A lot has been written about bow quivers and whether or not they affect accuracy. I’ve personally used bow quivers for more than 25 years. However, through extensive testing of my own and collaborating with other dedicated, accuracy driven bowhunters, I’ve learned that bow quivers do indeed impact shot-to-shot consistency, sometimes only slightly, but other times quite noticeably, depending on the setup, broadhead/arrow combination, and shooting scenario.
As sort of an archery perfectionist, I decided to hunt almost exclusively without a quiver attached to my bow. Since doing this some 15-plus years ago, I’ve noticed greater consistency in my shooting, particularly in the bowhunting woods when I’m cold and tired, or when shooting in the wind. Of course, the main downside to going sans quiver is that your arrows are always getting in the way somehow. For some archers, this can be a real pain.
This is why bow quivers reign in popularity. They offer supreme convenience — keeping your arrows quick at hand, where you can see and control them at all times.
Fortunately, it is possible to achieve the best of both worlds when using a bow quiver — accuracy and convenience. Here’s how to do it.
Choose A Solid Design
When it comes to ruggedness, two-piece quivers that bolt directly to the riser are unbeatable. This design supports the hood and gripper portions of the quiver with equal stability, which increases strength and quietness. The downside, of course, is that these systems are not removable, whether for transport, treestand, or ground-blind hunting. Some archers also like to remove their bow quivers when shooting in a stiff crosswind — a situation that can cause the bow to “bounce” excessively due to the wind whipping across the quiver’s hood and arrow fletching, making a solid aim futile. With a two-piece quiver, removing the quiver is not an option.
Fortunately, we now have really good one-piece, removable quivers to solve this problem. One of the best is the TightSpot quiver. I’ve used this quiver in the field, and it has impressed me. This quiver provides extreme strength, stability, and vibration-free performance in a basic one-piece design — something unheard of from past quick-detach models.
The bottom line is that regardless of the design, a quiver must yield tremendous torsional qualities to remain quiet and vibration-free during the shot. A quiver that “flexes” easily (tested by moving it from side to side with your hand) will disrupt a bow’s regular shooting frequency. Removing one or two arrows from the quiver can also alter the bow’s movement at the shot. The key is to minimize any changes in this vibrational pitch (caused by a “flexible” bracket or loose hood, for example) to keep the bow’s movement as consistent as possible. This will lessen shooting noise and improve accuracy from shot to shot.
Make It Hug The Bow
Hand torque is the main nemesis to shooting accuracy. A bow quiver, theoretically, causes the same form of torque, since it creates unwieldly weight to the side of the bow’s riser. During the aiming process, the shooter then rotates the bow slightly to re-level the bow. But as the arrow is fired and dynamic forces take over, the grip naturally returns to position, causing a slight bit of riser torque to occur.
The degree of torque is a product of weight and leverage. In other words, the lighter your quiver and the less it sticks out from the bow, the better.
To achieve a close-fitting design, I prefer to shorten/modify the support stems on two-piece quivers, so the hood and gripper move in closer toward the riser, given there’s adequate clearance for the limbs and arrow rest to work (please, you must use extreme caution with this step as it could cause injury and void the bow’s warranty). The TightSpot one-piece quiver shines in this area, allowing for virtually any position to create a close hug to the bow.
Another great benefit to a low-profile quiver is that it not only improves shooting accuracy and aiming, but also enhances the carrying balance of the bow as you hike, still-hunt, or stalk for game.
Now, despite your best efforts in choosing a solid quiver, this may not be enough to rid the bow’s dreaded lopsided feel. If this is the case, adding a small counterweight to the other side of the riser to equalize the weight distribution may be just what’s needed. I often use a rear offset bracket in addition to a small counterweight to achieve this effect. Bee Stinger, Cartel, Doinker, and Easton, among others, all make these versatile and adjustable single “V-bar” brackets. I’ve found that such a system maximizes balance and aiming stability when using a bow quiver. I use a fairly small counterweight and stem to keep the bow light and streamlined for serious spot-and-stalk hunting. Many discriminating bowhunters also like to use “back bar” stabilizers (like Bee Stinger’s Sport Hunter Xtreme) to achieve this same effect.
Find The Right Arrow Combination
I’ve used a shooting machine in a controlled indoor setting to test numerous broadhead and fletching combinations while using a bow-attached quiver. What I’ve found, while working with archery engineers on the project, is that low-profile mechanical broadheads yield the best group sizes, despite subsequently moving one to two arrows from the quiver. The point of impact from one group size to another (as more arrows are drawn from the quiver) was minimal at a 45-yard shooting distance, compared to moderately sized fixed-blade broadheads. At the time of this testing, I did not examine the accuracy of some of today’s ultra-compact fixed-blade broadheads, which may produce results similar to the mechanical heads that were tested. I also examined quiver accuracy exclusively from 45 yards. In theory, the further the shooting distance, the greater the affect a quiver will have on accuracy.
With this in mind, I would encourage you to experiment with different broadhead/fletching combinations to examine the accuracy variation. Sometimes, a small change in your arrow setup could yield the shooting consistency you’re looking for.
Bow quivers are incredibly handy in the woods, which is why nine out of 10 bowhunters will use one. However, they can hinder accuracy to some degree depending on the quiver’s design, the shooting distance, and the arrow combination. But, by employing a few small setup details, bow quivers really can give you the best of both worlds — convenience and accuracy all in one!