Practice makes perfect. We’ve all heard it a million times, yet most bow hunters fail to heed this simple advice.
Lucky or not, if your shooting skills are rusty, success in the deer woods may be fleeting. Consistent archery hunters all have one thing in common. These individuals practice their shooting skills until the process of drawing the bow, anchoring, aiming, and releasing the arrow becomes an automatic function at all hunting ranges.
Repetition is the only way to develop consistent shooting skills. Like other physical activities, archery shooting skills suffer from neglect. The average archery hunter picks up his bow in August and shoots a couple times a week until the season opens. A greater commitment to the sport must be made if the hunter wishes to rise above the ranks of mediocrity.
Practicing year around is the best way to develop and maintain shooting skills. During the off season, shooting a few arrows one or two times a week will keep your shooting eye sharp and your arm and shoulder muscles in tone.
Most problems associated with shooting accuracy stem from improper shooting form or bad habits picked up during the off season. Before starting a shooting regiment, visit an archery pro shop and have an instructor observe your shooting style. An archery pro can quickly help you isolate problems and develop proper shooting form.
You don’t have to belong to an archery league to enjoy indoor shooting. If you have a basement or garage, you’ve got the perfect setting for an off-season archery range. Frequent shooting, even at short ranges like 10 to 15 yards, is very beneficial. Repeated shooting helps the archer develop consistency with the way he or she draws, anchors, aims, and releases the arrow. Don’t worry about developing pinpoint accuracy during these early practice sessions.
3d archery argets including the Dead Stop and Pro Mat are capable of stopping arrows from the fastest compound bows. Both of these 3d archery targets are ideal for the indoor shooter. Designed to absorb thousands of shots without allowing the arrow to pass through the target, these targets retail for $30 to $50 each.
Archers can also have fun and develop shooting skills by playing archery games like the new DART electronic shooting gallery. Designed to simulate hunting situations the DART archery training system is a series of images projected onto a viewing screen. The hunter shoots specially designed blunt tips at the kill area of deer, elk, boar, and turkey 3d archery targets. A fun and useful training device, the DART archery range is available at major archery shops throughout the state.2389
When the weather turns warm enough to move the archery range outside, begin shooting three or four times a week and at longer ranges. Closed cell foam blocks or boxes packed full of rags are cheap and effective outdoor archery targets.
By mid-summer a serious bow hunter should be shooting four or five times a week at normal hunting ranges. Each shooting session doesn’t need to be long. It’s better to shoot a few arrows with good form than to launch loads of arrows using poor shooting techniques brought on by fatigue.
Now is also the time to begin shooting from an elevated platform and at 3-D targets like those produced by Delta, McKenzie, Game Tracker, and Browning. A 3-D target is the best possible training for developing shot placement skill.
Visiting a 3-D range or purchasing one of these 3d archery targets for your back yard is a good investment. Most 3-D targets can be shot with field tips or broadheads. The vital or kill area may be replaced when arrows begin to pass through the target.
For a few weeks before the bow hunting season begins, shoot strictly broadheads. Arrows armed with broadheads fly differently than those fitted with field tips.
Bow hunters must adjust their sighting systems accordingly when shooting broadheads. It’s a good idea to purchase two sets of broadheads. One set is used strictly for practice and an identical set saved for hunting. Broadheads with replaceable blades can also be used for practice and the sharp replacement blades installed before hunting.
Practice is the name of the game. Pre-season archery shooting is a fun and relaxing way to hone your hunting skills. This year start practicing early and keep shooting your way to hunting success.