How to Shoot in the Wind

Wind is one of the classic challenges facing any archer who shoots outdoors. Wind can be calm and refreshing on a hot day, but it can also change unpredictably and move your arrows mid-flight. To shoot well in the wind, keep a low center of gravity, stay aware of your surroundings and be patient.

First, become aware of the way the wind is moving near you. Then look to the flag on top of your target to see if the conditions are similar or different at the other end of the archery field. You might also try to notice how the wind moves differently as you go to pull your arrows. If the archery field is lined with trees, you’re in luck. These can be excellent wind-detectors. For example, if you are standing in an area without wind and you notice the distant trees begin to rustle, then you may have advance warning of a gust headed your way. Also, sometimes wind gusts may develop a pattern. If you become aware of this pattern, you may be able to time your shots during a lull or more predictable breeze.

When you cannot wait for a lull or when the wind feels very constant, you can also practice “aiming off,” which means to aim off the bull’s-eye to try countering the force of the wind. For example, if you “aim on” and the wind pushes your arrows three rings to the left, you might have luck aiming three rings to the right instead. This may be a better choice than changing your sight settings because you can adapt quickly if the wind changes direction.

One other thing to consider is that the direction of the wind has a more or less predictable effect on your arrows. For example, a wind coming at you from behind the target usually pushes arrows down. Wind coming from behind you usually makes your arrows fly slightly higher.

Remember to stake down targets, tents, and scopes to prevent damaged equipment or injury in case of high winds.

Tips on shooting in the wind:

  • Keep a low center of gravity
  • Be aware of the wind near you and at the target
  • Pay attention to patterns and surrounding trees
  • Aim off cautiously instead of changing your sight
  • Stake down targets, tents, and scopes