Traditional Shooting Techniques

Shooting traditional is making a come back and knowing how to aim a bow with no sights can be a little trickier than it looks.  Let’s take a look at the different types of traditional shooting techniques so that you know your options and you can try all of them out to see which method works the best for you.

Gap shooting

Gap shooting is a style where a person puts together marks on their bow to aim by based on distance.  So first you figure out how far away the target is.  The next thing is to choose a spot on the bow riser to use for aiming to line it up with the target.  After you shoot a few arrows, go check and see where they hit.  Repeat this step but move your aiming spot on the riser up or down based on where the arrows hit.

When you find the right spot for the distance, mark it on the bow riser.  You then repeat this for a couple other distances.  Now you have bow sights made.  You will need to guess or know the distance to the target and then find the mark on your bow that corresponds with it.  If it’s between two distance, then you aim in between the two marks.

String walking

This is very similar to gap shooting, but it focuses on moving the back part of the arrow that is against you.  You pick a known distance to start with and memorize where the string, arrow, and fingers touch your face.  For the next distance, you will move one or all of these things up or down.  For example, you might shoot with three fingers under the arrow at 30 yards and then shoot with two under at 20 yards.  I could never get the hang of this one, but some people like it.


My preferred style and it does take more practice than the others.  You start by picking two or more anchor points that the arrow and your hand will touch on your face.  The next thing to do is practice on focusing very intently on a single tiny spot on the target.  You don’t want to guess or think about the distance to the target.  You hold for about one or two seconds for your brain to figure things out and then you release the arrow.  In a nutshell it sounds very simple and lots of people are really good with this method.

Holding the arrow

How you hold the string with your hands will affect where it ends up.  The two most popular methods are three under and split finger.  Three under is where you have three fingers underneath the arrow.  This typically means that the arrow with pull back closer to your eye.  Split finger normally has two fingers under the arrow and one over it.  This helps make sure the arrow stays on the string and is very popular.  There are also variations from different cultures that you’ll hear about.  This involves using two fingers, using your thumb to pull back, and other things I’m sure I haven’t heard of yet.

Anchor point

This is where you pull the string back to.  Where ever you choose for it to be, you want it to be in a consistent spot every single time.  If you want it drawn to the corner of your mouth or eye or whatever, make sure that you draw it back to the same point every single time.  This will let you be more accurate with any of the aiming styles you choose.

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