Hopefully you have enjoyed and learned something new from my previous two articles, so we can move on and get you out in the field on the next step…… The first thing you need to do after you purchase whatever equipment you have determined would best suit you, is practice!
When you start, if you haven’t ever shot a bow, you probably should begin at an archery range, with someone that has a significant amount of experience. Beginning at a 5 yard distance is ideal, you should be comfortable with short yardage before you move to longer yardage. After you get comfortable with shooting your bow, start moving and shooting from different angles, side to side and up and down. You need to practice shooting from all angles because you never completely know where your game is going to come from.
There are a multitude of possibilities, whether it be uphill or down hill and you need to be confident when you let your arrow go. Try if you can to practice with a friend and create distractions for each other (my wife and I do this and have a pretty good time). When you get your concentration down, work on your strength. Start at a closer range and start holding your bow drawn back for 30 seconds before you shoot and work your way to holding your draw at farther distances, then try it again holding for 45 seconds and so on. The longer you can hold your bow back before you shoot, the better.
I have been in a situation where I had to hold my bow back for over a minute before I let my arrow fly and to be honest I was shaking so bad, lost some control and I missed because nobody ever told me that I might have to do this. I was very disappointed in myself that day, so I stepped my practice and strength training up, now I can hold for 90 seconds without waver. I cannot stress the importance of practice enough, it will be the difference between a quick and painless kill shot and a painful wounding that you will have to track down.
When you practice in your backyard or in an archery range, you need to have the mindset that you are hunting and it is the real deal. If you have your quiver on your bow, make sure it’s full of arrows when you practice, because that slight amount of weight will make you shoot different if you don’t practice with it. If you are going to use a back quiver hunting, practice with it on your back full of arrows. If you might have to shoot with a pack on your back, practice with a pack on your back.
Practice shooting from a sitting position, from a kneeling position, as well as leaning over. Practice shooting your bow every way you possibly can, so you are confident to make the shot you are given every time.
If you are wanting to set something up in your backyard or elsewhere, you will soon find out that targets are expensive, so I will share a couple ways to make your own target that can save you some money.
Take any empty garbage can, put a plastic liner in it. Use a couple cans of spray foam insulation and spray them in the liner. Take the liner and fold over the top of the foam and put a heavy book on top of it in the garbage can. Give it a few hours to cure and pull it out of the can, then peel the plastic off and you have a foam block you can paint on to make your target.
The next way is to get a card board box and stuff it full of equal size pieces of card board and when I say stuff, that’s exactly what I mean. Stuff it so full there is no way you could get another piece in it, the tighter you get it the better it will stop your arrow. I have used both of these DIY targets and they work great!
If you practice like me you will be making a new target once a month, but it’s rewards are well worth it when you take down your first big game animal. I would also recommend taking it easy your first week of practice and work into strengthening those new muscles you will discover you have.
I hope this helps you in your adventure!!!
Find Robert at Rice Family Creations
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