This should be so simple, right? You pull the string back, aim, and shoot. Well, the good news is that if you do everything right and you put your time in, learning how to shoot a compound bow like a pro can be that simple—eventually. But first you need to sort out a few nagging complications.

First and foremost is the fact that there is more than one way to shoot a modern bow. The vast majority of everyday bowhunters, for example, simply punch the trigger when the sight picture looks good. Most high-level 3D shooters, on the other hand, do not. Now here’s the key: No matter what you’ve been told, you can learn how to shoot a bow really well either way. You just have to decide which way is right for you. And you have to nail down some fundamentals. So, let’s begin there.

How to Shoot a Compound Bow: Getting Started

First, I’m going to make some assumptions. (I know, but I’m going to do it anyway.) I’ll assume that you are shooting a reasonably modern bow set up with a peep, a D-loop, and a decent rest and sight, at the least. This can be a $400 compound bow for beginners or a $1,200 flagship model. Doesn’t matter for our purposes. What does matter is that the draw length and weight are right for you. If you’re not sure, watch this or go to your local pro shop. I’ll also assume that you have the proper arrows and that you’re using a release aid, sometimes called a bow release, probably an index- (or caliper-) style if you’re a hunter.

Now, if you’re new to this, partner up with a more experienced buddy or go to your pro shop and shoot at close range. Your first job is to just get comfortable with your bow and establish your anchor points and set your peep height. (Don’t worry, your buddy or your pro will know how to help you with this.) Once you’re feeling good with everything, it’s time to sight in and tune your bow. If you don’t know how to do that, here is your guide.

Okay. Now we are ready to discuss how to shoot a compound bow.