Many people are curious about how to shoot a compound bow the proper way. To some, it may seem confusing, while others may underestimate the skill that goes into consistent and accurate shots.
Although archery and bowhunting are no advanced science, there’s a lot of technique to it. Fortunately, the technique itself is pretty simple. So, do you need ages of practice to become a decent archer? Not really. A few simple tips will take you a long way.
HOW TO SHOOT A COMPOUND BOW
THE RIGHT WAY
A compound bow differs from recurve bows and other traditional varieties in several ways. The elaborate design affects how to fire a compound bow, and the bow will behave differently.
While all these features may seem confusing at first, they actually make everything easier and more effective. The general principles of archery are all the same regardless of bow types, but there are some things that are different when firing a compound bow.
What are the keys to a good shot? Well, you need to get your stance and grip in order, learn the proper aiming technique, stay focused and relaxed, and pull and release the string a certain way.
Thankfully, it’s not very complicated. A few simple steps will get you firing accurate arrows in no time.
1. USING THE RIGHT DRAW WEIGHT
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Also, it affects how to shoot a compound bow. If the draw weight is too high, you’ll struggle to maintain good form. If it’s too low, you must pull the string farther for a powerful shot.
For hunting bows, an appropriate draw weight is between 50 and 65 pounds. Archery bows vary a bit more.
Men’s sports composite bows have a draw weight of 40 to 55 pounds. Meanwhile, women’s bows and youth bows have between 30 and 40 pounds of draw weight. Children’s composite bows are in the 15 to 25-pound range.
2. YOUR STANCE MATTERS
A good shot starts from the bottom and up. Therefore, your stance is essential to how to shoot a compound bow correctly.
First, stand at a right angle to the target. If you’re right-handed, your left side will be toward the target. Your right foot should be just in front of the shooting line with your toes facing forward in a stable and comfortable way.
Are you left-handed? Then, reverse this stance.
Keep your knees somewhat bent and your upper body straight. Also, turn your face toward the target. Your chin should be parallel to the ground, and your eyes focused on the target. Maintain this posture throughout the shot.
Now, many beginners make the mistake of tensing up or keeping their posture too rigid. Relaxing a bit is essential to proper form and accuracy. So, keep everything somewhat relaxed and focus on flowing motions. The knees are important because you use your hips to aim.
3. USE THE CORRECT GRIP
First, center the grip in your palm to distribute the weight evenly between your wrist and fingers. If you hold it too far back or forward, it’ll cause unnecessary strain. And that’s not how to shoot a compound bow properly.
Next, make sure that you can maintain a firm but somewhat relaxed grip. If you grip it too hard, it’ll throw off your shot.
What about your shooting hand then? Well, you’ll want to pull the arrow so that it clicks into the nocking point. Unlike traditional bows, compound bows have a small loop known as the D-loop. The arrow should be in the middle of the straight line, and you hold the curved string when you cock the bow.
If you’re using a release, fasten it around your wrist and then attach the other end to the D-loop behind the arrow. When using a mechanical release, remember to hold your finger behind the trigger to avoid accidental firing.
4. HOW TO AIM PROPERLY
Aiming technique is probably the first thing that comes to mind when considering how to shoot a compound bow. There are a few aspects to keep in mind, but it’s fairly easy.
First, hold your bow perpendicular to the ground, facing your target head-on. For an ideal aim, your elbow should be slightly bent. It’s more comfortable and helps you avoid over-extension when you release the arrow.
When you draw your compound bow, keep this bowing arm aimed right at the target while pulling the string back. You want to draw the string by pulling your shoulder back and slightly rotating your upper torso while keeping everything else still. Your upper back muscles are the source of stability.
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Remember that you’re holding a weapon. Once you’ve drawn the bow with an arrow, you must not point it anywhere other than the target.
Next, find your natural anchor point. This aspect of how to shoot a compound bow is individual, and different archers use different anchor points. For example, your hand may brush against your cheek or ear.
Try a few different anchor points to find your ideal one. What matters is that you pick an anchor point and stick with it to ensure consistency. Some archers also like to touch the tip of their nose to the string as a secondary anchor point.
If you need to adjust your aim from side to side, don’t use your arms. This motion should come from your hips so that you can keep everything steady.
Using the sights
You may be wondering how to shoot a compound bow with optical bow sights. It’s pretty simple, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, pay attention to the dots. They help you gauge the distance to your target. The uppermost dot marks 20 yards, and the rest progress in various increments depending on the make and model. Also, some have adjustable distance markers.
Next, align the appropriate dot with your target. If you need to adjust your aim, keep your motions subtle because they make a big difference. Also, remember to aim with your hips.
How do you choose the right bow sights? See our guide for more information.
5. FOCUS AND RELEASE
Perfecting your aim before letting the arrow fly is all about smooth and subtle movement. Tensing up will only reduce your accuracy. So, take a deep, calming breath and relax your muscles a little before letting go.
Remember, your bowing elbow should remain slightly bent, and the same goes for your knees. Your shoulders should not rise and tense up, and your chin should not drop.
As you draw your bow, keep it aimed at the target and retain your posture. Don’t hold your bow up and down for easier cocking. That will only increase the risk of accidents and requires you to take aim all over again.
If you’re using a mechanical release, using the trigger right is a big part of how to shoot a compound bow accurately. Don’t pull it hard. Instead, lay your fingers on it gently and increase the pressure slowly.
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Otherwise, you’ll reduce your accuracy. Also, continuing the finger motion even after the arrow takes off can help you reduce jerkiness.
When you’re first learning how to shoot a compound bow, the force of the rebounding string can be surprising. The recoil may throw off your aim, make you tense up or loosen your grip. So, it may take a few shots before you get the hang of it.
Another common mistake is to lower the bow too soon. Commit to your shot and keep your bow aimed at the target even after the arrow takes off. Give it a few seconds for good measure. If you’ve watched Olympic archers, you’ve probably noticed that many don’t lower their bows until the arrow hits the target.
ENJOY YOUR ARCHERY SKILLS
By following a few easy steps, you’ll quickly get the hang of how to shoot a compound bow like a pro. Whether you’re a hunter or want to shoot arrows for fun and sports, this simple method will have you landing arrow after arrow with relative ease.
As always, practice makes perfect. But these pointers will reduce the amount of practice necessary.
Are you looking for a new compound bow? Check out our list of the best compound bows on the market.
Featured image by Amazon
Paul Grove has been passionate about hunting for as long as he can remember. He recalls hunting squirrels with his dad’s trusty Winchester Model 63 as early as age 9. As he grew older, his hunting interests, tactics, and gear have refined. He was also fortunate enough to be born in Wisconsin, thus having unhindered access to some of the nation’s best whitetail deer hunting spots. When he’s not chasing deer or other large to massive game on public lands, he is field-testing various fishing gear in a never-ending quest to find that perfect fishing setup. Is his passion for hunting and fishing innate or acquired? Paul believes that it is more about passing down a family tradition.