If you haven’t already started, it’s time to practice your shot for archery season. Many archery hunters practice by shooting indoor in the off season, and 3-D during the summer. Karin Holder of Outdoor Channel’s Raised Hunting says she tries to shoot at least five arrows every day, and on occasion even takes a practice target to work. Although many bowhunters hunt for pleasure, we still take the hunt seriously. And according to the Archery Trade Association, nearly one-third of all people who partake in archery are women.
Mia and The Little Gal is sponsored by Remington Outdoor.
Like Karin, I spend a lot of time shooting my bow. I’ve found it keeps my muscles in shape and preserves muscle memory, which is crucial for bowhunting. So, if you haven’t been practicing, get going on it, so you don’t pull any muscles when the season gets here.
In the video below, I remind everyone of five fundamentals that will increase the accuracy of your shot.
In addition to remembering the fundamentals, I spoke with my friend Julie McQueen, cohost of Till Death Do Us Part, about other key tips that will help you tag your animals this season.
Match your bow to your draw length. Over-drawing or under-drawing your bow is a huge cause of inconsistent archery shots. If the length is too short, it may lead to your punching the trigger, pushing the grip, or not being able to squeeze back muscles while you finish your shot.
Karin Holder from Outdoor Channel’s Raised Hunting practices by shooting 5 arrows a day.
If your draw length is too long, you’ll have to over-draw, which will cause the arrow to drift in the direction of your grip hand after release. This also can cause string slap, in which the string strikes the forearm of your grip hand.
Use a consistent anchor point. If your bow fits, you’ll be able to use a consistent anchor point, which will give you a clear view through your peep and centering of your sight. On that note, check your peep often, to make sure it didn’t slip down on the string. A peep is key in “making” you draw to the same anchor point every time. If you’re not precise, you won’t be able to see through it clearly.
Know your bow. You need to understand what your bow is capable of, and part of that is knowing your local wildlife laws; the laws will say the draw weight requirement for legal hunters (you might have to build up to it). Also check local rules for broadhead restrictions.
Julie and I agree: The best way to learn to understand your equipment is to use it every day. “Put the hours in to become familiar with your bow, sight, rest and release,” says Julie. “They are all crucial tools for archery success. You’ll know what not to do, and how to stay safe while constantly improving your skill set.”
Julie McQueen, cohost of, ‘Till Death Do Us Part’ agrees the best way to learn to understand your equipment is to use it every day.
Before shooting, always check your bow for cracked limbs, string slip (stretching or loosening of the string), string fray, loose arrow rests and other damage.
Ask for help if you need it. “Don’t be afraid to communicate your needs to another archer, a professional at an archery shop, or even online in an archery forum,” says Julie. “There is a wealth of information out there, and it’s always better to ask for help if you aren’t sure what to do.” (You can also ask us here at the WON.)
Divert your focus. Julie expressed a need to switch things up. “Shooting at targets can cause panic sometimes. Then when an animal is standing in front of you, it’s likely that your mind will begin to panic even more. Focus on your breathing if you get nervous. By diverting your focus to the air going in and out of your lungs, you will allow your muscle memory to take over your shot. If you’ve practiced enough, then your body will inherently know what to do without your brain overthinking it.”
Have patience. “When it comes to bowhunting, I’ve learned that having patience is crucial,” Julie says. “Whether it’s waiting for the perfect shot opportunity, or having patience with ourselves as we learn and become a better shot, we should all take our time with the entire process. Don’t rush a shot—especially on an animal—and don’t rush your progress. Take your time, and remember to breathe.”
Lea’s Leggitt, (The Little Gal) with her first antelope.
I’ll add to that sentiment the reminder that in all hunting, including bowhunting, you have to wait for the animal to present an ethical shot, which is either broadside or quartering away. Wait for the shot.
Realize the risk. Every bowhunter makes mistakes. Always admit to a mistake and seize the opportunity to learn from it. “If you bowhunt, you run the risk of making a poor shot. Focus on practicing more than enough, so you lower the odds of that happening,” says Julie.
Want more archery tips from The WON? You can find them here.