Full Draw-How long can you hold it?


New member
Mar 18, 2003
Dana Point CA
I just returned from South Africa (Vaalwater / Western Transval) and had a great hunt, better than I had even expected.

I shot 4 animals: Gemsbok (pending SCI record book), Kudu, Impala (a big one), and Blesbok... and past on: 2 Eland, 2 Kudu (both were bigger than mine but I had already shot one), and a Sable (Too expensive $8000).

On my Gemsbok and Impala, I was stalking both, I probably wouldn’t have been able to get a shot off if I wasn’t able to hold my bow at full draw for over 45 seconds (which seems like forever). I never thought to practice this. On both animals, they were walking right at me. I drew when they were behind a tree so they would not see any movement (especially the Gemsbok, they are the hardest plains animal to get because of there eyesight is amazing) and held it until I had the perfect shot.

Do you practice this? If not you should.

Doug Watt BoHunter
Perhaps a better question would be, "How well can you shoot your bow after holding it for 60 seconds or longer?"

I've had to hold on at full draw for long periods of time (1 minute or longer), while waiting for a better shot angle and your muscles start to shake, quiver, tremble, etc. This would make it very difficult to get a clean release.

I started hunting from a ground blind and it has been a great help to eliminate getting caught in this situation.

You're right though, everyone should know what their own capabilities are per each hunting situation. "Chance favors the prepared mind."

Good hunting, Bowhunter57
For the mule deer I shot this year, I held for at least a minute. Obviously just guessing and it seemed like longer. I just tried to concentrate on something else and not focus on holding the bow. When I finally released, I made a poor hit. Not sure if I just choked, or if it was due to muscle fatigue. It wasn't until the next day that I noticed the raspberry on my arm. I am guessing the fatigue caused me to allow that arm to bend too far in.

Good advice you give. It is interesting how long a minute is when you are at full draw and watching the clock.

I will have to work on this for next year and use 57's advice of practicing it on the range.
Not long enough enough !
After being away from bows for over ten years, I got a new bow and started shooting a lot. After a few weeks, I noticed my arm was always sore, even if I didn't draw the bow for a week, it was still sore.
Bow season is over here, so I turned the bow down to about 60# and put it away. I'll get it out and start at the lower poundege in a month or so, and work my way back up to 70+
By next season, I WILL be able to hold it at full draw for a min. and shoot it right.
I dont have a great deal of experience but have been bow hunting for about 3 years and have done some goofy things to get ready for opening morning. I shoot all year so I am fairly confident in shot placement but about a month before the season starts I concentrate on form and holding at full draw without shooting. I will draw a number of times each evening and will hold as long as possible without shaking to the point where I know I would have a poor shot. I keep doing this each night until about a week before opening morning. The last week I will run around to get my heart rate up and will pick up my bow...hold at full draw to the point of my comfort level and will take one shot a night. The first time I ever I had to draw on a deer I could barely draw due to being over excited. Getting my heart rate up and focusing on that "one shot" a night that I allow myself puts a little pressure on and forces me to focus on maintaining form through the fatigue of holding at full draw...
Minutes, I will have to time myself next time I head out for a practice!!!Good thread!!!
Holding full draw used to be part of my practice regiment. These days I don't have enough time, but back then I would hold it for 3 to 5 minutes before releasing. I could probably hold it about a minute today before I get too shaky.

I don't swing by this section enough but I should more, I truely need to brush up on the info !!

I practice before the season to Hold the bow. I have an Extra NOCK that is not on an arrow that I keep on the string. I'll proctice pulling the bow back and holding it. I'll hold it for about 15 seconds, then hold the sights on a spot on the wall. I'll keep doing this and after a couple times of trying to concentrate without letting go My arm is a Shakin' !!!

I'll slowly let the bow back down but OH-MY-GOSH sometimes thats hard !!!!

Kudos on the Hunt man !!! Were are the Pictures ? I'll head to the Africa section to go see if they are there .
Another thought on holding your bow at full draw...practice from a sitting position as well. I missed a doe from a sitting position. I normally stand to shoot so this was not something I do very often. I was able to hold at full draw from this postion with no problem. The problem was that the lower cam was just over my left knee cap when I shot. When the cam throttled through it cut my pants, caught my knee, kicked the bow and gave me one hell of a knot on my leg.
I usually tone my draw weight down to right at 60 for that reason. I want to be able to shoot sitting or nealing if I have to.

Here's a little trick I came across a long time ago to help hold full draw for an extended time. After reaching full draw, and making sure your trigger finger is behind release trigger, pull your release arm elbow tight in against your ribs. Amazingly, you can hold the full draw position for quite some time with little effort, and easily raise bow back into shooting position in a smooth movement.Using a bow with more draw weight than you can comfortably hold for a reasonable time, is an exercise in false machismo,and a futile one, who cares how much weight you say you can draw,that might excite the cupidity of archers who don't know better,but you have to be able to hold it for enough time to achieve a good shot. 60-70 pounds of draw weight, is enough to launch a good arrow into anthing that walks on this continent.
Hey vickie, I got your lower lip trembling again, huh. I grew up in the 50s shooting longbows influenced by the movie shorts of Howard Hill. Later Craig Ekin and Bob Swinehart. I used a 60 lb. longbow for a time and continued to increase the weight as I could because the heavier bows cast an arrow faster and farther. I competed in power lifting and weight progression was a natural application to the bow. I shot 100 potguts in Wyoming in one day with the 132 lb. bow, many were running shots, hard to do with a compound. I did lose the callouses off my string fingers even though I used a Hill glove with whalebone stiffeners. I hunted pheasants in Utah with flu-flus and snarrows and quail in Calif. Jump shooting running jacks and cottontails was a weekend staple and those are hard to do with a compound. Those pursuits don't require long draw holds. I'm sure that a modern 60 lb compound is capable of taking most if not all game, possibly true of the longbow if the archer is willing to handicap himself. Like hunting big game with a 22. I used to shoot a 184 lb longbow, bet that one would set your lip a-trembling vickie.
Naw; no trembling lip....just a sore belly from gigglin'....yer a hoot richie rich. As an aside, power lifting and the mechanics of drawing a bow have absolutely nothing in common, I know this because Im both a modestly accomplished archer, and have been involved in weight training for over 20 years. The three lifts involved in power lifting are the bench press,deadlift and the squat. Unless your using the old turkish method of using your legs and both arms to draw the bow, they don't jibe mi amigo, but, it makes for passable bar room banter
.I can just see you stalkin snarrows with your 184 pound draw stick bow, I looked in my Petersons guide and can't find a snarrow,but you crankin' back on your 184 pound stick, twisting and contorting, as you draw down on that flushing snarrow....priceless!

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 10-12-2003 19:18: Message edited by: BalaPlata ]</font>
You do not stalk snarrows, vickie, you shoot them from your bow. It is a bird point ,spring steel wire in either 4 in. or 6 in. loops used in conjunction with flu-flu- arrows for aerial shooting. I do not mind edifying you, vickie, but now I have a visual of you drooling over your sore rotund belly as you giggle.
I don't mind you edifying me either....if it's warranted. But refer to your rambling,poorly written sentence," I hunted pheasants in Utah with flu-flus and snarrows and quail in calif." Whew! you write like you film,bobbing and weaving all over the page. So you can see why I jumped the gun,thinking you had yet another egregious spelling error.....slow down, think before commiting thought to print.
Power lifter ehhh?....man you lost it quick didn't you?,use it or loose it so they say
My goodness Vic. Why do you let me annoy you so? I see that you fretted for 21 minutes after posting before extensively editing it. The first post was not sufficiently disparaging?
Enough of this silliness. We both are attending Bruce's Exposition. I will bring my heavy bows. At archery jambories they have been an attraction. Archers have lined up to attempt to draw them. Good natured fun.
Occasionally someone like you, with a mouth, an attitude, and 20 years weight-lifting experience will provide some entertainment.
Drop by my table, Vic. I will draw my bow cleanly, smoothly, without "twisting and contorting" and then you give it a try. I'll have my video camera on and promise to hold it steady for you.
You've piqued my curiosity richie.....what was your best three lift aggregate?
Oh,by the way, thanks for the gracious invite to drop by "your table" at the shindig in Silver City, but I must decline the offer. Don't need to be pullin anyones bow, or have anyone pullin my leg.

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