Why Proper Hand Position is Key to Bowhunting Success

Practice makes perfect when it comes to learning the correct hand position for hooding and operating a bow.
Why Proper Hand Position is Key to Bowhunting Success

Getting your hand in the correct position on a bow grip is the foundation for every good shot. Yet it’s arguably the one step of the total shot process that causes bowhunters the most problems.

The goal is simple. You want your hand to support the bow without influencing it when you release the string. That produces the most consistent shot.

The simplest way to get into the correct position is to hold your bow arm straight out in front of you with all of your fingers flared out like you’re making the “Stop!” gesture. Now, rotate your hand outward until your forefinger and thumb form a “V.” Set the bow inside that V on the meaty part of your thumb rather than in the middle of your palm.

From our June issue

If you look over the top of your bow hand, you should see the left edge of the grip for righties and the right edge for lefties sitting just inside your lifeline (the first major line in your palm as you fold your thumb inward).

Why that spot? It’s flat to support the bow, and with a relaxed hand, it’s darn near impossible to induce torque.

When your hand is in the proper position, your knuckles should extend away from the grip at a 45-degree angle. An easy check to see if you’ve got it right is to press your ring and pinky finger straight down into your palm. Those fingers should have no chance of touching the riser if your knuckles are at 45 degrees.

It’s OK that those fingers can’t touch the bow. You don’t need them. In fact, when you draw, you want to totally relax your bow hand. Just let your fingers go limp, and that includes your thumb. Don’t hook any of them around the riser.

Some archers attempting to achieve proper hand position keep their fingers flared outward so their hand is open. Don’t do that. That puts tension in your hand and wrist, and tension leads to torque. Just relax your hand.

The backward force of drawing the bowstring will hold the bow solidly in your hand. If you’re worried about the bow jumping out at the shot, add a wrist sling or take the tip of your index finger and allow it to rest lightly on the back of the riser.

If you’ve never had it, proper hand position will likely feel strange at first. Practice it repeatedly. It will begin to feel normal, and your shooting consistency will improve.


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