Most bow hunters set the same goal at the beginning of each year, that goal is to harvest a mature deer. We spend many hours trying to get that big buck within bow range. We do this by feeding minerals, hanging game cameras, as well as spending many hours scouting. Even though we think we are taking all of the steps required to be successful, are we taking the time to practice shooting? There is nothing more heart breaking than doing all of your homework throughout the summer and fall, only to have the opportunity to successfully harvest a mature deer be taken away, either because of a missed shot or equipment failure.
Tip Watch this video: Learn to Shoot a Bow Like a Pro in Real World Conditions
Get Your Bow & Archery Accessories Set Up Properly
The first step is to make sure your bow and all of your archery accessories are set up and working properly. If you're not comfortable doing this yourself, you can take your equipment to a local archery pro shop. I recently just got a PSE bow, and a New Archery Products Apache Drop A Way Arrow Rest, and a dozen Easton Carbon Aftermath Hunting arrows for this fall. I took all of it to my local pro shop and let them assemble and adjust details such as proper draw length and poundage, so that my bow is comfortable for me to shoot. I also had the rest adjusted so that it is level which makes proper arrow flight. Then I had my local pro choose the proper arrow shaft size, and length that is suited for my proper draw.
Tip: Most pro shops have an indoor archery range; take advantage of them to make sure everything is shooting properly before you go to adjust your bow.
1. Begin Shooting Your Bow at Exact Distances
Once you have the proper set up, begin shooting at exact distances. Shoot at 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 yards. You can do this at an indoor range or in your own back yard, take a rangefinder to find the exact yardage markers; this will help you adjust your sights properly.
Adjust them at each yardage marker beginning with the top pin which should be used for the closest distance, then lead down with each pin until your bottom one is your farthest distance.
Tip: Shoot multiple arrows at each distance until all of your arrows are within a good group within the bullseye of your target.
2. Practice Shooting Your Bow at Random Distances
After your sights are properly adjusted at each distance marker you will then want to start shooting at random distances. Obviously, you will want to do this outdoors so that you can shoot at different angles. This time however, you will NOT want to use a rangefinder. Basically you will want to walk around in your back yard, randomly shooting at different distances as well as different angles. This will help you judge distance and know how where your bow shoots at each location, which in turn will help you when hunting.
Tip: Use a target such as a Rinehart Targets, Archery Field Target, this type of target gives you the luxury of throwing the target. By doing this you will never know where it is going to land, making you have to guess on yardage.
3. Practice Shooting in Real Hunting Scenarios
Once you are shooting properly and hitting your desired target, you will want to start shooting in real hunting situations. Use a life-sized deer target, such as the BlackOut Deer 3D Target. This will help you get comfortable shooting at an actual size of an animal compared to a regular size shooting target. Make sure that you practice shooting with your hunting garments on so that you will know if there is any difference of where you anchor the string compared to practicing regularly.
Shoot from one knee, then both knees and while standing. Think to yourself of all of the different body positions that you might face while hunting. Lastly, you will want to shoot out of a treestand. This will help you shoot from angles of a tree which can change your aim slightly compared to shooting on level ground. Move your target in different places to give you all of the opportunities that you might face when hunting.
Tip: Always wear a safety harness while hunting in a climbing treestand, even when not hunting.
Tip: The API Outdoors Alumi-Tech Bowhunter Climbing Treestand allows bowhunters an unrestricted, wide-open shooting window on every shot. Includes accessory bag, backpack straps, climbing brackets, and footrest.
Practicing your bow shooting throughout the summer will not only prepare you to be a more successful hunter in the field, it is also a fun and entertaining event for family and friends to enjoy. Go ahead, get out and practice your archery skills, have fun and be ready for this fall.