For many years a debate has raged among bowhunters concerning whether or not using a quiver attached to your hunting bow affects shooting accuracy. This debate was fueled a decade or so ago when a prominent bowhunting celebrity began marketing his own hip quiver, telling his readers that unless they took their quivers off their bows they would never be top-notch field shots.
To sum up whats been discovered and realized since that time, using a bow-attached quiver will certainly affect your shooting. However, under most bowhunting situations the degree that it does so is so insignificant as to be inconsequential.
One deer hunter has been in the archery business for decades. For many years he owned Sagittarius, a quiver manufacturer that marketed quivers directly to consumers as well as under private labels to several major bow makers. He currently works in an archery pro shop as well as does p/r for several archery accessory companies. Here’s what he has to say.
“I don’t believe that most people can see the difference, once they start shooting the bow with a quiver full of arrows. You definitely have to tune the bow and sight it in with the quiver attached, then you’ll be used to it and it will not significantly affect accuracy.”
“A bow quiver can be heavy when full of hunting arrows, making it harder to steadily hold the bow up when aiming and shooting,” he said. “However, this is minimal. It has been found that a lot of guys have gone to using quivers that hold 4 or 5 arrows rather than the 8-arrow quivers that were popular a decade ago, even out West, because this lightens the bow up and also reduces mass and vibration.”
To back up his contentions, he did some serious testing using a shooting machine. This machine shoots the bow, eliminating any human discrepancies so that each and every arrow is released exactly the same. Here’s what he found.
“We used the shooting machine so we could see exactly what the differences would be with and without an attached bow quiver and without human error on the shooting. We shot out to 40 yards and shot in excess of 400 arrows, using 4, 6, and 8 arrows in the quiver. All the bows were properly tuned both with and without the quiver attached. We never saw any difference in point of impact between the two. When we went down from 8 arrows to one arrow in the quiver, we did see a point of impact change, but not enough to make any difference in a person’s ability to hit a kill zone in hunting situations out to 40 yards.”
Quiver Design Improvements
Bow quiver design has improved greatly over the years. A shooter can still choose between a two- piece or one-piece quiver. Most one-piece quivers are attached at only one point on the bow, creating a sort of “tuning fork” thing that creates vibration that causes noise. With a two-piece quiver – the most popular type sold today — you have two solid connecting points, with no bar to create vibrations. This style also tends to sit closer to centerline of the bow, making them inherently quieter, as well as helping alleviate imbalances and eliminating torque. “This is critical with a bow quiver,” he says. “The closer to the bow’s center line the quiver sits, the less torque you have.”
Also, some manufacturers have begun building vibration damping systems right into the quiver itself. The leader has been Mathews, Inc., who has added the same patented Vibration Damping System found in its bow risers. They work amazingly well.
Non Bow-Attached Quivers
The hip quiver, as well as some back quivers, remain popular with a small percentage of bowhunters. These shooters feel they shoot a more consistently-accurate arrow if they don’t have a quiver attached. In treestand hunting, detachable quivers like those made by Kwikee Kwiver remain very popular. Here a bracket is attached to the bow, and the quiver snugged into the bracket. The hunter is then able to conveniently transport his arrows to his stand site, where he then removes the arrow-filled quiver and hangs it in the tree within easy reach should a follow-up shot be needed.
Some spot & stalk hunters prefer the hip quiver, but the disadvantages outweigh any small accuracy gain that may result. These disadvantages include the fact that you can’t comfortably sit on the ground with the quiver on your belt, the arrows tend to smack noisily into brush and limbs, and it is very hard to crawl and duck under objects. A bow quiver is the most simple and efficient method of field arrow transport.
One of the nation’s most accomplished professional tournament archers, as well as one of the finest bowhunters has this to say.
“If the question is, do bow quivers affect accuracy, yes or no, then the answer is yes, they do,” he said. “But does this make any real difference in bowhunting? I don’t believe it does. Now, I don’t want to shoot a serious tournament with a bow quiver because they can affect accuracy to a very small degree – and here fractions of an inch can be the difference between winning and losing. But the convenience of the bow quiver when hunting overrides any small accuracy problems. I have also done a little ‘unscientific’ testing of my own to see whether or not accuracy degrades as you remove arrows from a bow quiver. What I found was that any point-of-impact change was so small as to be insignificant. Besides, in bowhunting you generally get no more than one or two shots at an animal, so this is really never a factor.”
Perhaps that’s why the vast majority of bowhunters today choose to carry their arrows with the simplicity and convenience of a bow-attached quiver.