For the bowhunter, choosing the best compound bow accessories can be confusing. Why? Options. There are tons of good sights, rests, and quivers on the market.
So, how do you find the right archery accessories to grace your compound bow without having an anxiety attack? You take a long, hard look at how you hunt, what you hunt, and where you hunt. Then study the information below. Do those two things, and you’ll know exactly what accessories to put on your compound for the coming bow season.
How to Choose the Best Bow Sight
Picking the right sight for your setup should be first on your list. If you’re a hunter who will spend the majority of your time in treestands or ground blinds waiting on whitetails, shots will typically be inside of 40 yards. For this reason, I recommend a dial-to-the-yard, single-pin or a tried-and-true standard five-pin sight. These sights are a breeze to set up. As long as you don’t get too carried away with features like custom pin size, magnifiers, dovetail bars, and the like, you won’t have to shell out too much coin.
If you’re a western roamer, and spot-and-stalk is your game, I recommend a moveable sight. Shots out West tend to be longer, and dial-to-the-yard precision is a must. Growing in popularity with the western crowd is a three-pin slider. You have three standard horizontal pins in the housing with this type of sight, and your bottom pin, once the sight wheel is unlocked, becomes your mover. Attached to the yardage wheel will be your sight tape, and a yardage indicator needle makes dialing to the exact distance easy. Multi-pin movers are also available in four-pin, five-pin, and other custom multi-pin options. These sights, because of their intricate design and bells and whistles like third-axis tuning, micro-adjust, and dovetail mounting systems, tend to be a tad pricey. But when hunting out West, they are worth every penny. These sights also work great for those looking to up their 3-D archery game.
How to Choose the Best Bow Rest
Like choosing a sight, picking the right rest is all about looking at where, how, and what you hunt. I have many friends in the Midwest and East who use a Whisker Biscuit or similar fixed-position capture rest for hunting. In today’s technology-rich world, many label these rests obsolete for any bow setup, but that’s not the case. A fixed-position capture rest that doesn’t drop away at the shot is easy to set up and tune. And it will provide excellent accuracy to about 50 yards. With no moving parts and a design that holds arrows at the ready, rest malfunction, even when hunting in frigid temps, is almost impossible. These rests have withstood the tests of time and are a favorite of those that want simplicity and durability.
Those looking to discover just how accurate they can be and like sending carbon at extended distances, will want a drop-away rest. These rests come in cable-driven and limb-driven models. Cable-driven rests have a timing cord that attaches to or through the downward moving cable that raises the rest’s arm during the draw. Limb-activated models have a timing cord that is much longer and connects to the top or bottom limb to raise the launcher arm when the bow is drawn. I’ve used both. I like the shorter timing cord and placing that cord between the strands of my down cable best. However, limb-activated rests are super easy to set up. And if something goes wrong in the field, they’re easier to get back up and running.
The real advantage of a drop-away rest is that once the rest is timed, there is zero contact as the arrow passes over the arrow shelf and takes flight. No arrow or vane contact means cleaner flight and more consistent downrange accuracy. Most of today’s drop-away rests feature micro-adjust windage and elevation. They also have a capture bar to keep the arrow from falling out of the launcher arm, and multiple other accuracy-enhancing features.
How to Choose the Best Bow Quiver
This compound bow accessory probably gets the least amount of attention, and for some bowhunters, I see why. For others, quiver choice should be weighed and considered as carefully as any other accessory.
If you’re a whitetail hunter, and you plan to take your quiver off the second you get in a tree or blind, save yourself some coin and get a basic quiver that is easy to put on and take off, holds arrows tight, and comes with a tree hook. There’s zero point in getting too technical if the quiver is coming off the bow. Same goes If you’re a spot-and-stalk hunter or you like to call rutting bull elk close, but you always take your quiver off before the shot, heed the advice above. My only added recommendation here is that you put a premium—due to the terrain you’re hunting—on buying a quiver that has a durable construction.
Those who hunt and shoot with their quiver mounted to the bow, however, need to find a model that hugs the riser tightly and adjusts up, down, in, and out. The hood design should keep arrows hushed at the shot, and the arrow grippers should hold shafts tightly to prevent any rattle. These quivers will be more expensive, but they promote accuracy by helping you achieve a balanced feel at full draw.
Choose the Best Compound Bow Accessories for Beginners
Maybe you’re new to the stick-and-string game and just purchased your first bow. Now it’s time to deck that bow out with compound bow accessories, but you don’t want to break the bank. You’re not sure just how serious you will get, and you want to dip your toe into the archery ocean before you dive in headfirst.
That’s fine, and, if fact, there are piles of options out there that will suit you, but the combo below is hard to beat.
The Best Bow Sight for Beginners
For the sight, I recommend TruGlo’s Carbon Xtreme. This standard five-pin is reliable and the pins are bright. Plus, the sight weighs less than 4.2 ounces, has extra-long fibers, and is adjustable to fit right- and left-hand shooters.
Best Bow Rest for Beginners
The rest is a no-brainer. The Quick Shot Whisker Biscuit from Trophy Ridge has graced throngs of risers over the years. Its durability and dependability are second to none. Custom rubber boots allow for ultra-silent arrow loading, and windage marks adjustments in a snap.
Best Quiver for Beginners
Chances are you’ll be taking your quiver off to shoot, and even if you opt to leave it on, the Accu-Strike from Apex Gear won’t let you down. Aside from its affordable price, this quiver is lightweight, and compact. It also features a patented Tru-Touch soft-feel coating that drowns out post-shot noise.
Choose the Best Compound Bow Accessories for Hunting the Woods
Whitetail hunters make up the bulk of the bowhunting population. Most are very serious about their pursuits—spending all year prepping their hunt area for an encounter. This crowd is also serious about their gear. With that in mind, here are my top, high-quality accessory recommendations for woods hunters.
Best Bow Sight for Hunting the Woods
When it comes to the best whitetail sight ever produced, it’s hard not to lean toward HHA’s single-pin Tetra. Not only can shooters customize pin and housing size to their liking, but this sight delivers a full 2.1 inches of travel on your choice of a fixed-frame or dovetail bar. Patented R.D.S. sight tapes married with precision wind adjustments promise accuracy, and the sight is second- and third-axis adjustable. The fibers are fully protected, and no tools are needed to make adjustments.
Best Bow Rest for Hunting the Woods
Those who hunt the dense woods for whitetails and elk can opt for a rest like a Whisker Biscuit. But many will be looking for a slightly more accurate rest option. QAD’s UltraRest HDX is a great choice. The rest is sleek, and a timing mark makes tuning a breeze. A containment bar keeps the arrow cradled in the launcher arm, and the rest will only drop away when an arrow is fired. This means you can letdown without the launcher arm dropping. And Lock-Down Technology prevents the launcher arm from hitting the arrow shelf and bouncing back up at the shot.
Best Quiver for Hunting the Woods
Whether you decide to hunt with your quiver on or off, an excellent quiver option is the Carbon Alphalite from Fuse. The Quick-Detach system is quiet, and the adjustable mounting bracket means perfect positioning and balance is easy to achieve. The carbon frame is ultralight and highly durable, and the hood has a tree hanger.
Choose the Best Compound Bow Accessories for Hunting the West
Western bowhunters tend to be very particular about their gear. This is especially true when it comes to their choice of compound bow-mounted accessories. I know; I’m one of them. I’ve tested and tinkered with piles of sights, rests, and quivers. Here’s my top combo.
The Best Bow Sight for Hunting the West
Spot-Hogg has earned an excellent reputation by producing accurate, German-tank-tough sights loaded with purposeful, accuracy-enhancing features. It’s hard to go wrong with their Hogg Father ($374-$424). Offered in multiple-pin configurations, this slider sight promises no slop or buzz. Plus, MRT Technology means perfect eye-to-peep-to-housing alignment no matter the lighting conditions. Everything on the sight, including the yardage pointer, is micro-adjustable. The sight features a detachable dovetail bar for travel. It also allows the shooter to tinker with how far out in front of the riser they want their housing. Second- and third-axis adjustable, this sight is as good as it gets.
The Best Bow Rest for Hunting the West
You’ll need a flagship bow from PSE, Hoyt, or Mathews to take advantage of this rest, but it’s genuinely a massive leap forward in drop-away design. Dubbed the UltraRest Integrate MX, this marvel from QAD mounts to the face of the riser, which eliminates the Berger hole. Not having to mount to the Berger hole means no rest-mounting bar or attachment screw, which cuts down on weight and provides a seamless and perfectly flush fit to the riser’s face. A pair of dovetail slits in the riser accept the mounting rail, and a dual-locking system eliminates the chances of the rest moving. Horizontal and vertical adjustments are made in .0019 thousandths of an inch per click, which provides absolute accuracy.
The Best Quiver for Hunting the West
When it comes to the best quiver choice, look to TightSpot’s 9.9-ounce 5-Arrow quiver. This quiver hugs the riser like a glove, promoting accuracy and providing full up, down, left, and right adjustment. The hood is bulletproof and quiet, and the arrow gripper system features Allen-head set screws that allow you to alter the diameter of each gripper quickly.
Other FAQs About Bow Accessories
Expert answers to some common archery questions
The bow-mounted accessories detailed above are pretty much must-haves. But there are a handful of other accessories you may want to add, including a stabilizer, a sling, and a kisser button. Stabilizers mount to the threaded hole on the front of the riser beneath the shelf. Their purpose is to absorb noise and vibration and to help you perfectly balance your bow. Small hunting stabilizers, like the 6-inch Apex Gear End-Game, does the former and helps some with the latter. But if you really want to balance your bow, you want a longer front stabilizer matched with a back bar, like the Bee Stinger Sport Hunter Xtreme Kit.
A kisser button, which attaches to the string between your peep sight and D-loop simply gives you another anchor point. Resting it against the corner of your mouth on every shot can improve consistency. A wrist sling attaches at the stabilizer port and wraps around your wrist. Ideally, you don’t want to grip a bow’s handle like a hammer, but rather shoot with a fairly open bow hand. The sling prevents you from dropping the bow after the shot. It isn’t necessary, but it helps some shooters maintain an open grip through the shot, without grabbing at the handle too early to catch the bow.
There’s no easy answer to this question. Your stabilizer should be as long and heavy as you need it to be to help your bow perform the way you want it to. Generally, the heavier a stabilizer, the more noise and vibration it will absorb. That said, if you have an inherently quiet and dead-in-the-hand bow and you want its overall weight to be as light as possible, you might go with a small, light model or even no stabilizer. If your main goal is ultimate accuracy and you don’t mind toting some extra weight, you should get a front and back bar with adjustable weights and add just enough to perfectly balance the bow, so that when you draw and anchor with your eyes closed and then open them, the sight bubble is perfect.
Simple. Everything you add to your bow reduces recoil (and vibration and noise) to some degree because it makes your bow heavier. Just like a heavier gun, a heavier bow kicks less. If you have a bow with lots of recoil or hand shock, put on a heavier sight or stabilizer or even shoot a heavier arrow. It all helps, but there’s a limit. Very few hunters want to tote around a 12-pound bow. The key is to strike the right balance, so that your bow is quiet with little recoil, but also handy enough for the type of hunting you do.
Final Thoughts on the Best Compound Bow Accessories
Selecting the best compound bow accessories might seem intimidating but following this advice will get you pointed in the right direction. And the addition of a few key components to your hunting gear can take your bow hunting to the next level, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro.