For years, my summer shooting sessions consisted of going out to the backyard and emptying quivers full of arrows into large bullseyes on a bag target. I would start at twenty yards and then work my way back to my bottom pin distance. I have since learned that despite frequently shooting my bow, my practice sessions weren’t quality routines that promoted the most effective preparation for bow season. By implementing the following aspects into my shooting routine, my shooting has improved, and my success during bowhunting season has increased.
Rather than aim at the large circles manufactured on most targets today, I started shooting at much smaller dots created with a permanent marker or a piece of tape. This practice aligns with the adage, “aim small, miss small.” Making this change has not only tightened up my groups but has helped me when bowhunting to aim at a small piece of hide or hair instead of an entire chest cavity.
Stretch the Distance
Shooting long distances has become quite popular in recent years, and for a good reason. It is not only fun, but it also creates an edge when shooting within your effective range. For instance, if you frequently shoot out to 80 yards but your maximum shot distance while hunting is 40 yards, your practice at twice your effective range gives you an added confidence boost when a shot is presented at 40 yards or under. This has proven true, and I often practice shots beyond a hundred yards.
Limiting how many arrows I shoot at each distance or target has proven to be a beneficial tactic. Instead of shooting every arrow from my quiver at one spot, I started shooting no more than two. This has made me focus more on each shot. It has forced me to slow down and focus on my form and follow-through. It also reduces shot fatigue from high numbers of repetitions. The idea here is to execute quality shots over quantity of shots.
Shoot 3D Targets
There is nothing like practicing for the real deal as much as possible when it comes to bowhunting. With this fact in mind, I added 3D target practice. By shooting 3Ds, I can go through the process of drawing on a mature animal, coming up the leg line, picking a spot, releasing, and following through until my arrow hits. Another benefit of shooting 3Ds is that they can be set up with various shot angles in replicated hunting scenarios.
Finish on a Good Arrow
Lastly, I now ensure that my final arrow is good. Whether I am only shooting a handful of arrows or hundreds, I want my last shot to be accurate. Doing so ends my regime on a good note of confidence while knowing that my setup is dialed in and ready to go.
Quality shooting sessions are paramount to a successful bow season. Since putting these shooting practices in place, I have seen a significant increase in my success as a bowhunter. I think the same will be valid for you by doing the same.