4 Tips On How To Practice Like You Hunt
Bow hunters…practice how you hunt.
As season is rapidly approaching, bow hunters are in the yard flinging arrows believing they’re doing all they need to prepare for the upcoming season. With that being said, shooting your bow and going through your mechanics is absolutely important, but are you practicing how you will hunt? Let’s talk about the different hunting setups that are available because this will be key in how you practice. Practicing how you hunt could be the difference between an empty or full freezer. Will you be in a ground blind, tree stand or maybe spot and stalk?
1.) Ground Blind
You can head to your local hunting store or amazon to grab a pop-up blind. Set one up in the backyard or at the range and use the same chair you plan to use as well. Practice shooting your bow in the blind sitting down as this will help you find where your chair should be placed and get you used to shooting in a seated position. When placing your chair in the blind, there are a few things to consider;
- Will my bow hit the blind as I come to full draw?
- Will my elbow hit the blind as I am drawing back?
- How far open do I need to have the windows so I can still see the animal, but not get busted because of my movement?
- How does shooting through mesh affect my arrow flight (or can I shoot through it)?
These are few things that need to be considered when practicing with your bow in the blind. Nothing hurts more than watching a big buck running away because your elbow hit the back of the blind when drawing back.
2.) Tree Stand or Tripod
Set up a stand in the yard or at the property you plan to hunt. Again, shooting from a seated/standing position fifteen feet in the air is different than standing on level ground in the yard. A few things to consider when practicing from an elevated stand;
- How high up will I be and what angle will I be shooting at?
- Is there any brush that could get in my way?
- How much room do I have to move?
With these things in mind, it is also important to practice getting your bow off the tree hook, drawing with slow and controlled movements, and taking the shot. This is important as you are no longer hidden behind a blind and it is much easier for a deer to pick off your movement.
3.) Spot and Stalk
This is where the type of position you may shoot from will be about as predictable as the weather depending on what you are hunting. You never know if there will be a big buck bedded underneath your tree stand as you are walking in for an afternoon hunt. How are you going to get a shot on him? Will you be able to walk within an affective shooting distance? Or will you have to crawl and shoot from the knees? These are things to be thought about when practicing in the backyard. A few things to try;
- Shoot from different positions such as kneeling or sitting flat on the ground.
- Set up targets in trees or partially covered with brush.
- Practice drawing quickly and safely to get to your anchor points. Time is of the essence in spot and stalk scenarios!
Practice in as many ways as you can with spot and stalk. Get creative and try to think of anything that may arise when you are on this type of hunt. It's better to be proactive than reactive in a spot and stalk style hunt.
4.) What are you wearing?
One of the most key points of practicing like you hunt is figuring out what time of year will you be hunting and what will be worn? Will you be hunting early-season, mid-season or late-season? While it may not be fun to put on your gloves and late-season jacket in the summer, it is important to get a feel for shooting with this gear on as it will tell you if your jacket is too restrictive. If you're like me and don’t feel comfortable shooting with gloves on, invest in hand warmers! If you use a binocular harness or chest strap, be sure to get a feel for where and how it sits on your chest and that it is clearing the bow string.
Regardless of what animal you are chasing, it is important to practice like you hunt. In my experience, it is better to be over-prepared than it is to be under-prepared. While it is hard to predict everything that could happen, it is important to take the time to think about how you will be hunting and any kind of situation that could arise when you are out in the field. I hope these tips for practicing how you hunt are helpful and will prepare you for your next upcoming adventure!
About The Author:
Will latham has been guiding and Bowhunting for 15 years from Texas and all the way to Canada. He is currently the Hunting Manager for THE Lazy CK Ranch in Hunt, Texas. A premiere 7,000 acre ranch known for being one of the top bow-hunting destinations in Texas.