Should you be taking your quiver off your bow to shoot?
July 14, 2023 by Leigh Hauck
I am a huge fan of bow mounted quivers. With a capacity of five arrows, and the ease of carrying through the bush, the bow mounted quiver has no flaws. Well, except for one.
A bow mounted quiver significantly changes the way your bow balances in your hand. Some people like the added weight, some don’t. There is no better or worse, it’s just important to note that there is a big difference.
In archery, repeatability is your success. The addition or subtraction of your bow mounted quiver will change the way that you shoot, even if you think you shoot the same either way. You may not notice a difference out to 40 or 50 yards, but beyond that you may start to see a difference in your accuracy with or without your quiver. My point here is that you should always be shooting your bow the same way no matter what. If you get into a habit of sometimes shooting with your quiver, and sometimes without, you are harming your ability to develop muscle memory for your bow.
When I shoot my bow, I don’t want to think about it. I want the entire process from drawing to firing to be an automatic act that happens with as little thought as possible, because I have done it so many times my body just does it without thinking. It’s like the act of walking, you don’t even realize you are doing it.
Now, there is a common notion out there that some bow mounted quivers may make you shoot better by having them mounted to your bow. This is false, and here is why.
A quiver, when loaded with arrows is a significant addition of weight to your bow. When a bow comes out of the factory, it is much like a car or truck. The factory designs them in such a way that they are perfectly balanced, and nearly as shootable as they can be right out of the factory. When you buy a new truck, the factory has made it as fuel efficient as it can be. As soon as you swap out the tires for some mud terrains, or add a leveling kit, you will notice that your fuel economy drops. The factory makes them as efficient as they can, therefore anything that you do to it will likely negatively impact the efficiency.
When you add a large amount of weight such as a quiver to your bow, you are upsetting the balance of the bow, and the way that it will hold when you shoot it. You will be constantly fighting to keep that bow balanced at full draw.
At this point in the argument, I am often presented with the existence of stabilizers as a counter. A bow mounted quiver is not like a stabilizer in that a stabilizer strategically adds weight to the lower half of your bow, unlike a bow mounted quiver which adds weight to one side of the bow, and generally towards the top. If this was good for accuracy, people would be adding stabilizers to the top of their bow... it just doesn’t work.
This is not the biggest issue with a bow mounted quiver though. The biggest issue lies in the fact that a quiver, which is loaded with arrows, acts like a sail. When you put that loaded quiver on your bow, and try to shoot in a crosswind, you are adding a massive drag enhancing factor to your bow. The wind will hit your arrows and your vanes and push you around. There is no argument here, that will hurt your accuracy.
As I mentioned at the beginning, I am a huge fan of the bow mounted quiver. Yes, I know I just spent about 600 words describing their flaws but allow me to finish.
The bow mounted quiver is the simplest way for me to carry arrows on a hunt. I can drop my pack and go. Hip quivers can do this, but they present a mobility problem. Back quivers can do this, but they can be a challenge to carry with a backpack. A bow mounted quiver solves this. So, how to we get around the issue of a bow mounted quiver being a detriment to your accuracy?
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Should you take the quiver off before shooting?
In the past decade of my hunting career, I have gotten into a habit of popping my quick release bow mounted quiver off my bow for every shot I take. I don’t even consider shooting with it on my bow. Contrary to what your initial thought may be, no – this has never presented a problem for me in a hunting scenario.
If an animal is so alert to my presence that I feel like I can’t take my quiver off, then the odds of me drawing my bow back successfully are almost zero anyway. In a tree stand or blind, it is natural to take my quiver off and hang it beside me. In the odd spot and stalk scenario where I must let down from full draw and move in pursuit of the animal, I simply wrap my left index finger over my arrow to prevent it from moving on the shelf and grab my quiver. If I am hunting with someone else, they will grab it for me as we move.
It is worth noting at this point, that this only works with quick release type quivers... a consideration the next time you are quiver shopping perhaps.
In conclusion, I believe that the bow mounted quiver is the best solution to the problem of how to carry arrows on a hunt. I also believe that it should not even be considered as an option to shoot with while mounted to your bow. It may feel strange at first but trust me when I say it becomes second nature to remove it prior to any shot. Your accuracy (especially at long range and in wind) will thank you when you drop that quiver before your shot!
If you regularly shoot with your quiver on your bow, I challenge you to drop it for a few weeks this summer. You might just surprise yourself! Your groups may tighten, and your max range may increase! When the game we play involves the lives of other animals, I believe it to be our duty to take every step we can in increasing our accuracy and lethality!
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