I know you’ve heard me say it before, but proper form is essential to compound bow hunting. There is a proper way to stand, a proper way to grip your bow, a proper way to draw your bow…and these are just a few of the things you need to do to ensure accuracy.
Let’s start with your stance. There are 3 basic stances used by compound bow hunters:
- Squared Stance: Feet are in-line with one another, drawing a line perpendicular to the target.
- Closed Stance: Front foot is forward from the front of the body.
- Open Stance: Front foot is slightly pointing toward the target.
The squared stance tends to be the most popular shooting stance, because this is the one that creates the greatest balance. But, this doesn’t mean that’s the one you have to use. I recommend that you practice using all 3 positions until you find the one that feels most comfortable to you. Try to always keep your feet about shoulder’s width apart and slightly relax the knees. Your shot should be relaxed, not stiff.
Next, let’s talk about grip. This should also be relaxed. I like to form a loose circle with my hand, touching my middle finger to my thumb. Find the grip that works best for you. If you find you struggle with your grip, then try leaving your hand open; just be sure to keep your fingers down and out of the way of any moving parts. Gripping your bow too tight will cause you to torque your bow during your shot. Over gripping the bow is one of the most common mistakes people make when shooting. Also make sure you are gripping in the same spot every time. You have to be consistent to be accurate!
Draw Length & Weight
Two other factors that I have already mentioned but are essential to proper form are draw length and draw weight. These have to be set right! When you draw your bow back this movement needs to be smooth. You want your elbow to draw straight back. You do not want to be jerking your bow or pointing it up or down during the draw. If you are doing this, your draw weight may be set too high. And as far as draw length, you want to have a slightly relaxed elbow when at full draw. Are you sensing a pattern here? Yes, you need to be relaxed and comfortable with your bow! Too much tension can equal disaster in the field!
Now let’s talk about anchor points. The 2 most common anchor points are the hand to jaw anchor point and touching the tip of the nose to the bow string. The most important thing is to make sure that your aiming eye is in alignment with the string. Practice until you find an anchor point that is comfortable for you and then make sure you use it every single time! I have a kisser button on my bow, and I think this helps me to stay more consistent. This kisser button should rest between the lips at full draw. However, I have found that aligning the kisser button at the outside corner of my mouth is my preferred anchor point. Again, find the spot that works best for you.
Find A Partner
Have someone watch you shoot. It is a great way to find out what you are doing wrong. While you might feel like you are doing everything right, chances are there is something you can improve on. Have your shooting partner look at your stance, your grip, your anchor points, and your overall form. Once you finally find what works for you, then practice, practice, practice!!!! Consistent good form can equal great success, especially in the field!!
More Tips to Consider
Perfecting your form is one of the most important factors for successful shooting, but you also need to practice for real situations. If you will be hunting from a tree stand, then get in your stand and shoot. If your stands not out, just measure the platform. Know the size of the area you will be standing in, and mark off an area of the same size. Keep your feet in that area and find the stance that works best for you in that situation.
If you will be hunting from the ground, practice from a sitting or kneeling position. If you will be in a hunting blind, then hop in and practice from there. You need to practice real life hunting situations. Practice different angles, always using proper form. And, last put on the clothes you will be hunting in. Heavy, bulky clothes can have an impact on your form.
I hope you find these tips helpful. There are a lot of great resources out there; feel free to explore them all! Just get out there and practice! Here’s to a successful season, and happy hunting!
Let your passion fly!!