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How long can you hold at full draw before you start shaking enough that you can't make an accurate shot? Only about 45 seconds for me to make a good shot to 40 yards (75% let off). That's not long enough IMO for elk hunting so I'm working on strength to increase it. What do you consider minimum time holding at full draw for hunting?
 

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I think if you are having to hold your bow for 45 seconds, you are doing something wrong. Generally speaking that is.


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2009 Mathews Drenalin
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I think if you are having to hold your bow for 45 seconds, you are doing something wrong. Generally speaking that is.


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I can't agree more. At 45 seconds, I'd be wondering why I'm still looking through my peep. If I can't get comfortable squeezing my release within ~10 seconds, I let down and start again. That reinforces better setup habits and reminds me to remain calm when looking downrange (avoiding target panic!).
 

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I guess my experiences with elk in thick country are different. Seems like mine usually stop behind something, or turn, or something so I have to wait for a shot. I draw when it looks like I'll have a shot very soon and when I have cover from getting busted. Just watched a video of a guy that held at full draw for four minutes with an elk at 10 yards before he had to let down, that's what got me thinking about how long I can hold.
 

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When I started into archery my then coach to help me get started said no more than 30 seconds. If longer you drew to early and wasn't ready. He told me 30 seconds, then let down reset at target.
 

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If it takes somebody more than about 15 maybe 20 seconds absolute Max to acquire their target track and release the shot they need more hunting practice. Spend the next couple of seasons with no bow in your hand, just go through the motions and get the timing down.

One of the first things people need to understand is you don't have to take a shot. If it's not there, don't even bother her drawing the bow. Maybe you come home or something, maybe you don't. This is why they call it hunting and not shooting / killing.

Now somebody is trying to understand how long they should be able to hold to determine if the weight is too much or not that's a little different story. With a compound bow you're holding weight is extremely light so wild expect holding times to be as long as a couple of minutes before fatigue sets in.
 

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I think Inside-out Precision did a video that tested how long you should be able to hold a full draw for while hunting - 2 minutes, then steady yourself for 15 more secs and make a good shot and you should be good in that aspect. That being said, however long you think the max you will have to hold for is what should be the minimum amount of time. But obviously, if you have to hold for a really long time and you know your shot won't go well, don't shoot.
 

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this is an interesting question.... i see the value in holding for a long time.... in theory. i have never had to hold draw on any critter longer than maybe 30 seconds. i just don't draw early, i wait because i know my shooting goes downhill after not long. i have always been good at draw timing.

i think i would rather slow draw in the open than hold draw for a minute and then execute my shot, but there is usually a window to draw and be able to shoot pretty quick.

the earliest i remember drawing was on a big bear feeding in skunk cabbage, i could have shot him right away but i waited for his whole side to be open so i could see where to hold rather than just seeing the top half of him while eating in the big skunk cabbage leaves. that was maybe 20-30 seconds
 

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If it takes somebody more than about 15 maybe 20 seconds absolute Max to acquire their target track and release the shot they need more hunting practice. Spend the next couple of seasons with no bow in your hand, just go through the motions and get the timing down.
in context, he meant drawing (maybe the critter goes behind a tree and gives the hunter a chance to draw) then he doesn't come all the way out, or turns towards the hunter leaving them at full draw for a long time.... not how long it takes to acquire target once you draw.... maybe i don't understand what you are implying.

if you think the chance of getting stuck at full draw is a matter of knowing how to hunt, you just wouldn't be correct.... it can easily happen. i don't think it happens much to me because it's thick around here and encounters are usually close, so i can wait until the bitter end knowing i will still have obstructions i can use to hide my draw.... more open country (typical elk country) i could see it happening a lot.... ground level, not much cover between you and the critter, you need to get drawn at some point, and unaware animals are just easier to shoot.
 

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The shorter I can steady up at full draw the better. I like to be able to let my pin float on the vitals for a second before I send it. Also why i use 85% letoff mods on my bows. Less fatigue
 

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I think if you are having to hold your bow for 45 seconds, you are doing something wrong. Generally speaking that is.


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If it takes somebody more than about 15 maybe 20 seconds absolute Max to acquire their target track and release the shot they need more hunting practice. Spend the next couple of seasons with no bow in your hand, just go through the motions and get the timing down.

One of the first things people need to understand is you don't have to take a shot. If it's not there, don't even bother her drawing the bow. Maybe you come home or something, maybe you don't. This is why they call it hunting and not shooting / killing.

Now somebody is trying to understand how long they should be able to hold to determine if the weight is too much or not that's a little different story. With a compound bow you're holding weight is extremely light so wild expect holding times to be as long as a couple of minutes before fatigue sets in.
You sirs have obviously never hunted any public land or spot and stalk big game animal in the west with your bow. It is more than normal to hold at full draw for longer than 45 seconds. In many cases if you cannot hold full draw for 45 seconds you will not be successful. I think 2:15 was the length I held 2 years ago during elk season for a shot to present itself. You ever make a 3 hour stalk and draw your bow only to get your movement picked up and have to wait at full draw so the buck didnt bust...it could take minutes....it could take seconds...over 45 regularly...to the OP, training to hold at full draw is a worthy technique. Keep it up
 

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i watched a Clay Hayes video he was filming his buddy (self bow trad guys for those who don't know) his buddy held his 60+lb longbow (want to say 65#) for over 45 seconds, and may have been a minute.... don't recall the exacts, but it seemed unhuman... crazy! he made a great shot on that cow elk at 10-12yds.

i do think holding draw until you can't, and executing your shot (goal executing well of course) is a pain in the ass but worthwhile thing to practice, at least so you know what you are capable of if you are ever in that situation.

realistic hunting practice isn't as convenient as aimlessly flinging arrows, but it sure helps.... shooting the same targets in the same spots at the same distances in your back yard is beneficial, but it only gets you so far. shooting outside of your comfort zone is better practice. shooting from the same spots at the same targets becomes a large scale sight picture you become familiar with, and you won't have that familiarity in the woods (unless you stand hunt from the same few stands i guess)

something as simple as taking the target for a drive into the hills, and setting your target 60yds in the trees.... that 60yds seems like a LONG 60 yds.... hold draw for 30 seconds on your first shot in that unfamiliar situation and your shot may not be like it is in the yard.

i think any unfamiliar realistic shooting is very beneficial, i don't do enough of that. shooting 40yds through branches with your target in the shadows can be eye opening, and holding draw a long time, then shooting that shot may be really eye opening... steep angles, from your knees.... anything but perfectly squared up on open flat ground in flip flops and a short sleeve shirt in your back yard shooting the same targets in the wide open.

i can shoot very acceptable groups at 60yds in my yard all day, but add some elevation, branches and shadows, some things to worry about, and those groups open up.... i can shoot well enough to kill stuff consistently at 60-70yds with confidence, but there is a reason i won't take that shot on a healthy critter in the woods.... most of my practice isn't great "real world" practice.... it's hard to add value to arrows in the yard.... easier when you complicate the shots... limbs in the way, holding draw for a long time, sneaking an arrow in between a couple trees 60yds away, etc
 

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I like to practice holding at full draw for around a minute before making the shot. I wish I'd done that when I first started turkey hunting with a bow--on public land, not using a blind, because you'll never call them in to decoys, since they've already seen somebody's decoys before. No critter can spot a person drawing a bow quicker than an Eastern gobbler. I haven't needed to hold that long on an elk, yet. I know that day will probably come though--where the bull is coming in on a string, and then stops behind a clump of thick brush 1-2 steps from the perfect shot opportunity, just after I came to full draw. Where I hunt elk in Idaho, there are lots of low hanging branches, dense thickets, blown down trees, big rocks--not to mention all types of potential terrain barriers, that come into play. It ain't like any typical TV elk bowhunting show! For me, it's definitely worth practicing, just to be prepared. I want to be sure I can make a perfect frontal shot on a bull, at 20 yards or less, if he stops for a minute in a drainage, right before he takes 2 more steps directly toward me. I generally do it once or twice, right at the end of my practice sessions. It could also pay off to be able to hold that long on a Georgia buck, that has paused right behind the limbs I chose to climb behind, right in front of me, so he can't see me in my treestand. I see no disadvantage in practicing holding even longer, before making a perfect target shot. It really keeps the shooting muscles strong and well-tuned.
 

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If it takes somebody more than about 15 maybe 20 seconds absolute Max to acquire their target track and release the shot they need more hunting practice. Spend the next couple of seasons with no bow in your hand, just go through the motions and get the timing down.

One of the first things people need to understand is you don't have to take a shot. If it's not there, don't even bother her drawing the bow. Maybe you come home or something, maybe you don't. This is why they call it hunting and not shooting / killing.

Now somebody is trying to understand how long they should be able to hold to determine if the weight is too much or not that's a little different story. With a compound bow you're holding weight is extremely light so wild expect holding times to be as long as a couple of minutes before fatigue sets in.
Or perhaps you just haven't experienced the situations yet, where you'd have to hold a lot longer than that!
 

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Myself, I like to start a session drawing the bow and holding full draw anywhere from 10-45 seconds at a time. I focus on my shot execution, setting my anchor, finding the peep, settling the pin and envisioning it breaking. I will then let down and do it all over again. In may go through my shot routine 15-30 times before I even release an arrow. Point is, holding at full draw is part of the game. Just because you've never had to do it doesnt mean it doesn't happen frequently.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
What got me to thinking about this and why I asked the question was that my son had to hold for a long time on a bull this year. I was calling for him and we had a bull bugling back from some thick timber. He wouldn't come out to play so I sent my son forward to try and sneak in on him. My son came back after awhile and told me that he'd heard the bull bugle from about 40-50 yds and then saw it coming in his direction up a sidehill in thick brush and timber. When it got to about 20 yards and went behind some trees my son drew and waited for a clear spot to shoot. The bull moved very slowly, always behind too much brush and limbs for a shot, until he was about 4 yds away. He stopped and was behind a large tree and brush with only his nose clearly visible to my son. He stayed there for what seemed like a long time, then must have caught a scent and off he went crashing through the brush. My son wasn't sure how long he held at full draw, seemed like a long time to him. My son was totally crushed emotionally, he's hunted hard and long for four years now trying to get one with his bow and he was so close, just one more step would have done it. Anyway, that's when I decided to increase how long I can hold and still shoot well.
 

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How long can you hold at full draw before you start shaking enough that you can't make an accurate shot? Only about 45 seconds for me to make a good shot to 40 yards (75% let off). That's not long enough IMO for elk hunting so I'm working on strength to increase it. What do you consider minimum time holding at full draw for hunting?
It seems some people replying to this thread are talking only about target acquisition. I saw this post as being about elk hunting and having a bull hang up for a while, right after the hunter has drawn the bow, anticipating an already determined shot opportunity. If I'm just shooting a target or an animal that's already there, I might take 10 seconds to shoot. That's not what the OP is asking about.
 

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I agree, if this is about getting stuck or waiting for the perfect view 30 - 45 seconds happen frequently. Your idea of conditioning for longer holds is spot on as long as you don't push it to a point where you can't make a good shot.

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