How to shoot in the rain

What a pain. Shooting in the rain is no joke, it can certainly throw you off your game just enough that you think you’re not shooting well enough. Trust me I’ve been there and will be again, no one will go though their archery career without shooting in the rain. But hopefully by the end of this article it’ll be a little easier for you.

Tricks for shooting in the rain are as follows:

  • Check Strength of the rain
  • Tune your Release
  • Stay Warm
  • Wrap up your Bow
  • Clean your sight

I know it’s looking gloomy outside but by the end of this you’ll be a pro.

Check strength of the Rain

The first thing I do when shooting in the rain is check the strength of the rain. You will definitely know heavy rain from light rain. Heavy rain is the worst to shoot in. It’s relentless and the whole time you are soaked. When you’re up at full draw the rain is constantly splashing down on you making your bow feel even heavier. 

If there’s ever an upside to rain it’s this. Rain is a hell of a lot more consistent than wind is. Rain will usually fall in the one direction be it straight down or to the side. Either which way it’s going you can adjust for it. 

The heavier the rain is the more clicks you’re going to have to put in your sight to get the arrows back in the centre. Don’t be surprised if you need to go one full rotation or two if the rain is that heavy. Here’s why. 

While we are up and full draw the rains coming down on you making you work harder to keep the pin in the middle. The next reason is that when we shoot the arrow the rain is still coming down on the arrow mid flight causing it to drop more. Or in the case of sideways rain it can be down and out to the left or right. 

With light rain it’s a lot easier to manage. Light rain is usually just a passing drizzle that will be gone in a couple minutes. But I still would give my sight 2 clicks down when the rain starts. 

You especially need to pay attention to the rain mid competition. When that light rain starts and everyone goes up and shoots a low 9 you’ll be the only one still banging them into the 10. It can be the difference between 1st and 2nd place so do try remember it. 

Tune your Release

When shooting in the rain everything slows down a bit. You’re colder and you’re using more energy to shoot your bow than you should. So what I like to do when in the rain is, I lighten up my release aid. So because my shots are happening a little bit faster I save that energy that I would’ve used at full draw. This is a tricky one to nail I’ll grant you, you have to know how much to offset your release by to make this work. Anywhere in between a 1/4 – 1/2 turn on your tension screw will be enough for this. We don’t want to change your release aid completely we just want to make the shot happen a second to a half second faster to save you that energy.

Any more than that and you’ll have changed your shot too much.  

Personally I go for the 1/2 turn to make the shot happen just a bit quicker. But what I do aswell as that, after a day in shooting in the rain I’ll always replace my grip tape on the release. 

Whenever I shoot with tape on my release that’s been in the rain the shot just never feels good whatsoever. Especially then if I shoot that release in the rain. So if you do wrap your release aid change out the tape, you’ll be glad you did. 

Stay Warm

This ones a no brainer, but there are some things you can do to stay warmer than anyone else on the field.

When shooting in the rain everything is a little tougher. Everything to shooting arrows to scoring them. So we got to stay warm and keep some strength while you can because trust me you’ll use a lot of it. There’s a couple things you can do to stay warm.

Under Armour

Under armour is gods greatest gift. It’s saved me countless times. There’s different types of under armour which I didn’t realise so you gotta be careful which ones you buy. 

There’s under armour to keep you warm and then there’s under armour to keep the heat out of you. I had one set of each (thinking they were all supposed to me keeping the heat in) and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get warm in one set of them. And then of course it was pointed out to me. So moral of the story is check that the under armour you’re wearing is designed to keep heat in or out. 

Hand Warmers

Hand warmers are excellent. I could just leave it at that because anyone who has used a hand warmer in competition before will agree with me. But let me convince you some more. 

As previously mentioned everything slows down a bit in competition when it’s raining, that is because your fingers are cold that you can’t properly execute a shot. But what if they weren’t feeding cold. What I do is I put the hand warmer into my release aid pouch and put my hand in the pouch. That way it is heating my hand and my release aid at the same time. Which is key when shooting in the rain. The fact that it heats both means even if you didn’t have your hand in your pouch means when you grab your release aid you’ll still get a wave of heat off of it. 

You can find hand wramers here!

Have a Coffee

Now I don’t drink coffee or any kind of hot drink for that matter, but when it’s raining down you’ll definitely see me go get one. A hot coffee is one of the best things to hold in the rain it’ll get the blood flowing in your fingers again in no time at all. 

With those three things you can’t go wrong with keeping your self warm in the rain. But enough about you… let’s talk about your bow. 

Wrap your Bow

I often get asked why I have a towel attached to my quiver, well when it starts raining it gets put to good use. There’s two things I want to protect from the rain on my bow. The bows grip and the sight. 

So be prepared at your next competition, have a towel that is long enough that it can cover both the grip and the scope. When you’re going up to score and collect your arrows you’ll come back to a grip and scope that are dry, which again is a game changer. It means your hand isn’t getting too cold being on the bow which in turn saves you some strength. 

But get into the habit of every time after you shoot out your bow down and wrap it up. The longer you leave it out the wetter it’s going to get. 

Clear your Sight

The most annoying part about shooting in the rain isn’t the cold and the dampness, it’s your sight picture. I know you know what I’m talking about. When you get to full draw and you can barely see your pin or the 10 with the rain droplets in your scope. It’s the most annoying thing in the whole world. But lucky for you I have a solution. 

Now what you can do is screw off your lens and wipe it with a towel, but to be honest with you in my experience when your towels already wet your just pushing the water around your lens so it doesn’t really work. Instead here’s what you do. 

Beiter offer a fantastic rain shade. It’s long enough to cover your scope from the rain wile your at full draw. But even if you can’t seem to get it you can make your own rain shade out of pretty much anything. Piece of cardboard lying around, plastic, hell even the inside of a toilet paper roll would do ya! But a rain shade is an absolute must for keeping the rain out of your scope. 

But even with a rain shade you’ll still always have a little bit of rain in your scope. And that’s where this tool comes in. A dust blower is amazing at getting rid of rain from your scope. All you need to do is get it as close to the lens as possible and squeeze it’ll blow the rain right out of there. It has been an absolute life saver in competitions for me and it can be for you too. 

Dust blowers are sometimes hard to comeby but you cab find them here

Rogan Cunningham

Rogan Cunningham is an archer and writer for He's a proud member of the National Archery Squad. He writes about his archery training, shooting, and traveling with the national archery team, and he also reviews all kinds of archery kit. He only writes about archery, what can I tell you?..... He's an Archer!

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