Archery and bow hunting have been increasing in popularity over the past several years. While gun licenses for hunting can be hard to obtain in some states, and gun hunting seasons are often short or restricted to just a few hunters, bow hunting seasons often last for months and require little red tape. With an increasing number of hunters trading in their rifles and shotguns for crossbows and compound bows, sportsmen are learning how to perfect their aim and ability with the new equipment. One tip that may help new bow hunters improve their aim is holding their breath in the seconds before releasing an arrow.

Shooting a bow, especially when dealing with the heightened adrenaline of a live hunting target, is a physically demanding process. Hunters must be quick to notch their arrow to the string, draw the string back, aim, and release the arrow smoothly if they want success in their hunts. Because the string of a bow is drawn, in part, by human power, maintaining a steady aim can be more difficult than when shooting with a rifle or shotgun, which require only a few pounds of force to pull a trigger. By contrast, many archers use bows with at least forty to fifty pounds of draw weight, requiring more physical strength and balance to maintain their aim.

It is important, before focusing on the act of aiming itself, to make sure you have the right bow for your strength and purposes. If you struggle to draw the string back smoothly or find your arms shaking when trying to keep it drawn, the draw strength is too much for you and will always negatively affect your aim, regardless of how much you practice. Additionally, arrows come in a variety of weights, which are measured by a unit of measurement known as grains, with one grain roughly equating to the weight of one grain of barley. Lighter-grain arrows are often used for target shooting, while hunters favor heavier arrows that pack more killing power, but require more power to fly accurately.

Once you have acquired the right bow equipment for your needs, you can focus on aiming. Archers determine which hand to draw the bow with based on which of their eyes is dominant; for instance, a right-eye dominant archer will draw with the right hand. Archers traditionally stand with their feet shoulder-width apart, with their inner hip open to but not directly lined up with the target, giving them room to draw the string across their body to the back shoulder. Holding this position, even with the aid of a compound bow can be difficult for many archers. Even the slightest twitch, involuntarily produced by breathing, can ruin a shot. To counteract this, take a deep breath during your draw and hold it for the few seconds it takes you to line up your aim and release the arrow. By doing so, you will reduce involuntary movements and instantly improve your accuracy.

If you’re still having difficulty hitting your target, installing a sight on your bow might be helpful. A properly calibrated sight gives you a point to line up with your target so you know where your arrow will fly if your release is smooth. A lot of good sights, such as the IQ Ultra Lite Three Pin Bow Sight,¬†also have different pins and settings you can use to compensate for the varying distance between you and your target. For example, you would line up one pin if your target is 20 yards away and a different lower pin if your target is 30 yards away! Most beginner archers find the sight on their bow to be an invaluable tool to increase their accuracy!