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Bowhunting Tip: How to Shoot Better in 30 Minutes

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March 19, 2013

Bowhunting Tip: How to Shoot Better in 30 Minutes

By Dave Hurteau

Bestul and I are in the midst of a giant bow test, and so we are shooting a lot. (Nothing like a deadline to get you out on the range.) But before I took any shots for posterity, I spent a half a day or so warming up at 30 and 40 yards, jotting down my group sizes just for fun. After that, I put the target out at 60 and shot 20 three-shot groups.

Now, you have read from me and Bestul and many others that long-range shooting can really help your accuracy at typical hunting ranges. But today, I can
quantify it.

Before shooting at 60, my average three-shot group at 30 yards (based on 10 groups) measured exactly 3.08 inches. No great shakes. What can I tell you; it’s been a long winter.

But after shooting at 60 and then moving the target back to 30, the bull looked at least a half size bigger and my average three-shot group for my next 10 groups shrank to 2.56 inches. In other words, I shaved a half-inch off my 30-yard groups with just one half-hour-or-so-long session at 60.

Okay, I’m ready to hunt. When’s the next season?

Comments (7)

Top Rated
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from SD Bob wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

Come to South Dakota, right now you can hunt(shoot) prairie dogs and you'll get loyt of shooting in where your small groups will truly help.

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from Bioguy01 wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

Turkey season is open in Alabama, and it opens here in GA this week.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcarlin wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

I just got my first recurve a few weeks ago and MY 30 yard groups have opened up to about 3 feet. It's going to be a good long while before that replaces my compound in the deer woods.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

jcarlin, Once you get the hang of a recurve you'll never want to put it down.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from hermit crab wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

Agree with Buckhunter. Also keep in mind that a 30 yard shot is a pretty far shot with a recurve. Stump shooting, particularly through the woods, will really help you gain confidence and skill - in addition to being incredibly fun.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Iklwa wrote 1 year 2 weeks ago

They can boast to me all day long about lasers and paper tuning but there is nothing like tuning a bow at extended ranges. You can think “It looks good!” during a paper tuning session and then find a little more accuracy at the long butts. I believe that the added concentration on form and sighting when focusing at long distance is at least half of the story. If you are shooting with a partner and your arrows are numbered, have him make notes about where you think each shaft has gone (i.e. “6 o’clock and low”). Then, when retrieving your shafts compare the notes to the actual impacts. There will be some shots you know you blew. There will be others that you also know had perfect form. Those are the shots and groups that count. Remove all of the known “fliers” and measure the remaining group size. Then making incremental adjustments to one’s rest and/or nock height may reveal major group differences you would never have seen on the torn paper at six yards or at the 20 or 30 yard line. If you get lost, you can always go back to te paper tear method.

This process can take days if need be. It’s a long time till hunting season gets here and if everything works correctly, you will need only one shot at that buck. A tired archer makes for poor shooting. Stop before you do get tired. Where the groups actually hit is immaterial. Group sizes are what need noting. If you make an adjustment in one direction and groups get better, keep going in that direction until the groups deteriorate, then move that adjustment back to where it was best. Shoot again to confirm your original results and ONLY CHANGE ONE ADJUSTMENT AT A TIME! (I.e. right/left and then up/down) After you have finished polishing your groups you can adjust your sights to “zero”.

If you are shooting five inch groups at 50 yards, that’s pretty good but a reduction of just one inch in group size translates into a significant (20% reduction) change.

I have also found that using a pin size that reveals the target spot all around the pin makes for finer aiming. If you are using a .019 pin, use a bull’s eye large enough that it is not obscured by the pin.

Remember, small, incremental adjustments and the taking of notes can pay huge dividends.

Have fun!
Iklwa

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Shawn Smith wrote 1 year 1 week ago

Shooting with the method described above really did improve my short yardage shots. It also helped tighten my 60 and 70 yard groups, because I just kept pushing myself to go farther. I do not believe I would ever take a shot at a deer or even any other animal from a distance greater than 40 yards though. To many variables would come into play.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from SD Bob wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

Come to South Dakota, right now you can hunt(shoot) prairie dogs and you'll get loyt of shooting in where your small groups will truly help.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bioguy01 wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

Turkey season is open in Alabama, and it opens here in GA this week.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcarlin wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

I just got my first recurve a few weeks ago and MY 30 yard groups have opened up to about 3 feet. It's going to be a good long while before that replaces my compound in the deer woods.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

jcarlin, Once you get the hang of a recurve you'll never want to put it down.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from hermit crab wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

Agree with Buckhunter. Also keep in mind that a 30 yard shot is a pretty far shot with a recurve. Stump shooting, particularly through the woods, will really help you gain confidence and skill - in addition to being incredibly fun.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Iklwa wrote 1 year 2 weeks ago

They can boast to me all day long about lasers and paper tuning but there is nothing like tuning a bow at extended ranges. You can think “It looks good!” during a paper tuning session and then find a little more accuracy at the long butts. I believe that the added concentration on form and sighting when focusing at long distance is at least half of the story. If you are shooting with a partner and your arrows are numbered, have him make notes about where you think each shaft has gone (i.e. “6 o’clock and low”). Then, when retrieving your shafts compare the notes to the actual impacts. There will be some shots you know you blew. There will be others that you also know had perfect form. Those are the shots and groups that count. Remove all of the known “fliers” and measure the remaining group size. Then making incremental adjustments to one’s rest and/or nock height may reveal major group differences you would never have seen on the torn paper at six yards or at the 20 or 30 yard line. If you get lost, you can always go back to te paper tear method.

This process can take days if need be. It’s a long time till hunting season gets here and if everything works correctly, you will need only one shot at that buck. A tired archer makes for poor shooting. Stop before you do get tired. Where the groups actually hit is immaterial. Group sizes are what need noting. If you make an adjustment in one direction and groups get better, keep going in that direction until the groups deteriorate, then move that adjustment back to where it was best. Shoot again to confirm your original results and ONLY CHANGE ONE ADJUSTMENT AT A TIME! (I.e. right/left and then up/down) After you have finished polishing your groups you can adjust your sights to “zero”.

If you are shooting five inch groups at 50 yards, that’s pretty good but a reduction of just one inch in group size translates into a significant (20% reduction) change.

I have also found that using a pin size that reveals the target spot all around the pin makes for finer aiming. If you are using a .019 pin, use a bull’s eye large enough that it is not obscured by the pin.

Remember, small, incremental adjustments and the taking of notes can pay huge dividends.

Have fun!
Iklwa

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Shawn Smith wrote 1 year 1 week ago

Shooting with the method described above really did improve my short yardage shots. It also helped tighten my 60 and 70 yard groups, because I just kept pushing myself to go farther. I do not believe I would ever take a shot at a deer or even any other animal from a distance greater than 40 yards though. To many variables would come into play.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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