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Average Wind in Toronto - Archery, Adjusting for Wind

August is the least windy month in Toronto - on average. In contrast January is the most windy month. Clearly this means doing archery in August will be more accurate due to less wind. But how do the other months stack up?

Average Wind Speeds in Toronto, Historical Averages
  • January - 18 kmph
  • February - 17 kmph
  • March - 17 kmph
  • April - 17 kmph
  • May - 14 kmph
  • June - 13 kmph
  • July - 13 kmph
  • August - 12 kmph
  • September - 13 kmph
  • October - 14 kmph
  • November - 16 kmph
  • December - 17 kmph
So as an archer if you want to avoid wind, August is a clear choice. However August is also the 2nd hottest time of year (#1 being July) in Toronto, so there may be other factors to consider.

eg. April, May, June, September and October are considered to be the best times of year temperature wise. Not too hot, not too cold.

Of course maybe you are one of those archers who love a challenge. Who embrace the wind and wnt to learn from it. In which case, you want to learn how to adjust for the wind conditions. It is definitely not impossible to maintain accuracy in these conditions however, you'll just have to modify your shooting patterns a little bit and understand the physics of what happens to your arrow in flight.

Regarding Equipment

Your equipment can have some serious effects, in addition to the wind. If you know you're going to be shooting on a heavier day there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

Heavier arrows will always tend to fly better in the wind. This might seem counter-intuitive since they'll fly at a lower speed and thus are exposed to the wind's effect for longer but they'll maintain a truer course in windy situations thanks to their weight adding to their forward momentum. The heavier the arrow, the less wind can push it. You can plan ahead for this if you know you are going to be shooting on a windy day and bring your heaviest arrows.

Thinner arrows will naturally be less effected by the wind as well. This in theory makes a heavy, thin arrow the easiest to shoot in the wind, but good luck finding both of those qualities in an arrow.

Smaller fletching on your arrows also makes a difference. Larger fletch is more effected by the wind, smaller fletch is less effected. So having heavy arrows with tiny fletching is more accurate in wind.

Your bow's profile can also play an effect, particularly in heavier crosswinds. You'll have to compensate in the direction of the wind in order to stay on target. This can mean removing some accessories depending on your shooting style, but a heavier bow will also be less effected by the wind - and a bottom heavy bow will be more accurate.

Aiming with a Sight

If you use sights on your bow and do target shooting they can make things a bit easier on you as you can learn to shoot at 3 o'clock or 9 o'clock on the target. If your arrows are dipping due to lost speed in windy conditions you might even aim at 2 o'clock or 10 o'clock.

Head Wind - Slightly higher, 12 o'clock.
Tail Wind - Slightly lower, 6 o'clock.
Cross Wind - 3 or 9 o'clock. (Or sometimes higher.)

And if the wind is coming from angles, a bit of head wind + cross wind for example, then you might find yourself aiming at 1, 2, 10 or 11 o'clock in order to have a more centered shot that is the correct height.

Cross winds will often slow your arrow down so you may find you have to aim closer to 9:30 or 2:30.

Traditional Aiming or Gap Shooting

If you are aiming off the arrow (Traditional Aiming) or Gap Shooting (similar to Traditional Aiming, but you are looking at the gap between the target and the side of the bow) then you will make similar adjustments just like you would with a sight, but you have to imagine and guess how much adjustment you need to do. eg. For gap shooting you might be shrinking or widening the gap, while aiming a bit higher depending on wind direction and power.

How The Wind Affects Your Arrows
  • A wind blowing from 12 o'clock will not cause sideways drift, but will slow it down.
  • A wind blowing 1 or 11 o'clock will cause a little sideways drift and slow it down.
  • At 2 or 10 o'clock the sideways drift will be stronger, but the arrow will only slow down a more moderate amount.
  • At 3 or 9 o'clock you're at a direct crosswind and the arrow will definitely have sideways drift, but it should only be slowed down marginally.
  • At 4 or 8 o'clock you will see sideways drift, but the height should not be effected as much because the tailwind is giving it a bit of a push.
  • At 5 or 7 o'clock most of what you will see it tailwind with a little sideways drift.
  • At 6 o'clock you'll be at a tailwind, your arrows will go faster and slightly higher.
Fluctuating Wind Directions and Power

Whenever possible try to pay attention to the following and adjust accordingly:
  • Which way flags are going. Wind socks are also handy.
  • Which way trees and/or grass are going.
  • Gusts - either wait for a gust to stop or adjust more than normal. Being patient and waiting is your best bet for accuracy as a gust can end at any time.
  • Stable wind from one solid direction is a good time to shoot.
  • Fluctuating winds form different directions can really cause problems.
  • Don't worry what the wind or flags are doing behind the target, worry what the wind is doing in front of the target - preferably at half the distance.
Don't Forget the Wind is also Pushing You

Depending on how much you physically weigh, the wind can also be pushing YOU sideways too, thus causing you to be less stable during a shot. The best solution for this problem is to tighten up your abdominal muscles that your core (belly and chest area of your torso) remains stable.

Alternatively it is also possible to try and shoot from a position where you are less effected by the wind, such as a bowhunter who is stalking and trying to shoot a deer might decide to shoot from a different angle where trees or a hill might give them more protection from the wind.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much wind is too much?

Honestly, I find 30 kmph or more is quite a bit. Definitely more challenging, but not impossible. 40 kmph or more is when you might as well not even bother. 50 kmph or more is basically a windstorm. Seek shelter.

Is there any equipment I can buy to compensate for the wind?

Asides from heavier arrows with smaller fletching, yes, buy flags! Flags will help you learn how to look at the wind and adjust for the wind accordingly. Or failing to get a flag, try to get a wind sock, weather vane, or something that tells you what the wind is doing.


Any Questions?

If I left anything out please leave any questions in the comments below and I will respond to your questions ASAP.

Also for fun, here is scene from Game of Thrones:


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