To be a good shot with the bow and arrow requires considerable practice. One of the first things the archer must acquire is the knack of stringing or bracing the bow. Figure 110 shows how this is done. Set the lower nock against the arch on the inside of the right foot (for left handers, the opposite holds). Then grasp the bow at the grip with the right hand and place the heel of the left hand on the back of the bow, near the top, with the fingers touching the loop. Press down with the left hand and at the same time pull with the right hand until the first two fingers of the left hand are able to slide the loop into the nock. In bracing the recurved bow, be careful to keep the thumb from getting under the string. The method shown and described is the one commonly used. It puts an equal strain on each limb of the bow, and is considered the best method for bracing a bow. With a little practice, it becomes quite simple.
In shooting, stand with the body at right angles to the target and with the head turned toward the target. For position, see Figure 111. The bow is held horizontally as shown in Figure 112, or sloping down somewhat as shown at A in Figure 113, the arrow being nocked with the cock feather up. The arrow in this position is at right angles to the string. Hold it with the first finger of the left hand and then extend the bow arm, turning the bow at the same time, from the horizontal to a vertical position. During all of this time, the three fingers of the right hand are holding the arrow in position on the string while the first finger of the left hand is holding it in place against the bow as shown in Figure 112. Now take the finger off the arrow at the bow, allowing the latter to lie free in the angle of the hand and the bow, as illustrated in Figure 114. Keep the left arm straight (see B, Figure 113) and pull back the string with the fingers of the right hand until it is about at the middle of the cheek. See C, Figure 113. When ready to release the arrow, slowly straighten out the tips of the fingers of the right hand, allowing the string to roll over the fingertips. See D, Figure 113. This may seem difficult to those accustomed to using the pinch grip on small weak bows, but a beautiful release is made by this method. There are other releases, but compared to them, the one described is quite simple. Do not try to shoot while the finger of the left hand is over the arrow. The left-hand finger grip shown in Figure 112 is used only while waiting to shoot or while walking along when hunting. As shown in Figure 112, the string is pulled back just a little bit, thus producing enough tension on the string so that it is easy to keep the arrow in place with the forefinger while walking through the fields or woods. As soon, however, as the archer starts to draw, the forefinger grip is relaxed and the bow is gripped as shown in Figure 114.