Archery Hunting Practice

archery hunting practice

The first archery hunting practice tip is: before buying your bow get an eye checkup, near perfect eyesight is necessary, a doctor can help.

If you are after the most accuracy and plan to shoot a compound bow make the decision to shoot with a release. They take less effort to use than fingers as the force is supported by larger muscles plus they are a fast and act on the string parallax less. I.e. they release the string so it puts the force directly in line with the arrow shaft.

Before actually starting archery hunting practice the bow hunter should become proficient with his equipment in a safe environment. The best place to do this is at his local archery shop where he can get one on one coaching. A first time archer should only buy from a true archery shop, not only does he get expert advice as to what kind of equipment is best for him he gets measured for the setup and arrow selection and usually free initial coaching. He will not get this kind of service from a discount sporting goods or internet sales site. After becoming experienced he might go the cheaper route as he now knows the things to consider.

He should join a local club and get bow hunting practice with them. Joining an archery league and shoot with them will give invaluable experience and knowledge, it will also keep the archery muscles in shape and trained for instinctive shooting. Join archery associations, go their meetings and get their news letters. Don’t be shy everybody was there at one time. Besides I have found archers love to help newbies.

If a free coach is not available, hire one for a few archery hunting practice sessions. Even experienced archers can be helped by a coaching session once a year to check form and advise if he has become lax. Pro golfers use coaches and good archery style is just as complex to learn.

Once he is comfortable with his ability to stay on a target he should begin outdoor archery hunting practice.

Setting Sight Pins During Bow Hunting Practice

When I first decided to begin archery hunting with a compound bow I lived in Houston. There was a park very accessible from the 610 West loop South which was set up with a dozen or more archery target stations. It is still there I think, if you live there go by and look. Each station was set for different distances from 10 to 60 yards. This made for much more fun practice sessions than an indoor range. The only problem was that you could only use arrows with target points, of course the technology for making the best broad head targets did not exist in the early ’70’s. So for this reason we tried to use target points of the same weight as the broad heads or remove the blades and shoot the stripped down bodies.

It is not necessary to have a a lot of targets set up, the hunter can now get broadhead archery hunting targets. The light weight polyethylene foam, broad head targets, allow more realistic practice. The targets can be easily transported to a safe hunting practice location. Lifelike 3D targets to match your game is strongly suggested. They not only teach where to shoot but actually reduces buck fever when a real animal steps up.

Find a location and set up the target at a ten yards distance. Shoot and adjust the pin until every shot is in the center of the bulls eye. Move the pin Set your sight pin for ten yards then twenty yards and thirty yards minimum. I use a single pin sight that allows the archer to mark any position on a sliding gage thus creating a scale of any distance spread desired. I have marks from 10 to 60 yards at ten yard intervals. The single pin is less confusing to me than having three or four pins stacked above each other. Even with this adjust ability I almost never change my sight from the twenty yard position except for practice or special open field hunting where the shot will be longer. My compound bow shoots flat enough that when using the twenty yard pin the arrow is still in the kill window at ten or thirty yards.

I use a three pin sight when hunting with my 50# Ben Pearson Hunter recurve bowdue to its widely different arrow trajectory characteristics at the three ranges yardage.

Field Practice

After flat field terrain archery hunting practice the hunter needs to practice as he will actually be hunting, i.e. in the same camouflaged clothes and tackle as will be carried in the field and from the elevation of their blind or elevated stand. In fact I either hunt on the ground from a shoot thru camo windowed portable stand or in a low tree or tripod stand. I found that a seven or eight foot high tree stand height works as well as a fifteen or twenty foot tree stand because my camo works well next to a tree. In the open or where large trees are nonexistent I use a thirteen foot tripod. When hunting from the ground or seven foot stand I use the 20yd pin setting and make it a practice to never move unless the game is looking away from me. From the 13ft tripod I have a second twenty yd mark marked with – 20E (for elevated). This setting I set during bow hunting practice sitting in the tripod. Take your broadhead target and rangefinder to the location you will be hunting and wear what you will be wearing during the real hunt. Put the target out at 10 yards in the direction you will be shooting then set a second pin. The reason for this is when elevated the acceleration of gravity acts to speed up your downward shots. This will cause you to overshoot if not corrected for.

You can simulate this by standing on a good tight step ladder (never the top step) and shooting. Careful with this one as the ladder is not as stable as a stand.

Use the rangefinder to get the range of various landmarks around the stand. Do this ahead of time and take practice shots at them. You will rarely have time to use a rangefinder on an actual deer so get a feel for the distances from the real elevation ahead of time.


A good hunter has learned patience, he never takes marginal shots. If the deer is not in the clear wait until he is. If he never gets in the clear there is always another day. Keep up archery hunting practice and accuracy will improve quickly as muscle memory takes over.

The muscles need to be strengthened and endurance developed in order to have patience and not be forced to rush a shot because of muscle exhaustion. Shoot year round to keep muscles strong and trained.

Any little branch can deflect an arrow so that it may only wound or miss the animal. I have tried to shoot through brush or trees several times only to have to spend a lot of time looking for my arrow. Try to clear the brush or limbs in the most expected shot windows ahead of time.

As in practice stay relaxed and think about your shot, see the arrow hit the target in your mind while aiming. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that even though there is not a clear kill shot window, maybe there will be enough damage to an alternate area to cause the deer to bleed to death. There may be a slight chance but usually not. Most of the time the hunter doing this spends the night looking for a deer that has run into the next county.

Before to the season starts; archery hunting practice should begin in full archery hunting camouflage dress at the same time scouting is being done.

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