These 10 accessories are virtually guaranteed to help you improve as a bowhunter.
Every archer knows that being successful means having the right accessories. Archery accessories come in all shapes and sizes, with costs that vary wildly. Some accessories are absolutely essential, and some are simply bizarre.
What accessories, however, do you actually need? Especially for the budget-conscious archer, proper accessory selection is crucial.
Here are 10 bowhunting accessories that are guaranteed to make you a better archer.
A good stabilizer can go a long way to making you a better archer. Not only can they absorb "hand shock," leading to a more accurate (and more enjoyable) shot, but they also assist in keeping your bow steady and stable.
The best type of stabilizer depends on what you plan to do with your archery rig. Bowhunters tend to prefer shorter, more compact stabilizers because they are more maneuverable than longer, competition style stabilizers. Many bowhunters also use their hunting setup to compete in 3-d archery leagues, and many such leagues limit the length of stabilizers. When choosing what type of stabilizer best suites you, consider how you plan to use your bow and don't forget to check your local regulations.
2. A Good Friend
While your shooting buddy probably doesn't fit in your case, he or she is perhaps the single greatest asset in your archery arsenal.
Practicing with a fellow archer has a great number of benefits. A knowledgable friend can, for example, point out problems with your form that perhaps you weren't even aware of. The competitive nature of shooting with a friend can also push you to shoot at a much higher level. The greatest benefit of all, though, is how much fun you'll have.
High quality arrows that are matched to your setup are critical for your growth as an archer. Ensuring that your arrows are straight, stiff, and the correct length is an absolute necessity.
Simply investing in high quality (i.e. straight) arrows isn't enough, however. For arrows to fly properly the must be cut to the proper length for your draw length and the type of rest you use. Great care must also be taken to ensure that your arrows have the correct stiffness for your draw weight. An arrow that flexes too much, or doesn't flex enough will not fly properly. It's better to shoot a lower draw weight with an arrow that flies properly than to let an arrow fly at higher speed without knowing precisely where it will go.
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4. Well-Equipped Pro Shop
While not necessarily an "accessory," a well equipped bow shop with a knowledgable staff is more important to your success than anything that fits in your case. A good pro shop is not only a great place to buy new gear; many shops are also great places to turn to for advice on accessory selection and tuning, help with shooting form, and for info on local shooting clubs where you can further hone your skills.
More from Wide Open Spaces: Tips for bow hunting in cold weather
5. Peep Sight
Most bows sold today are done so with peep sights already installed, and most factory-installed peep sights are incredibly small. Small peep sights make target acquisition difficult, and because they allow less light to reach the archer's eye they can make it difficult to even see the target.
Shooting with a larger peep brings a whole host of benefits. In hunting situations, where shots often occur in low-light scenarios, they make it easier to not only acquire the target, but the additional light they allow in also increases the chances of a successful shot. Large peep sights (like the one pictured here) also mean that the shooter is less likely to squint their eyes; the ability to keep your eyes open and relaxed is helpful in ensuring your form stays consistent.
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Many archers prefer drop-away style rests, citing increased arrow speed and long range accuracy. Fans of full containment-style rests not only say that they provide a much lower margin for error, but also don't sacrifice much in terms of speed or accuracy.
There's no denying that learning to shoot with a full containment rest (one that remains in contact with the arrow during the shot) can help you become a more successful archer.
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A good-quality rangefinder can be a huge asset in the archer's arsenal.
Rangefinders can not only help to ensure that the shot you're about to take will be an accurate one, they can also help you develop the ability to estimate range on the fly. Try this- go outside and pick objects in your field of view, and guess how far away they are. Then use your rangefinder to see how close your guesses are. With consistent practice you will be able to estimate the range to your target with surprising accuracy, which can be useful when that buck-of-a-lifetime mysteriously appears beneath your stand.
Get one here.
8. 3-D Targets
There is perhaps no other archery accessory that is better at preparing you for a hunting scenario, or more fun to use, than a 3-dimensional target. 3-D targets are great for practicing shot placement from different angles, or even for training your eyes to focus on the shot and not the antlers. Above and beyond their usefulness as a tool, however, shooting at 3-d targets is fun!
To make your practice a bit more realistic, try this; place your 3-D target on a small wagon (or anything with wheels), place it out of your field of view, and have a friend pull it past you (from a safe position, of course). This sort of realistic practice can pay off huge dividends in the deer woods.
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The key is being a successful archer is, undoubtably, your shooting form. The ability to execute a shot the same way, every time, is the building block that all other archery skills are built upon.
There's no other piece of equipment that can help build up an archer's form quite like a back tension release. This type of release has no triggering mechanism; they only release the string when subjected to constant rearward pressure. While not suitable for hunting situations, practicing with a back tension release can help cure most bad form problems. Poor follow through, "punching" the release, letting your form "creep"- all of these can be cured by adding a back-tension release to your bow case.
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10. Properly Set-Up and Tuned Equipment
When choosing archery equipment and accessories, the most important thing to consider is that all your equipment must be tuned to both fit you and work well together. Ill-fitting and/or poorly functioning equipment is the primary cause of poor performance in the woods or on the range.
There are a host of things to consider when choosing from the plethora of archery accessories available. If, for example, you arrows are not the correct spine for your draw length, the result will be less-than-stellar accuracy (or even shattered arrows!). Mechanical broadheads are becoming more and more popular, but archers who shoot a lower draw weight may experience poor performance because their bow isn't producing the energy their broadhead needs to function properly.Remember, the best set up is the one that allows you to execute a shot with perfect form, every time, with accessories that work well together.
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