Traditional Archery Discussions on the Leatherwall

Switching to lefty…. Aaugh

Messages posted to thread:
Scotsman 26-Dec-21
SB 26-Dec-21
wyliecoyote 26-Dec-21
arrowchucker 26-Dec-21
Casekiska 26-Dec-21
Clydebow 26-Dec-21
grizz 26-Dec-21
Clydebow 26-Dec-21
SB 26-Dec-21
Krag 26-Dec-21
JRT51 26-Dec-21
fn 26-Dec-21
Gun 26-Dec-21
Jack Whitmrie jr 26-Dec-21
Boker 26-Dec-21
Wapiti - - M. S. 26-Dec-21
Old3Toe 26-Dec-21
Desperado 26-Dec-21
Babysaph 27-Dec-21
Scotsman 27-Dec-21
RonG 27-Dec-21
Dan Jones 27-Dec-21
Therifleman 27-Dec-21
David Mitchell 27-Dec-21
Woodchucker 28-Dec-21
Smokey 28-Dec-21
Altitude Sickness 28-Dec-21
Catskills 28-Dec-21
oldhunter1942 28-Dec-21
Lowcountry 28-Dec-21
Foggy Mountain 28-Dec-21
Skyhawk 28-Dec-21
From: Scotsman
Date: 26-Dec-21

I haven’t been on the board for a while…. Discouraged because of a shoulder surgery that went bad so couldn’t even pick up a bow for a year. However recently I had shoulder replacement that is going very well, hopefully starting to shoot again in a couple of months. BUT…. After half a century of shooting right handed I’m going to have to go lefty. Aside from the obvious like having to set aside my favorite bows and having to start out very light weight, I’d like to hear the tales and experiences of those who had to make the switch.

From: SB
Date: 26-Dec-21

I had to do it for the same reason in 2011. Being right eye dominant my biggest issue for awhile was shooting way right! It all comes together eventually with lots of practice! The little stuff is still a hassle sometimes...nocking an arrow, putting armguard on the wrong arm, and bow quiver on the "wrong" side of the bow! Had to put my bow holder on the other side of my stand platform! It gets more natural the more you do it!

From: wyliecoyote
Date: 26-Dec-21

I was sort of "self-taught" to shoot a bow and consequently had a lot of bad habits.....I switched to LH in the mid-1980s and shot both traditional and non-sight all these years. I am right eye dominant and it never posed even the slightest problem....I focus on the target as i draw, settle for a brief moment, and then release with a solid focus on the target throughout the shot. I have experienced good line-up from the beginning and shot better LH than RH almost from the beginning.

I now hunt sometimes with a compound/sights/ peep and do it RH with my left eye great. Many feel you have to shoot whichever eye is dominant but I have not experienced that at all.


From: arrowchucker
Date: 26-Dec-21

I cut the tendons on my right index knuckle in New Year’s Eve. I planned to go to the Vegas shoot 6 weeks later. I knew right was not an option so when the cast came off I had about 3 weeks to get ready. Got some 24# limbs and 900 spine arrows and went to basics.I had to remember each step, stance, grip, hook, shoulders…….just backwards. Started bad but before I left I had shot a 258. At Vegas I certainly didn’t win but I was a long way from the bottom. I’m back to right but still shoot left often just to keep my head straight. I’m sure if I had to stay left I would be happy. It was a good learning experience for me. You know how to shoot,just do it backwards.. Arrowchucker

From: Casekiska
Date: 26-Dec-21

I had to switch in 2017. It was a touch go for a while but eventually it all worked out and I was successful in the field that fall. I'm now back to right handed shooting. At first, everything was back-a$$wards and my dominant right eye played games on me. That might have been the biggest problem, having enough discipline to remember how to aim with the "other" eye! Good luck my friend, stick with it and you'll do OK. You can do it. Many others have, so can you.

From: Clydebow
Date: 26-Dec-21

Took me a week or so. Like SB I was shooting 10 inches or so to the right. When I closed my right eye at full draw I could see that was exactly where the arrow was pointing. Just started squinting my right eye and took care of the problem.

The other stuff is an issue. Like mentioned, arm guard , bow hanger, etc. Also setting up hunting for a left hand shot.

I got back to hunting right handed, but still shoot 3Ds left.

From: grizz
Date: 26-Dec-21

Had to for the same reason myself. Dominant eye is a problem but you’ll adjust. I also switched to three under to get the arrow closer to my eye, seemed to help. Took me a couple of months to be comfortable with my accuracy for hunting. Some take to it right away, some take a while. Lots of practice, good luck.

From: Clydebow
Date: 26-Dec-21

Had to add, you have to be positive that you can switch. If you say you can't, you won't.

From: SB
Date: 26-Dec-21

SB's embedded Photo

Left handed 2 mos. after I had to switch!

From: Krag
Date: 26-Dec-21

I am right eyed and left handed and shot with my dominant eye closed since I was a kid until about five years ago when I learned others successfully shot cross dominant including Fred Bear and Glenn St Charles so I tried it. Like wileycoyote mentioned it didn't take long at all for the brain to make the slight triangulation adjustment cross dominant with both eyes open. I wasn't forced to shoot this way. I tried RH before settling on cross dominant and I am now playing with shooting RH again but just as a back up should anything on the left side go on me.

From: JRT51
Date: 26-Dec-21

I switched to righty for a while and it came around pretty quick. Light poundage and practice closing the dominant eye and reopening it while holding on target helped me "train" the wrong eye to go dominant. Still took thousands of shots for the muscle memory to feel comfortable but it happened. You have to stick with it. When my shoulder felt better I went back to shooting the correct way. :)

From: fn
Date: 26-Dec-21

I changed to left hand due to target panic. Shot that way for years. It took a while but it solved my target panic. Going from right to left and getting the arrow on the string was a little difficult due to always shooting right handed but it work it self out. Im in the process of going back to right handed due to a eye injury in the left eye. Its going to be a bitch, but Ill get it.


From: Gun Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 26-Dec-21

I'm in the same boat as you sort of. Mine started w unknown cause of brachial neuropathy (they think). Nerve damage to my right shoulder (brachial plexus) which affected my right arm and hand. I couldn't shoot right handed as my right thumb and index finger curled tight to where I could not force them open so I couldn't even hold a lefty bow. 2 yrs later I finally got some therapy to open both up where I could hold a bow lefty. I still could not draw right handed as too much pain radiated up my hand and arm.

I was able to borrow a lefty Bear TD Riser from a friend. Dominant right eye was the main problem too. It took about 2 months and using a single pin as I couldn't concentrate very well. I did manage to shoot a nice 3 yr old Bull Moose.

This year in March I slipped on some ice under a new skiff of snow hiking up a ridge to pull a Elk stand that was just too far in remote Grizzly country to be practical. I landed hard on my right shoulder and a metal pack frame. Ended up w two torn tendons, one complete. After a lot of physio I learned shoot right handed again w a mouth tab thanks to YouTube. The shooting part only took about two weeks to get things clicking well.

Good Luck! You can do it! Just don't give up!

From: Jack Whitmrie jr
Date: 26-Dec-21

I'm left eye dominant but right-handed. I shot recurves RH for a few years and then switched to LH and it was akward at first but been doing it for about 25 years.

From: Boker
Date: 26-Dec-21

I am right handed , left eye dominate, shot RH for years decided to switch over to left hand. I was told it be near impossible to make the switch. Honestly it was very easy just a little awkward at first. I can now shoot with both hands but best LH.

From: Wapiti - - M. S. Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 26-Dec-21

Didn't take long started out shooting light poundage & 3 under. Was a trades worker did a lot with left hand or right.

From: Old3Toe
Date: 26-Dec-21

So I got 3 dual shelf ambidextrous bows. My primary hunting bow is waaay to stiff for my off-side right now, but the lighter are only half the weight. Easily doable. However, of being forced to commit exclusively… let’s just say lefty is developing sloooowly. Maybe after turkey season, I’ll stick it out over the summer. We’ll see…

From: Desperado
Date: 26-Dec-21

VERY right handed & left eye dominant. Ken Beck tried to change me to left handed at the BW shooting school. It was like a monkey washing a cat. Went home, bought a weak poundage LH bow and gave it 100% trying to switch. Finally admitted this is one of the dumbest things I have ever tried. Sold the LH bow & went back to RH , both eyes open as before and and just allowed my brain figure it out. Never looked back to LH again. !!!! Congratulations to those of you who have successfully switched. It is WA-A-A-Y beyond me !!!! Des

From: Babysaph Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 27-Dec-21

I agree with desperado. I tried it. Wow it was tough. I shoot with both eyes open and do ok that way. I shoot a gun left handed. Go figure

From: Scotsman
Date: 27-Dec-21

Thanks for the encouraging replies and comments! I’ll be making the switcheroo and report back in a couple of months.

From: RonG
Date: 27-Dec-21

I was mostly blind in my right eye and shot right handed so I was using my left eye to aim, since then I had surgery which gave me my sight back it only took a couple of weeks to get it switched.

Howard Hill was left eye dominant and shot right handed.

Good luck to you and maybe your replacement will let you shoot right handed with lower poundage of course.

From: Dan Jones
Date: 27-Dec-21

I am left eye dominant and did everything left-handed all my life. I switched to right-handed archery a few years ago after failing for decades to escape the damn target panic. I have been pleasantly surprised at how quickly and easily I made the transition. At least in my case, starting with a bow of much lower draw weight made the switch successful.

From: Therifleman
Date: 27-Dec-21

I struggled quite a bit at first with gaining dexterity in my left hand. My vision in my right eye is substantially less than my left eye so I committed to making the change. Once it was ingrained, shooting lefty now seems more natural to me than trying to pick up a bow and shooting right handed (which at this point I'd have to learn all over and install a sight that hung off the bow several inches to the left). As Wapiti indicated, starting out with a light bow will help you develop solid form on your non- dominant side.

From: David Mitchell
Date: 27-Dec-21

I'm right handed but left eye dominant and made the switch years ago. It was very easy actually.

From: Woodchucker Professional Bowhunters Society - Qualified Member
Date: 28-Dec-21

Right eye dominant and shot RH until I was almost 40. Switched to LH almost 10 years ago. Took a week to start feeling comfortable and was hunting confidently within a month. I never shot as well RH as I do LH now. Handling arrows, etc just takes time. I much prefer the sight picture shooting lefty as well. Shoot me a pm if you have any questions.

From: Smokey
Date: 28-Dec-21

A patch over your right eye will help you switch your eye dominance while target shooting,if your young it will work hunting as well but I don’t recommend it if your older for safety sake.Just do your best not to get frustrated with the other stuff,time spent doing all of it left handed will eventually become second nature for you.Do what you have to do to keep doing what you love to do!Happy New Years!

From: Altitude Sickness
Date: 28-Dec-21

Was shooting in recurve competitions in Florida, Georgia and SC in the early 80s and an older gentleman in his 80s that I respected, suggested I switch to LH and shoot under my dominant eye. It took about a month. And now I still shoot right and left often. Whenever I’m rushing or not following my shot sequence it helps to switch over to RH for a while. For some reason when I switch it’s easier to focus on the fundamentals.

From: Catskills
Date: 28-Dec-21

About 10 years ago I had to switch for a year due to an injury. It went OK, I could do it but not as well as righty. The biggest problem for me was shooting lefty I could not avoid the string slapping my arm which it never does righty.

From: oldhunter1942
Date: 28-Dec-21

I switched due to TP,sometimes I can shoot RH but it doesn't last very long.

From: Lowcountry
Date: 28-Dec-21

I’m right handed and right eye dominate but successfully switched to shooting lefty. As stated above, it just took a little time, but not as much as you would think. I think I was shooting pretty good in 2-3 weeks after practicing every day. Take your time and don’t get frustrated. You can do it!

From: Foggy Mountain
Date: 28-Dec-21

I can’t share any experience but some advice. Obviously you should shoot dominant eye not dominant hand. Sometimes there might not be be an option. Best way to get the feeling built in and a way without frustrating yourself is a string bow. Everything is best taught with a string bow. Nothing can replace that. It’s also good to reinforce good form. One guy I teach w was state champ. He still uses it. If you need help or a point in the direction to construct one let me know

From: Skyhawk
Date: 28-Dec-21

I tried shooting left-handed because of arthritis in my fingers and discovered I needed to drop pull weight by 12 or 13 pounds. I never realised how much stronger my right shoulder and back muscles were than my left side.

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