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Video Transcript

Haley watches through a binocular as Rob takes aim at a 3-D target and shoots.

Haley

Nope. Too high.

Rob

Aww.

The two walk over to inspect where the arrow struck the target.

Haley

See? Too high. That’s one of the reasons we’re out here shooting these 3-D targets today. So that when the moment of truth really happens, we’ll be ready for it.

Rob

And that’s another reason we’re out here with all of our bowhunting gear and accessories. Because you don’t want to wait until a big deer steps in range to find out that your binoculars or other gear get tangled in your bow, or overall, you just can’t deal with your equipment.

Haley

The more realistic you can make your practice, the better chance you have of scoring on the three foundations of bowhunting: smarts, safety, and success.

Rob

And if you stop and think about it, you can’t have one without the others if you’re going to become an accomplished bowhunter. So let’s start with smarts. Being smart means understanding your responsibility as a bowhunter. Follow the regulations. Know your limitations. Respect your equipment, the landowners, and last but not least, the animals. And being smart also means envisioning what could happen any time you’re hunting or even practicing. Once an arrow is released, you can’t call it back. So use your head.

Haley

Next, safety.

Rob

While it’s uncommon for someone to shoot themselves with a bow and arrow, it is still important to follow all the rules of safe shooting and bow handling to avoid any chances of someone getting hurt, including yourself. Any time an arrow is out of the quiver, a trip, a misstep, someone turning could cause a bad owie or worse. And even though it is a horrible thought, shooting someone else can happen. And that’s why you need to be constantly aware of your target and surroundings.

Haley

So take a look at your target and see if you can check off these boxes.

Rob

Is anyone in your downrange field of vision? Does the target have a safe backstop? Could your arrow skip over something and endanger people, pets, buildings, or property?

The person behind the camera draws an arrow and aims.

Haley

Whoa! Let me see that arrow. Ooh. You always need to check your arrows. Shooting a damaged arrow like this one is about the only way you can shoot yourself.

Rob

And just to prove our point, we had professionals set up this bow to shoot a damaged arrow. And since you could get hurt, this is not something you should try yourself.

As it is released, the arrow shatters and pieces go flying in all directions.

Rob

Let’s watch that again at 3,000 frames per second. Just think about where your hand would be. And I know what’s going through your head. How do you check an arrow that might look OK at a glance? Well, here’s how. Carbon arrows can easily hide nicks or cracks. So twist and flex them a bit to reveal a potential arrow failure. Same with fiberglass or wooden arrows—if you spot a splinter or crack, trash the arrow. Aluminum arrows may flex OK if they’re damaged. So give them a good look-see for dense cracks and bends. And don’t forget your nock, too. If it’s damaged, it could cause you to dry fire. And that could really damage your bow. And when you find a damaged arrow, dispose of it properly so you or no one else can shoot it. And until we are sure it is safe to shoot, we keep them in the quiver. And once we are ready to nock, only point the arrow in a safe direction.

Haley

And once all the safety boxes are checked, it’s time to start thinking about success.

Rob

If you’re just starting to shoot a bow, here’s a few pointers to help you improve. Stand at a right angle to the target with your feet shoulder-width apart so you’re comfortable and balanced. Nock your arrow pointing toward the target with your nock under the nock ring on the bowstring. Grip the bow handle, but don’t squeeze or torque it. Twisting or turning the bow while shooting can cause derailment. Draw the bow string back to your consistent anchor point, touching your face or chin. Sight in carefully while maintaining back tension with your shoulders. Exhale slowly as you smoothly release the string. Maintain your follow-through with your shooting form until the arrow hits.

Rob and Haley look at a 3-D target in the distance.

Haley

How far would you say that is?

Rob

I think it’s a little bit too far. It’s kind of hard to tell with all the shadows and all.

Haley

Oh, it’s OK. That’s one of the reasons we’re out here practicing. Accurately estimating the distance here—that is key to making a successful shot.

Rob

Arrows are much slower than bullets. So they drop more quickly at shorter ranges.

A graph shows how an arrow declines with distance, while a bullet travels much more horizontally.

Rob

Misjudging the range and not accounting for how much your arrow’s going to drop can cause a poor shot. That’s why practicing using these 3-D ranges or stump shooting at unknown distances boosts your success when you go hunting. And keep in mind that broadheads don’t necessarily fly the same as the similar weight field points. So we’ll need to check our broadhead flight and make any final adjustments before we use them in the field. And don’t forget to get excited when you get it right.

The person behind the camera aims at a 3-D target and shoots, successfully striking it.

Rob and Haley

Oh! Whoo-hoo! Good job! Nice shot! Yes! In the bull’s-eye! Crack shot! Dead turkey! We are having Thanksgiving this year. All right. Remember, when you’re getting your arrows, stand off to the side because they can come out with a lot of force and poke you pretty bad.

Haley

Well, that’ll do it. A few more times practicing like this, tuning up broadheads, and you will be ready for the hunt.