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How to Aim a Compound Bow

Men with Bows on their backs

A compound bow is a modern invention with many accessories that can help you aim. They are usually equipped with sights, pins, and other additions that separate this bow from a traditional bow. This makes it easier to shoot, and launches the arrow with a higher velocity.

Step 1: Stance


Image – archery stance

First, make sure that you have proper form and stance to shoot your bow. Your muscles should be relaxed in order to create smooth movements. Warming up before your target practice or hunting trip can help.

Stand perpendicular to the target with your feet shoulder width apart. You should be standing with straight posture, not leaning on one leg or the other.

Turn your head toward the target without turning the rest of your body.

Step 2: Gripping the Bow


Image – archer with compound bow

Grip the bow firmly, but comfortably. If you grip too tightly, this can affect the accuracy of the bow. Most compound bows have a clear hand grip or handle where you are meant to grip the bow.

Step 3: Loading the Arrow


Image – arrow

Load an arrow onto your bow by putting the notch at the end of the arrow directly onto the bowstring.

Step 4: Drawing the Bow


Image – archer drawing a compound bow

Now, draw the bow to your anchor point. One of the advantages of a compound bow is that it is very difficult to overdraw. You will feel a natural point where the bow cannot be drawn further, and this is the place from which you should shoot.

As you continue your target practice, you can use your stronger back muscles to help you draw rather than your arm muscles. This makes it much easier to hold the bow steady. You can do this by moving your tricep muscles away from your body at an angle, which will put more weight into your back. You can also move your shoulder blade into your spine.

Step 5: Using Your Sights


Image – compound bow sights

A compound bow comes with peep sights and pins. The forward sight uses pins and one level, attached to the front of the bow. There is also usually a peep sight, which is placed on the bowstring and adjusts to the eye when you draw.

Make sure that your pins are adjusted to the correct distance. If they are not, you will need to pause and adjust your pins to the correct number of yards.

If your pins are already set correctly, then line up the pin with your target using the peep sight. Use your dominant eye to do this; closing your other eye may help.

Line your target with the pin, and then make sure that the bubble in your level is centered. This shows whether your arrow is properly aligned.

Step 6: Aim


Image – archery target

Once your sights are aligned, you are fully aimed to your target. It’s important to maintain your stance through this process, and relax your muscles.

Make sure that you have not tensed up your shoulders, core, or any other part of your body.

Step 7: Shoot!


Image – arrow in target

Releasing the arrow should feel more like relaxing your fingers from the bowstring, not like firing. A tense fire can send your arrow flying.

Take stock of where your arrows are ending up on the bull’s eye. If they are consistently going to high, too low, too left, or too right, that’s an indication that you need to adjust your stance and/or your sights.

Learn what you can, and then go back to step 1 and do this all over again!