Never Miss Again

Following these five tips will enable you to consistently shoot tighter groups with your bow and eliminate costly mistakes that lead to painful misses.

Custom-Match Your Setup
Have your draw length properly measured by a skilled archery technician to make sure your bow fits you. Next, follow the manufacturer’s arrow spine and weight selection chart to correctly match the poundage of your bow with the right arrow. Utilize a bow square to set your nock point and make sure your arrow rest is in line.  

Accessorize for Accuracy
No matter what your skill level, the right accessories can improve your shooting. Check out our accessory tips here – Accessorize your Bow to Boost Accuracy

Practice Proper Form
Proper archery form and shooting technique produces dead-on accuracy on a consistent basis! For the right shooting stance, try standing almost perpendicular to the target with your feet shoulder length apart. Your back foot needs to be placed slightly forward with your forearm somewhat bent. Avoid locking your elbow and maintain a comfortable, but loose grip to eliminate torque. Release the string with a smooth, fluid motion and always follow-through.

Shorten Your Release 
If you trip your release trigger with the tip of an extended index finger, quit it. This tends to make you slap at the thing. Instead, shorten your release aid so that at full draw you are able to curl your index finger around the trigger at about the middle joint. This makes it easier to squeeze the trigger smoothly and with better control. —D.H.

Establish A Consistent Anchor Point
When drawing and aiming your bow, make sure you use the same anchoring point shot after shot. The only way to achieve maximum accuracy and consistency is to rely on a precise and steadfast anchoring point every time you release an arrow. Some archers use a kisser button to maintain a consistent anchor point and others rely on specific spots along their faces.    

Practice in Low Light 
Most bow shots at mature whitetail bucks happen during either the first or the final ticks of daylight, when sight pins dim and your peep sight seems to shrink. So devote some practice time to the opening and closing minutes of legal light in your area to prep for this crunch time and to learn your maximum effective range in low light. And count on it being tighter than you expect. —Scott Bestul

Avoid String Contact
Another common mistake that causes archery hunters to miss their mark is string contact with bulky clothing or the arm itself. If the bowstring makes any type of contact during the shot, it causes the bow to unintentionally move. This movement will ultimately alter arrow placement and decrease accuracy. In order to avoid problems with string contact, try shooting with your hunting clothing on during your practice sessions. You may also want to cut the end out of a tube sock and slip it over your forearm to help eliminate rising or bulky sleeves that can potentially get in the way.   

Maintain Focus & Shoot Real-World Hunting Situations
Precision shooting also requires a clear mind, focus, concentration and personal confidence. This can be achieved by placing yourself in actual real-world hunting scenarios and shooting situations. Instead of shooting a standard block-style target in your backyard, practice from an elevated tree stand and use a life-like 3D buck target at various ranges. You can place the deer target inside of small openings and cleared shooting lanes in a wooded setting to add a new degree of realism.

Make the First Shot Count 
Repetitive practice is fine for perfecting form. But few bucks will give you a second shot, let alone a fifth. About a month prior to the opener, start each morning by shooting a single, broadhead-tipped hunting arrow. Pick a distance, visualize a hunting scenario, and shoot. Then walk away. Increase the difficulty as the season nears, and you’ll be ready for that make-or-break shot. —S.B.

Use the Right Broadhead
Using the right broadhead is so critical to clean bow kills that Wisconsin trophy whitetail guide Ted Marum turns away clients who shoot poorly made ones. "I'm on more blood trails in one season than most guys are in a decade," Marum says. "And I've learned which broadheads work and which don't. So when a guy calls me to book a hunt, I ask him what head he shoots. If it's a model I've had trouble with, I tell him to either switch or find another outfitter." Find your perfect broadhead here.

Learn to control your breathing, clear your head and focus all of your attention on the buck’s vitals. Have a buddy retrieve your arrows and continuously change the placement of the 3D buck target. Practice shooting from difficult positions while standing up and sitting down in your tree stand. You may also want to shoot from a chair inside of a ground blind, because you never know what kind of setup you’ll find yourself in during a typical season. This type of practice will give you the confidence needed to make an accurate shot when the moment of truth finally arrives this fall.