Tips to improve your bowhunting form and accuracy in the offseason
When it comes to perfecting your shot, we can talk about equipment, speed, and penetration all day – but if your form and accuracy are off, none of it will matter. A bowhunter who knows how to properly shoot an arrow already has a leg up on any bigger, stronger counterpart who doesn’t fully understand their mechanics.
The offseason is the perfect time to work on your form and make sure you’re ready for next season. Here are some tips to help you improve your form and accuracy this offseason.
Establish your anchor points
Finding a consistent anchor point – or preferably two – that you can rely on during every shot will dramatically improve your accuracy. The first anchor point you should solidify is where your release hand will pull back to (e.g. so the knuckle of your index finger is directly below your back ear lobe).
The second anchor point is often the nose’s location in reference to the string. Some hunters like to place their nose directly below or above the string on full draw. Determine which anchor points work best for you and then use them on every practice shot to maximize your consistency and accuracy.
Practice in low light
Most shots at mature bucks are going to take place during either early dawn or late dusk, so your practice should simulate that. Pay attention to your maximum effective range in this low light.
Make sure your practice shooting conditions are safe, as this lower light also brings a reduced visibility of your surroundings.
The first shot counts
Repetitive practice will certainly make for better results when it comes to working on your form, but in reality, you won’t get past that first shot at most bucks. The closer you get to the start of the season, start treating your first practice shot of the day as an in-the-field shot at a live buck. This will make your first real shot once the season begins more familiar and less pressure-intensive.
Watch the bubble
Most sights include a bubble level to help hunters eliminate left-right misses by revealing cant and torque. You won’t always have time to check the bubble in a fast-moving situation, so make a habit of doing so during practice.
If the shot’s within 30 yards and relatively level, you won’t have to worry about the bubble, but it can be a shot-saver when shooting from longer distances or from a tree stand.
It’s easy to let your shooting form fall apart once the arrow has been released, but this messes with your timing and usually leads to poor accuracy. Instead, hold your aim steady until the arrow is all the way through the target.
This takes fairly intense focus and practice, but there’s no time like the offseason to get it down.
Exercises to try
Here are a few exercises you can try during the offseason to work on your form and accuracy.
- First, remove the sight from your bow. We won’t be focusing on accuracy in the first part of this exercise – just form.
- Shoot a dozen arrows into a hay bale or another unmarked target from 10-15 feet out, focusing solely on form and not on where your arrows hit.
- Repeat for 3-4 rounds.
- Next, put the sight back on your bow and repeat the same drill, this time taking aim at a specific point on the target. Don’t try to hold the pin perfectly on the target point, but instead let it float over it.
- Repeat for 3-4 rounds.
- Once you feel like you’ve got your form down, take aim at 3D targets, floating the pin around your determined “kill area” to work on your consistency.
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