Sitting vs Standing While Bow Hunting From a Stand

If you’ve spent any time in a tree stand than you know why they attach a seat. Long days spent in the woods can get downright uncomfortable. When that deer finally walks in does it matter if you sit or stand while you shoot. There really is no right or wrong answer, so what works best for you?

Choose a Tree Stand That Works While Both Sitting and Standing

If you’re going to try to shoot from a seated position do yourself a favor and buy a tree stand that allows you to shoot from both a seated and standing position.  I personally use the Summit Viper SD Climbing Treestand whenever I go bow hunting.  It offers a sturdy base without getting in the way while drawing from a seated position.  Some hunters might prefer the open front design seen in the Summit Openshot Climbing Treestand, but I like the little bit of extra stability the closed front offers.  The open front design allows you to get a little better range of motion when shooting from a seated position.  Maybe it’s my slight fear of heights, but feeling that bar on my leg makes me a little more comfortable in awkward shooting positions.

Sitting vs Standing While Bow Hunting From a Stand

Bow hunters have been arguing for years about sitting vs standing while hunting from a tree stand. If you asked a hundred bow hunters what they prefer 90 of them would probably say they shoot from standing up. It all has to do with what you’re most comfortable with. We do most of our practice from a standing position so it only makes sense that that’s what most people would be comfortable with. Personally I think you should practice shooting from both positions because you never really know how you’re going to have to shoot.

Hunting While Sitting Down in a Tree Stand

Throughout my life I’ve probably only met a handful of hunters that only shoot while sitting down. Most of them have their own reasons for doing this, some more valid than others. I never really thought shooting while sitting was unusual until I talked to a few of my buddies. My whole life I saw my dad hunting from the seated position so I was thought that was normal. I never thought about the fact that he had both knees replaced when he got out of the Army and that’s why he always stays seated.

Being a young child just learning how to hunt I started off bow hunting from the seated position, because that’s all I ever knew.  Growing up without the internet meant most of my hunting info was passed down from my parents and my monthly Field and Stream magazine.  It wasn’t until my teenage years that I realized that’s not how everybody hunted.  After practicing a little bit while standing up I quickly realized that I needed to learn how to shoot while both sitting and standing.

Advantages of Shooting While Sitting Down

  • Comfort:  The primary advantage of staying seated while shooting your bow is going to be comfort.  As I get older I quickly start to realize how much harder it is to stand up and get into a comfortable shooting position.  I’m not at the age where I can’t quickly and quietly get up, but there’s definitely been times after a long day of hunting that I’m more stable from a seated position.
  • Stealthy:  Being able to shoot from the seated position is going to offer you a little bit more stealth vs your standing buddies.  Every little creak your stand makes is one more chance of spooking a deer.  Every hunter has at some point stood up to have that trophy buck stare right at you and quickly take off.  Learning how to shoot from the seated position will reduce the noise you make getting ready for a shot.
  • Added Stability:  Being able to shoot from a seated position will add a little bit of stability to your shot. Sitting down allows you to stay steady while drawing your bow and really getting your pin solid.  By using a high quality bow release you can really eliminate potential movement in your hold.  I’ve been using this TruFire Compound Bow Release and can’t begin to explain how much it added to the stability of my shot versus a cheap release.

Bow Hunting While Standing Up

By far the vast majority of hunters draw and shoot their bow while standing up.  It’s going to be a lot easier to draw your bow from a standing position and offer a lot more versatility.  With a lot more range of motion you’ll be able to get off shots that just wouldn’t be possible while seated.  Practice shooting in weird positions with your body turned and angled behind you offering a wider range of motion.  You never know what’s going to happen when your up in a tree stand so practice for every scenario.

Advantages of Bow Hunting From a Standing Position

  • Added Range of Motion:  It doesn’t matter how flexible you are you’ll never get the same range of motion from a seated position.  With a slight pivot of your feet you’ll be able to adjust your angle to get off just about any shot.  Practice shooting at weird angles behind you, because you never know where a deer will walk up.
  • Easier To Draw Your Bow:  There’s no question about it, drawing your bow from a standing position is just going to be easier.   Your body isn’t going to be in the way when drawing back the bow.  I would still recommend using a release like this Truefire Compound Bow Release, but it isn’t as necessary to get into position.  You’ll be able to get a little more movement in your shoulders while drawing the bow.
  • Practice How You Shoot:  Very few bow hunters practice shooting from the seated position at the range so why would they do it from a stand.  It only makes sense that you’d want to hunt the same way you’ve been practicing for years.

Practice Hunting From Both a Seated and Standing Position

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to learn how to shoot a bow from both the sitting and standing position.  Even if you’re only comfortable hunting while standing, you never know when you’ll have to take a shot from a seated position.  Without any practice it’s going to be difficult and it could cost you a deer.

Shooting from the seated position doesn’t come naturally.  So it’s going to require a little practice to operate smoothly while in a stand.  Your body is definitely going to get in the way so you’ll have to alter your draw accordingly.  I find that opening up my chest and sitting tall allows me to get a full clean draw.  Drawing at a different angle will require muscles that you aren’t used to using so it might feel uncomfortable.  With a little practice you should be able to get in shots without worrying about spooking that skittish deer.


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