Home Forums Campfire Forum Cross hand-eye dominance

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    • mojohand
      Post count: 16

      Hi all. I’m very new to archery/bow hunting. I’ve been a rifle hunter for awhile, but have always wanted to try Traditional bowhunting. Here’s my question. I believe I am Left eye dominant, but right handed. I’ve read on other sites that they recommend shooting a left-handed bow in this situation. I’m lucky if I can pick my nose with my left hand, let alone shoot a bow:D. So I’m gonna go ahead and shoot right handed, but how much of a orblem is this really? Are there others out there in my situation who still shoot Right-handed and do ok? I believe I can compensate for it with practice. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Patrick
      Post count: 1148

      You certainly can shoot right handed with left eye dominance, but since you’re just starting, you’d be VERY surprised how fast you’ll catch on, shooting left handed. I’ve seen many people do it. IN FACT, I know many who had shot for a number of years right handed, then switched and were glad they did (they were all shooting compounds though). With that said, shooting instinctively makes it less critical, since you’re are not relying so much on one eye over the other. In his book titled, “Instinctive Archery Insights”, Jay Kidwell says it simply doesn’t matter. From an instictive standpoint, I cannot speak with authority. Kidwell does. I REALLY recommend his book…for many reasons.

      Here’s a link for the book:

    • Mark Turton
      Post count: 759

      Mojohand, may I suggest that first off you confirm that you are left eye dominant, this is how I would test, it is best done in the morning after a good night’s sleep.

      Pick a well defined spot 5-10 yards away, point at it with both eyes open, close left eye, if the point of your finger remains on the spot you are right eye dominant, reverse the procedure and the point should now appear to the left of your finger, if your finger remains on target with either eye closed then you don’t have a dominant eye a bit like being ambidextrous.

      Like Patrick says many people just change hands and for folks with left dominant eyes this does not seem to be a problem but for me it’s all but impossible I can’t shoot a bow, rifle or shotgun off my left shoulder but did manage with a handgun but very poorly.

      Good luck and enjoy your new found sport, Mark.

    • purehunter
      Post count: 63

      I’m in the same boat as you. I shoot a rifle left-hand, a pistol right-hand. I CAN shoot righthanded with a rifle if it has a scope or red dot sight with both eyes open. I have a compound bow and shoot it righthanded but with both eyes open.

      I bought a recurve about six months ago and it is righthanded. Having shot over 3,000 arrows with it, I have found several very important things that have helped me become more consistent.

      1st- get the right arrows for the bow. Can’t tell you how much frustration I went through until a longbow shooter helped me get the right arrows. I just thought I was a horrible shot.

      2nd- For me, I draw back so that my index finger is touching my earlobe. This helps me get the arrow aligned better with where I’m looking. I focus on the spot I want to hit but I can see the arrow shaft in my perifery. I plan on buying some books to help also. I have been learning traditional shooting by trial and error since there isn’t another trad shooter within 75 miles of me.

      It is difficult because my left eye wants to “take over” so I focus on the spot I want to hit. It does take some work but I liken it to shooting clays. I don’t aim the shotgun, I point it and “feel” the shot. Hope that helps.


    • mojohand
      Post count: 16

      Thanks for the advice guys. Yeah, I’m definately L eye dominant. every test I’ve done confirms that. But I have no trouble shooting a rifle R handed. I’ve been finding that while shooting my bow, I keep both eyes open and sort of stare at my target more with my L eye. I’ve been doing ok with this. Just starting out, so a lot more practice needs to be done. Thanks again

    • Buzzard
      Post count: 66

      You’ll likely need to shoot your bow from the same side as you would shoot a shotgun!

    • Todd Smith
      Post count: 167

      Opinion is split on this. Personally I think that it’s easier to shoot well right handed if you’re right eye dominate. But I’ve met folks who have allowed their brains to compensate for shooting cross-dominate.

      I even met a guy with one eye who was fantastic at racquetball. With one eye you have no depth perception, yet he was great.

      You could try shooting a lightweight left handed bow to see if it’s worth your while. If that just doesn’t feel right, then shoot the way you are and don’t give it a second thought. Whatever you do don’t start second guessing yourself… todd

    • purehunter
      Post count: 63

      You’re right Todd. I’m at that point now. I have been looking for a lower priced left hand bow to try but I don’t want to start mixing everything up AND spend money that could be used elsewhere.

      I think I will take your advice and just keep shooting righthanded and let it fly! I have a custom recurve and it would be a shame to put it in the closet.


    • Bert
      Post count: 164

      To fellow cross-dominators out there(no it is not some sexual dysfunction!)- I’m right-hand, left-eye dominant. shoot a handgun with same and no problem, rifles right-eye (with a peep or scope). With a shotgun or my longbow it is a bit more difficult but I find if I slighty close or squint my left and concentrate solely with my right-eye, letting the ‘electromagnetic radiation’ pour forth like a laser onto the spot on the target and in relation to the tip of the arrow on said target, if I perform the other archery steps correctly, a hit is made.
      Practice, practice, practice consistently and correctly- get TJ Conrad’s, Byron Ferguson, Brian J. Sorrells and Kidwell’s books on trad shooting- they’re a great help and resource.
      Oh, and don’t forget to wear your special ‘anti-radiation glasses’ when hunting so as to not spook the game!
      Also check out Anthony Camera’s ‘Shooting the Stickbow’.
      Best- Bert

    • jcar315
      Post count: 1

      As someone who is right handed and left eye dominant I have indeed made the switch to left handed shooting and LOVE it!

      I shot RH for years and had to use the arrow for a “point of reference” to hit the target consistently. I don’t mean to quote G. Fred Asbell but upon reading an article of his he said something to the effect that “if you are left eye dominant you should shoot left handed” and that was all it took for me. Sold all my RH bows and bought a LH Bear Cub. Had to drop 15# in draw weight but within a few weeks it felt completely comfortable. That was March 2009 so now that a year has passed I could not imagine shooting RH any more.

      Since switching to LH I now know the true meaning of “instinctive shooting.” All I have to do now is just look at the target and the arrow goes where I look. Fantastic! Make the switch would be my opinion to anyone with this question.

    • inclose
      Post count: 1

      Started when I was a kid left handed with a bow. Not sure why just did. Shot a couple deer and small game that way. Then in my early twenty’s I change to right handed because someone explained the importance of dominant eye. Wow that opened up a whole new world. Always shot guns right just thought a bow didn’t matter. Last few years I went back to left to let my right shoulder heal. It feels very natural and I’m stronger left. But I missed several animals in the past three years and mostly high. Now back shooting right. My missing guess is in the moment of truth my right eye took over and my sight picture (gap) changed. My brother shoots cross eye dominate and shoot fine but seems to have to stay on top of his practice more. I noticed the same when shooting lefty. It sucked, cause I had a bunch of righty bows and guns but I started my son left on everything because he was left eyed. He shoots real well.

    • Jarrod Feiner
      Post count: 36

      Another right handed shooter who shoots a left handed bow here.

      My only advice to you is: Do what is natural for you.

      For myself, the only disadvantages I have shooting a left handed bow is that I can’t try other people’s bows as often, and there are fewer lefties on the used market.:wink:

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