Obstructions between you and your target don’t always have to ruin your shot when bowhunting. Here’s how to figure out if you can still take the shot.
Remi Warren, of the hunting show “Apex Predator“, gives some outstanding advice on how to determine if an obstruction lying between you and your intended target is actually in a position to deflect your arrow, or not.
“Just because something’s covering the vitals [visually] doesn’t mean that it’s actually covering the shot.”
It all has to do with understanding the difference between your line of sight, which functions as a straight line, and the flight of an arrow, which is an arc subject to gravity.
“What your line of sight sees isn’t necessarily the trajectory the arrow’s taking,” he says.
Warren says that knowing what’s between you and your target, and where that object situates itself in relation to your non-target sight pins, is the key.
Knowing how your arrow flies, and falls as it flies, in relation to its distance from you and your target, and its relation to the sight pins in your aiming window, will enable you to determine if the arrow will bypass the obstruction or will meet it to spoil your shot.
This kind of mental computing will take some practice, but Warren gives a real-life example of how this understanding enabled him to make a killing shot on a Mexican coues deer some years ago, even though his sight picture was heavily obstructed by brush between him and the deer.
I will say, however, that while Warren’s advice here is solid, it concerns shooting a bow using mechanical sights. I believe that bowhunters using traditional archery gear and shooting instinctively (without mechanical sights) understand this difference between line of sight and arrow trajectory, and are able to account for it intuitively.