Five Archery Tips for Bowhunters
Every hunter’s “To-Do List” gets jam-packed as bowhunting season nears, but everyone’s priority is archery practice.
These five tips will help you get ready for bow season.
Work on Your Release
One of archery’s most common mistakes is “punching” the release, which means activating the trigger in one swift motion. This method can provide acceptable accuracy, but it can also cause target panic. The best alternative to punching is placing your finger on the trigger and slowly applying pressure.
Trigger punchers must train their brains to think they can touch the trigger without the bow going off. You might have to increase your trigger pull at first, and steadily increase the time it takes the bow to go off.
The goal is to look where you want to hit while the pin floats around that spot. You should not have a “shoot now” moment. You apply steady pressure, and let the release surprise you.
Aiming Drills and Blank Bale
A good aiming drill is to draw, aim as long as you can, and then let down. It’s an especially helpful drill for those who can’t help but shoot every time their pin nears the target’s center. It’s also helpful if you have trouble getting your pin to sit on the center.
By aiming but not shooting, you learn to watch your pin float and not rush the shot. It helps reduce that urge to shoot when the pin nears the center.
The blank bale is standing near the target and not aiming at anything. Some archers close their eyes to eliminate the urge to aim. “Blank baling” helps you focus on improving a specific aspect of your form without worrying about accuracy.
Have a Mental Game Plan
When a deer walks in, it’s easy to lose your focus and brain function. Everything you practiced flies out the window, and that deer won’t need to fear your arrow.
You need a mental plan that keeps you focused on the task. Focus on the animal’s distance, what pin you must use, and where you must aim. And then make the shot.
Focusing on these tasks prevents you from putting results before process. If you tell yourself, “I can’t wait to shoot this deer,” but you’re drafting an Instagram post, stop and focus on what you must do. One step at a time.
Top athletes use a technique called “visualization” to achieve their goals, and you can use it to help fill your tag. Mentally rehearse each shot before attempting it to build confidence and increase your repetitions.
Visualization adds purpose to bowhunting daydreams. Here’s how to do it:
- Close your eyes.
- See the animal approaching, just like you planned.
- Watch it stop and offer a shot.
- Go through the steps you need to make the shot.
- See yourself executing perfect form, and the arrow hitting where you aimed.
The keys are to visualize desired results, and do each step correctly and in detail.
Make Practice Difficult
Bowhunting shots are unpredictable, and typically more challenging than backyard practice. According to Guy Kruger, USA Archery’s training and education manager, making practice more difficult is an excellent way to mentally prepare.
Practice hunting scenarios to test the skills you’ve been honing. If you plan to hunt from treestands, practice shooting from a treestand while wearing camouflage clothes and a safety harness. Shoot uphill and downhill, and while seated, kneeling and in awkward positions.
Archery is a never-ending learning process. Even the world’s best archers get regular coaching. No matter your experience level, you’ll benefit from lessons. Click here to find a coach.