Advanced Archery Practice for the Hunt
- Begin practicing months before bowhunting season. Top bowhunters practice year-round. The length of the practice session should increase as the hunting season approaches.
- Locate a safe place to sight-in and practice with target points that match the size and style of broadheads you expect to use for hunting.
- Work with your equipment. Tune the bow until each arrow flies straight and true.
Tuning your bow is the process of adjusting the nocking point up or down and adjusting the arrow rest assembly from side to side to get stable flight from the arrow. If a bow isn't properly tuned, an arrow may fishtail (move from side to side) or porpoise (move up and down).
- Resolve all equipment problems before you hunt. If your target arrows don't shoot well at the practice range, your broadheads won't shoot any better in the field.
- Double your benefits by practicing on full-size 3-D animal targets. Not only can you practice hitting what you're aiming at, but you also can visualize the primary aiming zone and the vital organs that lie inside. This process helps you "tune up" before the hunting season. (As an alternative, you can use full-size paper animal targets that are available at most archery shops.)
- Practice from unknown distances. One of the difficulties many bowhunters encounter is estimating distances to a target. Practice sessions tend to take place at known yardages with sight pins set to those distances. Practicing without marked yardages will help you learn how to estimate distances in the field.
- Try practice shots from a sitting or kneeling position, and especially from the elevated position you'll use in a tree stand.
- Using blunt- or Judo®-type points, practice in the field on dead tree stumps or other objects. This important field practice is also good for improving your ability to estimate distances to targets.
- Practice until you consistently hit where you're aiming.
- Establish your "zone of confidence"—the range at which you are assured of making vital and trackable hits on big game animals.
- Practice in the clothing you plan to wear when you hunt. Loose or bulky clothing may cause you to shoot differently.
- Continue practicing until you become confident in your shooting ability. Then you're ready for the hunt.