There’s been a resurgence of bowhunting enthusiasts as people are revisiting a traditional way of hunting. In comparison to hunting with firearms, bowhunting requires its own kind of finesse when using it to hunt game. Wind resistance, draw weight, and arrow type all come into play when the final shot is taken. There is a wisdom in investing into your bow skills as it is not a tool that is learned quickly. Due to the nature of bowhunting and the variables associated with getting that perfect shot, not everyone is cut out to be successful. While there are archery schools and clubs all around the world to teach you the nuances of using a compound or recurve bow it helps to understand some of the fundamentals of using a bow and maybe even have a little technology to help you with your aim. Here are some tips to help you get comfortable with using your bow.
Bowhunters will often tell you to pull your bow and hold it at full draw as often as you can. This method builds up the muscle memory so that your brain can focus on aiming instead of how much strength to allot for the pull. Once you’re done with your target practice session or after a day's hunt you can pull your bow back and hold the draw until you’re too tired. This is usually indicative by shaking hands, which on a hunt, means your aim is going to be off. Steady hands means you can shoot whenever you want and not just when your arms give out. This has the potential to cause excess movement which the wary game is keen to pick up. The muscle memory you build now will make you have a steadier shot when you shoot your game.
If you’ve used a handheld rangefinder for calculating distance while hunting then this is a more convenient version of that. A Bow Mounted Rangefinder is mounted onto your bow by your reticle using a bracket. One of the downsides of using a laser rangefinder is that sometimes you have to set it down which can be an eyesore for wildlife if it isn’t obscured by trees. Bow Mounted Rangefinders allow you to gauge distance at any angle or height while at full draw. The benefit to this is that it eliminates any guessing when it comes to how far away your game is. It’s best to use these rangefinders in the early or late hours of the day for optimal lighting. Any rangefinder needs to have a steady line of sight to the target and the bow mounted ones are no different. This is where practising holding your bow at full draw comes in handy as the rangefinders’ performance suffers from sharp movements. Make sure your rangefinder works in accord with local laws as some areas prohibit use of them.
Learning to shoot from above from a treestand is something practiced extensively during the off season in preparation for opening day. Either sitting or standing, a downward angled shot can be difficult to pull off. Sitting in a chair and taking the shot is stealthy yet requires upper body strength and leverage. Standing involves using your harness to keep you on your stand while you bend over to take your shot. It’s often more work to judge your distance while up in a treestand but you generally have an extra second if you’re able to startle the animal so it freezes. All of these are connected and work together in the few seconds it takes to draw and shoot. In a sense learning how to shoot your bow on the ground and from up higher in a treestand are two separate disciplines.
Bowhunting is not an easy sport to master which is one of the alluring factors about it. You will often get frustrated if you have trouble maintaining your focus. Keep working at one thing until you’re really good at it before moving onto the next. To make it fun try to work your way up an imaginary ladder where skills build on previous skills. It won’t be long until you can hit your target with more than luck.