Most bowhunters put in a lot of practice before hunting season, and for good reason. There is a lot of muscle memory involved in accurately shooting a bow and it doesn’t take long to get out of sync if you stop practicing. However, if you’ll be hunting from a blind or treestand, then you need to practice just like you’ll hunt. Here’s some tips to make sure you’re hunt-ready this fall.
Shooting from a Ground Blind
Ground blinds take a little time to get used to shooting out of them, so make sure you spend the needed time to become confident shooting out of a blind. When shooting your archery tackle from a ground blind be sure to wear the same type clothing you will be hunting in. If it will be early season, wear light gear. If it will be later in the season and cold, practice while wearing heavier clothing. This will definitely affect your hold and shot.
Chances are you’ll be shooting from a seated position in a blind, so be sure to use the same chair you plan on having in your ground blind. Also, be sure if you shoot a traditional bow to make sure you can maneuver the bow around inside of the tight confines of a blind. You might need to go to a different chair or practice off your knees to clear the shooting window.
Shooting from a Treestand
When shooting from a treestand, practice out of the various stand styles you might be hunting from. Many climbing stands, for example, have shooting rails that can be a hindrance if you’ve not shot with one. Practicing from the same climber you’ll be hunting out of will let you know where you need to have your top and bottom stand set, so your lower cam doesn’t hit the rail on close shots. Keep in mind: when shooting from a treestand, it is best to bend at the waist. If you just lower your sight to the target, more often than not your shot will be off, and you run the risk of hitting the climbing rail on a climber. By bending at the waist, you maintain your form and it will eliminate this issue.
Shooting a bow in bulky clothing designed for cold weather can be a challenge. If the string hits your sleeve, then your shot won’t be true. Make sure your string clears your sleeve. If not, use an arm guard. Be sure to wear your safety harness and shoot from the same height you will be hunting from. Many times, we practice from low elevations and when faced with a 10-yard shot with the stand 20 feet high the angle changes and knowing where to hold to get the perfect shot becomes difficult.
Often, we can shoot well at longer ranges while standing on the ground, but add in elevation and wind, and shooting longer ranges become increasingly more difficult. Know your maximum-effective range where you can keep all your shots well inside the vitals and don’t take shots beyond that. You owe that to the game you hunt.
Make sure you practice with your broadheads. Pick one broadhead out to use as your practice head. Many times, they shoot slightly different from your field points. Usually a very small sight adjustment with your elevation or windage will put you spot on.
This is also a great time to practice judging yardage. Have a friend set targets at varied ranges and judge the yardage without a range finder. Take your first shot and see where it hits. If your shot was off, take a range with your range finder and see how close you were. Sometimes we don’t have time to range a reference point or the animal, so this kind of practice will make you more efficient and more confident.
If you practice like this well before the season and as often as possible during the season, your success rate will most certainly increase.