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Basic Archery

The normal stance when shooting a compound bow is facing about 80 deg. (nearly perpendicular) from the target, with legs slightly spread and with the foot furthest from the target advanced slightly relative to the closer foot.  With a right hand bow (in your left hand)  you face to the right, with a left hand bow to the left.  An arrow is laid on the arrow rest and then nocked (put on the bow string). The nock of your arrows should be adjusted so that when placed on the string (nocked) the cock feather or vane (the one with a different color) points in the direction that will minimize the possibility of fletching (vanes or feathers) contacting the arrow rest.  For example, with a two tine rest the cock feather should be down to pass between the tines without touching, whereas with the Whisker Biscuit it should be up to avoid the stiffer bristles that support the arrow.  The release is attached to the string below the nock (or on a nocking loop), and the bow is drawn until the letoff is experienced.  You should establish a fixed anchor point for your full draw so that the bow is drawn to the same point each time.  Also be careful not to torque the bow (twist the bow grip while holding the bow).  To prevent bow torque you should grip the bow loosely.  You may want to get used to drawing the bow with an open hand, cradling the bow grip between the thumb and palm.  Be sure to close the hand before firing or the bow will fly out of your hand.  It is a good idea to use a wrist strap to prevent the bow from getting away.

Look through the peep, center the appropriate pin for the distance to the target in the peep, and align that pin on the target.  This author finds it helpful to use the round front sight guard as a reference rather than centering the pin in the peep.  The eye is positioned so that the rounded sight guard traces the rounded side of the peep.  This is more accurate than trying to center the pin without a reference particularly with the large peeps used in hunting.  Make sure that the bow is drawn in the vertical plane (not tipped to one side).  Some sights have a bubble level to keep you aware of this.  Actuate the trigger on the release slowly to prevent sidewise movement when firing. 

If your sights are properly set  and you can remember these four things, you should soon be able to consistently put your arrows within an 5" circle at 20 yards, the minimum skill for hunting:

  • Keep the bow in the vertical plane. 
  • Don't torque the bow, hold the grip loosely.
  • Have a consistent anchor point.
  • Squeeze the trigger slowly without a jerk.

When hunting from an elevated platform you may be shooting from a sitting position.  Be aware that it is harder to draw a bow from a sitting position, and even harder after sitting an hour or more in the cold.  Thus you should have your draw weight adjusted so that you can quickly and smoothly draw your bow from this position.  Also, you won't be able to position your body perpendicular to your game as you would a target.  It often means shooting from an awkward position.  You should practice enough so that the above requirements become automatic.

The secret of shooting well is consistency--doing everything exactly the same at every shot.  This requires practice to make good form a habit.

2007 Bow Hunter's Advantage

906-482-6557 P.O. Box 467, Dollar Bay, MI 49922