Skip to main content

Q & A: Should I Aim Low From My Treestand?

Q & A: Should I Aim Low From My Treestand?

Reader Question:

I have a question that maybe you can help me with. My tree stand is 22-feet high and I have been told to aim low when shooting at a deer. My husband says to aim normal, maybe raise the pin an inch higher then center body mass.

This weekend I ranged a deer at 27 yards, so I aimed lower like my brother-in-law said and shot just under the buck.

My question is: If I would've listened to my husband, would I be putting my hands on that buck? Please help me know if I'm to aim high or low when shooting from a tree stand."

Editor Christian Berg's Answer:

First, the question of whether to aim higher or lower on steep uphill and downhill shots is a classic. Many people think the answer must be different, but in fact what you want to do is aim LOWER for BOTH.


Hopefully we can give you a clear answer without delving into a boring geometry lesson, but basically, it involves accounting for the angle of the shot rather than the linear distance between the shooter and the target.


One of the simplest solutions is to buy an angle-compensating laser rangefinder. This way you have a failsafe unit that will tell you exactly what range to "aim for" rather than simply how far away the animal is.

Failure to aim lower on steeply angled shots is a major reason many archers shoot over the top of deer from treestands. In this particular case, a 27 yard shot doesn't make for a very steep angle.

My guess is the "aim for" distance was probably close to 24-yards. Depending on your arrow speed, at that range, you probably would have been good simply placing the gap between your 20- and 30-yard pins in the middle of the deer's chest.

Second, another VERY COMMON problem for treestand shots is that the archer simply lowers the bow arm to get the pin on the deer rather than maintain proper alignment and bending at the waist to lower the bow.




At the end of the day, practice and knowing your bow is the best way to make a shot when it counts.

Simply lowering the bow arm changes the relationship between your peep sight and your bow and will cause you to miss HIGH. I understand you shot under the deer, and there could be more than one contributing factor to your miss.

However, I can tell you with certainty that you will always aim LOWER on uphill and downhill shots, and that it is critically important to maintain proper form with your upper body despite the angle.


In the end, I can offer one piece of advice that I think is worthwhile: get into a treestand and PRACTICE making shots from an elevated position. Set a few targets at 10, 20 and 30 yards and keep practicing until you feel comfortable and figure out what your keys are for making good shots from your tree and what went wrong when you make the bad shots.

Your confidence will be a lot higher next time you go hunting, and you won't have to argue with your husband about whose fault it was for missing your deer! Good luck and hopefully you get a second chance.

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

The Science & History of Scent Thief

The Science & History of Scent Thief

Russel Epperson, inventor and partner of Scent Thief, explains how the company got its start, and why their products are so effective in blocking unwanted scent.

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).

New for 2021: Bear Redemption EKO, Legit RTH Compound Bows

New for 2021: Bear Redemption EKO, Legit RTH Compound Bows

Bear Archery's newest bows - Redemption EKO and Legit RTH - are light, adjustable and fast.

Crossbow Review: TenPoint Havoc RS440 XERO

Crossbow Review: TenPoint Havoc RS440 XERO

The all-new 2021 offering will certainly be one of the most accurate long-range crossbows ever built.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

If you need to bring deer close — and keep them around through the season — these new options are for you.New Attractants, Scents and Seeds for 2021 ATA Show

New Attractants, Scents and Seeds for 2021

Mark Taylor - January 14, 2021

If you need to bring deer close — and keep them around through the season — these new options...

Crunching the numbers on North America's most important game species2020 State of the Whitetail Report Whitetail

2020 State of the Whitetail Report

Jason Snavely - June 29, 2020

Crunching the numbers on North America's most important game species

The all-new 2021 offering will certainly be one of the most accurate long-range crossbows ever built.First Look: TenPoint Havoc RS440 XERO Crossbows

First Look: TenPoint Havoc RS440 XERO

Christian Berg - January 14, 2021

Sponsored By
TenPoint Crossbows
Have a look at some of the very best compound bows being brought to the market this year.New Bows for 2021 ATA Show

New Bows for 2021

Christian Berg - January 11, 2021

Have a look at some of the very best compound bows being brought to the market this year.

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

Fields and food plots aren't the best places to kill big bucks.Avoid “Gun Stands” When Bowhunting How-To

Avoid “Gun Stands” When Bowhunting

Bill Winke

Fields and food plots aren't the best places to kill big bucks.

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.

When the moment of truth arrives, you need to forget about the big rack in front of you. Pick a Spot to Slow Your Movement At Full Draw How-To

Pick a Spot to Slow Your Movement At Full Draw

Bill Winke

When the moment of truth arrives, you need to forget about the big rack in front of you.

Change your practice sessions now for more success this fall.4 Target Practice Strategies to Try This Off-Season How-To

4 Target Practice Strategies to Try This Off-Season

Taylor Pardue

Change your practice sessions now for more success this fall.

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