A three-pronged system is required for shooting a bow accurately. First, you need to match your gear to your personal draw length and weight. Next, you need to master your shooting form. And finally, you need to practice regularly so shooting your bow accurately becomes second nature. Here are some tips to help you achieve the best possible shooting accuracy.
When picking out a bow, consult your local archery shop to find a model that fits you perfectly. A pro shop employee can measure your draw length to make sure the bow fits you. And don’t be macho and try to pull too much weight. If you’re struggling to hold at full draw, you’re liable to shake and send your arrow off the mark.
While you’re at the archery shop, have your bow tuned. Make sure that the nock point isn’t too high or low, and that the rest isn’t too far left or right, so that the arrow leaves free of sideways torque.
With your bow matched to your specifications, it’s time to inspect your arrows. Make sure they are of the correct length and spine for your bow. Also, examine the fletchings for wear that would indicate contact with the rest.
With your equipment in top shape, proper shooting form is the next step to good accuracy.
Your shooting stance helps you keep steady. Keep your feet about shoulder width apart; you’ll be unsteady if they’re too close or too far apart.
The way you grip your bow can also affect accuracy. Whether your hold your bow with an open grip or a closed one, the key here is to keep a loose, torque-free hold on the bow.
Keeping a consistent anchor point will also improve accuracy. Having multiple points of contact with your string can help with consistency. For example, you might have a kisser button rest on the corner of your mouth and keep a knuckle along your jawbone when your eye is aligned properly with your sight. There’s no right or wrong way to anchor up; just use what works best for you, and make sure to do the same thing every time.
Once you’re at full draw, let your back do the work. Your back muscles can hold the weight, keeping strain off your arms. Holding all the weight with your draw-hand forearm leads to inconsistent shot placement because your release hand will pull to the side instead of straight back upon release. The forearm of your draw hand should be in line with the arrow.
Whether you’re shooting a bow or a rifle, breathing is important for accuracy. The worst thing you can do is hold your breath as you prepare to shoot. Breathe normally or shoot as you exhale for best results.
The release may be the most important component of shooting accuracy. No matter what style of release aid you shoot with, activate the trigger smoothly. Hold steady on your target, exhale and smoothly squeeze the trigger. Wobbling on target and punching the trigger when your sight aligns seldom gives good results.
Follow-through is the final piece of the shooting form puzzle. Everything about your shot should be calm, steady and smooth, including the follow-through. Upon release, your draw hand should continue pulling backward. Your grip hand should remain relaxed. Let your bow tether catch the bow at the shot. And continue aiming at the target until the arrow actually reaches it. Only then should your eyes check to see where your arrow went. If you’re searching for the arrow on the way to the target, it means you’re dropping the bow too soon.
Setting up your bow and arrows properly and then using good form are the foundations to accuracy. The final component is repetition through practice. Shoot regularly to keep your muscles conditioned and to develop consistent good shooting habits. Unlike a rifle, you can’t just pick up a bow out of a box and become an expert shot. It takes countless hours of practice to become a good archer.
Make practice a habit. Shoot every day if you can, even outside of archery season. Developing a routine or shooting with friends can help you stick to a regimen. You don’t have to fling dozens of arrows. Just shooting one quiver full of arrows every day can keep muscles toned and maintain your shooting form, but if you have the time, by all means, shoot more arrows. Whether you shoot a lot or a little during each practice session, make every shot count. If you concentrate on every practice shot the same way you would when that buck of a lifetime finally strides in front of you, when it actually does happen, you’ll be fully prepared to make the shot.