Practice and Preparation
At a whitetail show last summer a gentleman told me how he missed what he felt was a world-class whitetail at less than 15-yards! He said he could not believe he missed. In fact, after he thoroughly examined his arrow and the area, he climbed back up in his stand and reenacted the entire episode. He nocked an arrow, aimed at a pinecone on the ground that was near to where the buck stood, and missed it by at least a foot! He repeated the shot several more times before realizing the bow string was colliding with the sleeve of his coat, thus affecting the arrow’s point of impact by quite a bit.
When preparing for the hunt it’s import to periodically practice with your heavy hunting jacket, gloves and facemask, and even a pair of binoculars or rangefinder around your neck. Shoot from realistic bowhunting positions, including typical tree stand elevations and sitting down. This type of practice may seem like a lot of extra work, but there’s a good chance it could make the difference between a miss and meat in the freezer.
Too often, once the season starts many hunters slack off shooting practice. This is a big mistake, not only does practicing during the season give you confidence and helps to keep you physically and mentally on top of your game, it’s also the best way I know of making sure your archery equipment is working properly. How many times have you heard someone claim they missed because their arrow rest was bent or their sights had moved?
Lastly, instead of just shooting one arrow after another at a target, rehearse every shot as though you were actually shooting a world-class animal. This type of practice and preparation might give you the critical edge a once-in-a-lifetime shot will most likely require.
Remember, when practicing; shoot each arrow as though you were shooting the buck of your dreams. But, when you draw back on the buck of your dreams, execute the shot as if you are target practicing. In other words think form: breath, anchor your pin on the center of rib, push, pull, squeeze, and follow through. At the end of the day, the vitals of a big or small buck, is just a target….
- Dan Perez