Perfect Practice: Elevating Your Archery Hunting Skill Set

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  1. #1

    Perfect Practice: Elevating Your Archery Hunting Skill Set

    Perfect Practice: Elevating Your Archery Hunting Skill Set

    Brandon Wikman
    FRESH BLOOD Web-TV


    We all know that practice makes perfect—but taking your archery skills to a higher level takes perfect practice.
    There’s no telling what situation or scenario you’ll find yourself against while in the forest or field. The ‘unscripted’ is truly nature’s beauty and beast. Hunters have fantasized the idea of grunting a mature buck into a broadside position ten yards from their perch countless times – in reality, it’s the immediate quartering away shot before he bolts or the white knuckled, nail biting, last second prayer we encounter before our buck-of-a-lifetime vanishes behind brush. There is no storyline to this fairy-tale other than expecting the unexpected.
    Simulating unique scenarios and injecting a hint of realism into your archery practice will morph your talent, enhance your confidence, and prepare you for the dynamics you will encounter on judgment day. Maximize your shooting capabilities by raising your ‘pin’ to a new level and shrinking your bull’s-eye to laser point focus.
    Splicing arrows into my Big Green Target may elevate my archery mechanics, but it won’t make me any better of a hunter. Do you remember the last time you shot archery outside? If I were to guess, I’d say that you were practicing somewhere around the 15-yard mark, standing straight up, feet perfectly squared to the target, and you held back your bow until the last gust of wind mellowed before your easy release. Now ask yourself, when was the last time you killed an animal that came into chip shot range, by himself, and stood broadside waiting for you to release? It just doesn’t work that way often enough.
    Taking your archery practice to a higher-level is an essential building block step in your killing abilities. Dedicate time to create your very own mock-hunting experiences that you can share with your friends and family. You may want to implement tree stands, ground blind stations, and moving targets. There are endless opportunities and a mixture of fun situations to mock. It is a great way to increase your accuracy and boost your overall shooting confidence.
    Below you will find a few tips that help increase lifelike hunting situations in your practice regimen.

    High-rise:
    If you plan on hunting from an elevated position, practice from treestand level. Shooting your bow from a deck or a gentle sloped rooftop will mock your average treestand shot. This will give you a firsthand perspective of what angles you’ll be shooting from once season begins.
    Place your archery target in an assortment of positions. Tweak your angles broadside or quartering away to create natural challenges. This will give you the opportunity to slip your arrows into the correct crease and kill pocket during crunch time.

    Take a Knee…or Two:
    I never thought of practicing shooting from my knees until I ventured to eastern Colorado last fall and stalked monster mule deer with my bow. This tree-less praire of muley paradise was my wakeup call and proved impossible to take a simple standing shot. Belly crawling hundreds of yards, inching through tall wheat fields en route to a nearly hidden tine was an experience never to be forgotten. There was not one time we stood up and walked toward deer – neither will you.
    Once we got within range, it was time to forget how cold and wet your hands felt from the snow, or how much your knees ached from clomping through bumpy fields. It was time to make the kill.
    It takes a smooth and silent draw cycle and an immediate decision to align your pin on the buck’s vitals and let carbon fly before he busts you. Always be sure to carry a trusty rangefinder when hunting open fields or vast landscapes; objects in view may be closer than what they actually appear. My Halo rangefinder is always strung around my neck to give me the confidence that I’ll need when analyzing distance.

    Take a seat:
    Shooting a bow from a seated position can be difficult. You are against several variables that may deter your shot. The bottom cam kicking up dirt, weeds, or bumping your kneecap will toss an arrow off course and out of bounds – not to mention the extra strength it takes to crank the string back and hold the bow steady. Sitting against a tree and using it as a natural blind while turkey or elk hunting is a must when using string and string.
    Last spring I shot a turkey using my bow while playing peek-a-boo with a gobbler behind a huge oak tree. As the gobbler walked into my decoys, all I had to do was draw and quickly slink an arrow into the back of his tail fan. He pompously strutted into my setup and once he turned away, I killed him.
    Like many of us, I’ve had just as many good hunts go bad and some just plain raw, but you’ll never know when you have to take an awkward shot at an animal.
    Creating the most realistic practice will ultimately build enough confidence and experience to make your shot count when the moment of truth surfaces. Practice these different kinds of shooting forms and key in on perfect practice to help you on your adventure.
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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    alabama
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    Like they say, "perfect practice makes perfect"

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  5. #3
    Rfl

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  7. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    In da woods
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    This is some very good advice and some that I have given many times. Mainly the treestand scenario.

    But IMO its all valuable information that I believe very few ever capitalize on. Thus one reason why so many " I shot a deer today but cant find it" threads.

    If more archers would practice the ways stated in this thread instead of worrying about how cool their bows look, or how fast their bows are, they would be surprised at what they may learn.

    Standing on level ground on the line is just not the same as when your 20+ feet up on a 2' platform.
    Shootin Flat And Hittin Hard

  8. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Black River, NY
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    2,319
    Im going to agree, this is my first year, I have not even hunted yet, I have owned a bow for a week now, after shooting square and building my confidence at 15-25 yards and hitting consistent groups I'm itching to move around play with wind direction, get on my garage and get that quartering shot from 20 yards with a cross breeze just to see what I got!

  9. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Colorado
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    26,407
    Quote Originally Posted by AT News View Post
    Do you remember the last time you shot archery outside? If I were to guess, I’d say that you were practicing somewhere around the 15-yard mark
    I can barely remember the last time I shot "indoors". And rarely ever shoot less than 40 yards, let alone 15.
    2014 LH PSE Freak SP 70#, 32 1/2" draw, QAD HDx, SH 7-pin Hunter, 532gr Kinetic XT 200 @ 289fps.
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    2007 LH Bowtech Commander 60#, 32" draw, Limbdriver rest, BG 5-pin Flashpoint.

  10. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Montreal, MO
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    2,232
    It's hard to post pictures of those cool 2" 50 yd. groups when you practice like above. Upside is, you have a better chance of posting a picture of a great trophy in the bowhunting section.

  11. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Munford,Tn
    Posts
    8
    I am practicing what you preach, got mine and my 10 year old sons mathews out over the past month and we have been practicing nearly every afternoon, we have now moved to an elevated buddy stand to throw in the variables at different yardages. My son is going to be better than I ever could have thought because of the training he has gotten. So take your kids out and other kids and show them the outdoors and they will see how truly exciting and fun bow hunting can be.

  12. #9
    Practice all year outdoors and rarely practice at less than 70 yards. Thanks for the write up

  13. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Angleton, TX
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    7,265
    I don't hunt from elevated positions anymore, but my Septembers are spent kneeling and sitting on a stool/bucket. Doesn't take long at all to get into the groove. Just pay attention to which knee is down.

    Had knee surgery last mid-September. Took my hunting shots "kneeling" without the knee actually being on the ground. Actually sqatting. Sure hope I never have to do that again.

    Very good points made by the OP.

  14. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Anchorage, Ak
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    258
    I don't have a place where I am at to shoot indoors at a longer distance then 20 yards. I like to shoot at least 40 yards starting. I also do some of the elevated shooting at my father-in-laws place where i can get on his back deck that is about 20 feet up or so. I also don't like to shoot indoors. there is no elements that can make things a challenge.
    Hidden Content Safe shooting my friends. Hidden Content

  15. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Brownsville, Ore.
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    78
    All good advice... I also recommend checking around locally for 3-D shoots.
    Some try to set targets up for hunting type scenarios. I try to go to at least
    one a month, along with some set ups at home. Practice practice practice.
    Hidden Content The Lord Has Blessed Us----Be A Blessing.
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  16. #13
    I love shooting from an elevated position, it really makes you pay attention to the angle of the arrow's path as it pertains to the animal's anatomy.

  17. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    SE Oklahoma
    Posts
    199
    Great information and advice. IMHO, the only reason to shoot on flat ground at 20 yds is to zero the bow. I begin my practice at 30, elevated and quickly move to 40 or more. Getting the same group at 40 as 30 proves to be a challenge but enjoyable, (now where did that errant arrow go). Even with 100 degree temps, I look forward to the wind and practicing daily.

  18. #15
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    May 2010
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    Alberta
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    It I could add anything it would be stump shooting and small game hunting. I don't mind shooting targets to work on form and tune but after that I'm roving the same types of terrain I hunt shooting at everything that catches my eye, shooting out of tree stands, hunting rabbits or gophers, etc.

  19. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Central WI
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    401
    Practice like you hunt. From scenarios to equipment, make everything as realistic as possible. Good advice

  20. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Westminster, md
    Posts
    25
    Great Info! I happen to hunt alot of public land and am only allowed to use a climber. I make it a point to shoot from my climber at the heights that I usually hunt from. Another thing I make sure I do every year is practice in full hunting gear, gloves,hat, mask,safety harness, the whole nine yards. I have learned that my release needs to be in a different hole when i have my gloves on to make sure the trigger falls in around my first knucle instead of the tip of my finger.
    I think all of these tips will prove to be very worthy come the time to throw down on a whitetail.

  21. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    richmond va
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    20
    Very informative! So simple but often overlooked. @ the guys that hardly practice under 40 and 70 yards, don't forget close shots are definitely a reality when hunting. In a treestand, because of the angle of trajectory and the lessened affect of gravity, we tend to shoot high at very close range. Long range is fun to practice but I've heard of more misses under the tree than anywhere else. Just a thought and my opinion.

  22. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Camden,NY
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    Great info,Thanks! This is my first year I shot 3d in a club weekly,really helped my concentration and release of the arrow with many different shot angles and scenarios.Next year I will build an elevated stand with stairs and rails.I would like to install small tree stand platforms(inside the platform) to stand on (same as my tree stands) to practice from also.
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  23. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Skeeter 58 View Post
    This is some very good advice and some that I have given many times. Mainly the treestand scenario.

    But IMO its all valuable information that I believe very few ever capitalize on. Thus one reason why so many " I shot a deer today but cant find it" threads.

    If more archers would practice the ways stated in this thread instead of worrying about how cool their bows look, or how fast their bows are, they would be surprised at what they may learn.

    Standing on level ground on the line is just not the same as when your 20+ feet up on a 2' platform.
    very very true. i was given this advise when i 1st got into the game and have been doing it ever since. i dont personally use a tree-stand but i practice from sitting on the stool i use in the blind or from weird angles, or even as stated on a knee or two.

  24. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    ADAMS,PIKE COUNTY ILL.
    Posts
    280
    Good info. I have a stand in my backyard at 18 ft. I regularly practice from,wearing what id be while hunting.On really cold day i will just sit there for maybe 2hours. Then i will shot a arrow. Wait another hour,another arrow. The cold and clothing make alot of difference. My neighbors think im crazy but thats ok.

  25. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Ky mountains
    Posts
    87
    I practice long and shoot as short as possible when I hunt. Most of my shots are elevated, but not from a stand. I would like to suggest that if you hunt mountain country to also remember to practice sidehill shooting. One foot in a lower elevation can throw your shot cycle off also.

  26. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Bedford, IN
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    1,844
    This is precisely the reason I love to bow hunt and shoot bows in general. Don't get me wrong, I like all the top notch archery equipment but the main reason I shoot is because it is such a fun sport. There is so much skill involved. I can't count the hours I have spent in the back yard range shooting arrow after arrow. If I get tired I just keep on going because I love it so much. I may sound a little weird but there is nothing better than you, a couple buddies, and some tall ones shooting arrows til dark in the back yard. Keeps my archery skills honed and ready for any scenario that I may encounter in the tree. This is all great advice, everyone should try some one these techniques out and see what kind of archer you really are. For instance I like to shoot from an elevation 15 to 20 foot from the ground, quartering shot, and between to close trees (2x4's for the backyard.). It is great fun and you can even make a game out of it and see who gets closer to the eleven ring or that heart shot.

  27. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Middle GA
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    50 yards with my Hoyt Charger yesterday...you can tell by my box/target i been practicing

  28. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Missouri
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    5,354
    The best practice you can possibly get for hunting is 3D. Over the last 27yrs shooting 1,000's of 3d's and who knows how many targets. There is not a shot a deer is going to present that I haven't made before. Up hill, Down hill, Side hill, Unlevel footing, Wind and judging yardage when you don't have time for a range finder. 3D is the best thing a hunter can do to improve his success rate when hunting. It don't matter if you can find them if you can't hit them.

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