Increase your chances for archery success this fall with these three activities this summer.
How are you supposed to be in form come fall hunting season when you’ve done nothing all summer to brush up and keep your skills sharp?
These tips will go a long way if you’re serious about bowhunting, and want to use the offseason as a chance to improve, maintain, and get nearer to success when the time comes.
Practice, practice, practice
Without a doubt, practice with your weapon of choice in the offseason is one of the most crucial preparations you can make this summer. A regular schedule that puts your bow in your hands can pay great dividends come this fall.
Practicing shots from positions that you most commonly encounter in the field can stave off any comfort issues, such as kneeling for an extended period of time while you shoot, that could otherwise cost you a clean shot. Muscle memory is as valuable an asset as quality gear in pursuing a desired level of performance.
If you want some variation in an already established practice regimen, try mixing physical exertion with single shots from varying distances. Though it remains impossible to simulate the adrenaline rush you feel when a great buck approaches your range, getting used to controlling your breathing and stabilizing your shooting base while your heart rate is elevated certainly helps. Try 15 burpees or a 100 yard sprint/jog and then shooting a single shot from your bow immediately from your favorite distance as a means of establishing a baseline for comparison.
Adding distance to your practice routine can also make a game day shot feel like a gimme. If a 35 yard shot is ideal for you in archery season, start practicing at 70 yards. When you can maintain a seven inch group at 70 yards, your hunting distance (55 yards or less) level of confidence will feel and shoot like 10 yards.
Match your physical preparation with your expected physical exertion. If your plans for September include high mileage and variable altitudes with full backpacks, you will need to do more than a couple of laps at the local track to be physically ready for the fall’s challenge. Local stadiums, winter sledding hills, and especially the country you intend to hunt in the fall make for great physical fitness challenges.
At the very least you should include a weighted backpack in an effort to simulate what you will be carrying over the trail. Start with a weight that won’t put you at risk of injury and work your way up a comparable weight for the game you are planning on pursuing. Expect a bull elk’s single hind quarter to weigh up to 90 pounds or more bone-in.
With the vast pool of resources to draw from, ranging from Google Earth to state forestry resources, there is little excuse to be completely unfamiliar with your expected hunting destination.
Though neither digital or physical imagery serves as an equivalent for first hand experience in your hunting area, these valuable resources can help familiarize you with the where and how you might be able to access otherwise overlooked honey holes. Many hidden meadows have been unveiled thanks to satellite imagery.
With an established practice routine, research cache, and fitness preparation on your offseason to-do list, you will be setting the stage for a memorable, enjoyable, and hopefully successful fall archery hunt this season.