Shooting While Kneeling


Active Member
Nov 2, 2009
I watched a video yesterday of a guy teaching students how to shoot a traditional longbow from various positions, such as kneeling, laying on your back, or laying on your belly. It also included a segment about learning how to shooting paper plates out of the air, all of which I thought was a pretty cool thing to do with a bow.

About the only position other than standing that I have ever shot my bow from is sitting, typically in my tree stand. So this afternoon, after a few rounds of my usual practice to warm up, I decided to try my hand at shooting from a kneeling position. I first knelt on one knee and shot from there, then knelt on both knees and shot a group or two from that position also.

As expected, there was a great difference in shooting kneeling than standing, such as when kneeling you have to be sure to watch that the bottom of your bow limb does not contact the ground. With my recurve, the bow limbs move forward rapidly upon release so if the bottom limb hits the ground, your shot may be affected. Fortunately, my bow is a very short recurve and I am tall, so there was enough clearance for the limb to clear the cut grass on my lawn...but barely. If I had been in the weeds or brush in the woods however, the bow limb probably would have made contact with something. A hunter actually trying to use this position with a traditional bow would need to be certain the bow limbs will be clear of any obstacles. Compound shooters likely would have less to worry about as most compounds are much shorter bows.

But I discovered on thing that really surprised me. I really LIKE shooting from a kneeling position! My line of sight is much lower than when standing and is virtually in a direct line with the kill zone on the deer target. Because there is almost no angle in the line of sight, I discovered it was much easier to aim instintively and to hit the intended spot at closer distances. I have not yet tried shooting this way at a longer distance however.

You can really see the flight of the arrow very well when your eye is lined up on the same plane as the target spot. The end result was I shot a better group this way than I typically do when standing! I had always admired the skill of early Native Americans who laid flat on the ground as an animal approached, then rose up quickly to a kneeling position and fired an arrow from their bows. But I learned today that it is not at all difficult to do and that it can also be very accurate. However, I don't think this is the trick to try on whitetail deer, as no deer is likely to stand around while you raise up, draw, aim, and fire. It probably works better on slower moving targets the Indians cowboys.

I was also surprised that I could draw my 50# recurve back from a kneeling position but that too was not particularly difficult either. But something tells me when I try drawing my recurve while lying on my back or my belly, things are going to get far more difficult in a hurry!

Now if I can find a brave (or stupid :) ) soul who is willing to stand near the backstop and toss a paper plate in front of it while I fling arrows in his direction, I can see if I am good enough to shoot something out of the air. Any volunteers?

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