Top 10 Tips For Bowhunters
Usually, an archer in a treestand who misses sees their arrow miss high. To avoid that, there’s no substitute for practice – but there are two things to bear in mind as you do. It’s often the case that your target will “jump the string”, dropping a little or a lot when they become aware of you, so compensate for that. More importantly, though, bend at the waist to get the downward angle you need. Your instinct is probably to lower your bow arm, but that means your bow and eye aren’t lined up correctly to aim.
(And yes, a treestand is a better place to hunt from than a ground blind. Once you’ve acclimatised to treestand aiming, try both ways again and see which produces better, more reliable results.)
And not just in your bow arm and hand, either; your whole stance is important to this, from feet up to head. Your whole body will need to be relaxed; your bow arm shouldn’t have the elbow locked to full extension (obviously) but you shouldn’t bend it much more than you need to to avoid that. Your bow hand, too, should stay relaxed, allowing for a less shaky grip.
Keep Your Eyes On The Prize
“Aim small, miss small,” the saying goes, and it’s not a bad rule of thumb to bear in mind as a bowhunter. Once you have a target, pick the spot you want to hit and focus in as tight as you can. Put simply, nothing else matters.
Never forget that the shot you’ve taken isn’t complete until the arrow hits the target. A common mistake, even among veteran archers, is to make a fist as they release the bowstring – it’s an easy reflex to develop, although a very bad one – which tends to throw the string off before the arrow’s left it. You should keep your bow arm from moving on release, too, as that can have the same effect. The discipline required for correct follow through is mental , not physical – it’s on you to keep from following reflexes until the arrow is fully in flight.
Two-Finger Release Technique
While some bowhunters have moved to mechanical release for the greater accuracy it ensures, purists maintain a hand draw and release. If you’re one of these, you must remember never to use more than two fingers once you’ve reached full draw, letting your top finger drop and retaining middle and ring finger for anchor and release. It’s been found that almost three quarters of holding weight is carried by the middle finger alone in the best finger shooters; you should be looking for a similar distribution, even early in your career.
Watch Out For Target Panic
f you don’t know the term, target panic refers to a bowhunter’s nerves interfering with a steady shot, working so hard to time the shot that they don’t release on time and hesitate a little too long. You do not want to allow this to become a habit for you; practice will help you overcome the urge, releasing smoothly rather than overthinking.
Take It Easy
I’ve already stressed that you need to avoid target panic and that your body needs to be released. This tip is the third point of that triangle; you are not looking to have a steady, unmoving lock on your target, because that increases the risk of target panic and eliminates any chance of a relaxed stance and grip. Instead, what you need to do is simple make sure the pin is never far from the target spot as it moves, and then when you do release, your results will be much stronger. As weird as that sounds, it’s the best way.
The Seven Second Rule
Total focus is point three. Here’s something to keep in mind to make sure that works; most studies put seven seconds as the longest we can maintain that level of focus without your mind wandering at all. You should be looking to release within seven seconds of picking your mark.
Know Your Arcs
Like many other things, arrows don’t travel in a perfectly straight line. Unlike, say, a hunting rifle, the arc of an arrow can be short enough to be useful. With practice, your bow’s sight pin and yardage pins will let you lob a shot over an obstacle and onto your mark. Just remember; full draw, or the yardage pins won’t be accurate.
Practice Never Stops
Something I see all the time in rookie bowhunters is that they consider the offseason practice time then, once the season begins, they only draw their bows to hunt. This means that when it’s most important, their draw is a little weaker, their discipline a little less precise. You should always be practicing.