Skip to main content

Aim and Let the Bow Shoot the Shot

Aim and Let the Bow Shoot the Shot

With the advent of the shooting machine, archery manufacturers have been able to prove something most serious shooters already knew: modern archery equipment is extremely accurate.

Most state-of-the-art bows, when properly tuned, can shoot an arrow in nearly the same hole over and over again at 20 yards.

One very common way bowhunters interfere with the bow is by pushing the string into their cheek at full draw.

However, if we put that same bow in the hands of a human archer, things don't go quite as well. People tend to miss. And there are basically two ways they miss. The first way, and the most common, is by not having the pin on the spot when the shot breaks. That kind of miss is easy to understand and accept.


The real mystery arises from the second type of miss. These are shots that break when the pin is on the spot and yet the arrow still flies wide of the mark. These kinds of misses happen to most of us quite frequently and are very frustrating because we can't explain exactly what went wrong.


I believe the second type of miss is caused by something we do to interfere with the bow during the shot process. We've proven how accurate and consistent our bows are. So, if the bow is properly aimed, the arrow should hit where it was intended to hit — unless we screw it up. My point is this; the vast majority of the time, bows don't cause misses — we force the bow to miss.

Eliminating Interference

Unless we want to keep missing, we need to figure out exactly what it is we are doing to the bow during the shot process that causes it to miss. Then, we have to learn to quit doing those things! In other words, we have to learn to LET THE BOW SHOOT THE SHOT.

Our job as archers is simple: all we have to do is make sure the bow is pointed where we want the arrow to hit. Then we must allow the bow to do its job.




The most obvious way we interfere with the bow is just plain old human error or variation. We are not machines. We change our form a little from shot to shot, and these changes alter the way the bow reacts during the shot and causes the arrow to go somewhere other than where it was aimed. Because we will never be perfect, we want to develop our shooting form in such a way that little variations in our form will cause minimal interference to the bow.


"Because we will never be perfect, we want to develop our shooting form in such a way that little variations in our form will cause minimal interference to the bow."



In order to let the bow shoot the shot we want to minimize our contact with the bow. In theory, archers should only touch the bow with their bow hand and with their release hand (or the release aid itself). However, in practice, many of us touch the bowstring (or allow it to touch us) during the shot process.

Minimize Contact

In order for the bow to shoot accurately, the bowstring must have a clear path throughout its length of travel. The string can't be allowed to slap your wrist or to touch any clothing on your chest or on your bow arm.

You must not allow the string to firmly contact your face at full draw. If the string is pressed into your cheek, it must move out and around the skin to push the arrow forward. This sideways movement interferes with the string's straight line of travel and you will miss to the left (for a right handed archer).

However, it is acceptable for the string to touch the end of your nose, because this touch is in alignment with its travel path and left/right interference is negligible.

It is acceptable for the string to touch the end of your nose.

Face interference is even more critical with today's high letoff bows than it was with recurve bows and the low letoff compound bows of yesteryear. It is critical the string be interference-free, especially at full draw.

Once we have ensured the bowstring is free to move without interference, we need to focus on the two areas where we must contact the bow — the bow hand and the release hand. The key is a torque-free, relaxed bow hand and release hand.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

New for 2021: Excalibur Crossbow, BowTech Bows, TightSpot Quiver, Ripcord Rests, Black Gold Sights

New for 2021: Excalibur Crossbow, BowTech Bows, TightSpot Quiver, Ripcord Rests, Black Gold Sights

New for 2021 are several hunter-defined products, such as the Excalibur TwinStrike Crossbow, BowTech Solution and Solution SS Bows, TightSpot Pivot 2.5 Quiver, Ripcord Cage and Code Red X arrowrests, and Black Gold Pro FX and Pro Hunter HD sights.

New for 2021: Rage Broadhead, Nockturnal Nock, Carbon Express Arrows

New for 2021: Rage Broadhead, Nockturnal Nock, Carbon Express Arrows

New for 2021, here's a look at the new Rage Trypan NC, Nockturnal Shift Nock, Carbon Express Maxima RED Contour and D-Stroyer PileDRIVER arrows.

New for 2021: Mathews V3 27 & 31 Bows

New for 2021: Mathews V3 27 & 31 Bows

Bowhunter Editor Curt Wells had an exciting visit with Mark Hayes, design engineer for Mathews, as the pair looked at the new V3 27 and V3 31 bows.

New for 2021: Elite Archery Bows, Slick Trick Broadheads and CBE Sight

New for 2021: Elite Archery Bows, Slick Trick Broadheads and CBE Sight

Learn more about two new Elite Archery bows, the Enkore and Remedy, two new broadhead from Slick Trick and a new site from Custom Bow Equipment (CBE).

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

This tasty venison lasagna recipe is the perfect wild game meal to serve at a potluck or large family gathering.Best Venison Lasagna Recipe Recipes

Best Venison Lasagna Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

This tasty venison lasagna recipe is the perfect wild game meal to serve at a potluck or large...

Featuring sights, release aids, quivers and much more, there's a plethora of new bow accessories this year.New Bow Accessories for 2021 ATA Show

New Bow Accessories for 2021

Jon E. Silks - January 11, 2021

Featuring sights, release aids, quivers and much more, there's a plethora of new bow...

Get in shape for archery season with this step-by-step, 10-week plan and guide. 10-Week Bowhunting Training Routine How-To

10-Week Bowhunting Training Routine

Bill Winke - April 26, 2017

Get in shape for archery season with this step-by-step, 10-week plan and guide.

Whether it's in a tree or on the ground, you've got options before the new hunting season arrives.New Tree Saddles, Stands and Blinds for 2021 ATA Show

New Tree Saddles, Stands and Blinds for 2021

Christian Berg - January 12, 2021

Whether it's in a tree or on the ground, you've got options before the new hunting season...

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

Simple steps to extend the range of your rig.Maximize Your Shooting Distance How-To

Maximize Your Shooting Distance

Cabe Johnson

Simple steps to extend the range of your rig.

These are the archery shots you should and shouldn't take on whitetails. Where to Shoot a Deer: Bowhunting Shot Placement How-To

Where to Shoot a Deer: Bowhunting Shot Placement

Christian Berg

These are the archery shots you should and shouldn't take on whitetails.

Don't just hunt food plot — get out and plant some with this strategy!Winning with Fall Food Plots How-To

Winning with Fall Food Plots

Jason Snavely

Don't just hunt food plot — get out and plant some with this strategy!

See More How-To

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Petersen's Bowhunting App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Bowhunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now