Want to make that once in a lifetime shot next November? Start using these bowhunting practice drills.
Ask a fisherman what is the most important tool they have in their tackle box and you may get the response, "confidence." Pose the same question to any bowhunter and answers will vary greatly. Whether you are in the woods or on the water, you must be confident in your abilities.
Confidence can mask deficiencies you may have in other parts of your game, allowing you to still be successful in the field.
Try incorporating these shooting drills in your current practice routine. They should allow you to pack some extra confidence with you on your next hunt, so you can make any shot, at any time.
Being able to come to full draw on an animal can be quite the challenge in its own right. Most times you have to draw while the animal's view is obstructed, then hold until the animal steps out and presents an ethical shot.
These precious seconds can feel like hours in a treestand. To prepare for these situations, I will set a stopwatch and hold at full draw for intervals of 30, 60, and 90 seconds before releasing an arrow. Do this drill at the end of your training session, when you are most fatigued, to get the most from it.
Conversely, sometimes an animal will only pause for a second or two, and you must react quickly. If you practice shooting your bow enough, all of your motions will develop muscle memory. You must be able to trust your muscle memory over pre shot routine when quick decisions are required.
To train for this, I will come to full draw; acquire my target, and release, all in a matter of 2 seconds. You will be amazed that if you practice correct form and shot mechanics, once you speed the process up, your accuracy should not suffer.
Nine times out of ten a game animal will give you a shot at dawn or dusk, when natural light levels are low.
We all want to practice in the bright sunshine of mid-day, which is fine, just be sure to save some arrows for last light.
During the season I will always practice during the last 15 minutes of light before dusk. This is when the magic happens, and the only way to be comfortable shooting in low light conditions is practicing in them.
Up and Down
Depending on the situation, you may be shooting from a standing position or a seated one. Standing upright is the most practiced shot in archery. The only key to remember is to bend at the hips when shooting from an elevated position.
What people do not always practice is shooting while sitting down. I will set up a stool from a ground blind and practice keeping my hips in line with my shoulders to ensure a steady shot. It is not a hard shot to master, if practiced routinely.
These drills will give you the peace of mind knowing that when you are on stand, you can make any shot that an animal may present to you.
Remember, there is no drill that trumps an ethical shot. We owe it to the animal to make sure we execute an ethical shot every time.
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