By Mark V. Lonsdale, Shaft Shooters Archery
Just as the recon scout goes ahead of the troops to identify the best path forward, the scout arrow tells the archer where he or she needs to aim or adjust for local conditions.
After stretching out and warming up with a couple of sets, the archer should begin to have a feel for where arrows are impacting for a given range, wind, or lighting conditions. Shooting with the sun on the right, behind, or on the left can all change the alignment of string blur, as can indoor lighting. So knowing that your bow is in tune, the scout arrow will indicate the adjustment you may need to make for a given time and and location.
In the example above, and knowing that this barebow was shooting point-on the X the previous day at 30 yards, the first arrow went left into the 9 ring. The only change was the morning sun being on the right and changing the appearance of the string blur. By aiming at the 9 to the right of center brought the arrows back into the 10 and X rings.
This is equally important when shooting in gusty conditions. The trick is to identify how much the wind is pushing the arrow left or right at a given wind strength, and then attempting to release all arrows at the same wind strength.