How to Shoot a Compound Bow with Fingers – 4 Easy Steps!

how to shoot a compound bow

You may already know release aid helps a lot shooting arrows from compound bows, but does it give that authentic feel of bowhunting? To some people, authenticity means a lot, and I guess you are one of those people. Don’t worry; you have landed on the right page for the answers you have been looking for. So, let’s find how to shoot a compound bow with fingers by step-by-step guidelines. 

It hasn’t been more than twenty-five years that release aid has become this popular. Before that, the usual norm was to shoot with finger tabs. Since compound bow came into the business, some groundbreaking changes have come to the world of archery. 

It’s obvious to choose those pretty simple and easy-to-master mechanical release aids over finger release. Still, many people love the hard way. There are many reasons to learn finger shooting. If you are on the hunting ground and the release aid starts betraying you, which so many times they do, you can’t just stand there and let your hunt slip away.

And top of everything, archery is considered one of the most sacred hunting methods in so many tribes. It has been one of the most primitive hunting methods. So no matter how much it gets modern and full of technology, learning the basic rules and mastering it will always be fun.

So, let’s dive into the process and check out the easiest way to learn this skill.


Steps to Follow to Shoot a Compound Bow with Fingers

To make the process simpler and more convenient for you, we have divided the process into 4 easygoing steps. Just follow these steps to become an expert compound bowhunter!

Step#1: Pick up the Right Gears for You

This is the most important thing to do not just about shooting with fingers but also all the archery skills you will have to adopt. The learning success will vastly depend on the gadgets you choose. 

Choose Bigger Axle Length Bows

First of all, choose your bow wisely. If you have been planning to shoot with fingers, go for the long limb compound bows. The long axle-to-axle length will help to reduce pressure on the fingers and give you enough strength to shoot it right. Check out our list of the best hunting bows ever made!

The ideal axle-to-axle length of a compound bow should be 40 inches if you plan to shoot it using your fingers. The axle length also indicates the draw length. And a wider draw length is always good for a long arrow flight. Also, get the proper arrow rest that helps to dampen the arrows from sideways.

Be Sincere about the Size of the Cams

Along with long limb bows, many other things affect the bowstring. The cams or wheels and the brace height affect the strings’ angle and put pressure on your fingers. If you are using fixed-blade broadheads, try to make a gradual angle, so your fingers will be more comfortable and the shot will be more accurate. 

Step#2: Get a Good Grip on the Bowstring

This is the most fundamental rule of finger shooting. Choosing the particular pattern and getting a good grip delegate the ultimate success of archery. Keep in mind you will have to put the back of your hand in a parallel way with your bowstring. So, keep the back of your hand aligned with the bowstring.

To accomplish a smooth and consistent release, use the crease of your three or two fingers to pull the bowstring. Keep your fingers in line and use the backside of your hand. Try to form a limp and keep your fingers relaxed and torque-free. 

Once you reach your string’s full draw, find out the finger pressure that makes you feel comfortable and adjust accordingly.  Experiment with your finger pressure to know the perfect hold for you. Check on the consistency of the arrow release and pick up your release type wisely. 

Most bowhunters prefer using two fingers to hook up the bowstring and hold onto it in a firm grip. This particular hold gives a sense of security, and it’s also safe to hold onto for some time. It is recommended to use the best string silencers to reduce the sound produced by the string.

Step#3: Keep Practicing the Release Process

Most hunters use two particular ways to release the arrow using fingers—the traditional shooting at sighting way and the muscle memory way.

The traditional way refers to releasing your string according to what you see. You will have to move your pin, spot the target and release the arrow. 

In this method, you will have to- 

  • swing the sight pin of your bow, 
  • target the bull’s eye, 
  • take a deep breath, 
  • relax your muscle, 
  • keep your back straight 
  • and release the string.  

There are so many excellent bowhunters who use this formula, and this works for them nicely.

Muscle memory way totally depends on how you practice your hold and release. When you practice a particular form sometimes, your muscle remembers that move, and whenever you are there to hunt, your hand and fingers automatically imitate those moves for you.

Both of the ways have got some advantages and disadvantages though.

Step#4: Dealing with Target Panic

After a long time of shooting with fingers, many bowhunters develop a panic disorder. To be true, this is a terrible disorder and can badly hamper a hunter’s hunting performance. This disorder is mainly known as “freezing disorder“.

The hunter tries to swing the bow sight pin most of the time and it seems to be stuck at the wrong point. They keep trying hard to fix it, but the hook misses the spot every time. The actual problem begins with slight mismanagement of the sight pin. The first time it stops on the wrong spot, the hunter drops the string abruptly and gets nervous. So, the pin keeps moving, and the circle keeps going on.

In this situation, you will have to stop panicking, which may seem hard sometimes. Then forget your usual shooting style and restructure the whole process with a new approach. The problem seems so severe, but the solution is so much easy!


Though using fingers to shoot a compound bow has become a dying art, but yet it excites so many hunters to this date. It might not be the easiest way. It will take some to master though it will give you the raw taste of bowhunting. The taste so many hunters thrive for! So, if you are interested in this particular skill, just follow these steps, and you will be doing it flawlessly earlier than you thought.

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