Traditional Shooting Clinic


 Part 2. - String Walking

String Walking is perhaps the most misunderstood technique for shooting a bow without sites.

The Questions we asked were:

1. Give an Overview of your technique.?
2. Explain how you learned to string walk?
3. Problems you have/had with this method?
4. Why you think it works best for you rather than other styles?
5. Do you mentally calculate distance and then set the gap?

 Larry Yien

1. Give an Overview of your technique.?

String walking is another primitive sighting technique.  It allows the archer to use the arrow point as a reference.  To accommodate the placing of the arrow on or near the spot, the archer needs to change his hand placement on the string for a given distance.  Lets say at 3 fingers under, index finger touching the nock, the arrow is point on at 40 yards. If the archer slides his index finger 1/2" below the nock, he is point on at 30 yards.  At one inch he is 20 yards with his point. The further away from the nock, the closer the distance with the point as a reference.

A popular method of String Walking is to actually count the strands on your serving. Most string walkers user monofilament serving material when they string walk because it gives more of a pronounced feel for counting the strands.

The Black Widow tab is a popular tab for string walkers.  The stiff plate allows for a t-square effect, placing the plate straight up to the string, the top of the plate can be used to indicate finger position.  Most archers who use the Widow tab take advantage of the stitching that runs vertical, counting the stitches as it corresponds to distances.

2. Explain how you learned to string walk?

String walking is not allowed in most traditional competitions.  FITA allows String walking in their recurve bare bow style.  I shot fita bare bow for a while, and learned the art of String walking from fellow bare bow archers from the US, and Europe.

3. Problems you have/had with this method?

String walking requires a broad tune on your bow.  As the archer moves down the string with his various finger positions, the bow limbs are loaded differently, and the arrow is drawn a lesser distance.  It helps to be in the middle of a spine range for your arrow, since the dynamic spine varies from position to position.

For hunting situations, String walking is a bit cumbersome.  It requires distance determination, corresponding finger position on string, which could take more time and cognitive thought during the moment of truth.

I have noticed that arrows can come out of the bow rather odd at times with String walking.  Broadheads may be very unforgiving to poor arrow flight.

If an bowhunter wanted to modify the String walking technique for hunting situations, I would recommend determining an average distance.  For example, 20 yards, establish one string position at 20 yards where the point of the arrow is on the target.  Tune the bow and arrow for that position.  The bowhunter could always shoot from that position, and could just gap for shorter distances or stack for others.  A little like gun barreling.

For competition, String walking is banned at most shoots I have attended or heard of.

4. Why you think it works best for you rather than other styles?

The biggest advantage to using String walking is that it allows an archer to keep his arrow point on or around his target.  It allows for a consistent anchor, and a fairly precise and consistent finger position for a given distance.  In the primitive sighting techniques, it is like having a movable pin sight.

I actually prefer to shoot split finger and use the split vision technique.

5. Do you mentally calculate distance and then walk the string?

Yes it makes sense to calculate the distance since finger positions on the string can correspond to a given distance.


With String Walking, you are always 'point on' you simply move the rear site according to the distance.


Some String Walkers are so meticulous about walking that they actually count the horizontal strands of monofilament serving material to get a precise distance. This makes for a slow shot and it is not recommended for hunting.

Watch a video of this technique

Shooting menu
Gap Shooting
String Walking
Perfecting Your Practice
What's the point to shooting?
Shooting on Target
Tabs and Gloves for shooting
Bridging the gap
Finessing Your Arrows

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