Welcome to July, a month where bowhunters put in their sweat equity in order to reap the sweet rewards of fall. Now that bucks are growing their headgear and farmers are checking their crops, it’s time to get out and let the shooting season begin.
Many bow enthusiasts have already put out trail cameras and are constantly praying for rain to fall on their newly planted food plots. Others are digging out their tree stands and mapping out that perfect place to pattern that buck on the hit list that made it through last season. And while it is hot outside, every bowhunter should be dusting off his targets and getting himself in a shooting routine.
One of the most successful ways to start the shooting season is simply by getting your shooting muscles in shape. Since bowhunting requires the use of muscles that most people don’t use year-round, it’s important to take getting in shooting shape seriously. We recommend doing this slowly and with the end purpose of being a better shooter when it counts the most.
Take the first week of the shooting season simply to work on your form and build strength in those muscles. A great shooting exercise to do is what we call the 3-yard March. Simply put your target 3 yards away from you and only focus on utilizing your back muscles and “squeezing” your release. Shoot 10-15 arrows a day for 7-10 days. Don’t worry about where the arrow hits, simply work on form and execution of the shot. Picture each release of the arrow as if you are about the release an arrow at the biggest buck of your life. Creating a mental game will sharpen your skills and make you a much better archer.
Once your muscles are back in shape and your confidence is growing, repeat the drill at 10 yards for five days. This ensures you are building a solid base and are not rushing yourself to just get your bow sighted in. Bowhunters who rush to sight in their bows on Day One often develop target panic and end up with stories of misses and poor shots during the season.
Take your time getting your body into shooting shape this summer and practice the 3-Yard March before dialing in your bow. You’ll be glad you did when you see your shooting performance increase, as well as your taxidermy bill.