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Thread: 10 Tips to improve your bow shooting.

  1. #1

    Default 10 Tips to improve your bow shooting.

    I've shot bows for as long as I can remember. I've shot competitions for the bast ten years and I work in an archery shop now. After seeing people making mistakes for years and not knowing that they were even making mistakes, I've decided to make a list of tips to help people shoot better. I hope everyone that reads this can find some part if it that will help them.

    1. Draw length! I disused to start here because this is one of the most important points of shooting good. If your draw length is to short you will never get your bow to hold steady. If it's to long you will hit your arm! Not fun! You want your arm to be almost strait with only a very slight bend. You want the bones in your arm to hold the weight at full draw, not your muscles. Muscles will get tired very fast when at full draw. If your draw length is correct your arm bones and shoulder bones will do most of the work and help reduce muscle fatigue.

    2. Your grip. I'm sure most of you know you should not grip your bow when at full draw right? The reason is you can torque the bow by gripping it and cause left and right problems. Look at your hand. See the big meaty pad just below your thumb. That's the only thing that should touch your bow when at full draw! I can't tell you how many people don't know that. If that's the only thing touching the bow there is no way you can torque the bow.

    3. Draw weight! Years ago there was a trend going to pull tons of draw weight. That was the only way to increase kenetic energy back then. The thought behind it was simple. Increase draw weight and your speed will go up resulting in more kinetic energy. I've heard of guys hunting whitetail deer with a 110 pound draw weight bow! Picture drawing that after setting in a tree stand for 4 hours in 10 degree weather. With the cam/limb designs now it's not necessary to pull tins of weight to get good kinetic energy. How much is right for you? How do you find that ought? Easy! Set in a chair and draw your bow. You should be able to draw your bow back in one smooth motion whe keeping your sight pin on your target. Ever see someone draw their bow by pointing it at the roof and struggling to draw it back? Way to much poundage!

    4. Your release-part one! There are two major problems here so I'm
    Breaking it up to address each one individually. The first is the easiest to fix. When your at full draw you want to make sure your trigger is comfortable to reach. You want it to be easy to reach with the tip of your finger. If it's to short you will not be able to control your trigger pull. If it's to long you won't be able to reach it!

    5. Your release-part two! Squeeze the trigger! Watch guys shooting and you will see why I am bringing this up buoy have got to squeeze the trigger slow. I've seen hundreds of guys at full draw trying to get their pun on the spot they are trying to hit and they will hit the trigger like it was mike Tyson! Put your Ginger on the trigger and squeeze it slowly. This is the number one reason people can not shoot tight groups.

    6. Keep your head down! Lots of people have a very bad habit of pulling their head up as they punch the trigger to try to watch their arrow. Try to watch it through your perp sight. You can not do that but that's what you should try to do. By doing that your head will stay in the position it needs to be in. Why is this important? When you jerk your head up you will also drop your arm. That's whe you will have shots falling low of the got and not know why.

    7. Work on your form! Ever hear "practice makes perfect"? I call BS on that! Perfect practice makes perfect! You should try to shoot every single shot with perfect form! I don't care if your shooting targets or grizzly bears! Every shot matters! On a perfect shot your bow should go strait forward and your release hand should go strait back! That's where squeezing the trigger comes in! On a perfect shot you should be surprised when the bow goes off! If the shot surprises you the arrow will be away from the bow before you can do anything to move it. That's when your bow will mice strait forward and your release hand will move strait back! That's good form!

    8. Shoot at longer distances than you an to shoot when hunting. If you only plan to choir out to 40 yards when hunting then practice out to 50-60 yards. If you can get fairly consistent at those yardages you will have no peiblemsat cliset ranges. Your form mistakes will show a lot more at farther distances than up close. I could not tell you how many hundreds of thousands of arrows iv shot at 20 yards. My shooting didn't really start improving until I learned to practice at longer yardages. That's when I started to see all the problems I had with my form. I didn't even know they were there. Once I knew the problems I could start fixing them. Think about that!

    9. Make sure your bow is tuned up. I put this down farther on the list because it seems to simple but you would be amazed at some of the bow I have to work on. Learn to tune your own bow. Buy a book
    Or DVD that covers paper-tuning! When your arrow leaves your bow it should fly strait and not wobble or "fishtail" in the air. If you see ant of this your bow is not tuned right. It could just take a simple adjustment to your rest to fix the problem. Your arrow may not be spined right for your draw weight and length. You may be getting a lot of cam lean. Paper tuning will show you the problems and then you can figure out how to fix them!

    10. PRACTICE!!!! Every year I see guys walk into the store I work at two weeks before season opens with a bow
    That's been in the closet since last year! They get "ol Betsy" out and shoot at a paper plate at 20 yards. If they hit a couple time ther are good! Whatever! These ate the same guys hitting deer (or whatever) in the back hip and wondering why they never find their deer! The whe time that animal is in the woods suffering because that slob didn't put any effort into learning to shoot better. I really hate guys like that. During the spring and summer shoot whenever you have time. Get a 3-d target of the animal
    You are hunting. You can spend thousands of dollars on 4-wheelers and archery equipment. Spend a few hundred on a good target! Pretend every single shot you shoot is that monster moose you've been looking for for years. Pretend you only get one shot. Make it count!


    I hope these tips can help you. Good luck!

  2. #2
    Member markopolo50's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips Tic. Very good info there. Just joined a range and they have a great 3D course. Plan on spending alot more time there as time allows. Thanks again

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Tic- I generally argue about lots of advice given in the archery world. However, I cannot find fault with your list. Nice write-up and thank you for taking the time to do it. I use a release differently because I have trained extensively with a back tension release, but your advice is spot on for the average user.

    Another good thing to do is to get out there and compete. You don't have to be too serious, but the added pressure of competition will really help your nerves when you are out in the field. Even indoor spot shooting will make you better in the field.

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    I have to agree with Doug and he beat me as I was looking for a link:
    All arrows bend upon release it can't be stopped unless you are shooting a log.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuHW8...eature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkpmg...eature=related



    I have to agree with Doug on the muscles also. It is far more important in order to get the proper tension in order to get the scapula to rotate correctly.

    A couple more though.

    Consistency: Always do everything the same every time. Unless you are consistant in what you are doing, you can't correct anything.

    Only change one element at a time: If you change more than one element of your form then you don't know which element you changed made a difference or if it was a combiniation of the two.

    Good basic list though.

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
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  5. #5

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    Doug, I completely agree with the tournament stuff. I shoot in the semi-pro class at national tournaments. I didn't mention back tension because most hunters don't use back tension releases. I do with my tournament bow but I still use a trigger for hunting. Never know when you may have to rush a shot. I love tournament archery. I've shot local tourneys for 12 years and nationals for 10. I think it's something every archer/bowhunter should do. I like indoor stuff too. It drives me nuts though! Dave, trust me, I understand arrow deflection. I've studied it a lot! Your arrow must bend some to absorb some of the energy your bow let's off as is is fired. You have to find an arrow with a spine stiffness that is correct for your set-up. It should not flex to much but should not be to stiff. You can change the flexsionnof any arrow by changing the length or tip weight. For my indoor bow I shoot a GoldTip XXX. That's the biggest arrow allowed in tournaments. That's one of the stiffest arrows I've ever shot. To change the flexion I shoot it at 31 inches. My 3-d arrow is 27 3/4. In my XXX's I also shoot a 250 grain point. That makes my arrow flex more and in doing so it makes it more forgiving.

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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    I have found that the practice with intent that every shot counts is the best. a couple months before the season starts I keep my bow in the dinning room. Every morning I grab it and walk out on the back porch and shoot one arrow at my deer target set at 47 yards. as I get closer to the season I find that my arrow will always be in the vitals. My reasoning for this is that when I am hunting I only get one shot, so its important to practice one shot. I do it in the morning when I am the most tired and groggy to imitate being tired from stalking or an accidental nap. Later in the day I practice for about an hour.

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    Thanks for the advice guys.
    After 7 years of school and 3 degrees, I'm ready to start spending more time doing what I want. I have always wanted to learn to bow hunt and after my finals in Dec. I'm going to do exactly that.
    I'm sure Iíll be asking you all lots of questions. And I'm sure I'll be pulling this list up quite often!

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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    There are some great groups of guys in the bow shooting community. I have never found any bow shooter that wasn't willing to help!

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    Another good thing is that many people do not practice is the position of your body. You are not always going to have that stand up perfect position that you do while at the range. In the army we do a lot of stress shooting, shooting while your heart rate is up and you're tired. I apply that in my practice as well, after walking across the tundra and up a slope to try and intercept that caribou is gonna increase your heart rate a lot. Just my penny in the fountain tho!!.. Definitely a good basic list.. I can't believe people think you can just go buy some arrows and a bow and think its gonna turn out alright without doing any research on the equipment first..

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    Fairly new to archery and was wondering what people thought about stance, and how it effects your accuracy? At the range today I found that when i stood perpendicular to the target feet shoulder width apart, my groups got tighter. This may be a basic that I just never was told. Any comments appreciated, Thanks.

  11. #11

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    I shoot a recurve and these rules apply to traditionalists even more than to a compound shooter. Technique and form is very important. However, I have found that sometimes I have a tendency to over think the way I shoot. Especially when it comes to instinctive shooting. I find that when I am relaxed and not too focused on technique and form, but concentrate my focus on picking a spot and relaxing, I tend to shoot better. Grip, follow through, stance and all the other steps you mentioned are important, but as long as you consistently practice those techniques over and over, you shouldn't have to think about those things anymore. It is kind of like driving. There comes a point when you just automatically drive without having to think about how to do it anymore.

    Interesting thread. Thanks for posting.

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    Bushwack I also am a recurve shooter, and never got into compound shooting. Have been getting alot of help from Bill at BackCountry archery, all the people I have run into there have been extremely helpful also. I have found the entire bowhunting community to be very helpful, and welcoming.

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    Bushwack; I could not agree more with you.. I shoot a compound every now and again but my passion is traditional archery.. I get into funks tho just like you said and overthink the shot and end up with horrible results.. I have also noticed I shoot better on a course in the woods or if I put a target up around some trees, IDk its just a lil quirk I guess. I do excercise the stump shooting a lot and think it helps. Someone just starting off with traditional gear is going to have to get their muscles used to the bow and spend a lot of time at the range flinging arrows before getting into the fine tuning of the arrows and what not. Its a whole new ball game when you don't get that letoff 3/4 of the way thru the draw... Then do you want to shoot split finger or 3 under..etc..... I recommend having someone to go shoot with, not only can you compete against one another you can watch the other person and see something they might or might not be doing correct...

  14. #14

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    Monk, yoUr stance is very important. I've found that by standing at about a 90 degree angle to the target is best. You don't want to be at a complete 90 though the reason for this is when at full draw you want your arm almost strait out to your side. Why? Simple physics. With your arm strait the full force of the bow, at full draw will be pushing on the bones in your arm. Your bones will support the weight much better than muscles will. Plus, you can hold steadier for a longer amount if time. I know some of you are thinking that is you shoot with your arm strait you will hit your arm. If you ever hit your arm something is wrong. There are two possibilities. First, your draw length is way to long. With your draw length being to long you are having to over extend to get the cams to break over. When you over extend you put your forarm in line with the string. I'm sure you know that hurts! The second reason people hit their arms is they grip the bow wrong. When you are at full draw the only part of your vow hand that shod touch the bow is that big meaty pad right below your thumb. That's the ONLY thing. When you get ready to draw put that thumb pad on the grip of the bow. You will rotate the bottom side away from the bow. The bottom side is the side with your pinky. This is kinda hard to explain without pictures. Your bow should be strait up and down, by gripping the bow like this, the inside of your wrist should be at about a 45 degree angle to the bow and floor or ground. If you notice, this also roles your forearm away from the path of the string. I have a 29 inch draw and by gripping the bow like this I can shoot bows with a draw as long as 33 inches and never hit my arm. Shooting a bow is very simple. Shooting it correctly and consistently is a lot of work. But, it's worth it. The trick is to do everything the same every shot. One of the things that people overlook in hunting situations is when you have to shoot up or down hills. Here in Arkansas we hunt out of treestands 99% of the time. One big mistake bowhunters make when shooting out of a treestand is they still stand strait up and try to shoot down at a deer or whatever. They draw, anchor in, lower their bow arm and shoot... and miss. When you lower your bow arm you change the alignment of your eye to your peep sight. That changes your point of impact. When a new shooter comes into the store to shoot a bow for the first time I try to put this stuff into terms they alreay understand. Everybody has shot a rifle before. I explain that the sights on the bow are lime the front sight on a rifle. The peep is like the back sight on a rifle. A kisser button is kinda like the stock if a rifle and so on. Think about shooting up or down like this; if you were shooting a gun up or down hill and just raised or lowered the gun, what would happen if you didn't bend your body at the waist too? You'd miss. Same with a bow. You should keep your arm at a 90 degree angle from your body. Bend at the waist. It will help a lot! As for traditional shooting, this is a little out of my area. I know some about it though. The trick to it is to train your sub-conscious mind do do everything without thinking. You should do that with compounds too. How do you do that? Easy. Practice! When you first start shooting you should have a mental check list to go over. Start with stance. Litteraly look at your feet and make sure they are in the position as last time you shot. Grip your bow the same. Draw with one smith motion. Hit your anchor and let go. You will build up a shot sequence. Do everything in the same order and the same way. Do this enough and it will become automatic. That's where your sub-conscious mind takes over. You shoot without thinking. That's when you shoot the best. When you think about what you are doing you try to hard. That's where mistakes start happening. You overcorrect little things and make them worse. If you want to mess with someone during a tournament all you have to do is say "man, your shooting awesome today!" they will start thinking about how good they are shooting and start messing up.See ya next summer!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ga2akwild View Post
    Another good thing is that many people do not practice is the position of your body. You are not always going to have that stand up perfect position that you do while at the range. In the army we do a lot of stress shooting, shooting while your heart rate is up and you're tired. I apply that in my practice as well, after walking across the tundra and up a slope to try and intercept that caribou is gonna increase your heart rate a lot. Just my penny in the fountain tho!!.. Definitely a good basic list.. I can't believe people think you can just go buy some arrows and a bow and think its gonna turn out alright without doing any research on the equipment first..
    Very important point made here!! As a bow instructor, I've been teaching folks to shoot from as many positions as they can think of, none of which are standing 90 degrees to the target on flat solid ground. Sit, kneel, lean forward to shoot around a tree or rock, shoot on a hill both up and down and any other ways you can think of. You will be surprised how these things affect your shooting accuracy and how it will make you a better archer in the field. Small game or stump shooting is great paractice too.

    Another thing to keep in mind is to have 2 releases of the same brand if you are hunting from a tree stand. I can't tell you how many times I hear of folks dropping their release while putting it on or taking it off or to do something like adjust their harness. It doesn't hurt to have 2 when you are stalking either. For you guys who shoot fingers, don't pull them out of the warm gloves too soon and get them cold so you can't feel them real well....hard to shoot with fingers you can't feel!!! If you use heavy gloves to hold the bow, make sure you use the same gloves to practice with too.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

  16. #16

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    When I said something about standing 90 degrees to the target I was talking about the relation of your torso to the target. I agree totally that everybody needs to practice shooting from different positions but if you start changing body angles you completely destroy your form. When you start changing your form your accuracy goes out the window.

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    Member Jeff U's Avatar
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    All good, but one more thing, pray Murphy doesn't visit you just before or during your hunt.
    On my 2011 Unimak Brown Bear hunt, I prepared over a year going over every piece of equipment.
    Then, just 5 weeks prior, my upper limb split. Hats off to Martin Archery and Precision Archery in Fairbanks getting my bow back together and in tune before I left.

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    There are definitely two kinds of practice going on in this discussion. One, the formal practice is for working out problems, sighting in and seeing if everything is functional, you included. Then there is the "ready for the hunt" type of practice. As I do before I sheep hunt; shooting up and down steep hills and such, crouched down, even laying down drawing the bow and sitting up to shoot. Lots of different ways to practice. Right now I am doing my form shooting at school 2-3 times a week and keeping muscles in tone. It is only 15 yards, maybe 24-30 arrows. If you don't use it you loose it and at my age loosing it doesn't take as much time to loose it any more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff U View Post
    All good, but one more thing, pray Murphy doesn't visit you just before or during your hunt.
    On my 2011 Unimak Brown Bear hunt, I prepared over a year going over every piece of equipment.
    Then, just 5 weeks prior, my upper limb split. Hats off to Martin Archery and Precision Archery in Fairbanks getting my bow back together and in tune before I left.
    That was awesome you had time to get your bow fixed.. I think murphy gets us all at one point, some worse then others... I have not taken my compound afield with me, just my recurve and I always take an extra string and I even bring my extra set of limbs even tho the # is a lil higher.. I can jst forsee my limb cracking or somehow cutting my string and there goes the hunt..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    There are definitely two kinds of practice going on in this discussion. One, the formal practice is for working out problems, sighting in and seeing if everything is functional, you included. Then there is the "ready for the hunt" type of practice. As I do before I sheep hunt; shooting up and down steep hills and such, crouched down, even laying down drawing the bow and sitting up to shoot. Lots of different ways to practice. Right now I am doing my form shooting at school 2-3 times a week and keeping muscles in tone. It is only 15 yards, maybe 24-30 arrows. If you don't use it you loose it and at my age loosing it doesn't take as much time to loose it any more.

    Dave's right, I should have prefaced my comments by saying I was talking about someone with tuned equipment and pretty good form already. There definitely is a place for learning and "working out the kinks" practice.

    Another thought for those of us over 60 or maybe 50, the muscles go away quickly and I couldn't pull a 70 pound bow if my life depended on it....well maybe then. To complicate things I had rotator cuff surgery last Spring and am just now getting to the point where I can shoot my little Martin Magnum set at 55 lbs. My 45 lb recurve is even worse because there is no let-off. I'm really glad I have the chance so far to get older, but it sure has it's price...oh how youth is wasted on the young!!
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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