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Accuracy with a Compound Bow is extremely important. It can mean the difference between a hit or a miss. Even the slightest bit of inaccuracy with your bow can greatly affect your shot.
That’s why it’s a good idea to take some time to ensure your bow’s accuracy. Keep reading for 10 actionable tips you can use to take your bows accuracy to the next level!
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Tune your bow
- Challenge yourself with your shooting limits
- Practice your form
- Expand your type of target while practicing
- Add sights and stabilizers to your bow
- Adjust your bow grip
- Adjust your draw weight and length accordingly
- Relax your release
- Maintain your follow-through
- Find a good anchor point
Now let’s dive in.
1. Tune your bow
Take some time to fine-tune your bow. Many archers do not ever take this into consideration, even though it is one of the most likely reasons why their compound bows aren’t shooting accurately.
There are two parts of tuning your bow to take into consideration, and those are timing and center-shot alignment.
Timing only affects bows with more than one cam, and refers to your bows cam rotation, and whether or not both cams rotate the same way and reach full rotation at the same time.
Without this occurring, you will likely feel that your strings are loose or wiggly. This happens because one of your cams is rotating after the other one versus at the same time in order to create a good, rock-solid back wall.
Check your bow, or have someone at your local archery shop check your bow for timing marks. These timing marks can show you if the bow is timed properly or now. However, timing marks vary from brand to brand, so these may not be on your bow.
Center-shot alignment refers to your bows rest and nock placement. You want your rest and nock to be placed effectively to ensure that your arrow leaves your bow heading straight at where its aimed.
You can test your bows center-shot alignment by placing an arrow directly in front of your bow and shooting at it. Take your shot, and if you see an impact hole framed perfectly by the arrow’s fletching, your alignment is properly centered.
If your impact hole is off a little to any direction, then your rest/nock placement needs to be adjusted. Make these adjustments slowly until you get a clear, center shot.
2. Challenge yourself with your shooting limits
In both target archery and bowhunting, you will not always be shooting from the same distance. Every situation is different, so if you only practice shooting from a certain range, you will most likely be inaccurate with a shot from any different distance because you will have no experience shooting from those limits.
This is why it’s important to take some time to practice shooting from a closer, or further away distance(depending on what you usually shoot from). If you aim small, you will hit or miss small. But aim big(the wrong way), you will miss big.
A good archer dedicates time to better his skill and familiarize himself with many different shooting scenarios and distances that would be used in each scenario.
Take this time practicing as well to work on form and shooting from different angles, which brings me to tip number three.
3. Practice your form
It does not matter how fancy or expensive your bow is. If you have bad form, you will not shoot accurately. This is even truer the farther away that you are from the target.
One key to having a good form starts with just being comfortable and relaxed in general. Heavy breathing and shakiness will not help your shot. Try to focus, but remember to relax and just breathe when you draw back your bow.
Another thing to keep in mind is having a near-perfect stance. In your shooting stance, your feet become the shooting platform. You have to be sure that your feet are not too close together, nor too far apart.
Feet that are too close together will make you unstable and may cause you to lean to the side. Feet that are too far apart may cause you to wobble back and forth. Try to keep your feet about shoulder-width apart for the best stability.
I also want to add that you cannot always shoot from this traditional stance. This should be fine for practice target shooting, but will probably not work well while hunting, where you are faced with shooting from different angles.
Practice shooting from different angles and stances to ensure that no matter the stance, you are comfortable and confident, which will lead to an accurate shot.
4. Expand your type of target while practicing
With this tip, I am talking about whether you shoot at a 3D target, or a bull’s eye target.
If you always shoot at a bull’s eye target, you will likely have trouble shooting at a live target, such as a deer, because there is no specific aiming point.
On a live target, there is generally about an 8-inch area where its vitals are that must be hit. However, it’s not just good enough to hit “wherever ” near that area.
You want to be able to pick a spot on the deer in the vital area, shoot, and take down the deer. It may be helpful in this situation to pick a tuft of hair or a specific spot on the deer to aim at.
On the other hand, if you always shoot at 3D targets, you will have trouble honing in on a specific pinpoint like a bull’s eye target, and your arrows will be inaccurate in their placement on the target, likely just landing in the area around the bullseye.
Try not to get used to always shooting at the same target. Switch it up and give yourself plenty of practice with different target types, so when in different situations, you are confident in the shot you’re about to take.
5. Add sights and stabilizers to your bow
Most archers don’t realize it, but the effect of sights and stabilizers on bow accuracy can be quite dramatic!
With sights, the farther away the sight pin is from your eye, the more precisely you can aim because you can aim for a specific pinpoint on the target.
In order to get your sight farther away, you can buy a sight that has a longer bar than your current sight. This will push the sight pins further away from your eye. You can also choose a sight with smaller pins, such as a size 0.29 or 0.19.
With stabilizer’s, the purpose of this accessory is just what its called. It will stabilize your bow, resulting in better accuracy. It adds stabilization by adding weight to the bow’s bottom, therefore making it stay in a vertical position while shooting.
The stabilizer will also help to fight against torque. We’ve got a more thorough article talking about stabilizers, why they’re so important and a couple of recommendations for some stabilizers to try.
On this note, don’t add too much weight to your bow, since you may have to carry your bow for quite some time while hunting. Only add enough to give your bow the stabilization it needs.
6. Adjust your bow grip
It is extremely important to develop a good grip on your bow, especially if want to accurately shoot at long distances. A quick way to help this is to shoot with a bow that fits and works nicely in your hand, but it mainly falls down to you and your actions when gripping the bow.
For a more accurate shot, you want less torque on the bow. In order to get less torque, you should choose a bow with a thinner grip. You want the bow to feel as though it were pushing into your palm when you first draw it back to a full draw.
Then, you want to relax your grip just slightly.
Especially if you’re shooting longer distances, you need an open, loose grip. You do not want to have tight, white knuckles when gripping your bow. By relaxing and creating a loose grip, you put less torque on the riser of the bow, which provides a more accurate shot.
7. Adjust your draw weight and length accordingly
If you go to draw your bow back, take note of how smooth the draw it is. If your draw is shaky, or if you have to dip your bow down or tip it up towards the sky in order the draw it back to full length, then your draw weight is set too high.
This will throw off your accuracy, and you will be shooting arrows all over the target, as well as create not-so-good shooting habits!
Until your shooting muscles are stronger, lower your bow weight. As you practice and build up your muscles, you can increase your draw weight as needed.
On a second note, you also want to adjust your draw length. So many archers make the mistake of trying to increase shooting speed by adjusting the draw length. But what they might not realize is how this affects accuracy.
Think about it.
If the draw length on your bow is too long, your body and shooting arm will be stretched out too far back and pointed near your backside. This throws your bow arm out of alignment with the area, which causes your shot execution to be off every time.
Another indication of a too- long draw length is if your upper body starts leaning backward, away from the target and bringing your face back to meet the string.
Even being off by an inch can cause inaccuracies and inconsistencies. Try shortening your bow length until your bow arm is parallel with the arrow on the horizontal plane. This may feel a little strange at first, but you will adjust quickly and see a difference in your shots.
8. Relax your release
While it may be easier said than done, it is very important that your release during a shot is relaxed and smooth. One little flinch or jerk, and your entire shot will be thrown off.
This is even more true for long distance shots, where you can’t afford small mistakes. Depending on your method of release, this may mean different things.
For example, if you use your fingers as your release, it is much harder to ensure that all 3 fingers “release” at the same time without plucking the string and messing up your shot.
If you wear gloves, your gloves will likely develop grooves which will throw off your release. In this case, you might choose to use a tab on your fingers versus a glove.
A mechanical release is much simpler to use and results in more accurate shooting. Once you have drawn, anchored, and aimed, put your finger on the trigger. Relax and smoothly squeeze the trigger. Be careful not to jerk or “punch” the trigger, causing the arrow to fly out of the shooting lane.
9. Maintain your follow-through
The follow-through is often overlooked in archery and Bowhunting, yet it is very vital to accuracy. Many archers don’t realize that even once they have released the arrow, how they hold the bow in the seconds afterward affects the shot.
Once you have released your arrow, do not drop your arm, as tempting as it may be. Keep your bow aimed straight at the target, and try to maintain your hold until you are sure that the arrow has made contact with the target.
This requires self-discipline and practice since you are probably anxious to see where your arrow is going, but it is well worth it to hold your stance as closely as possible.
10. Find a good anchor point
The anchor point is where your string hand “locks” against the side of your face
Like I mentioned in tip number eight, your method of release will affect your most comfortable anchor point.
For finger shooters, it is not uncommon to see them press their index finger either into the corner of their mount or slightly below that point. Their thumb will often have dropped down beneath the chin.
For shooters that use release aids, they often press their release right up alongside their chin, or sometimes below the chin.
More or less, the best anchor point will align your aiming eye with the string. Also, a large aperture hope (3/16 inch at least) on your bowstring peep will provide consistent shooting anchor points.
One more important thing that an anchor point does is it transfers a certain percentage of your draw weight from your arms into your neck muscles. This gives you a steadier aim by distributing the weight more evenly throughout your body and ensures a more accurate shot.
The tough thing with anchor shots, however, is that what works for one might not work for others. There is no better way to tell what anchor point works for you than for you to get out and practice.
Shot after shot, arrow after arrow, you will eventually figure out an anchor point that works for you and your shooting method, and provides you the most accurate shots.
What is the effective range of a compound bow?
This varies depending on your type of bow. Some bows have a more effective range at 60 yards, while others only have 30. For shooting deer, up to 80 yards is possible for highly skilled shooters. 60 yards is most preferred for standard shooters and 30-35 yards is more for beginners.
What might happen if I use an arrow that is too short for my bow?
Easily put, there is no one-size-fits-all arrow. Your arrow must be matched for your bow set-up in specific in order to provide an accurate and successful shot.
Not only is it unsafe to use arrows that aren’t made to be used with your bow type/setup, but it will cause your arrows to fly erratically and will not provide a good shot.