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 your 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 are coming from people that practice every single day of their lives. They constantly shape their form, mold techniques and improve the ending result of their scores. Practicing at shooting life-sized 3D animal targets will improve a hunter’s success tremendously in the field, whereas practicing at bull’s-eyes primarily sculpts competitive target shooters.
Firing arrows into a realistic looking target trains your mind and sinks the recollection at 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 bull’s-eye on a walking whitetail or drinking antelope. Practicing at life-sized animal targets helps hone your shooting instincts.
Many bear hunters who dare hauling a bow and arrow into the woods never practice at a bear target. They spend their entire spring and summer simply plunking arrows into the center of their fluffy bag target. 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.
To really amplify realism and give your shooting a blend of authenticity, hang a Summit treestand in your yard to create a lifelike situation. While wearing your safety harness and hunting gear, begin a weekly routine of practicing in your treestand with all of your gear. This will provide you a first-class seat into where you’ll be heading come opening day.
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 Summit treestands or even ground blinds into your regimen as well. 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.