Shoot Like You Mean It
A true-to-life practice session that will have you ready this fall
By Bob Robb There's a huge difference between shooting an accurate arrow from the target line and shooting one at an animal over broken terrain clustered with brush, trees, and boulders. On the line, you are standing comfortably and can take your time. In the field, you may be up in a tree or down on your knees, with only a second to make the shot. Here's a better way to practice. Field & Stream Online Editors
(Step 1) Spend a few days just getting comfortable with the bow. Once you get it tuned and sighted in, use only broadheads. No matter what you might have heard, shooting field points is never the same. Practice Tips
Develop your form. Maintain a consistent anchor point. Apply steady forward pressure with your bow arm.
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(Step 2) Start shooting on the range from awkward positions. If you do most of your bowhunting from a tree stand, practice from one or from a raised platform, like a backyard deck. Don’t always face the target perfectly. Twist your body to replicate field conditions. When I hunt elk, I often shoot from my knees, so I practice that way. Shooting Tips: Tree Stands
When shooting from a tree stand, keep your anchor point and head position the same. Maintain your form while bending at the waist. Concentrate on not dropping your bow arm or raising your head.
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(Step 3) Take six bull’s-eye and life-size 3-D targets and move them off the flat, open range and into areas that more closely mimic hunting conditions. Set up so that you’ll have to shoot through narrow gaps in the brush, between tree trunks, and over or under limbs. Again, shoot from an elevated stand, from your knees, or while standing. Follow the same sequence you use on your hunt: Sneak into position, nock an arrow, hook up the release aid, pick a spot, draw, aim, and release. Do everything as quickly as possible. In bowhunting, only the first arrow matters, so you only get one shot at each. Put an arrow into the kill zone on all six, and you’ll be ready this fall. Shooting Tips: On the Stalk
On most stalks you’ll be on your knees, behind cover. Spread your knees for a solid platform, and lean forward slightly for a balanced, athletic stance. If you must shoot from behind brush, lean and cant the bow while maintaining form.
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Bow Hunting Guide: 2006
TIP: Keep your wrist “low,” as in fully flexed backward, with the bow grip contacting your hand at the heel of your palm. A bone there gives you solid contact. Your fingers should be relaxed. If you’re holding the bow correctly, at full draw your knuckles will line up at a 45-degree angle, halfway between 7 and 8 on an imaginary clockface. Field & Stream Online Editors