Most bowhunters prefer to stand when shooting, and that’s great. However, shooting while seated is necessary at times — even ideal.
By Bob Robb
I visit a lot of archery camps throughout the country each season, and I’m still amazed at how many bowhunters tell me they cannot — and will not — take the shot while sitting. They are more comfortable when they get to their feet, just as they do at the practice range. That’s good. I also have no problem shooting from the standing position. However, through the years, I have come to prefer shooting whitetails from a tree stand while still in my seat. I set my stands at an angle so, if the deer do what I think they will, I can do just that.
There are several reasons for this. The most important for me is that by remaining seated, I am moving as little as possible. I see the deer coming, move only my left arm to grab the bow hanging from a branch, and then bring it to my lap and rest the bottom cam on my left thigh. I then hook up my release, and when the deer is in the proper position, I draw and shoot, again with minimal motion and noise. I take great care to not shuffle my feet on the stand, which can also make noise.
Another important reason is that by remaining seated, I keep my profile in the tree low, helping me remain hidden among the limbs and leaves. I find this an important factor when the leaves are gone. If I stand, I can snug up against the tree trunk, but the drawing and shooting motion can again expose me.
There are also times when shooting seated is the only way. The best example is when hunting from a ground blind. Whether from a tree stand or ground blind, learning to shoot by the seat of your pants takes practice.
If you’ve not done it, getting started is easy.
Next time you head to the practice range, bring a small stool, chair or 5-gallon bucket. Assuming you shoot right-handed, the best shot is one with the target 45 to 90 degrees to your left. Place the bow’s bottom cam on your left thigh, hook up your release, lift the bow off your leg and lean it out over your thigh. Then draw, settle the pin on the target and release, remembering that proper shooting form is paramount.
What do you mean you can’t draw the bow? That’s common. You’ll probably find that drawing your bow while seated without cheating — lifting your bow arm to provide added leverage — is a bit more difficult when seated then when standing. Don’t sweat it. The more you practice, the more your muscles will become trained in the motion, and the easier it will become. If push comes to shove, you can simply turn the draw weight down a smidgen. As you settle the sight pin, make sure you have leaned toward the target just enough that the bowstring clears your pant leg.
One other small, but often vital, point about drawing the bow while seated is when you do so, you will find that you tense the muscles of your thighs, buttocks and lower back. If you are not careful, you’ll end up shifting a bit on the seat, or your calves will brush against the seat’s edge. Both motions can create a little bit of noise, which normally is no big deal, but it can cost you a shot if you are trying to get drawn on a dead-calm day.
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