How to aim compound bow

How to Aim Compound Bow: A Quick and Easy Guide

Compound bows are a popular choice for hunters and archery enthusiasts alike. While they may seem intimidating at first, with a little practice and proper technique, anyone can learn how to aim a compound bow accurately. In this article, we will cover the basics of how to aim a compound bow, including proper stance, grip, and sight alignment.

One of the most important aspects of aiming a compound bow is having a solid foundation. This means standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and perpendicular to your target. Your body should be relaxed, but your core should be engaged to provide stability. Additionally, it is important to have a consistent grip on the bow, with your hand relaxed but firm and your fingers wrapped around the grip.

Once you have established a solid foundation, the next step is to align your sight. This involves lining up the peep sight on your bowstring with the pins on your sight. Depending on the distance to your target, you may need to adjust the pins up or down to ensure proper alignment. With these basics in mind, anyone can learn how to aim a compound bow and improve their accuracy on the range or in the field.

Choosing the Right Arrows For Compound Bow

The first step in accurate aiming is ensuring you have a properly spined arrow matched to your bow’s draw weight and length. Arrow spine refers to the measurement of rigidity or flexibility of the arrow shaft. A weak spine means the arrow will flex too much, while too stiff of a spine won’t absorb enough energy and can miss left or right.

Right Arrows For Compound Bow

Use an arrow chart or online calculator to determine the correct spine for your setup. Factors like your draw length and the bow’s draw weight must be accounted for. Most compound archers will need a medium or stiff spine rating. Beyond that, consider arrow length – generally cut 1-2 inches longer than your draw length. An arrow weight in grains matching around 5-8 grains per pound of your draw weight is ideal.

The vanes or fletching size and angle also impact arrow flight. For compound bows, a low profile 2-3” vane or feather is recommended to avoid contact with cables or whisker biscuits. A right helical fletch will optimize arrow spin and stability.

Finally, use a bow square to precisely align the nocking point on your bowstring. This ensures the arrow leaves the rest consistently on each shot. Taking the time to tune your arrows to your bow is the first step in reliable accuracy.

How to Aim Compound Bow (Step-By-Step)

Step 1: When at full draw, look through the peep sight mounted on the bowstring. Line it up with the appropriate front sight pin based on target distance.

Step 2: Properly sight in the compound bow using a close target to adjust the pins so arrows hit the bullseye. Fine-tune at varying distances out to 60 yards.

Step 3: Understand arrow trajectory is not flat. At longer distances, compensate by aiming slightly above the target to account for arrow drop.

Step 4: Learn to estimate yardages when hunting. Choose the right sight pin for the distance to ensure a well-placed shot.

Step 5: Factor in environmental conditions. Anticipate the impact of wind, elevation changes, temperature, and other variables that influence arrow flight.

Step 6: Consider adding stabilizers or counterbalances to minimize compound bow torque upon release. This can enhance accuracy.

Step 7: Practice regularly at varying, unknown distances to train your instincts. Develop solid muscle memory and skills for shooting accurately based on feel.

Step 8: Refine form – proper draw, anchor point, bow arm stability. Good technique improves consistency from shot to shot.

Step 9: Maintain safety as your top priority. Never aim at a movement you have not identified. Be certain of your target and surroundings.

Proper Shooting Form and Stance

Your shooting form and stance are the foundation for precision aiming and accuracy. Here are some key elements to focus on:

Stance – Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, perpendicular to the target. Balance your weight evenly on the balls of both feet to be light on your toes. Keep your knees slightly bent and back straight.

Grip – Lightly grip the bow handle with your less dominant hand without squeezing. Let it sit relaxed in your hand. Closing your fingers too forcefully will torque the bow.

Draw arm – Your dominant arm should be extended straight towards the target, elbow unlocked. Imagine pushing your hand forward rather than just pulling the string back. This engages your back muscles properly.

Anchor point – The anchor point is where you draw the string back to consistently on your face. The corner of your mouth or below your jawbone are common anchor points.

Release – Utilize a back tension release aid or properly execute a finger release. The release action should surprise you every time when executed properly.

Follow through – Maintain your form, hold your sight picture, and follow through for 2-3 seconds after the shot to observe the hit. No peeking!

Repeating this proper form precisely builds consistency in your shooting for better accuracy.

Setting Up Your Bow Sight

The bow sight allows you to visually aim your shots with precision. After confirming your arrows are flying straight with field points, you can begin dialing in your sight.

Setting Up Your Bow Sight

Start at 20 yards shooting at a target. If your arrows hit left, adjust the windage dial to right. If they hit low, adjust the elevation up. Use micro-adjustments of a few clicks or fractions of an inch at a time. Confirm your adjustments at least three times before changing.

Once your sight is dialed in at 20 yards, move back to 30 and repeat the process before moving to 40, 50, and 60 yards. Shooting bare shafts can help confirm proper flight as misaligned arrows will reflect flaws.

This process establishes your sight picture so you can accurately aim by putting your pin on target. Adjustments will be needed between distance changes. Many sights allow you to set individual pins for the most common shooting distances.

Aiming Technique

With your equipment tuned and sight dialed in, let’s focus on the aiming process. Here is a shot sequence to follow:

  • Square your stance perpendicular to the target
  • Set your compound bow hand grip and engage your back muscles
  • Draw the string straight back to your anchor point smoothly
  • As you come to full draw, find your pin through your peep sight
  • Hold the pin steady on your aiming spot, relax your muscles
  • Focus intently on the spot, block out distractions
  • Increase the tension until the shot breaks naturally
  • Hold follow-through until the arrow hits the target

The key factors are achieving full draw with proper form, settling your pin on the target, and maintaining focus through the shot process until the arrow hits the mark. Rushing causes inconsistency – take your time.

Practicing Your Aim

1 – Consistent Practice

Consistent practice is crucial for improving your aim with a compound bow. The more you practice, the more you will develop muscle memory and improve your accuracy. It is recommended to practice at least 20-30 minutes a day, several times a week.

To make the most out of your practice sessions, it’s essential to have a consistent routine. Start by warming up your muscles with some stretching exercises. Then, focus on your form and aim, making sure that you are using proper techniques. You can also try different techniques and grips to find what works best for you.

2 – Target Practice Tips

Target practice is an excellent way to improve your aim with a compound bow. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your target practice sessions:

  • Start with a larger target and move to smaller ones as you improve your accuracy.
  • Use a variety of targets, including 3D targets, paper targets, and foam targets, to simulate different hunting scenarios.
  • Practice shooting at different distances, starting with shorter distances and gradually moving back as you improve your accuracy.
  • Focus on your form and aim, making sure that you are using proper techniques.
  • Keep track of your progress by recording your scores and tracking your improvement over time.

By following these tips and practicing consistently, you will improve your aim with a compound bow and become a more accurate shooter.

Troubleshooting Common Aiming Errors

If you are frequently missing left, right, high, or low, it is time for some troubleshooting.

Left/right misses – Verify consistent anchor point and bow hand grip. Be sure torque is not induced by gripping too tight. Confirm arrow spine is matched to your setup. Adjust the sight windage knob incrementally until shots are straight.

High/low misses – At longer distances, check for proper pin gap compensation. You may need to adjust your sight elevation. At short distances, a high miss is likely an anchor point issue while low could indicate a form flaw on release.

Beyond sight adjustments, evaluate your overall form and release. Poor technique anywhere in the shot process can lead to accuracy issues. An experienced coach can diagnose and correct flaws in your shooting form.

Maintaining Your Compound Bow

To ensure your compound bow functions properly and lasts a long time, it’s important to take proper care of it. Here are some tips for maintaining your compound bow:

1. Keep it Clean

After each use, wipe down your compound bow with a clean, dry cloth to remove any dirt, debris, or moisture. This will help prevent rust and corrosion.

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2. Check the Strings and Cables

Check your compound bow’s strings and cables regularly for any signs of wear or damage. Look for frayed strands, broken strands, or any other signs of wear and tear. If you notice any issues, it’s best to have a professional compound bow technician take a look.

3. Wax the Strings

To keep your compound bow strings and cables in good condition, apply a small amount of bowstring wax to them every few weeks. This will help prevent them from drying out and breaking.

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4. Inspect the Limbs

Inspect your compound bow’s limbs regularly for any signs of damage or cracking. If you notice any issues, it’s best to have a professional take a look.

5. Store it Properly

When you’re not using your compound bow, store it in a cool, dry place. Avoid leaving it in direct sunlight or in a damp area.

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By following these simple tips, you can help ensure that your compound bow stays in good condition and functions properly for years to come.

Instinctive Shooting

For shooters who prefer traditional archery, aiming without sight is an incredible skill – known as instinctive shooting. Rather than conscious calculations, you simply look at the target, unconsciously account for distance, wind, and other factors, and your brain guides your shot.

This style takes thousands of arrows to hone the hand-eye coordination and muscle memory required. Start close, out to 10 yards maximum, and drill on the consistent draw, anchor point, release, and follow through. Let your subconscious take over rather than thinking about aiming. Gradually increase the distance as your accuracy improves.

Instinctive shooting allows you to shoot faster since you don’t have to worry about settling a pin on target. But most bowhunters still prefer sights for increased precision at longer ranges. With time and practice, both styles can achieve consistent accuracy.

Follow Safety Precautions

As with any weapon, compound bows must be handled safely to avoid accidents. Always point your drawn bow straight towards the target, never drape an arrow across the shelf accidentally. Know what lies beyond your target to avoid mishaps in case of a stray arrow.

On shooting ranges, obey all posted range rules and commands. Ensure your backstop is adequate to safely stop arrows. If hunting, be absolutely sure of your surroundings and any people or property downrange.

When transporting your compound bow, keep it in a case and unstrung. Store it in a secure location away from moisture and temperature extremes which can damage its components. Follow all regulations for transporting bows or arrows in vehicles to avoid legal trouble.

Hand a beginner an expertly tuned compound bow, and they will still miss the broadside of a barn without proper instruction and practice. But with patience and persistence, accurately hitting your mark gets easier. Strive to make proper shooting technique second nature. Aim small, miss small. Now get out there, fling some arrows and have fun.


Learning how to accurately aim your compound bow requires attention to equipment setup, shooting form, use of sights, and sheer practice. But with the right technique, you’ll be stacking arrows in no time. Stick to the shot sequence, troubleshoot issues, and keep drilling – you’ll be amazed at the results. Soon you’ll be drilling the bullseye or knocking over 3D targets with ease.

Remember that the proper aiming method allows you to confidently make ethical shots when bowhunting. No animal deserves a careless shot. Follow these tips, continually reinforce good habits, and ensure total accuracy. Before you know it, you’ll have the confidence and ability to cleanly take down even trophy game animals at long distances when the moment of truth arrives.

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