Skip to main content

A Quick Fix for Fuzzy Sight Pins

A Quick Fix for Fuzzy Sight Pins

At 48, I found myself dealing with a new piece of equipment - reading glasses. They were regularly misplaced, and easily broken. I bought them in bulk and stored them in vehicles, the bathroom, in my shop, and in the garage.

I recalled grumblings of other archers, older than me, that the sport had lost its appeal. Some quit, while some switched to shooting traditional equipment where they focused on the target and shot instinctively, rather than trying to pick a blurry sight pin.

Unfocused

The little white lies didn't register with me until I felt those same frustrations. I can see my target in the distance fine; actually anything beyond "arm's length" is easily focused on, but the sight pins were blurry and had an odd, crescent-shaped glow high and left of each pin. Adding to the issue of clarity was my problem with acquiring the target in lowlight conditions quickly enough to place my pin correctly.

Bowhunting situations are usually very fluid, and they typically occur at times of low light. Those situations share little comparison to shooting at the range on a nice day. I couldn't shoot with my reading glasses on, and I couldn't see well enough to shoot accurately without them.


The sum of my 2013 hunting season was zero. The Midwest drought, and subsequent EHD outbreaks, had something to do with it. But that obviously wasn't the whole reason for my lack of success. At the conclusion of the year, my confidence was just as fuzzy as my sight pins. I now understood the reasons for those white lies. Something had to change. I didn't want to stop shooting the equipment I worked hard at to shoot well, but I needed help understanding what options were available to me.


According to my family's optometrist, Dr. Terry Carney, the reason for all these issues was presbyopia. Like it had done to me, it will affect most persons by their fourth decade in life. When you begin extending your arms to read your new issue of Bowhunter, you may be suffering from the same fate. The medical world believes that this age-related condition is caused by the thickening of the lenses in your eyes and a resulting loss of flexibility.

My optometrist, Dr. Terry Carney explains the construction of the eye and how the natural lens in your eye is affected with age by presbyopia, as well as by the development of cataracts.

This has nothing to do with nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism that can require you to use glasses at a younger age. Those conditions are related to the shape of the eye. Presbyopia will eventually affect persons with those pre-existing eye issues, too.

Refocused

I sought equipment advice from my friends at BB Archery in Raytown, Missouri. I trust them, and I knew they had stocked many of the products that I had researched. They installed a peep sight from Specialty Archery Products in place of the aluminum peep sight I've used for years. The Verifier peep system they installed was created to help correct my symptoms.


This is one of two systems developed by this company to aid archers and bowhunters with vision problems. The Verifier uses a lens that screws into the peep housing that's tied into your string. The tiny lens in the string performs similarly to your reading glasses, and lenses of different magnifcations are available to let you focus on things (sight pins) closer to your face.

Here the Verifier peep assembly is shown installed in the string. This is only slightly larger than some large-aperture hunting peeps

To select the correct lens, I used a tool that Specialty Archery Products provides to their dealers that holds the selection of peep lenses and allows you to look through them for comparison.


You hold the peeps to your eye and focus on the fiber-optic pin in the handle extended at arm's length, just like when you're shooting. It's important to focus on the target and pin to select the lens that allows you to see both the target or sight pins clearly. There is going to be some compromise. I obviously wanted to see my sight pins more clearly, so I sacrificed my target view slightly to achieve that. The selection tool lets you make the best choice that minimizes the discrepancy.

Selecting the proper power Verifier is done with a selector that houses the various peeps in a rotating housing, and a handle with a fiber-optic pin to focus on.

Specialty's Clarifier peep system is designed to work in conjunction with a second scope lens. This peep system is designed to use both lenses to clear the target picture. I've installed this system on a target bow, but it isn't my preference for hunting. With the Verifier peep installed, I could now focus the selected pin on my target again. So I turned my efforts towards seeing my sight better in low light.

The Verifier peep comes in two diameters. Based on my study, a person in their 60s will require three times more ambient light than a person in their 20s. This is caused by the aging eye's weakening of the muscles that control the pupil. The pupil size actually decreases as we get older. The smaller pupil size is also less responsive, and weaker pupil muscles struggle with changes in ambient light. Thus, the bigger peep opening lets me see the target easier in low light.

The Verifier peep sight assembly includes an insert with a lens that screws into the peep housing using a small plastic wrench.

When I typed in "affects of age on our eyes" in the search engine, I found dozens of sites that gave me information. I also consulted Dr. Carney, who helped me understand some of my concerns related to my sight-picture issues. It was apparent to me that the yellow pins on my sight were nearly worthless on early morning or late-evening hunts. I could see the fluorescent-green pins best during those times, and the red pins were a distant second. My research led me to a site that did a study on which range of color was most easily perceived and identified by older drivers. That study found that green/yellow hues were the most easily processed by their participants. Maybe I was onto something.

"You're halfway to a cataract, Shawn," Dr. Carney would remind me at my annual appointments. Quite honestly, that scared me when I first heard it. He explained I have a few decades (hopefully) before it becomes a real issue. The development of a cataract is associated with exposure to sunlight. This eye disease also affects the lens in your aging eye. Senile cataracts cause the lens to yellow, or even become opaque, affecting the amount of light that reaches your retina. The yellowing of the lens also changes how you perceive colors. The fix for cataracts is a surgical operation that removes the natural lens and replaces it with an artificial lens. This operation is now very commonplace, and the artificial lenses that are used can also help correct other vision issues.

The green fiber-optic strand more closely matches the color spectrum that is most easily seen by older eyes.

To modify my sight in an attempt to correct the color issues, I took one of my Spot-Hogg sights and had all the pins changed to fluorescent green. Then I stepped down the pin diameter from the biggest .029" down to .019", and for the longest settings .010". The smaller diameter is tough to see, but at those distances I don't want to cover up my target. The need for clear pins was justified. This sight uses a housing that holds additional fiber wrapped around the sight guard. That "wrap" has a translucent cover that protects the fiber while allowing additional light to reach the longer length of fiber. This combination really makes the pins pop.

The Focal Point

Going into 2014, I was ready to shoot, but I wasn't totally confident. I spent the cold months of January, February and March shooting indoors, tweaking things to meet my style while improving my confidence. I enjoy the challenge of target shooting, but these efforts were implemented to improve my capabilities in hunting situations.

This robust Eastern tom lived along Vermillion Creek in northeast Kansas and spent the better part of a day avoiding my decoys. The long shadows of after-noon sent him on a trip back to the roost, and in harm's way.

By April, I was itching to test my abilities in the field. Turkey season began on April 1, and I was able to get into the field on the morning of April 5. I tagged my first big tom that morning along the edge of a fog-shrouded riverbottom. I remember seeing my pin floating at the base of the bird's tail as he lost interest in my decoy and had started walking away. I followed up that turkey hunt a month later with a well-placed, bright-green pin sitting on top of a sneaky tom's drumsticks. He quietly worked his way into my decoy set and was broadside when my arrow dumped him right by my blind. I was very pleased with how 2014 had started.

Summer came, and I continued my efforts on the 3-D range in preparation for deer season. I was unsuccessful in drawing any out-of-state tags, so I was focused on a Kansas whitetail or mule deer.

I took off the second week of November, because it's typically a great week to catch rutting bucks pursuing does. This year the weather became a factor, with severely plummeting temperatures slowing down the deer activity. The other thing that age has brought (it's not all bad) is my willingness to spend all day on stand for a glimpse of a good buck. The unusually cold weather was limiting my time on stand, but I didn't want to waste all the work I'd put into this season.

The brutal cold gave way on a Thursday morning. It was 20 degrees before sunrise, and that change triggered an explosion of activity. By midmorning, I'd seen a number of deer, including two nice bucks I hoped would offer me a shot. By now I had beaten my previous morning's curfew, and I could still feel my fingers and toes.

At about 10:30, I heard the rhythmic steps of a deer behind me. It was following the riverbank and approaching quickly. The doe appeared on the trail to my right, and she walked past me with a purpose. She disappeared in the cedars in front of me, and I settled back into my seat. I was just beginning to scan the riverbottom again, when suddenly the doe blasted back through the wall of cedars with a buck in tow.

I swung my bow into the open area below my stand, and waited for my shot as the doe passed by.

When the buck came into view, I framed him in my sight housing and shot as my pin aligned with the trailing edge of the buck's right shoulder blade. It all happened so fast that the deer seemed to be unphased when he stopped behind my location and proceeded to follow the doe into the thicket. I was questioning my own eyes once again. I couldn't confirm the shot, because I never saw the red-coated arrow in the duff below me. My concerns were erased when I heard a crash and a heavy thud. My aim had been true.

This heavy buck lost a tine in the throes of the rut, and if he hadn't lost his right G-3, he would have been a mid-130s buck with good tine length and mass.

What a difference a year makes. Clichés like "Aim small, miss small" or "Pick a hair," can be cruel when you reach your "reading-glasses" stage of life. I didn't want to find a new hobby, or completely change my shooting style, so something had to change.

I've made the transition, one that age won't let me turn back. And you can do the same. It requires you to research and revise equipment to improve your situation, as well as to invest yourself in the process of change. It's your choice. You can continue to compete and enjoy your time in the field and on stand, or you can lose that focus and resort to telling little white lies.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

New for 2021: Mathews V3 27 & 31 Bows

New for 2021: Mathews V3 27 & 31 Bows

After a fall of testing new 2021 Mathews products on the road as he filmed new episodes for Bowhunter Magazine's television program, editor Curt Wells had an exciting visit with Mark Hayes, Mathews design engineer, as the pair looked at the new V3 27 and V3 31 bows.

Tree Saddle Hunting: Best Tree-Climbing Sticks

Tree Saddle Hunting: Best Tree-Climbing Sticks

Sectional sticks are the most popular tree-climbing method among saddle enthusiasts because sticks are safe, effective, easy to use, and you only have to hang three or four of them to reach heights of 17-22 feet if you add a lightweight climbing aider.

Texas Hog and Whitetail Hunt

Texas Hog and Whitetail Hunt

Bowhunter TV Editor Derek Mleynek sets up for some hog and whitetail hunting at Canyon Ranch in Texas.

Tree Saddle Hunting: Best New Climbing Aider Options

Tree Saddle Hunting: Best New Climbing Aider Options

A climbing aider is a device that you use in conjunction with a stick that helps you gain more height per stick, but at the addition of very little weight to the stick setup. An aider can provide one or two more steps per each stick section, thereby greatly increasing height potential when needed and allowing you to carry fewer total sticks to gain a specific height.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

A recent study examines what does look for when choosing a mate.Does Antler Size Really Matter To Does? Whitetail

Does Antler Size Really Matter To Does?

C.J. Winand

A recent study examines what does look for when choosing a mate.

The public needs to understand the value of harvested and consumed wild game.Understanding the Value of a Wild Game Harvest Industry

Understanding the Value of a Wild Game Harvest

Dr. Dave Samuel

The public needs to understand the value of harvested and consumed wild game.

New for 2021, here's a look at the new Rage Trypan NC, Nockturnal Shift Nock, Carbon Express Maxima RED Contour and D-Stroyer PileDRIVER arrows.New for 2021: Rage Broadhead, Nockturnal Nock, Carbon Express Arrows ATA Show

New for 2021: Rage Broadhead, Nockturnal Nock, Carbon Express Arrows

Curt Wells - January 19, 2021

New for 2021, here's a look at the new Rage Trypan NC, Nockturnal Shift Nock, Carbon Express...

It's important for bowhunters to adapt to the ever-changing scenarios & shot angles on the fly. Treestand Shot Selection for Bowhunters How-To

Treestand Shot Selection for Bowhunters

Tony J. Peterson

It's important for bowhunters to adapt to the ever-changing scenarios & shot angles on the...

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

You'll likely have to deal with a lack of destination food sources on public land. Summer Deer Scouting on Public Land Scouting Tools

Summer Deer Scouting on Public Land

Tony J. Peterson

You'll likely have to deal with a lack of destination food sources on public land.

Don't let the wind ruin your next shot. Follow these steps for improved shooting performance. Bowhunting Accuracy in High Winds How-To

Bowhunting Accuracy in High Winds

Joe Bell

Don't let the wind ruin your next shot. Follow these steps for improved shooting performance.

Taking long-distance shots at big-game animals has become acceptable, but here's why it isn't the ethical choice.Is it Ethical to Take Long-Distance Bowhunting Shots? Conservation

Is it Ethical to Take Long-Distance Bowhunting Shots?

Curt Wells

Taking long-distance shots at big-game animals has become acceptable, but here's why it isn't...

Once the arrow is off, there are no do-overs. To ensure a successful outcome, listen to your gut — it's seldom wrong.Deciphering The Shot: Be Patient Until You're Sure How-To

Deciphering The Shot: Be Patient Until You're Sure

Joe Bell

Once the arrow is off, there are no do-overs. To ensure a successful outcome, listen to your...

See More How-To

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Bowhunter App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Bowhunter subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now