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A key part of preparing for the hunt is perfecting your archery skills.

The six basic steps for shooting a bow are:

  1. Assume the shooting position.
  2. Nock the arrow.
  3. Draw and anchor the bow.
  4. Aim.
  5. Release the string.
  6. Follow through.

Assume the Shooting Position

Stand at a right angle to the target with your back foot slightly forward and your feet shoulder-width apart. The stance should feel comfortable and balanced.

Proper stance

Nock the Arrow

Nock an arrow while pointing and holding the bow in a safe direction—toward the target. The nock of the arrow is placed at the nocking point, which is a crimped brass or rubber ring or a marked area, on the bow string. The nocking point seats the nock in the same location on the string every time you shoot.

Nock the arrow

Draw and Anchor the Bow

  • Grip the bow handle or riser, but don’t squeeze it.
  • Present the bow to the target.
  • With your bow arm straight, raise the bow to a point that your arm is parallel to the ground, while simultaneously drawing the string back to your anchor point with your shooting hand. The anchor point is the position where your shooting hand consistently comes to a normal rest on or near your face. To ensure accuracy, make sure your bowstring hand comes to the same point each time you shoot.
Drawing the bow


Instinctively “shoot where you look,” or use bow sights to help you align your arrow with the target. If you use sights, you must have the proper sight picture—the correct alignment of target, front sight, and rear sight—prior to releasing an arrow.

Instinctive aiming

You can use instinctive aiming when shooting a bow.

Using a bow sight

Using a bow sight helps you align your arrow with the target.

Release the String

Once you have the proper sight picture, quickly relax your fingers or trigger the mechanical release in a smooth, confident manner.

Follow Through

After releasing the arrow, follow through by focusing on the sight picture you saw immediately prior to the shot.

  • Unit 5 of 9
  • Topic 2 of 5
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