As a bow hunter in, I’ve got one thing on my brain: whitetail season. I go to bed dreaming of the 8-point buck that consistently shows up on my trail camera, and wake up eager to get outside and shoot my bow. If there is one thing I know for sure, the BEST way to prepare myself for the season is practice, practice, and more practice. Bow hunters inherit the responsibility of ensuring their shot is dead on. (No pun intended.) This means countless hours are spent on perfecting their shot in the range, which can become very repetitive. I’ve discovered a number of ways to spice up my target practice in order to keep it fun, exciting, and authentic!
Creating realistic scenarios when shooting your bow is KEY. There are numerous ways to do this, but my go-to is shooting with an elevated heart rate. Try adding push-ups, jumping jacks, or sprints between arrows. For example, try 10 jumping jacks between each arrow for 30 shots. You WILL break a sweat. Pay close attention to how your shot changes from arrow 1 to 30. Does your focus decrease as your heart rate climbs? Do you change the way you pull the release? Whatever it may be, you’ll be sure to learn something new about your shot process.
Another fun way to change up your target practice is to wear your hunting gear while shooting. I’m talking hats, gloves, jackets, the whole getup. This adds value to your practice because it allows you to test out your gear. How does your gear constrict you? Does your hat block your vision? Does your hood change your anchor point? All of these factors may change your shot and you won’t know it until you practice with your gear on!
Here are some additional ideas to change up your target practice:
- Shoot out of your tree stand. If you have the ability, set it up in your back yard! Your neighbor might look at you strange, but this will keep you from spooking deer out of your hunting spot.
- Practice in low light. More often than not, that monster buck you’ve been trailing all season will step in front of your stand in low light. Add it to your routine and you’ll be glad you did!
- Hold at full draw for 1-2 minutes. Out in the field, it is not out of the ordinary to hold at full draw longer than what hunters typically practice. I recommend adding in these long static holds as a training tool to test your focus and endurance.
However you choose to prepare for the season, keep target practice at the top of your list. Consistent and realistic practice will set you up for success in the fall. Get out there and practice with your bow every chance you get!
Get Out There,