High/Low Groups

In the last column, I talked about shooting flaws that produce arrow groups wider than they are tall. In this column, I'll explain causes for groups taller than they are wide.

The most common cause of this type of group is holding the bow differently each time you shoot. Here I'm not talking about twisting the bow, but about putting different pressure on the handle with the top of your hand, or putting more pressure on the bottom part of your palm.

To avoid this problem, completely relax your bow hand to let the pressure from the bow's grip go right up the two bones of your forearm. An easy way to visualize this pressure point is to pretend you have a straight rod that goes from the tip of your elbow right up between the two bones of your forearm and comes out your palm. You want the bow handle to press on that exact spot.

Another cause for high or low misses is dropping your bow arm during the shot. Poor follow-through can cause this. So can punching the release trigger, because your bow hand knows when your string hand is going to slap the trigger, and it starts to drop at the instant the shot is going off.

Several other problems can cause arrows to hit high and low:

  • Any gap between the arrow nock and the D loop, above or below the nock, will allow the nock to slide up and down the string during the shot.
  • You allow the bowstring to creep forward when you're at full draw. If your bow's cams are not perfectly timed, or your bow does not have perfectly straight nock travel, creeping will cause arrows to hit high or low.
  • A bent axle, or an axle that doesn't have enough lubrication, can cause high and low hits.
  • A sticky fall-away rest can produce similar results.

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