Increasing Your Bowhunting Education during the Off-season
The heart of summer can be discouraging for most archery hunters. Opening day of deer season is a long wait for any avid hunter, but there is more to do than spend your days sitting around moping about it. Take this opportunity to increase your bowhunting education in preparation for the much anticipated fall season. Has there ever been a time when you have made a poor shot or lost your concentration under the pumping adrenaline as that shooter buck stood just yards from your stand? Most archery hunters can confess they have on at least one occasion. Adding the right archery tips and techniques into your bowhunting education strategy will make sure you are ready when the time comes. Use the down time this summer to improve your archery education and practice like you hunt.
Practice Like You Hunt?
Every hunt is different. There is no telling what situation you may be in when that trophy whitetail shows himself. Are you going to be in stand our perhaps sneaking down a trail during the afternoon? Part of the lore of hunting is these unscripted moments in the forest or field. One thing guaranteed is that the moments leading up to taking that shot will be full of excitement just as your arrow leaves your Bear Archery Bow. Simulating as many real hunting scenarios as you can into your off season archery practice can prepare you to be confident and certain when that long awaited situation comes to let the arrow fly.
Nailing arrows, one after another, into the vitals on your 3D target will not make you a better hunter. Most of us practice in the off-season but few truly increase their bowhunting education to a point where it needs to be for year after year archery hunting success. The most important archery training tip is to practice like you hunt. Few have harvested a whitetail at 15 yards broadside, standing with feet perfectly square, calm and under no influences from the weather.
Archery education is about taking your practice to a higher level. It is about understanding how your equipment will perform in different conditions. Dedicate time to create your very own mock-hunting experiences that you can share with your friends and family. Practice shooting from tree stands, ground blinds and on the open ground, all while varying shot types in these positions. Also, practice while suited up in your hunting clothing so that when you pull that bow back each shot is as real as it can get. The goal is to eliminate any surprises in the woods by practicing as many situations as possible. There are endless mock-shooting situations to practice that will increase your archery education. Practicing situations not only prepare you for shots that you may encounter this fall but also gives you the confidence to make the accurate shot when the time comes.
Most hunters choose to pursue deer from tree stands, yet many only practice by shooting in the back yard on the ground with level shots. A critical archery training tip is if you plan to hunt from a tree stand then you should be practicing from a tree stand. Hang a stand in the back yard at elevations you would typically hunt from and position targets at various angles to make shots more realistic. Place targets in brushy cover areas as well so you can practice unexpected and more difficult shots that are typically in real hunts. Another archery training tip is to take shots while sitting in your stand. Sometimes you do not have time to stand and position perfectly towards an incoming buck. These shots are difficult and not ideal, but sometimes the only shot you may have on the buck of a life time is one that puts you in a seated position.
Take to the Ground
Even though many of us hunt from a tree stand, there comes a time when that perfect shot may occur from the ground. Either while walking to your stand in the afternoon during the rut or simply taking a stalking trek to break up the day; you should be prepared to take a shot from the ground. Start with shooting from your knees, again in realistic situations like in cover. Work with using your Nikon range finder to sight the distances; do not just set and shoot at predefined ranges. Rarely does a buck come in and stop exactly at 20 yards. Part of this bowhunting education is about understanding how your bow shoots while kneeling. Is there enough room to draw without your clothing or other archery equipment getting in the way? Many of these questions can be worked out now by taking a few shots from ground situations in the summer.
Your bowhunting practice strategy is about making as many awkward shots from different positions as possible so that when it comes to making the same shot at an animal it comes natural. Creating the most realistic practice will ultimately build enough confidence and experience to make your shot count when the moment of truth surfaces. Practice these different kinds of shooting situations to perfect your archery education going into next season.
Better Long-range Accuracy
The advancements in bow performance and technology have shooters being able to extend their shots well beyond the traditional 40 yard distance that was once the stopping point for taking a shot on a deer. Leveraging these advancements means you have to increase your archery education to a point where you can understand how to effectively use it while hunting. Practicing long-range shots also makes closer shots easier. Adding these few archery tips for accuracy will put more meat in the freezer and more trophies on the wall.
Things change exponentially when you start to shoot out past 40 yards when it comes to bowhunting. Just like practicing from tree stands or from the ground, your stance is important. Any unbalanced position magnifies error for shots that are even the slightest off target. Increasing distance also means you have to develop a proper grip on the bow. Relaxed grips help to reduce torque on the bow. The less torque the more accurate you will be shooting at greater distances. Many hunters put more grip on their bow handle when shooting at longer distances, but remember you want an open grip that sits into your palm to remain stable and accurate on release. Once you release the shot, the tendency is to drop the bow out of the way to track your arrow in flight until it hits your target. Shots at long range can take what seems like forever to reach your target even with today’s speedy bows. Keep your head on point the whole way through the shot until the arrow impacts. This will make sure you do not inadvertently jerk the bow as the arrow leaves the rest affecting the accuracy of the shot.
The two most important archery tips for accuracy at long ranges have nothing to do with form or even your equipment for that matter. To shot consistently well over 40 yards it takes breathe control and the confidence in execution you have from countless hours practicing. It can be intimidating to draw at a deer out at 40 yards or more. This nervousness usually forces you to hold your breath and tighten up. Resist this reaction! Holding your breath causes you to shake and lose focus on your target. Consciously practice breath control on long shots to keep the oxygen following while focusing in on your target. As your distance to target increases, there are so many variables that are out of your control such as how the animal may move or what obstructions may impact your shot that you did not see while aiming. All that you can do is have the confidence in your execution and your archery education to execute the best possible shot.
Bowhunting Education and Beyond
Now that you have taken the time to build your bowhunting education, summer is the perfect opportunity to increase your kid’s archery education. The same archery tips and techniques can be passed along to your kids or another person that is getting started in the sport. Not only teach proper and safe shooting with a bow but also give them the knowledge you have on wildlife, game care, ethical hunting and outdoor skills. Youth summer camps can be a great option to get your kids outdoors. Raised at Full Draw (RAFD) bowhunting education camps are one of the best camps if you are looking to build archery education in your next generation hunter. Summer programs for kids like RAFD camps promote archery skills, hunting and outdoor education like no other. Kids are giving the opportunity to practice immediately the skills they are taught. They leave each camp with an increased appreciation for hunting and the outdoors while building the archery education needed to be successful at the sport for years to come.
Bowhunting Education Raised at Full Draw (RAFD) Bowhunting Camps.
(Video) – Promoting archery, hunting and outdoor education for the next generation.
Practicing archery shooting has to also be fun, either with kids or with yourself. Not every practice session should be rigorously working on the archery tips and techniques discussed above. Incorporate archery games and tricks into the mix to not only keep interest but make practicing and the sport enjoyable for all.
Bowhunting education is something that never stops. Each off-season should be a time gather the lessons of the past hunting season and improve your archery skills. Summertime can also be a break from hunting to get kids involved in archery through different summer programs for kids like RAFD camps. Work on practicing like you plan to hunt. Take shots from situations that you expect and do not expect to happen in the upcoming season. Incorporating the right archery tips and techniques into your archery education strategy will only yield more successful hunts.