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Fingers Or Release Aid?


This may seem like an archaic question in the world of bowhunting today. With release shooters outnumbering those who use their fingers 100:1. However there is a good argument for using fingers for those who choose to use them. Let’s look at the pros and cons of using both fingers and a release and help you make a good decision.

Hunting and shooting with your fingers is simple. It is hard to forget your fingers when you leave for the range or treestand. They are always with you. Another good reason for using your fingers is simplicity. All you have to do is grab the string, and draw the bow. A third reason for using your fingers is that you can feel the string and know what is going on with the bow.

All traditional bow shooters use their fingers with a small exception. The fingers allow the traditional archers to draw and shoot the bow quickly and more instinctively. Whether you are shooting a recurve, longbow or compound, using your fingers to shoot is a viable alternative. One note here is that as compounds get shorter and shorter it becomes more difficult to shoot with your fingers because of the string angle. Finger shooters typically need a longer bow to reduce the string angle and make it more comfortable to shoot. Hoyt is one of the few manufactures who still make a hunting bow for those who choose to shoot fingers.

When choosing to shoot with your fingers you have four choices for finger protection. (I highly recommend some type of protection) There is the glove which is a typical glove with thicher patches on the first three fingers of the shooting hand. Next is a shooting glove which is a three finger glove that attaches around the wrist with a strap. Next is the finger tab. This is a piece of leather that allows you to slide your middle finger through a hole and hold the arrow between your first two fingers. Some come with a finger separator and some do not. Again it’s a matter of preference. Virtually all competitive archers use a finger tab. Lastly, is an item known as a ‘no-glove’ these are rubberized finger guards that a slid onto the string permanently and allows the archer to simply grab the string on the guards and draw to shoot. These are popular when bow fishing or hunting birds with your bow for the fast acquisition of the string.

Try them all until you find one that suits your style. Many top archers use gloves when hunting and tabs when shooting targets. But what works for you is dependent on what you like and is comfortable for you.

A release aid conversely is far more consistent and thereby more accurate than using your fingers. The mechanical release makes the actual releasing of the string more consistent and it also helps and makes the string easier the draw. A lot less stress is on the hands when using a release aid.

Release aids are not limited to a style of length of bow to shoot. Since the release aid is not actually grabbing the string, but a loop attached to the string, the angle of the bowstring is a moot point. With the advancement of release aids, bows have gotten shorter and shorter. Bow limbs have gotten more parallel and archers have gotten more accurate due to the use of release aids.

Release aids come in a variety of designs and styles and we will look at those in more detail in the next post. But for now, it is safe to say that when deciding on whether you want to shoot a release aid or with your fingers. Try both, and find what works for you. I can say with certainty that shooting with your fingers takes some getting used to because of the stamina needed on your fingers. But once mastered it is a great way to shoot. Release aids also take some getting used to because of the lack of feeling you have with the string. But once you are accustomed to the release aid, you will find your accuracy and distance increase. Whichever you choose, choose wisely and be confident with your choice.