Realistic Summer Bow Practice
A 95 degree day, dogs barking through the neighborhood fences, cicadas supplying an intense background noise, and a sweaty grip on your bow release…sound familiar? This is an all too familiar chain of events to most bow hunters during summer bow practice. The hot, humid, and repetitive shooting in the backyard can get boring. Even more, it can prove pointless if it achieves this level of boredom. Yes, it is good to fling a few arrows every afternoon, but you should set some goals to accomplish and challenge yourself with realistic scenarios. This will build confidence in your abilities, provide relief from the boredom, and take your mind off of being in your backyard and not in the stand.
Practice at Longer Distances
One of the most obvious boredom busters for summer bow practice is chancing longer distance shots. Sure as an ethical bow hunter you should have limitations as to how far you would shoot at a deer. A lot of different factors go into play here. How far you can effectively shoot on the range, how the deer is acting or whether or not they will jump the string, and open vs. tight terrain/habitat is just some things that should be considered when taking a shot.
When on the range or in the backyard it is great to practice at distances you feel comfortable shooting a deer at and closer. But, you should also be proficient at shooting at longer distances even if you would not shoot at a deer at that distance. Besides that, it’s rewarding to hit that 1 inch square from 70+ yards…
For example, if you would never shoot at a deer past 30 yards, get to where you can consistently hit the target out to 50 or 60 yards, or more. The reason for this is it is a great confidence builder. If you can hit your target at 55-yards, you won’t even feel the pressure at 30.
Another reason to shoot at longer distances is to criticize your shooting ability. If there is anything about your form or follow-through that is off, you will notice it at 60 yards. When you are able to notice something you are able to fix it.
Realistic Practice Sessions
Summer bow practice attire is usually shorts, flip flops, and a white tee-shirt. This is not challenging or realistic…it’s boring! Try being realistic with your shooting! At the very least you should have on pants, long sleeve shirt, and maybe gloves and a face mask. As the season progresses the more clothing you will have on to stay warm and often times this clothing is very bulky.
Once you are confident in your abilities to hit your target in your summer outfit, try doing it in the actual clothing you will be wearing while hunting. It might be a little hot to be in these clothes but you are likely to notice some differences while shooting in your hunting gear.
You might find it is more difficult to pull your bow back with a lot of clothing on, you might not have the same line of sight or your string could rub against your clothing. Now is the time to be certain that you are just as proficient at shooting with your hunting gear on as you are in your summer wear. If you realize changes need to be made it is better to do them now rather than when a monster buck is just mere yards away.
Realistic Shots and Angles
Just because you are hitting the bullseye from the ground consistently doesn’t mean that everything will be the same when you are shooting at a downward angle from a treestand or sitting within a ground blind. Do you know how to handle a 90 degree angle shot?
Some of your practice should be from realistic hunting scenarios. If you do not have an archery range with an elevated platform, consider hanging a tree stand and shooting from the elevated position. Doing this a few times throughout the summer and consistently hitting the target will build confidence in your shooting and when the moment of truth arrives this fall you will feel comfortable in your abilities to hit your target. Practice shooting from the sitting position, standing, twisting and so on. If you can imagine it happening while hunting, practice it now.
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The same holds true if you hunt out of a ground blind. Set up the same ground blind that you hunt out of and practice. Shooting while sitting down might make you realize some changes need to be made as to how your body is angled.
Better Archery Targets
The best practice for a bowhunter is shooting on a 3-D course, not to mention it is much more enjoyable than backyard practice. Today’s 3-D targets and courses are lifelike and provide realistic practice sessions.Distances vary from very close to uncomfortably far. The terrain is also challenging and often similar to hunting.
Concentrate on Just Making a Few Good Shots
It might sound as if in order to be a proficient shooter that you need to shoot a lot of arrows every day. That is not true. You are better off going out and shooting just a few arrows every day if possible and concentrating on your form and making the best shot possible. This puts pressure on you for each shot, and shortens your practice session.
Long practice sessions tend to tire out the hunter and before you know it your shots are getting sloppy and you are wanting to make changes to your setup because your groupings are not as good as you would like. By shooting just a few arrows and putting everything you have into those few shots you will be better for it. And, always quit on a good shot so you are not second-guessing yourself and thinking of changes that you need to make. Everybody makes a bad shot from time to time.
Getting bored from summer bow practice? Becoming more involved in practicing realistic scenarios, shots, distances, and even shooting at more realistic targets can all bust the boredom!