How To Shoot A Compound Bow

After seeing it for the first time, many people wonder how to shoot a compound bow. It looks intimidating and somewhat complicated when compared to its cousin, the recurve bow.  The compound bow works exactly the same way with just a few modern upgrades.  A compound bow is typically made with an aluminum riser for maximum stiffness while the limbs are constructed from compound materials.  The limbs use pulleys to aid in drawing the bow which makes it highly accurate with maximum velocity. 

To shoot a compound bow, you will need:

  • A compound bow
  • A release
  • Arm guard
  • An arrow
  1. Equipment.  Most sportsmen that hunt with compound bows use a release.  A release is a device that straps onto your shooting hand and attaches to the bow string. It transfers the draw of the bow to the wrist rather than the fingers. You fire the bow by triggering the release. The arm guard will protect the inside of the arm you are using to hold the bow. Choose target arrows rather than hunting arrows if you are practicing because they are much cheaper.
  2. Setting up.  A compound bow is actually quite easy to fire. In the middle of the bow string you will notice there is a loop attached. Notch the arrow within the loop. The arrow will have a clip on the end and you want to make sure you push the clip onto the string until you hear it click. Now attach your release to the loop.
  3. Draw and release.  Your stance should be similar to a batter’s stance in baseball. You want your feet around shoulder length apart but if this feels uncomfortable that is okay. Many people enjoy a wider stance. Now draw the bow slowly with your shoulders instead of your arms. Expand your chest and focus on the target. Pull the bow back so that your hand touches the corner of your jaw, the arrow is near the corner of your mouth and the string almost touches your nose. Inhale and sight your target.  Exhale, gently squeeze you shoulders together and release. 


  • Different releases work better for different shooters.  Some releases use your whole hand to trigger it while others use only your index, ring or pinkie finger.  Try out different releases to find one that works for you.


  • If the arrow is not notched properly, you could dry fire the bow which is how most injuries occur.  Push the arrow in until you hear a click.
  • The position of the draw is critical in compound bow shooting.  Never sway, wobble or lean into a shot.  The string may whip across your face.
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