Monday, July 23, 2012

Realistic Preparation For Bow-Hunters

I know numerous bow-hunters who shoot bull's eye after bull's eye when they are shooting at the range under controlled conditions. Bow-hunters shooting at a range usually are standing straight up and the target is directly in front of them on level ground, which is not exactly a realistic hunting scenario. A good portion of those successful target archers go out hunting every fall and do not have a successful shot on an animal when the opportunity presents itself. Bow-hunters who only takes aim at block or paper targets on a range during the off season are not taking the best advantage of their precious preparation time. Don't get me wrong, time spent on the archery range shooting arrows is important and should be a part of the overall preparation for making a good clean shot at the moment of truth. However, range time is only one facet of what is needed to become a well rounded field shot.

Bow-hunters can greatly increase their success levels by implementing a well rounded and realistic training program that prepares them to shoot under a variety of circumstances. I believe in the old adage train the way you play. In other words attempt to shoot your bow under circumstances that mimic an actual hunting experience as close as possible. If you plan on hunting in the rain, snow, or wind you should practice with your bow in less than ideal conditions. Other factors to consider when attempting to replicate hunting situations is the clothing you are wearing and accessories on your bow. If weather permits wear the same clothes you will where when hunting at least part of the time when shooting your bow. If you leave your quiver on your bow while hunting practice shooting that way during the off season, paying attention to these little details can have a big impact on your level of preparation for the hunting season.

There are numerous things you can do to improve your shooting skills for hunting. First of all, practice shooting your bow from a variety of positions and angles. Shoot while your standing, kneeling, and while leaning around obstacles The first time you shoot your bow while kneeling down and leaning around a tree should not be at the deer of a lifetime. If your options are limited and you have to go to a range be creative. An empty 55 gallon drum or piece of plywood propped up make great obstacles to shoot around. Hunters who utilize tree stands need to practice shooting from elevated positions.

3D archery targets replicating animals are readily available and can be reasonably priced. If you don't want to purchase your own many clubs and archery stores have 3D ranges available to use for a nominal fee. Becoming proficient in hitting a 3D target in the appropriate vital area will increase a hunter's likelihood of successfully killing an animal while hunting. Another thing to experiment with 3D targets is placing the target behind obstacles replicating hunting situations where a portion of your animal is behind a tree or other obstacle. Anytime you are going to be hunting an animal you are not familiar with you practice on a 3D target of that animal ahead of time if possible.

Another training aid I really like is virtual archery simulators. These simulators project a realistic view onto a large screen, typically 20 yards away. Hunters have the ability to go through numerous scenarios in a short amount of time; a few weeks ago I shot 104 arrows at a simulator in one hour. Simulators provide hunters with another opportunity to shoot at realistic looking animals. Simulators also prepare the hunter to shoot animals at different angles and it also helps the hunter develop decision making skills on when to take a shot do to the fact in a lot of the scenarios the animal is moving for a good portion of the time leaving the hunter with a small window of opportunity.

If you are already taking advantage of all of these training aides and concepts you're probably a pretty decent field shot. If not, revaluate your training program and implement some of the ideas in this article. I guarantee it will make you more prepared for that all important shot. Who knows, you might only have one opportunity next season; make it count!

Bradley Vinje is an avid outdoorsman and life long resident of Wisconsin. Although he enjoys all outdoor activities he has a particular passion for bow-hunting and fishing for Walleyes and Muskie He is the operator and editor of The Hunt and Fish Blog (, which is a free website containing hunting and fishing resources for both experienced and novice sportsmen.

To See more check out my blog at
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