Range How-To

How to Add 10 Yards to Your Effective Bow Range

Randy Ulmer

If you're consistently hitting everything at 30 yards, it's time to extend your range.

Learning to feel your shots before you take them leads to success.Bowhunting Shot Execution Under Pressure How-To

Bowhunting Shot Execution Under Pressure

Randy Ulmer

Learning to feel your shots before you take them leads to success.

See More How-To

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Petersen's Bowhunting App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Bowhunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now