As you steadily draw your bow in anticipation of the shot opportunity to follow, the buck you have been eagerly observing all summer eases down a well-worn trail toward your location, much the way he has time and time again in your dreams. With palms sweating and a wave of adrenaline coursing through your veins, the moment of truth finally presents itself as you make your release and send an arrow toward its final destination.
As archery openers across the nation are situated firmly on the horizon, moments such as these flood the minds of bowhunters from coast to coast. The total sum of months of scouting and intensive preparations culminate in a singular defining moment.
In an endeavor where mere inches can mean the difference between success or crushing defeat, one can never be too prepared for the moment when a shot opportunity presents itself. Practice makes perfect is more than just a clever phrase. It is the creed by which all successful archers and bowhunters live by.
Intensive preseason practice holds several distinctive advantages for bowhunters. One such advantage is the improvement and fine-tuning of form that repetitious practice facilitates.
It is common knowledge that proper form when shooting a bow is the catalyst to accuracy and consistency. An archer grows in this regard with the release of every arrow.
Yet another advantage that preseason archery practice holds is the development of muscle memory. As a shot opportunity materializes and a hunter is overcome with adrenaline, one’s ability to coach themselves through a shot becomes feeble at best.
It is in this moment that the physical ability of the body to commit a repetitive task to muscle memory can become indispensable. The more time that an individual spends with bow in hand, the more prominent and defined that muscle memory becomes.
To get the most out of your preseason archery practice, a hunter is best advised to make every session pertinent and of value. While nonchalantly flinging arrows down range might have more significance than leaving your bow idle in its case, quality practice builds superior skill.
To get the most out of your practice, it is highly advisable to replicate the shot angles of which you are most likely to encounter in an actual hunting scenario. Shooting from various positions such as at a downward angle from a tree stand or from a sitting position in a blind offer inherent challenges of their own right.
An archer will typically find that when shooting from situations such as these, it is somewhat difficult at first to manage the geometry of these angles while maintaining proper form. An individual who practices in only a standing position from the ground will generally be ill-prepared for shots of a differing nature when the need arises.
To achieve practice at angles of similar nature to those encountered, a hunter can shoot from elevated platforms of many origins. Practice from children’s treehouses, elevated porches or decks, and even from tree stands located in trees in a yard for the sole purpose of practice are all viable options. Alternatively, shots taken from the crest of a sharp hill at a target located at an immediate lower elevation can be satisfactory as well.
If hunting out of a ground blind is a common occurrence, it is of advantage to practice as such. Ground blinds have the tendency at times to be somewhat limited in space, and primarily require shooting from a sitting position. Being aware of these limitations and practicing to overcome them can alleviate detrimental factors that one might encounter.
Additionally, a hunter can benefit substantially from practicing while dressed in the attire that they anticipate wearing while afield. By wearing clothing similar to that worn while hunting, an individual becomes accustomed to any additional challenges that are presented.
Clothing worn during the summer months generally in no way resembles that worn while in cooler conditions during prolonged hunting outings. The increased bulk of heavier hunting garments can produce an unexpected and detrimental hindrance to one’s form if not adequately prepared.
It is also paramount to practice with a bow fully outfitted in the manner in which you intend to hunt. By practicing with your bow in a state consistent with how you will hunt, any accuracy robbing surprises can be avoided.
The addition of an item such as a quiver or the variance in differing stabilizers can often give a bow a slightly different feel. Likewise, it is also advisable to avoid last second equipment changes to your bow. If you have become comfortable with a particular arrow rest or sight during your summer practice regimen, sudden changes can lead to a slight learning curve.
Archery is an endeavor that requires much dedication to excel as one would desire. Accuracy and consistency are not built overnight. Instead, however, through diligence and intensive resolve, an archer grows in their mastery of the sport.
As archery seasons across the nation grow ever closer, there is no better time than the present to take your bow in hand and fine-tune and build upon your archery prowess. As you are perched high in your fall hideaway, or hidden in the concealment of your ground blind with the buck of ten lifetimes at twenty yards, you will reap the benefits of your rigorous pre-archery season practice.