It takes the average bowhunter about two to three months to reach peak form. Some of us put away our bows and arrows shortly after turkey season and really don’t think much about them until the first gust of cool autumn air arrives. If you want to consistently shoot tighter groups, now is a good time to head out into the backyard. The following are some bowhunting practice tips we’d recommend to stay sharp and get ready for deer, elk or antelope season.
Return to the Basics
You know the steps: feet shoulder width apart in an athletic stance, toes pointed slightly toward the target, bow gripped lightly in your offhand, draw straight back, anchor the string on the side of your face, smooth motion, squeeze the release, follow through. Without these very important simple steps, you might develop some bad habits. We thought you’d remember all that.
Make Short Shots Count
Even Robin Hood warms up at 10 steps. Get comfortable with the “chip” shots before you’re putting too much arc under your arrow. Be conscious of your form every shot and use this time to improve where you’re lacking. Begin at 10 yards, and back up 10 yards every five shots or until each arrow is nearly touching the next. Did we mention return to the basics?
Stop When You Get Tired
When you get tired, doing anything, that is, form goes out the window. Whether it’s swinging a golf club, shooting a bow or jogging down the street, it takes a considerable amount of physical and mental strength to maintain good form.
Get in Shape
Whether it’s swinging a golf club, shooting a bow or jogging down the street, it takes a considerable amount of physical and mental strength to maintain good form. We don’t mean to be blatantly redundant, just to express the importance of this step. Physical endurance and mental toughness go hand in hand. Especially if you’re an elk, antelope or mule deer hunter that’s going to spend a lot of time moving on foot.
Hang a Stand
If you hunt from a stand, why not practice from one? If you don’t have the capability to do so, try shooting from any elevated surface like a porch or down a hill. Shot angle, the position of your body and how it interfaces with your bow, and even point of aim change when you’re in a stand. To really get serious about your practice regimen, go ahead and wear the clothes you’d wear in the stand, glove and mask included. If it’s too hot, do it anyway. September is still a pretty warm month for a majority of the country.
Hold the Draw
You’re in the stand dressed in full gear. It’s the middle of summer. And you’re clothes are becoming soaked with perspiration. Could it get any worse? Of course it can! Practice drawing on the target and holding for 30 seconds to a minute before shooting. During this interval, try to envision a bull elk or trophy whitetail standing on the brink of a shooting lane. This step is so crucial for when you’re in a live hunting situation. Targets are predictable. Animals are not.
Always Room to Improve
You never know how you’re going to respond to drawing on a massive bull elk until that moment presents itself. Even when arrow after arrow finds its way into the vitals of the target, you can never replicate the real thing. If you can help it, practice everyday. Just a few shots is better than nothing.
Check your equipment before each outing to the backyard and woods. Make sure your broadheads are tight, bow tuned, release in working order, etc. By using these sound bowhunting practice tips, you are going to lose fewer animals in your future adventures.