How to draw a compound bow? Just grab the handle and pull the rope until you can’t pull any further, right? Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, shooting and shooting with a compound archery is more complicated than that. You need to develop a routine consisting of specific steps and then follow it each time you draw a compound bow. The more time you spend creating a shooting routine and mastering each step of that routine, the more successful you will be at bow hunting. Here’s how to get started.

The compound bow handle

It’s natural for a new archer not knowing how to hold a compound bow. They usually put their hand as far into the grip of the bow as they can go, then squeeze until their knuckles turn white. Indeed, pulling on a pulley can seem like a daunting task, and the new archer believes that the more hand he has on the bow and the tighter his grip, the more control he will have. Many also believe that a firm grip will prevent the bow from jumping out of their hands. But that’s not what you want to do. The first step in learning to draw a compound bow is to master the grip.

A great way to find the right grip is to raise the bow arm in front of you. Jace bauserman

The first thing to do is to develop a repeatable grip. Take your bow arm (your left arm for right-handed people) and hold it in front of you as if you are giving the signal to stop. You will notice that your thumb will be at a 45 degree angle. This is the perfect position to put your hand in the grip of your bow. Hold your bowstring with your non-gripping hand and allow the lower cam of the bow to rest on your thigh. Now practice getting your gripping hand firmly in place. Keep the angle 45 degrees, but make sure you don’t dig too far into the handle. You want the handle of the bow to rest outside the lifeline of your hand in the palm swelling area.

Once you can grip the bow the same way each time and feel comfortable, let go of the string and lift the bow in front of you. While doing this, keep a light grip. The more you tighten the handle, the more torque you transfer into the riser, and that torque will negatively impact boom flight. Your grip should be light and airy. Let your index, middle and ring fingers rest gently on the front of the grip. The bow won’t jump out of your hand, I promise. If this still worries you, add a wrist sling.

How to draw a compound bow with a D-loop
Shooting a compound bow is a process and no step should be missed. This includes how you connect to your D-loop. Jace bauserman

Arc Position, D-Loop Clip, Focus

The second step of how to draw a compound bow is the loop d. This step is overlooked, especially when archery hunting, but remember we are building a repeatable routine on the shooting range that we will be performing in the field. With the lower cam of your bow resting on your thigh and your perfect grip, hang onto your D-loop with the release of your bow. Just like you did with your take, practice this step often. These moments and stages are essential for correct visualization. After you’ve hooked your D-loop, fix your gaze on your target. See the arrow impacting the exact spot you want it to hit. Control your breathing and block the world.

How to draw a compound bow and anchor

Now is the time to draw your compound bow and get into the anchor position (the point at which the string touches your face). This step should never be practiced or performed without a loaded boom. Dry fires can destroy your bow (without a loaded arrow, the riser, limbs, and cams of the bow take the brunt of all the bow’s energy).

Lift your bow straight in front of you and pull the string back. If you can’t do this and need to tilt the bow up or down, the weight of your bow is too heavy. Too much weight leads to a lousy pulling cycle and shoulder problems. Archery must be fun. You can always increase the pulling weight by pulling more and building your strength. Until then, pull on a comfortable pulling weight that allows you to pull the rope back.

An archer showing how to use a compound bow
Freehand shooters will want the V formed by their middle finger and index finger to run along the bottom of the jaw and the bowstring barely touching the tip of the nose. Jace bauserman

The printing process should be silky. Don’t be jerky. Bring the rope back and pull into a repeatable two-point anchor. For me, it’s with the string touching the tip of my nose and the V-shape formed by my index and middle fingers resting on the bottom of my jaw. The index finger goes under the jaw and the middle finger goes above. It is a great anchor point for any freehand shooter. If you pull a loose index finger, the string should rest on the tip of your nose, but your index finger joint should be near the base of your earlobe. Find a 2-position anchor point that’s right for you and make it happen every time.

Make sure your gaze and sight box line up perfectly when you find your perfect two-point anchor. If not, you will need to adjust the viewfinder or have a professional bowman do it for you.

Read more: Preparing for Archery Hunting: 5 Exercises to Prepare for Your Best Archery Season

Let the bow release the fire from the bow

The blow is near now. Your job is not to rush or anticipate the shot. Your job is to keep breathing and stay relaxed. Let the pin float on the target while pushing into the target with your bow hand. Trust your pin to float above the target. The best archer in the world cannot hold his pin stationary on a target. Your subconscious mind is constantly dragging this pin back and forth to where you want the arrow to impact.

A man using a compound bow
Once you’ve crawled into your two-point anchor and your pin floats over the target, relax. Take the time to breathe and let your pin float. As you relax, push your bow arm into the riser and push your release arm back. Jace bauserman

I imagine pushing the riser to where I want the arrow to hit. While driving up the riser with your bow hand, pull into the back wall of the bow (which is the end of the draw cycle, meaning you can pull the string further) with your release hand. . Imagine someone standing behind you and wanting to stick the tip of your elbow into their nose. The most important thing during all of this is to stay relaxed. Do not squeeze the handle any harder or have a lethal grip on the trigger. You simply push into the elevator with your bow hand while bringing the elbow back onto the trigger arm. The more relaxed you are, the easier the shot will break.

Archery is not your job; this is not how to properly draw a compound bow. It is the work of the arc release. If you shoot with your bow, you anticipate the shot and you will never be as precise as you could be. Learn to let your release shoot the bow early on, and your archery life won’t be hampered by poor form, target panic, and inconsistent shooting.

I recommend building a shooting device so that you can regularly practice performing shots without ever firing an arrow. The process is straightforward. Get an old bow grip from an archery store and run a string measured at your draw length through the grip. It is a simple training device that will make you a better archer.


There is only one more step in how to draw a compound bow. If you let the trigger draw the arc, the shot should be a surprise. If this is the case, your bow will naturally drop forward and the elbow of your release arm will drop backward. Your head will stay in the same spot and your gaze will be fixed on where you wanted your arrow to hit until the shaft hits the house. Don’t overdo the follow-up. If you do your job by letting the trigger fire the arc, it will happen naturally.

A man showing how to draw a compound bow
If you let your clearance draw the arc, you’ll split up instantly and the follow-through will happen naturally. Jace bauserman

A great way to check shot execution and proper tracking is to have a friend take a few videos of your shoot. You will be able to see your entire shooting process and identify areas where the process may be interrupted. You will also be able to quickly diagnose a hard thumb or index finger. If you poke and punch on the exit, your following will never be as good as it should be.

Remember, these are steps to draw a compound bow. Stay patient and don’t expect immediate control. The best way to become a great archer is to take your time. I recommend designing a shooting plan just like you would a training plan. Break down what you want to work on every day. I also recommend keeping a shooting journal to keep track of your progress.