Being a successful in suburban bowhunting does not always start in the proshop or even in the woods.
Archery pro-shops are without a doubt a necessary part of successful suburban bowhunting. They are in fact pro’s when it comes to tuning our bows and teaching us how to shoot properly. Unfortunately, once we step from the controlled archery ranges that train Olympic athletes and IBO champions, we land ourselves in the unpredictable and unforgiving world of Mother Nature.
These four things are something we need to practice, and they are not something we are learning on our 3D shoots or archery ranges. These represent four very real things we should understand that can make the difference between an empty or full freezer.
Holding our bow back for extended periods of time.
This may sound basic and I am sure it is commonly mentioned at archery pro-shops. It is the reason why our pro-shops try to talk us into shooting lighter bows (among some other reasons). Although it is a discussion and we are aware of the fact that deer hunting (or successful deer hunting for that matter) can rely on the ability to hold our bow back for a long period of time for the right shot.
The question really is, are we practicing for that scenario? Although we may be developing the muscles by regularly shooting our bows are we practicing that skill with accuracy? What I like to do when practicing this scenario of shooting, is wait till the end of a practice session when I am the most physically drained.
At this point holding my bow back and counting for extended periods of time and then accurately making a shot. That’s the point I am trying to make here. We may have discussed this endurance topic and even hold our bow backs for training, but we need to be able to do so accurately.
Letting down your bow.
We all know things often go far from planned in the world of suburban bowhunting. If things went as planned we probably wouldn’t enjoy the challenge as much. Part of being a good bowhunter is not only knowing when to make the shot, but how to get out of a shooting scenario.
Practicing letting down our bows with as little movement and as controlled as possible is a skill that can salvage a hunt. It is something we do not often practice and is a great thing to combine with holding our bows back for extended periods of time. This very important skill can often make the difference between the right decision and a poor shot disaster.
Shooting with all your gear on.
We all practice in great weather, indoors and in generally controlled environments. Most of us shoot great on paper, but that does not translate into real world scenarios for suburban bowhunting. There are two reasons why I shoot with all my gear on (both light clothing and heavy clothing scenarios).
Firstly, gear can often get in the way of shooting a bow, it is the reason some hunting clothing (Kuiu for example) is designed for archery. Even things as simple as our binoculars getting caught in our strings is something we need to be aware of. We need to discover and understand these problems well before we are drawn back on a deer we spent a lot of time getting in front of.
Secondly, shooting with a lot of gear on just feels different than shooting in jeans and a t-shirt. We should not only be familiar with this, but comfortable in our real hunting gear while shooting.
Shooting in the worst of positions.
Pro-shops will teach us how to shoot correctly. Part of that controlled learning experience is good form, which includes among other things a specific stance. I would be a liar if I said I shoot deer with my perfectly practiced stance each year. We can all relate to what suburban bowhunting in a small treestand can mean to our form, never mind variables like sitting, kneeling, and who knows what else the situation may call for.
I practice shooting in the most awkward of stances and positions. This creates the important habit of maximizing the best control of your body from waste up. This very important training method has made the difference of more than one Pope & Young buck for me over the years.