|Canting helps keep the upper bow limb out of the way so it won't obstruct your view of the target.|
It's not uncommon to hear people talk about a can-do attitude. But, in traditional archery, and especially bowhunting with traditional bows, most of us would probably do better by relying on a little cant.
Canting, of course, is the act of holding your bow so its limbs are a little off the vertical when coming to draw. Some new archers naturally do it because it looks stylish. That's true, I guess, but we old hands do it for very good, practical reasons.
One of the best is that it keeps the upper bow limb out of the way. When you cant your bow, that limb no longer obstructs your view of the target. This is not so important to the target shooter trying to put arrows in the bull's eye but it matters a whole lot when you are drawing down on a game animal and trying to pick that spot within the spot in it's vital zone — and the further out you are from the game animal the more it matters. With the bow limb out of the way, you have no distractions focusing hard on that spot.
More importantly, for most of us, canting helps the archer align the arrow better under the shooting eye. When this is the case, the archer can use that arrow as a pointer to get excellent left-right alignment at whatever he or she wants to arrow. Essentially, proper arrow alignment under the eye cuts the shooting equation in half, if form is correct of course. When that's the case, the horizontal aspect is taken care of. That arrow is lined up and ready to go where your fist points.
This means all the archer has to do is get the vertical aspect of the shot right, which is a function of how high or low he or she holds. Getting consistently good with that takes a lot of practice at various practical ranges but it's far easier when that's the only part of the sight picture equation you need to worry about.
Get into the habit of shooting this way and it is faster too.
As in all archery techniques, there are a few things the shooter needs to ingrain. First, your cant should be more or less consistent.
Experiment until you find the angle that works best with your form, body type and eye alignment, and stick with it. By works best, I mean the cant that puts the arrow where your fist points.
Then, whenever you shoot, be consistent in the way you cant. Change it by a few degrees and you've changed the impact point of the shot. Once you've got that, practice with it until it is second nature.
Of course, there will be times in the field when you'll need to cant more or less because of overhanging limbs, brush or other things. But, if you understand your cant and how modifying changes point of impact, that will be no problem either.
So get out there and practice. Canting can make a real difference.
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