Being successful with archery equipment in the field is something that is often determined in the offseason. These seven tips and tricks will help you stay sharp with your bow year-round and increase your ability to execute and be more confident in the field. With archery season just around the corner, you can get yourself prepared for the season ahead!
1. Gear Repair.
Like a car, bows need annual maintenance and checkups. During the season and through practice, strings get frayed, peeps may move, and arrows get damaged. Taking care of these issues early ensures accuracy remains consistent and will give you confidence in your equipment. Taking your bow to a reputable shop in the winter or spring months is the best time to make some of these changes. The mad rush of equipment orders and backed-up schedules in the summer can leave you without your bow in hand during the time of year you should be shooting.
2. Try Out Something New.
If you are considering making a change to your equipment, do it early! Figuring out the balance of a new bow, the motion of a new release, or how to dial in a new sight can take time. Leaving yourself plenty of practice time to prepare for the season will give you the ability to make sure you have everything lined out before September rolls around. Many archery shops will also let you demo different products if you are on the fence about switching up your equipment. Talking to the staff at a shop or reading online forums such as RockSlide will give you a good understanding of new pieces of equipment before you purchase them.
3. Tune Your Form.
There are more resources than ever when it comes to dialing in your archery form. Whether it’s online videos, shooting at a local shop, or attending classes, you can always find ways to improve your shooting. Filming yourself shooting can help you identify areas of weakness in your form that you would not recognize otherwise.
4. Change the Variables.
Flinging arrows down a lane at a block target is good for repetition and practice. But rarely in the field do you have a level shot while you are standing at a stationary target at 40 yards. Practice shooting at different distances, elevations, positions and with an elevated heart rate. If you are going to be hunting from a blind or stand, try and replicate that scenario. If you are going to be hunting rutting bulls in September, try doing 20 push ups and practice shooting from behind a tree with an elevated heart rate. An aspect that many archers overlook is being able to stay calm and steady at full draw for an extended period. Often in a hunting situation, you will have to come to full draw and hold until a shot presents itself. Practicing situational hunting will better equip you for the moment of truth this fall.
5. Practice Like You Hunt.
After you have decided on your equipment, make sure that you know how it operates inside and out. Shoot in the offseason with the equipment you will use in the field. Know how to adjust if a piece of equipment breaks or needs repair on a hunt. It is always a good idea to have an extra release, arrows and other essential equipment on hand. Using 3-D targets is also a great way to work on your accuracy and shot placement. Shooting at a block target has its place, but the situation changes when you are shooting at a target that you can position at different angles, and when you don’t have a shape or bullseye to aim at. Aim small, miss small.
6. Off-Season Hunting.
The best practice for hunting is hunting. If you have some tags in the fall that are burning a hole in your pocket, go and find other hunts to help you prepare. Turkey, hog and small game hunts are an excellent way to supplement the off season hunting itch and get some realistic practice. Depending on your location, many of these hunts are affordable and can be done on a weekend.
7. Join a Local League.
We don’t know of a bow shop that does not have shooting league. Many shops will host weekly and monthly indoor/outdoor leagues to help keep you sharp. This is a great way to increase your accuracy, hold yourself accountable for getting time on the range and surrounding yourself with knowledgeable people who can make you a more effective hunter and shooter.
We hope you found this helpful as you prepare for archery season. Shoot straight!