How to Shoot a Compound Bow

Three Methods:Setting Up the BowHolding the BowShooting the Bow

Because of its innovative features and ability to facilitate steady shots, a compound bow is an excellent choice for hunting big game. Find an open space, grab a foam target, and learn the basic steps to shooting a compound bow with this easy-to-follow tutorial.

Method 1
Setting Up the Bow

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    Attach the release to your dominant wrist using the velcro straps. You want the mouth of the clamp facing away from your body so that you can attach it to the bowstring.
    • While you can shoot a compound bow without a release, using a release is safer and easier on your fingers.
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    Place the arrow on or through the rest, depending on the style of rest your bow has. If it is a "biscuit" style rest, the arrow will slide directly through the rest, but with any other type of rest, the arrow will simply sit on top of the rest.
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    Rotate the arrow so that one vane is facing upward and press the nock onto the bowstring in the center of the string loop until it snaps into place. Vanes are the fins on the end of the arrow that are usually brightly colored.
    • This step is called nocking the arrow and ensures that the arrow does not contact anything other that the rest and the string when it is shot.

Method 2
Holding the Bow

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    Hold the grip at the front of the bow with your non-dominant hand. Make sure that your hand is steadily grasping directly behind the grip.
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    Place yourself about 20 yards (18.3 m) from your target with your body perpendicular to the target. You should be standing sideways with your feet staggered. Your non-dominant foot should be in front to mirror the position of your arms.
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    Straighten the arm holding the grip directly out in front of you. You want your arm to be about shoulder height and completely straight.

Method 3
Shooting the Bow

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    Clip the release that you attached to your wrist at the beginning onto the string loop and directly behind the arrow. Make sure that you are holding the bow grip directly in the center.
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    Pull back on the string with the release slowly using your back and shoulder muscles. Try to pull the string back in a single, smooth motion, keeping your arm steady.
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    Continue to pull the string back until the tip of the arrow almost reaches your chin. This is called your anchor point and is the point at which the arrow is drawn furthest back before release.
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    Aim the bow at your target using the sight system built into the compound bow. The peep sight is located on the bowstring itself and the forward sight, which is made of a several pins and a balance level, is located on the front of the bow.
    • The forward sight pins are pre-set to distances with the highest pin set at 20 yards (18.3 m) and the lower pins working out, usually in 10-yard increments. You want to set your pin to the same distance that exists between you and your target.
    • Make sure you can see through the peep sight and line your target up with the pin that you just set on the forward sight.
    • Check to make sure that the bubble in the level on the forward sight is resting exactly in the center.
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    Squeeze the trigger of the release with your pointer finger to shoot the arrow. Do your best to hold the bow steady and keep your dominant hand pulling straight back as you release.


  • A multi-density foam target works best for compound bow arrows.
  • Grip the bow steadily but not strongly as you shoot. Too firm of a hold can cause the shot to veer off course.
  • Determine your draw length by dividing the length of your wingspan (in inches) by 2.5. Your draw length will correspond to the size of compound bow you should use.
  • Try out different compound bows to find one that is comfortable and pulls back at the appropriate height just before your chin before purchasing one.


  • When taking the shot, make sure all your companions are in line with you or behind you.
  • Never draw the bow unless you are ready to shoot it at a target.
  • Only shoot compound bows in designated areas where people or animals will not get in the way of a shot unexpectedly.
  • Tie long hair back to avoid getting it caught in the compound bow.
  • Wear an armguard, or long, thick sleeves while shooting. If the string hits your arm, it will hurt.
  • When you're shooting, make absolutely sure no one could wander in the firing line, or even near the firing line, especially if you're an inexperienced shooter.

Things You'll Need

  • A compound bow.
  • A range or field.
  • A target, preferable a multi-density foam target.
  • A release
  • Arrows

Article Info

Categories: Archery