That depends on who you ask.
The bottom line about paper tuning is you should do it if its important to you, but don’t sweat it if you don’t have access to a paper tuner.
A good pro-shop technician can set up a bow that will be very close to being in tune. If your field points and broadhead’s hit the same spot, why worry about it?
If you notice a kick in your arrows, or if your broadheads and field points hit far apart, paper tuning can be a great tool for correcting both problems.
When paper tuning a bow, shoot through a large enough piece of paper to cover a target behind the paper.
Stand about 5 yards in front of the paper and pick a spot on the paper and shoot (picture 1). The hole made by the arrow tells you what your arrow is doing as it flies.
What you are looking for is a nice clean hole through the paper — a round hole with three perfect slits around it where the fletchings passed through (picture 2).
Don’t expect perfection, however. It’s very rare to get a perfect hole the first time you shoot a bow through paper.
Hopefully you won’t see a tear as bad as the one shown in picture 3. This tear shows an arrow that entered the paper with the back end of the arrow kicking to the left.
The good news is the type of tear tells you how to adjust your rest. For this particular tear, move your rest to the right in small increments and check your progress by shooting through the paper after each adjustment.
If you get a tear that shows an up-and-down problem in addition to a left-right problem, fix the up-down (nocking point) problem first. This can be done either by raising or lowering the rest, or by raising or lowering the nocking point. Sometimes adjusting the nocking point will fix a left or right tear as well.
Paper tuning is a great way to get your bow shooting smooth, consistent arrows. Probably the biggest benefit is your broadheads and field points should hit very close to the same spot, although you might need a little more rest adjustment for perfect broadhead/field-point impact.
There are ways to tune your bow without paper, however. The walk-back tuning method works well, and there’s a wealth of tuning information available online. You can download a fantastic printout on tuning and maintaining your bow from the Easton website at http://www.eastonarchery.com/pdf/tuning_guide.pdf
Reader Tip of the Week: Get dialed in and remember it!
Most folks have different ways of remembering things. Personally after I get my bow sighted in, I use my cell phone to take close-up pictures of all my sight settings. This way if I bump my sight in the field, I can reference the pictures, and make a quick adjustment that limits the number of shots I need to get sighted back in. Most all of us have a cell phone with a camera and we usually always have it with us. This is a great way to get dialed and stay dialed in. -- Denny Calvert - Claysville, PA