Learn To Shoot a Bow Like an Expert

The Regimen: 30 days to better bow shooting
He is on the back side of 70, with a farm boy's jug ears and a slight stoop from arthritis. But archery coach Terry Wunderle still moves with a natural athlete's confidence, and the penetrating blue eyes miss nothing. From the moment you shake hands with him he is sizing you up to see if you possess the raw material-"the hunger, discipline, and composure-"from which he can mold a champion. All of Wunderle's students spend endless hours shooting "blank bale," that is, shooting at a target butt with no target face, from 10 to 15 feet. And the world champions are the ones who spend the most time doing it. "I bet most of your readers won't do this," he says. "Just like most target archers won't. 'It's too boring,' they say. And my answer is, 'Fine, then you'll be the same guys who never have to worry about getting bored picking up trophies.'" Here's his suggested routine to get yourself ready for the season.
Field & Stream Online Editors
Days 1-10
Take five or six arrows. Set up your target at a distance of 10 to 15 feet at chest level. For 30 minutes, shoot blank bale exclusively, focusing on form: Draw, and let the pin float and settle. Then pull the bow apart with steady forward pressure from the bow arm and steady rearward pressure. Do not aim. Your goal is consistency. You want each shot to feel like the one before and the one to come. If you can safely shoot with your eyes closed, try it. It helps some guys feel the shot better. TIP: Keep steady backward pressure with your release arm arm until the arrow goes off. Think of it as pulling your bow apart.
Field & Stream Online Editors
Days 11-20
Shoot blank bale for the first 10 minutes. For the next 20 minutes, alternate every other shot between shooting at the blank bale and shooting at a dot or other small target. Talk to yourself, stating your intentions: Draw, float the pin until it settles, then pull it apart. Even when you're shooting the target, do not aim. If you're in good form, the pin will find the target. Judge your success by how good your form is. Strive for awareness of the forward and backward pressure with your two arms. TIP: Mind control is the most important aspect of shooting. You must deliberately focus on keeping your form perfect, shot after shot. If you think about aiming, accuracy will suffer.
Field & Stream Online Editors
Days 21-30
Continue to shoot blank bale for the first 10 minutes. Spend the remaining 20 shooting at the target. As long as you're shooting smoothly, stay on the target. You should be settling into a rhythm where the time it takes for the arrow to go off once you begin the shot process-"that is, once the pin has settled and you've begun to pull the bow apart-"is within a second or so each time. If you find yourself aiming, go back and shoot a couple of shots at the blank bale. TIP: Don't start and stop during your release motion. Commit to a good follow-through, and the release will occur naturally.
Field & Stream Online Editors
TIP: A weak or tight bow arm causes most misses. You need to apply steady forward pressure with this arm, right into the target.Field & Stream Online Editors
TIP: Keep your feet lined up perpendicular to the target, which is the easiest way to keep the same stance for each shot.Field & Stream Online Editors
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
**Test Yourself **
The only meaningful test of a bowhunter is how he shoots under pressure. Before you begin the regimen described on page 58, team up with a buddy and try to intimidate each other as you each shoot five arrows at a 3-inch bull's-eye at 20 yards. The only rule is that you may not physically touch the shooter or interfere with his line of sight to the target. Monetary wagers, standing close, yelling, making choking noises, and singing "neener, neener, neener" are all permitted. If you each get all five in the bull, increase the distance in 5-yard increments until one of you misses. After you complete Wunderle's training regimen, repeat the test. You should be able to put all five arrows in the bull's-eye at a greater distance. If not, it means that you are still aiming instead of concentrating on form. Go back to the regimen. Resolve that you are going to focus all your willpower on drawing the bow, letting the pin settle and float on the target, and pulling the bow apart. Then repeat the test with your comrade. TIP: Adding a stabilizer is the easiest way to steady your bow and improve your shooting. Don't skimp on weight.
Field & Stream Online Editors
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