Practical bowhunting practice
Will Jenkins 07.01.13
We’re all guilty of pounding arrows into a target at 20 yards as practice, and while it’s definitely a great way to start, it’s hardly preparing you for hunting. The best way to improve your accuracy and confidence in real life hunting situations is to spend time practicing in those exact environments.
A large proportion of people hunt from tree stands, and of course this is extremely different from standing on flat ground and making an easy shot. Additionally, you’re wearing different clothes and a safety harness, and you’re standing on an 18″ x 24″ platform 20 feet up a tree. I’d suggest when setting or checking stands that you bring your bow and a small target and put a few arrows in the target through each of your shooting lanes. Making sure you have adequate room to move and draw is just as important as practicing from that height and angle. It’s critical to make sure you’re comfortable enough to draw and bend at the waist to make the shot. I usually go in with a friend and we take turns pulling arrows and then sending them back up a quiver hooked to a pull rope, and moving the target. This not only makes you better prepared to make the shot, but it’s a great boost to your confidence. When that big buck walks out into your shooting lane and you know you’ve made that shot before, it feels good!
Lately it seems more people are hunting from ground blinds. Practicing your shot sitting down is key, but it’s also key to practice sitting down and shooting out of your blind. If you’ve ever tried shooting out of a blind, then you know that clearance is huge. If you aren’t careful, your sight might be aimed just out the window but your arrow could be pointed right at the wall of the blind. The good news with this is it’s way easier to practice. You can throw up your blind and a stool most anywhere you’d normally shoot in order to get used to shooting out of it. Make sure you practice from every possible angle as well. We all know a deer rarely walks right out in front to offer an easy shot.
If you hunt from the ground — either spot and stalk or just from the ground without a blind — it’s still important to practice in a real-life situation Practice shooting from down on your knees, leaning from behind a tree and getting used to shooting small gaps.
While we still have a good bit of summer to go before the season starts, now is the perfect time to get out there and start practicing for the real shot.