Make The Most Of Your Summer Archery Practice

Use these archery practice tips and see more success this fall

Everyone knows that archery practice is important for success in the field. Whether you’re chasing whitetails in the Midwest or bugling bulls in the mountains, accurate shooting is what brings home the meat. These tips will help you make the most of your summertime archery practice so you’ll be ready to make the shot when the chips are down this fall.

Shoot 3D Targets

Shooting at foam blocks is fine to get you and your bow dialed in, but when it comes time to get serious about your archery practice, 3D targets are the way to go. Instead of seeing an arrow on a block target and thinking “that might have been in there,” shooting 3D targets lets you know immediately whether your arrows are consistently landing in the kill zone or you need more archery practice.

Do yourself a favor and invest in a 3D target of the animal you chase most and you’ll know for sure that you are ready when the moment of truth arrives.

Put On the Pressure

There’s nothing like the feeling of watching an animal approach and a shot opportunity develop. The adrenaline rush this moment creates is one of the major reasons we spend so much time preparing for our hunts. However, some hunters, who shoot tiny groups at long ranges in their backyards, experience a total meltdown when it’s a living creature that their sight pins are covering.

While it’s impossible to replicate the feeling of an animal coming into bow range, there are some ways you can add pressure to your archery practice sessions to simulate “the big moment.”

First, shoot with others any chance you get. Just having someone watching you adds pressure to the shot. Second, lay some money on your shooting. You might be surprised at how important it seems to take your buddy’s five bucks by landing your arrow closer to the bull’s eye than his. Finally, add a physical stress factor to the shot by exerting yourself, then shooting. For example, sprint 100 yards, do 20 push-ups, then try shooting a tennis ball at 50 yards.

Go Long

Modern archery equipment, particularly laser rangefinders, has extended the range at which archers can confidently and ethically take game. But, shooting at longer ranges requires more archery practice. Set a limit for how far you will shoot at an animal, this might be 40 yards for whitetails or 60 yards for elk or muleys. Then take most of your practice shots from twice that distance. When you’re consistently hitting the kill zone on your 3D target at 80 yards, you’ll know that you can make the shot when the buck of a lifetime is standing at 35 yards.

Hit the Woods

Backyard archery practice is fine, but most real life shot opportunities will have you shooting over, under, or through screening foliage. This is where some stump shooting will help.

In case you’re not familiar with the term, stump shooting is a form of archery practice where you hit the woods and shoot at stumps, sticks, rotten logs, or whatever else strikes your fancy. Use small game or Judo style heads to avoid lost or broken arrows and take shots at random ranges from close in to way out. Stump shooting will force you to pay attention to your arrow’s flight pattern so, when it’s an animal your shooting at, you won’t have to use the old “my arrow deflected off a stick” excuse.

Get High and Go Blind

Once you’re dialed in and hitting where you want, it’s time to simulate a hunting situation. For many of us, that means shooting from a treestand or blind.

Shooting from an elevated position causes targets to look farther away than they really are and proper shooting form must be maintained to ensure consistent accuracy from on high. If you do most of your hunting from treestands, try to take at least half your practice shots from a perch as hunting season draws near.

Shooting from a blind presents its own challenges. Use the seat you’ll use while hunting and make sure your arrow clears the window openings by a few inches. If you are shooting through mesh windows, take some practice shots with your broadheads to make sure that the mesh doesn’t affect your arrow’s flight. Finally, take some shots from your blind early in the morning or late in the evening. This is when a lot of opportunities present themselves and the same darkening effect that helps hide you in your blind could keep you from seeing your pins when a big buck steps out at last light.

Use these tips to make the most of your archery practice this summer and you’ll be a stone-cold killer by the time hunting season rolls around. Good luck and happy hunting!

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