Record Book Bear
Hunting season is here! Across the country, bow seasons are starting to open and if you haven’t started to shoot your bow, now is the time to start shooting on a daily basis.
Shane Mowery, the host of Bone Maniacs on Carbon TV shoots almost daily year round. Mowery sleeps and breathes hunting with a bow and tags several dozen animals each fall with a bow. He believes the majority of bowhunters go home empty-handed because they don’t shoot their bow enough and don’t perfect long range shooting. “What I have found over the years is the bowhunters who practice the most and take the sport of archery seriously are the bowhunters who fill most of the tags.” Bowhunters who want to fill more tags need to shoot as much as possible.”
On top of shooting daily, Mowery shoots at extreme distances. “I will shoot at my Morrell Targets at 100 yards and beyond,” Mowery explained. “That doesn’t mean I will take a shot at an animal at 100 yards, but if I can keep a decent arrow group at 100 yards, killing an elk at 50 or 60 yards is doable.
Mowery points out that the success rate on elk in Idaho is less than 10% and his success rate is often 100% simply because he is confident in his shooting ability. “Elk are notorious for hanging up at 50 or 60 yards. Often when a big bull hears a cow calling, he comes in and stops at 60-80 yards and waits for the cow to show herself,” Mowery noted. “They draw a line in the sand so to speak that they won’t cross. If a bowhunter is confident in their ability to shoot, a broadside bull at 60 yards is a dead bull. I encourage all bowhunters to practice at distances beyond what they would ever shoot in the field. This builds confidence and that person will be more deadly in the woods.”
Recently Mowery shot a bear in Washington state that could be one of the largest Boone and Crockett bears taken in the state of Washington. Mowery said if he didn’t practice as much as he does, he never would have been able to successfully harvest the bear. “In the fall, many bears head to old orchards and gorge themselves on apples. One day I was glassing and I noticed a bear in a big apple tree enjoying its dinner. I slipped in as close as I could, but there was a big ravine between the bear and I that would be difficult to get through so I decided to shoot across the ravine. I shot the bear at over 80 yards. I made a perfect shot and killed one of the largest black bears I have ever killed.”
Many bowhunters, including myself, wouldn’t have made that shot. Practicing at extreme distances and being able to successfully make long shots can drastically increase the odds of success in the field. Do you want to fill more tags this fall? Practice daily and practice at distances far beyond your comfort zone and before you know it, long distance shots will become second nature.