Practice These Tips to Increase Your Accuracy
Isn’t it amazing that after months of archery practice, a nice deer finally comes into range of your bow hunting stand, and you manage to get so nervous that things simply fall apart? If you’re like most hunters, nerves can rapidly get the best of you, turning what was a chip shot during summer practice sessions into a monstrous feat of concentration and willpower. The key to surviving these situations and connecting on a big animal is having a solid pre-shot routine. This routine will allow you to act on instincts alone instead of making coherent decisions when your body feels like it’s just had seven espresso shots injected straight into your heart.
It’s important to note that your pre-shot routine should be practiced throughout the summer and winter, basically the entire off season, to develop some muscle memory. When the time does come for you to make the shot, you can just react to the situation, with the knowledge that you’re routine is solid and will see you through to a mature animal at the end of the blood trail.
Of course, as important as a routine and practice are, quality archery equipment is just as important. Prime bows come in several different styles for both target and hunting focuses. The Prime Alloy hunting bow shoots at 335 feet per second, yet only weighs in at 4.2 pounds. It features premium 7000 series aluminum risers for unmatched durability and strength. These risers can be used to lift over 4,000 pounds, the equivalent of a very large vehicle, without compromising the performance of the bow. Of course, having high quality gear also means it’s all on you to make the shot count. Check out the suggested pre–shot routine steps below.
Take a good shoulder width stance, with your bow arm leg nearer to your target. Both feet should be facing straight out from your legs. Keep your knees slightly bent instead of locked, which will provide more balance. If you’ll be hunting from an elevated position, practice it! You can’t just lower your bow arm to aim lower out of a stand. Make sure you bend at the hips so that your upper body maintains the same form and orientation it does on a level field. This will ensure that the mechanics discussed below will function the same way.
Pick a good and memorable anchor point for your release. If you have a prominent cheek bone and it feels natural to do so, use that as your anchor. If it feels better to have your first index knuckle at the corner of your mouth, do that instead. Some hunters like to install a kisser button on the string. The point is to make it somewhere easy and consistent, so you’ll always draw back to the same point. This will help your consistency between shots because it eliminates a source of deviation with your form.
Upon drawing your bow, take a deep breath and slowly exhale, which will flush your organs and muscles with oxygen and calm your nerves. A slow and steady breathing regimen can do a lot to steady your composure and keep your senses sharp.
Make sure you’re not clutching your bow grip with a closed fist, as this will add torque to the bow, causing it to shoot inconsistently. Instead, let the grip rest in your palm between your index finger and thumb, and loosely hold it in place with those two fingers. Keep the other fingers relaxed and facing forward, using mostly the draw weight of the bow to hold it in its place. Prime offers both the Ultra Fit Grip and Ghost Grip Side Plates, so you can have a thinner or thicker grip, per your preference. They are extremely comfortable and molded from high performance rubber, so you can shoot more consistent groups at any distance.
It’s a good idea to have a sight with a bubble level on it, as this lets you immediately see how your bow is angled. Shooting with a tilted bow can result in arrows missing their mark to one side or the other. You need to shoot with your bow oriented straight up. This is more an issue when in a tree stand or shooting up or down hill, as it’s difficult for our eyes to naturally align it. Getting back to number 1 above, adjust the way you’re bending at the hips to straighten your bow out and bring the bubble back into alignment. Make a habit of glancing at it before aiming in practice, and you’ll develop the reflex to quickly get in position during an actual hunt.
- Float and Squeeze
Ah, the elusive float and squeeze, which can be very difficult to perfect. After checking for level, concentrate on floating your pin around the target’s vital zone. Do not try to aim right for the central spot and punch the release. Counter-intuitively, you’ll be much more consistent and accurate if you let it slowly make circles around the zone and focus instead on squeezing the release. Ideally, it will surprise you when the arrow is released from the bow. You can practice this by blind shooting at a close target to get the feel for a slow squeeze and unanticipated release.
- Follow through
While not technically a part of the pre-shot routine, the follow through is critical and worth mentioning here. In practice sessions, hold your bow arm steady and in position for a count of 3 to 5 seconds after releasing an arrow. This long time frame will help shift your mindset to holding it steady after the arrow is gone. It’s harder than you think to do this! After practicing this enough you can reduce that hold a little each time. You’ll develop some muscle memory to follow through after your shot, which will increase your accuracy and consistency. No matter how fast your bow is, an excited bow hunter can still drop their bow arm fast enough to alter the shot if they don’t follow through.
These steps might seem like a lot to include in your pre-shot routine. After you practice them enough times, however, it will come as second nature and you can accomplish all of them in only a few seconds. That’s the beauty of it! There’s no conscious thinking about them – only muscle memory. So you can focus on that mature 8 pointer strolling into your shooting lane.