Getting into Archery: When to Draw

Drawing a bow requires muscle and movement. Doing so unnoticed? That’s the key to success when hunting.

Waiting for an animal to turn away, drop its head or walk behind cover provides a brief opportunity to draw your arrow without being seen or heard. Getting busted while trying to draw is common. Just remember, a lost opportunity is the best way to learn exactly what to do differently next time. Knowing exactly when to draw and visualizing your shooting lane is all about practice.

Practice silently

Put yourself through various scenarios that you will experience in the field: be it still-hunting, sitting in a tree stand, or hunting from a ground blind. Practice drawing on shooting lanes—look at existing game trails or range openings. Visualizing how a situation can play out helps you prepare when you do spot your game.

Draw your arrow silently. Make sure you’re as comfortable as possible, so that it takes the least amount of effort. You can quickly see any obstacles in the way and if you have enough clearance for your bow limbs upon release.

Practice slowly

Drawing slowly with minimal movement is a huge advantage when cover is limited or when the animal can potentially see you. Try drawing and holding your bow at full draw for as long as you can. You’ll learn your limitations. It isn’t unusual to draw and have an animal hold up, leaving you wondering if you should continue to hold or let down.

Practice strength

If you’re at full draw and forced to hold the weight of your bow, try dropping your elbow and tucking it in tight against your side. At full draw, the elbow of your release hand will be held up, which takes more effort to hold the weight of your bow than if you drop that elbow. You will find that you can stay at full draw for much longer. Simply raise your elbow to get back to shooting form when the opportunity comes.

Practice form

If you like to spot and stalk or call game, practice drawing your bow sitting, kneeling or hiding behind a tree. When you practice at the range, your feet are shoulder width apart and you can use your entire body to draw the bow. When trying to stay concealed, you have to get creative – and perhaps rely on brute strength.

Try setting up a target to see if your aim is true when you aren’t looking straight from a standing position. Sit flat on the ground and see if you can draw an arrow and hold it comfortably. Do it again while kneeling.

Simulating hunting situations in different ways can help you draw your bow successfully, stay concealed, and make an accurate shot when an animal presents itself.