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I have really enjoyed getting in a lot of practice, and even stretching back to 80, 90, and 100 yards. I mostly just whitetail hunt with my hoyt. When i shoot at 100, i can stay within a paper plate sized group, but when i move back in to 30-40 yards, i feel like my groups should be getting tighter. at 30 yards i feel like I should be hitting the 3 inch circle every time. Is this realistic to want to be that accurate? What size is a good grouping to be Okay with? Any help/suggestions of form or practice techniques would be VERY much appreciated.
 

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for starters, if you can hit a paper plate every time at 100- but not a 3 inch circle at 30- you are an archery anomaly. I have never heard of such a thing and I doubt it.

To help, what you need to do to get better is to get some paper target faces, the type used in field archery competitions. They have rings which are worth points, 10,9,8, etc as you hit further from the center. You should shoot and score yourself. Always work to beat your score, archery is a one man sport and the only competition is yourself. Even cheap, poorly set up equipment and arrows with scruffy vanes can shoot pretty decent at 20 yards, and any decent setup can shoot adequately out to 50 yards. Don't blame your equipment, is what I'm saying, until you are really knocking it out of the park at the closer ranges- fancy equipment and complex tuning only come in once you the shooter are sound out to those longer ranges- then equipment matters.

Shooting past 50 yards consistently means that your equipment needs to be very precise. Once you get past 60 then worse out beyond 80 yards; everything must be perfect. Even the slightest wind affects the point of impact by inches. The right arrow with proper FOC is key to be effective out past 60 yards.

To be a truly top notch archer means shooting 1" groups for every ten yards. so 2" groups at 20, 4" at 40, etc. For clarification when reading the rest of my post: When I say someone shoots a 3" group or a 6" group at whatever yardage- I am saying that they do that every time, or ALMOST every time (say they can do it with a 90% success rate, or 9/10 groups they can do this).

In my shop everyone can shoot a consistent 3 inch circle at 30 yards, and everyone can shoot a 5" group at 40 yards. I bet that only 1 or 2 of the guys can hit a paper plate consistently at 100 yards. I shoot every single day and have the very best equipment and instruction that money can buy but I can only do a 6" group at 50 yards and I start to fall apart on the 1" to 10 yards rule beyond that. I would say only the top 5% of archers in general can do this 9/10 groups. From what I have seen, to be in the top 25% of archers you would need to be able to shoot a 3" group every time for 9/10 groups at 20 yards (I see about 10 archers shoot in my shop every day at 20 yards- approximately 75% of these are bowhunters, 15% are recreational shooters, and 10% target archers).


--------That's right, 75% of people cannot do this. That's about 50% of bowhunters cannot shoot a 3" group at 20 yards.-----

Indoor target archery is scored in the manner described above (Rings worth points, 10,9,8, etc). The professional shooters will shoot nearly all x's, aka perfect scores. They shoot occasional 9's and an 8 is a bad shot (about 2" from the center). At the professional level, shooting a 7 is often a death sentence. Good amateur shooters (I would say 10% of all the archers who I meet in my shop shoot at least a little bit of indoor target archery) still shoot 7's or better every time and 90% of shots are within that 8 ring.

I am in no way trying to discourage you, I am simply sharing my experience watching/helping set up bows for many, many archers from around the world shoot. I am sharing it to give you an idea of how you stack up compared to many levels of competition. I am privileged to work in the industry and I know most of the answers to things I see on AT, and anything I say is just to help not to insult.
 

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The advice to compete against yourself is spot on. Don't allow yourself to become discouraged because you can't shoot as well as someone else. Unless you can do the impossible and shoot into the same hole every time you have room to improve. Always look for ways to do better. On a side note, for hunting purposes it is more important to shoot well in a lot of different scenarios than to shoot perfectly under controled circumstances.
 

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I see you are new to AT, welcome. How long have you been shooting? Without seeing your form, its impossible to tell whats going on. Have you seen the "Hows my form" posts? read thru them and then post some pics of yourself. what do your groups look like? vertical, horizontal? favor left or right? Is your bow tuned, and how so? What equipment are you using?
 

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OP: Taking what you posted as accurate, (and if so I am not even in your league) then one problem could be your pin/sight picture, or the size of the target. Too big of a target at close range can result in you getting "lazy" on the hold. As long as the pin is inside that big target, your mind says "okay", but in reality, you are drifting around more. I find I shoot tighter groups with a smaller target spot the closer I get, as well better contrast in the target spot color. (Part of my problem is vision, particularly starting at about 40 yds.)

The downside of relying on the target spot size/contrast for accuracy is that wild game don't come with bulls-eyes on them.

Just a thought

Welcome to AT

Go
 

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It sound like you have reached a platoe. You can keep precticing what you are doing and you will never improve beyond where you presently are. Or you can seek out a coach and try to improve your form and mental control.

I would recommend you become a student of archery. First suggestion is to get a copy of Eastons tuning manual. It is free on line. Use the manual to help you fine tune your bow. There are a lot of great books on archery. Howard Hill's "Hunting the hard way", has got ot be one of the greatest. Pope's, "Hunting with a bow and arrow". It disacribe many of the hunts Pope and Young took part in. They are filled with great hunting stories as well and sound advice. Also Al Henderson, and most recent Jerry Wunderle's, " How to think and shoot like a chmpion."

You need to increase your knowledge so you can move forward.
 
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