Whether you’re using a longbow, compound bow, or recurve bow like the one Katniss used in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, you need to get your practice in before hunting season. If you’re like most people, once hunting season ended and you packed your bow into storage, life soon took over, and you haven’t touched it since. Here are a few tips to help you get ready.
While your bow was stored for the offseason, unexpected things could have happened to it. Before you let loose your first practice shot, check your equipment to make sure everything is tight. Start with the screws and bolts on your bow’s sight, then move to the rest and limbs. The limbs should be free from cracks. Double-check that your string and string loop aren’t frayed. There should be no bends or nicks on the cams and wheels. If you have carbon or wood arrows, check for cracks and splinters. On your aluminum arrows, check for straightness. Next, move on to your target. You are checking to confirm there is enough material remaining to still be able to stop arrows.
Get an Early Start
If you have not been pulling your bow on a regular basis, the muscles used to pull the string and keep it anchored have been weakened. It’s going to take more than a couple of weeks to strengthen those muscles. Until they are stronger, your sessions may be cut short due to muscle fatigue during your first few weeks after returning to shooting. The earlier you start, the longer you’ll have to get in shape.
Even when you have been shooting your bow continuously if you haven’t been practicing the right skills, you may still need some work. Some key drills for you to work on are:
- DRILL 1: 3 AT 30
- DRILL 2: THE LONG HOLD
- DRILL 3: THE QUICK DRAW
- DRILL 4: RANDOM RANGES
- DRILL 5: GO LONG
These can be found with a full explanation and helpful images at Outdoorlife.com Drill 2, The Long Hold, is perfect for building up strength. Follow the link and start working.
Practice Makes Perfect
Once you’ve gotten into bow shooting shape, it’s important to not just shoot with arrows. You’ll want to spend some time, at least a month, shooting with the model of broadheads you’ll actually be hunting with. Be sure to practice at dusk and dawn when lighting and shadows might make things a little tricky. Finally, don’t over practice. Once your muscles are fatigued, you could start forming bad habits. Know when to call it quits.
While practice is a necessary part of success, seeing first-hand examples of how to practice is even better. Check out these YouTube videos by world-renowned archery champion Larry Wise where he demonstrates proper shooting form. Who better to take advice from than one of the best in the business? Get up, get your gear, and get shooting.