Bow Practice Key to Sticking Success
Dr. John Woods 09.24.15
It is rather amazing how many bow hunters never practice shooting their bows, and then they are dismissive when they miss that big buck that wandered into their shooting lane. Shooting a hunting bow is tough enough to nail a target like a deer, especially from an elevated stand, but if you do not practice those shooting skills, how can you expect success?
A couple of seasons ago a bow hunter in our camp left early to climb into a nearby tree stand. Within an hour I spotted him walking (sneaking) back into deer camp holding his bow in front of his body with both arms. Something snapped in the whole rig and the bow was reduced to pieces in a second. The bow was ruined.
When I commented to him that I was surprised any problems with the bow did not show up during pre-season practice. That is when he confessed he had not drawn his bow one time since last season. So, not only did he not shoot his bow before going hunting, he did not even give it a basic inspection or have it professionally tuned by a bow mechanic. Sorry, Charlie.
So, August is next week. Some states will have early bow seasons, like South Carolina in September I think, and most will have archery seasons opening full time in October. Now is the time to get the bow out, clean it, inspect it, wax the string or replace the string, tighten the sights, oil the cams, and check your arrows, broadheads, and your release. If you spot something wrong, get it into the bow shop to beat those last minute bow hunters.
As to a practice regimen, it has been recommended to start slow and work up to as many as 50 shots a day. After all, there is more here than just bending the bow limbs. You also benefit from stretching your own shoulder and arm muscles to go along with the bow. Exercising your body, limbering up, and stretching is just as essential.
Work up slowly by going 10-20-30 shots a day. Try various ranges and heights as well. Put up a stand in your back yard. Before you go hunting, shoot with your actual broadheads, too. Practice some really long shots so you are more confident at realistic hunting ranges. Practice is critical to nailing that big buck.