Published on October 5, 2015 by Tracy Breen
Most disciplined bowhunters shoot their bow almost daily during the summer. Letting a few arrows fly is something most bowhunters really enjoy doing in the evenings after work. This is a great time to test new arrows, hone in our new bow sight and practice with broadheads. The problem is the moment archery season opens, many bowhunters quit practicing altogether.
I guess when the season opens, most of us figure shooting at live animals is practice enough. The problem with this theory is it can sometimes take weeks before we connect the dots on a buck or doe. As a result, we sometimes go weeks without shooting our bow. Not shooting your bow regularly can result in all kinds of equipment and shooting form problems. It is best to at least shoot your bow a few times a week during the season. Below are a few other tips to help you shoot your best when a buck walks by your stand.
For starters, shooting from a treestand is much different from shooting at a target on the ground. One way to simulate a real hunting situation is to shoot a couple practice arrows when you are done hunting after a morning hunt. Bring a practice arrow or two with you and shoot at a leaf on the ground or a nearby stump with a judo point. Doing this regularly will keep your form solid and help you overcome any issues you might have with your form. Many hunters struggle with shooting over the top of deer when shooting from a treestand. Learning how to bend properly and practicing the shot will eliminate many of the hiccups that come from shooting from a treestand.
It is always smart to practice with your late season hunting clothes on once season opens. Most of us practice all summer in shorts and a T-shirt. As early fall turns to winter, often we forget to shoot our bows with our cold weather clothing on. Practicing with our cold weather jackets on can help determine if an arm will come across a string or if getting to full draw is a problem because of all the extra clothing. I have discovered using an arm guard this time of year helps reduce the chances of a string connecting with my clothing.
When practicing during the late season, I like to shoot a few arrows after a long sit in the tree. Sitting in the cold often makes our muscles stiff which can make coming to full draw extremely difficult. Practicing after sitting in a stand during cold weather can help you determine if you need to reduce your draw weight. When hunting in cold weather, I often reduce my draw weight by five or ten pounds. By doing so, I can easily get to full draw even when I am wearing heavy clothing and have been sitting a few hours.
Practicing during the season can also help you keep your bow setup fine-tuned. If your sight bumps a tree limb on the way to the ground or if the string on your drop away rest gets stretched out over time, your bow might not be sighted in perfectly like it was on opening day. Shooting regularly can help you determine if your bow has issues before you let an arrow fly at a buck. The last thing any of us want to happen in the woods is to find out our sight was off and our arrows were hitting three inches high.
When bow season opens, shooting dozens of arrows every day isn’t necessary. Taking five minutes a few times a week to let a few arrows fly is all that is needed to ensure you are still hitting the mark. If you don’t have five minutes, shoot one arrow a day. After all, one arrow is all we get to shoot when a buck is standing 20 yards away.