-By Brandon Wikman
Summer is a time when hunters hone their archery skills and try to outdo their shooting performance from last year. It is an ideal time to tweak, tick, and twiddle with new gear or accessories. The summer drags most archers into their front yard or local shooting range to plunk away on bag, block, or 3D targets. I’ve learned that it is crucial to your practice regimen that you invest efforts into piercing arrows in the correct target at the correct time.
Several professional hunters and archers are quick to say that practicing is only as good as you make it out to be. These words and tips of suggestion are coming from people that practice every single day of their life. They constantly shape their form, mold techniques, and improve the ending result of their scores. Practice shooting life-sized animal targets improves a hunter’s success tremendously in the field, whereas practicing at bulls eyes primarily sculpts competitive target shooters.
Firing arrows into a realistic looking target trains your mind and sinks the recollection of crunch time into a practical perspective. Shooting at tiny round circles works great for dialing your bow into ‘hunt-ready performance.’ I use bag and block targets to gauge my accuracy, adjust my sights, and gain confidence in my shot. The only downer of shooting at the speckled dots is that they’re nowhere to be found on the chest of a real animal! Your trained archery hunting eyes must magically put the bulls-eye on a walking whitetail or drinking antelope. Practicing on life-sized animal targets train your shooting instincts.
Many bear hunters who dare hauling a bow and arrow into the woods never practice at a bear target. They spend there entire spring and summer simply plunking arrows into the center of their fluffy bag target until it erodes. Or they may have only jabbed a dozen arrows into the vitals of a deer target, which is completely different than the physical makeup of a bear. The importance of shooting practice is only as good as you make it out to be.
Many outfitters and guides have clients who’ve saved tons of green over the past couple years for an exciting trophy elk or mountain lion hunt but they have never punched arrows into anything that even closely mimics the vital organ placement, shape, or body of the animal there going to be pursuing. Each animal you plan on hunting must be scrutinized to the max. The knowledge and understanding of an animal’s vitals and anatomy is what slices the diehard hunter from the rest of the pack. Don’t be afraid to drop a hundred more dollars on the animal target that you’ll be hunting. There’s no sense spending thousands of dollars without taking a serious mental aim on what you will be chasing. You must put your frame of mind to the ultimate test by introducing new ways to stimulate better practice.
I’ve taken these game-chasing lessons and used them to my advantage. Last year, with the help of some friends and family, I constructed a virtual hunting experience in my woods. It is an archery-hunting course crafted for every hunter in North America. There are over twenty shooting stations that range from a distance of 10-yards to 60-yards. Each station has a different animal placed in a specific scenario. Whether it’s a bear climbing a tree, a moving fox, or a whitetail sipping an afternoon drink, the course gives people the most realistic practice experience.
Taking your archery practice to a higher-level is an essential step in building your killing abilities. Dedicate time to create your very own mock-hunting experience that you can share with your friends and family. You may want to implement tree stands, ground blind stations, and moving targets. There are endless opportunities and a mixture of fun situations to mock. It is a great way to increase your accuracy and boost your overall shooting confidence.