There are endless articles on bow hunting so why the need to write 7 easy bow hunting tips to prepare for archery season?
Allow me to answer my question with a question:
Are you ready for archery season every year or do you find yourself scrambling to practice weeks before opening day?
That is why I wrote this article. These are easy bow hunting tips to implement year round and they will help get you better prepared when opening day rolls around.
Does this sound like you?
You’re checking your phone for tomorrow’s sunrise time wondering how long you’ll be able to fish before heat stroke sets in. You also notice the date and realize archery season is quickly approaching. There is only one problem with that.
You’re not ready.
In fact, you haven’t even picked up your bow since you put it away last season.
I said in another article that every bowhunter should also be a target archer. What I mean is that is that bowhunters must become accurate archers, which requires a lot of target practice.
Archery season is not a “freebie” hunting season extension. Every bowhunter who has lined up on the vitals, only to give that deer a close back shave, can tell you harvesting an animal with a bow isn’t easy.
Archery in any form takes practice. Every bowhunter knows that, and yet, so many of us wind up trying to cram 6 months of practice into 6 days.
Life. That’s the answer in a word. Life. We have kids and a wife, a job, multiple hobbies, and a wife… wait I already said that. And yes, I know women bow hunt. This article applies to them as well.
But in all seriousness, we are busy.
We have a lot of things we have to do and a lot of things we want to do.
But for the bowhunter, practicing isn’t a preference; it’s a responsibility.
I know that buck fever can be damn near debilitating, but when you anchor and finally get the vitals in your sights, that arrow should only be released by a bowhunter who has done their best to be an accurate target archer as well.
Bowhunting Accuracy and Confidence
Preparing for bow season means working toward accuracy and confidence.
Accuracy comes from repetition, and that repetition will build your confidence. You need that confidence when you draw from your tree stand. If you haven’t put in the practice time and haven’t been shooting accurately, your mind knows it.
This leads to thinking, overtaking, over-griping, and at best a scared deer and worst, a deer that will leave a mile long blood trail that you will never find.
Your shot should be instinctive and near mindless. This only comes when you are truly confident in your accuracy which only comes when you adequately prepare for bow season.
SO we know the problem, how do we fix it?
How does the busy bowhunters make preparing for bow season a reality?
Here is the list
7 Easy Bow Hunting Tips To Prepare For Archery Season
1- Lower Your Draw Weight
I know, I know… I know. You want your arrows through and through and if it can explode the tree on the other side, all the better. You may feel like 70 pounds is the lowest acceptable draw weight for bowhunting, but it’s not. Maybe you think that anything lighter makes you look wimp, but it doesn’t.
Here’s the deal. If you’re putting in the practice time with the heaviest draw weights, then more power to you. But these tips are meant to help the bowhunters who haven’t been preparing for bow season.
Just last week, I watched a guy shooting a compound that was at least 20 pounds too heavy for his current strength. He would torque the bow and push it up to the sky, shaking until he hit the let off. Don’t be that guy. (Before you say what about the girls, don’t be that guy either.) Women seem to be much smarter about knowing what draw weights they can handle.
I also talked to another guy who can’t bow hunt anymore because of a shoulder injury. He kept aggravating the injury by pulling too much weight and now, at least this year, he can’t shoot at all.
Seriously, If that is you and you’re shooting a heavy draw, you need to lower it. In reality, you could start hunting with a 50-pound bow and you’d be fine. But the change doesn’t have to be that drastic.
Most compounds today have a large draw weight range. If you are a busy bowhunter who has had trouble preparing for bow season, lower the draw weight on your bow early in the year. Even just 10 pounds. Why? Starting your archery practice earlier in the year with a lower draw weight will be much easier on your muscles and will lead to longer shooting sessions and maybe even more frequent ones.
Another big reason to lower your draw weight is that this will help you maintain good shooting form. And relax, no one is going to laugh at you for dropping your draw weight a little. And if feel like you need to, you can increase your draw weight in increments as you continue practicing throughout the year.
If you are new to bowhunting and want to learn more about shooting a compound bow, you can read these two articles:
2- Use An Archery Trainer
I know there are quite a few places in the U.S. that go from fall to spring to summer. Montana, where I live, is not one of the places. The truth is that preparing for bow season can tough in the winter. And if the snow covers your target outside, you shouldn’t feel bad about not practicing.
There are options that can help you stay ready for bow season in the winter. One is to get an archery trainer. There are several good models of these available and you can work on your form and stay in “bow shape” all while sitting on your couch and watching Netflix.
The Bow Trainer is affordable and one of the most used trainers available.
3- Start Archery Exercises
If the first two tips aren’t your cup of tea, here is a third to help keep you ready for archery season. It no good to draw your bow after a 6 month sabbatical, only to realize you are really out of bow shape.
Another tip for preparing for bow season is integrating some archery exercises into your workout. If you already lift weights or have some kind of workout routine, it doesn’t take much to add a few exercises targeting the muscles you use to shoot your bow.
This is a great video for shoulder exercises and how to make your shoulder resistant to injury. It’s definitely worth your time. Once your screw up your shoulder, it’s tough to recover from, especially when it comes to shooting a bow.
4-Keep Your Gear Out
Preparing for bow season year-round can be a hassle and the goal here is to make practicing as easy as possible. If your bow and targets are packed up in the garage with the rest of your hunting gear, it’s going to take a lot more effort to get outside for a short practice session.
Keeping your target outside will make this a lot easier. Additionally, I know targets aren’t cheap,(I’ve also preferred to keep mine in the garage when not shooting), but there are ways to preserve the target and keep it outside.
Many targets claim to be “weatherproof.” Maybe they are until you start piercing them with field points and broadheads. Yes, your target will lose some lifespan by keeping it outside all the time, but it will be worth it.
Try covering your target with a tarp or trash bag. You can help preserve it without having to move it.
I know this article is supposed to be tips for the busy bowhunter. Still, if you can get involved in other types of archery, you are going to be bad to the bone when archery season rolls around.
Every bowhunter should be a target archer in the sense that they practice shooting targets at home. But there are other archery options that can keep you shooting year round.
- Competitive Target Archery
- 3-D archery
Check with your local archery shop to see if there are opportunities for competitive archery. It may seem like competitive archery and bowhunting don’t go together but look at Levi Morgan. He’s the world’s best 3D archer and an incredible bowhunter.
Trying out competitive archery may light a fire in you and be something really enjoy and are good at. It should at least keep your shooting skills sharp year round and may give you access to some good indoor ranges.
6-Get Some New Gear
I know this may be a weak recommendation, but it really will help you prepare for archery season. You likely never practice as much as you do when you get a new bow. It doesn’t have to be that big of purchase. Try out a new bow sight or release. Even just some new arrow might do the trick.
7- Subscribe To A Bowhunting Magazine
You may not be a reader, but magazines don’t count. How is a subscription to a bowhunting magazine supposed to help you stay ready for archery season? Because it’s a monthly reminder that you need to get off your butt and start practicing.
This may not work for everyone. Maybe it’s just my personality. Ever since I was a kid, I would watch something on T.V., like a BMX movie, and then I’d get pumped up to go outside and crash my bike. I don’t ride bikes anymore, but a hunting or fishing magazine still pumps me up a little bit.
Author: Kasey Jones
Published: August 18, 2018