So y’all young Rednecks seen some idiot shootin’ apples off someones head. Now y’all think your going to be the next robin hood. Well, slim chance, and probably dont shoot apples off each other head, but, I am going to give you the top 10 compound bow beginner tips that will get the average novice shooting a compound bow in fine form in no time.
Let’s cut to the chase,
- 1. Confusious says, Be one with the bow
- 2. Choose a release style
- 3. Sight in your bow
- 4. Tune your bow
- 5. Relax young Grasshopper
- 6. Take a stance
- 7. Better start kissing that string
- 8. Follow through
- 9. Pump some iron
- 10. Practice young Rednecks
1. Confusious says, Be one with the bow
OK, i’ll cut the shit, you don’t really need to be all zhen like and take your bow and practice yoga in the middle of the park all camed up. What I mean, is the bow has to be comfortable. Forget about how fast the thing spits arrows, what types of cams it’s using, what the axle axle to length is. Forget about the technicalities. For starters, we’re Rednecks, so you shouldn’t be trying to get all technical and stuff, it’ll just get you into trouble. The technicalities can come later.
Naturally, you should be able to pick the bow up as if you were going to shoot it, and it should feel comfortable to you. The bow should almost naturally balance in your hand. It shouldn’t feel overly heavy, or feel like it stressing your hand or arm in any way. This is especially important if this is your first bow. Your focus should be on building a solid foundation of proper technique. I’ll tell you right now, an archer who shoots a 50 lbs compound with perfect shot placement time and time again, will beat the archer with a top of the line Compound with all the bells and whistles who throws his shots all over the place, every single time. Shot placement is king people!
That my fury little friends, is why it’s important for the bow to feel comfortable to you.
2. Choose a release style
When shooting a compound bow your going to need a release aid, unless your shooting a compound bow designed for finger shooting.
Most bows the beginner are most likely to buy, and all the reviews we’ve done on beginner bows are designed to be shot with a release aid. There’s one main reason for this. A lot of bows on the market these days are precision machined pieces of kit. The string sits inside the cam and when the archer draws back on the bow it needs to be perfectly straight, otherwise the string could slip out of the cam, and mess your bow up. So, unless your shooting a compound bow designed for finger shooting, don’t be tight and just buy a release. If you want to shoot with fingers, then just shoot a recurve.
Enough of my Redneck rambling.
There are several different types of releases on the market, but i’ll touch on the three main ones that most beginners are likely to use.
Index finger release
This style of release is probably the most common when it comes top the new archer, and there especially handy for rifle shooters who might be trying there hand at a bit of bow hunting.
Just like the name says the traditional index finger release has a set of jaws, or even sometimes just a hook, that hooks onto your D-loop, you then pull back to your draw length, and ever so slightly squeeze the release with your index finger. The jaws open and releases your arrow. Be careful though, just like a rifle, dont have your finger anywhere near the trigger. These releases are extremely touchy and I’ve seen it time and time again where a person will be half way through the draw cycle and next minute there’s an arrow hurdling down range.
The upsides to this release is that it straps onto your wrist, making your draw cycle much easier, and as already said, there great for those experienced in shooting a rifle.
All in all, great release for the beginner archer.
Thumb trigger release
This style of release is especially good for smashing targets. They can be used out in the hills on a hunt, but a lot of these releases dont connect to the hand, so you have to keep track of it. Not really something you want when a buck takes you by surprise and your stuck trying to find which pocket or pouch you put your release in. There are some on the market however that do attach to your wrist, so keep an eye out.
This style of release uses a jaw or hook system similar to that of the Index finger release. The main difference is the way the release is activated, and the way the release is held. As you can see in the picture below the release is held with all fingers and can feel quiet comfortable to use. When you reach your draw length and hit the wall, you then activate the release with your thumb. This can take a bit of getting used to, especially for those transitioning from rifle to bow, you’ll need a bit of practice as it can feel a little unnatural at the start. It is a great release however to achieve maximum accuracy and often used by a lot of target archers.
This style of release is great for punching your self in the mouth, and I dont like punching myself in the mouth, so I dont use one. However, like the thumb release, with a bit of practice these are great for target shooting.
A hinge release is similar to a thumb release in the way that is held, but thats about the only similarity. A hinge doesn’t utilize any type of trigger to activate the release. Instead, it utilizes a backward motion in order for the hook to slip of the D-loop.
An upside to this style of release is when you hook onto your D-loop the hinge is silent. No clicks, no sounds, no nothing, BUT, there’s always a but. As I said, you need to practice with this style of release. They are perfect for making the most out of your shot due to the minimal movement of your hand to activate the hinge, but the hinge can slip halfway through your draw cycle if your not used to them. Resulting in you punching your self in the lip or nose.
Actually, on second thoughts it is kind of funny, so please do use it.
So young rednecks, if your going to use this style of release, then practice practice practice!
Don’t jerk the trigger
So now you understand a bit about some of the different styles of release aids on the market, you need to start to use one. Learn to not punch the trigger. Just like taking a shot with a rifle, you need squeeze the trigger. Gradually increase the pressure until the release activates. It should be a surprise to you when the release activates.
If your starting out, and you intentionally know that the release is going to go off, then your doing it wrong. When you get a surprise because the release has activated and you weren’t really expecting it, then you know your starting to do it right. Over time, you’ll learn just how much pressure it takes to activate the release and you’ll be able to manipulate the trigger in a way that’s not a surprise anymore whilst still maintaining good trigger pull discipline, but it takes practice.
3. Sight in your bow
Now you’ve got your bow & have a release aid your comfortable with your going to want to sight the bad boy in.
If you want to be the next Robin Hood then you better make sure your shooting straight.
When sighting in your bow 20 yards is a good distance to start at.
Now, depending on what type of sight you have will depend on the way and the distances you’ll sight in at. Let’s say you have a 3 pin sight. A good rule of thumb would be to sight your first pin at 20 yards, second pin at 30, and 3rd pin at 40, or you could go 20, 40, 60. Or maybe you have a 5 pin sight and you want to sight at 20, 30, 40, 50, 60. Either way, I’m sure you get the gist.
The basics when it comes to sighting a bow is you want to shoot tight groupings. Don’t worry about weather your hitting the bull, just focus on getting your groupings tight, then you can move your groupings onto the bull. The same principle applies even shooting without a sight, it’s all about the groupings. If you shoot good tight groupings, moving the arrows onto target is a minor tweak, but if your not shooting good groupings, then that’s another thing all together.
Which brings me to my next point…
4. Tune your bow
Straight off the bat, I need to tell you that there is a major difference between tuning a bow, and sighting a bow.
Sighting in a bow is just getting arrows to shoot groups where your aiming, tuning the bow, is what will make you shoot those nice tight groups in the first place.
Tuning a bow is everything from correct sight placement, correct arrow alignment, proper draw length, best arrows for your bow, and that’s only some of the things. Think of tuning your bow as making sure that you squeeze every last bit of capability out of your bow to ensure it’s optimal use.
I will do a dedicated post later on down the track of everything entailed in tuning your bow, but for now, be aware of it and start to ask experienced archers and research as much as you can about tuning a compound bow. Because ultimately, you can practice as much as you want, but if your equipment isn’t tuned properly, then your always going to get average results.
So like I said, because i’ll do a dedicated post to this alone, i’ll just give you the main points in the mean time.
- Make sure your strings sit where they should and are in good working order. The string and cables on a compound bow is the heart of everything, if they’re not aligned properly this can result in misaligned knocking points, rotated cams, shifted peep sights, and a whole lot of other bad shit that you just dont want when your trying to score that trophy bull.
- Make sure your draw length is correct. After periods of time a compound bows strings will often loose there original draw length. So, take your bow to the bow shop and get it checked every now and then. I would say once a year is good. Or after prolonged periods of not being used.
- Make sure your sighted in properly. If you fired your first 10 shots for the morning into the target and their not hitting where they should be, don’t count them. It often takes a person a while to warm up, so to speak, especially if they haven’t shot their bow in a while. When your warmed up, if your still not hitting, then make adjustments.
- If your throwing your groups everywhere, then you need to start to look at your arrows, This alone is a huge beast of subject to tackle, but some things you want to look at is, arrow fletching, length, spine, tip weight, and that’s just to name a few.
5. Relax young Grasshopper
When striving for accuracy in any sport where shots for accuracy count, you’ve got to relax, so just breath baby!
Yáll probably thinkin’ i’m some zhen like yoga instructor out in the middle of the sticks with my bow by now, but no, i’m telling you, you got to relax. If you want to pump out the best shots then you got to learn how to breath and relax properly.
Before you shoot, take a second to consciously relax every muscle in your body, then tense every muscle back up again. Do that several times and get your mind conscious to the way you actually feel relaxed. Once thats down pat, I like to focus on my breathing.
Draw back your bow, but as you do, take an aggressive breath in, and then purposely breathe out through the nose. Once you’ve exhaled focus on breathing shallow and calmly. Drop your shoulders, relax your muscles, then fire your shot.
To many people dont take time to learn simple relaxation techniques, then when it comes time for that trophy bull shot, they either miss, or execute a poor shot due to the excitement. You need to remember, even though it’s thousands of years later, our body is still acting like we’re cave man, especially when it comes to hunting. Adrenaline takes over, pupils dilate, fine motor skills are lost resulting in minor tremors, thoughts rush at a million miles an hour, But you can control it. All by controlling your mind, breathing and relaxing your body.
It’s literally the easiest skill of archery or hunting to perform, but yet the most forgotten.
6. Take a stance
Your going to read the word natural in this post a lot from here on in, and the reason for that is that you need to develop your own technique that feels natural to you.
So, with that said, take a stance that feels natural to you. You know every time your learning a new physical skill, and the instructors always like “Now folks, put your feet shoulder width apart”. Well, put your feet shoulder width apart, if you want to, but it’s not really a necessity.
Your going to notice some archers might take a very wide aggressive stance, while others might be close to having their feet together. This varies widely on the type of shooting your doing to. You’ll notice a lot of recurve hunters shoot a very instinctive style of shooting a lot of the time. Nine times out of ten they’ll have a wide stance, and put a lot of weight on their front foot. Looking almost like a shotgun shooter leading a shot. While the compound bow archer, has much more flexibility on his stance, and can take a much more natural approach. Reason being, is the way a compound bow works. Usually a compound bow offers a reasonably smooth draw, and then you reach the point of “let off”, in which case you draw past the let off and reach the wall where you only end up holding approx 15 – 20% of the original draw weight. This offers an archer much more flexibility on his stance.
Because the compound bow offers a more controlled approach, it means you can get use to a stance that feels comfortable to you, and ultimately leads to you having better shot placement.
7. Better start kissing that string
Right now your probably thinking man, Redneck Salvation has lost their mind, why would I kiss the string. Well young ones (& old ones), when I say kiss that string, I mean find the same point every time when you’ve reached your draw length (hit the wall).
There are aids out there for this which are known as, drum roll, KISSER buttons. So there’s a little Redneck sophistication for you, I wasn’t joking about kissing that bow string, I meant it. I think a little bit more of an explanation is in order here to clear the air.
When your bows tuned and you know your getting the most bang for your buck, you want to start to focus on technique. Now, if you’ve followed the above steps then you’ve got your stance sorted, but now you need to focus on the rest of your body. One of those things is your anchor point. A kisser button is an easy way to achieve the exact same anchor point every time you shoot.
Is it a necessity? No, but is sure as shit helps.
So what do you without a kisser button?
Well, that’s where the whole anchor point thing comes from in the first place. An anchor point is a specific point where you should finish your draw cycle at every time. That’s why it’s much easier to use a device such as kisser button, so you know exactly where that string needs to sit every time.
8. Follow through
This is something my missus always says to me, and it goes something like this, “you say your going to do all these things, but you never follow through“. How funny, i’m sure the average Redneck could relate to this. Now, if she could just see me shooting my bow or rifle i’m sure she’d learn a thing or two about following through.
Good news fellow rednecks, following through with a shot from your compound bow is much easier then following through with your failed promises to your missus.
When you release your arrow, don’t just drop the bow and start looking to see if you’ve hit the target.
Matter of fact, dont even think about it.
Stay stable for a second or two, release your breath, and slowly drop your bow.
Following through is the easiest yet hardest step out of all, and your probably wondering why.
Following your shots through is as much a mental game as it is physical. You need to have the ability to hold you excitement in, follow the shot, and slowly lower you bow. I know your probally thinking “Well if I’ve already released the arrow, how will follow through help me?”
Well Rednecks, Follow through starts at the beginning. From the second you take your stance & pull back, follow through is happening. Following through with a shot is more of a by product then it is a direct action of proper technique and discipline. It’s very hard to explain in a post, but it’s a very calm and deliberate action and choice to control inner instincts of excitement once you’ve released the shot.
9. Pump some iron
I know, we’re feckin’ rednecks not bodybuilders, but if your in the field and you need to take the shot that counts you best hope your puny lil’ sissy arms are going to pull back the draw weight of your 70 lbs compound bow.
Getting in shape never hurt anyone, even if you are a redneck. Hell, you can even take your favorite beer to the gym with if you want (probably don’t tell the receptionist).
Truth is there some very specific muscles that get used during archery. Now, if your hunting your really going to want to focus on those leg muscles. Because you don’t know how many lbs of meat your going to be carrying out of that valley you nailed that prized bull in. But, there’s even more to it then that.
Drawing a compound bow utelises a range of muscles. Specifically back, chest and arms. Focus on doing workouts that incorporate these muscle groups.
Alternatively though you can build up the muscles by drawing the bow. Start at a draw weight your comfortable with, nock an arrow, and just practice pulling the string until you hit the wall in a controlled manner. Focus on pulling the string straight in front of you. You’ll see a lot of people, especially beginners are running draw weights far to heavy for them and this results in them starting with the bow over the top of their head, and doing their draw cycle by pulling the bow in a downward motion. This can be dangerous because a lot of the time the beginner may accidentally knock the trigger on their release halfway through the draw cycle and send their arrow hurdling hundreds of yards away no where near the intended target.
This is why utelising the correct draw weight matters. It ensures that you’ll be able to complete your draw cycle in a controlled manner, and if you do accidentally activate your release you’ll at least have your arrow going in the right direction rather then no where near your intended target.
10. Practice young Rednecks
Now you’ve got some good tips to start working with, get out their and start shooting. Even if you can’t afford your own bow yet, get down to your local archery store or local archery range and ask if you could maybe shoot with one of they guys there.
Nine times out of ten when it comes to anything to do with the outdoors people are more then willing to help a first timer out. Listen to what people have to say, but take it with a grain of salt. The more practice the more little tricks you’ll pick up that work for you, but may not work for others, and vice versa.
Practice really is the biggest thing when it comes to archery.
So what are you waiting for, get out there and start throwing arrows down range.
‘Till next time, peace out
And remember, keep on Redneckin’.