By Shane Chuning
By this time some of us are looking at less than a month for archery season to kick into high gear, especially some of the western states where you are hunting mule deer in velvet and bugling bulls. Definitely an exciting time of year for trail camera pictures, scouting, and all the hard work trying to pattern some of the deer you have on your list to go after. The one thing I really enjoy seeing is the antler growth from early on to their full potential. Then making a game plan to close the deal; in hopes of putting meat in your freezer for the year or a trophy on the wall. With all that said there is nothing worse when crunch time comes, the season starts and you are not prepared like you should be. I would like to talk about a few things that we might need to consider looking at in the last few weeks leading up to the opening day of archery season.
Some of us struggle the minute we put a broadhead on and wonder where our accuracy went with the fieldpoints. This can be caused by several things, not in tune, not gripping a given bow properly, under spined arrows to name a few of the most common causes of broadhead in accuracy. This late in the year, it might not be worth it to reinvent the wheel with ones form. It would be best to tackle this early on in the year, well before season. However, there are a few things to do with tuning to get broadheads flying better with your fieldpoints. First let’s look at where the broadhead is impacting in reference to your fieldpoint. When your broadheads are impacting right of your fieldpoints, you would chase your broadhead with your rest in very small increments. In this case it would mean moving your rest to the right. The same can be said if your broadheads are hitting to the left. You would move your rest to the left in small increments at a time. When making any adjustments you will need to make sight adjustments as necessary as well or just aim at the same spot every time. Then when your broadheads come together with fieldpoints, make your final adjustment with your sight to dial it in. Now if your broadhead is hitting high you will either need to lower your rest or advance your top cam depending on the cam system. When your broadheads are impacting low you would raise your rest or retard your top cam. Remember when making adjustments to make them small and then revaluate the results before adjusting again. If nothing works to improve your situation of broadheads impacting with your fieldpoints it is more than likely spine, rest contact or grip related. If all else fails you can try shooting mechanicals. The point I want to drive home is, be prepared and know your equipment, so you can be confident in a well placed shot on the animal you are pursuing.
Another thing to squeeze in there is 3D shoots or 3D targets in general. It’s always good practice to get used to your shot placement skills on these targets at different angles you might encounter in the field. A lot of us just shoot at a foam block type of target all year and become complacent. However, when an animal appears in shooting range you can be thrown off. I know this might sound odd but it happens every year, people not prepared and when they see a deer or elk they freeze, or get nervous on making a clean shot. This happens all too often when you have new archers looking to harvest their first animal. The more you are used to seeing 3D targets, the more it helps when the moment of truth presents itself. If for some reason you don’t have access to 3D targets you can still prepare mentally ahead of time with your traditional bag or foam block target. You might see this as odd, but when I practice (regardless of the type of target) I mentally put myself in a hunting situation. It’s my time to reenact a real hunting situation and be a kid you might say. To be honest the more you can put yourself mentally in the woods at full draw on an animal the less nerve racking it will be when the situation presents itself in real life. Now you might laugh about this but it has worked for me in the past and I still do this mentally today when I practice.
Lastly, let’s focus on awkward positions at full draw while hunting. You never know what positions you might be in at full draw and the more you prepare for them, the less chance you will blow a shot. When practicing the final weeks up until opening day I would highly recommend shooting around objects, shooting on your knees and at different angles up and down. Focus on your form and keep that repeatable from your waist up even in these awkward positions. The more you can do this the more likely you will make a clean and accurate shot when in those situations. The more reference points you have the better as well in those situations. What I mean by that is nose to string, kisser in the corner of your mouth if need be, peep housing still matching up with sight housing, bubble level still true before you release the arrow. These things should become second nature to you and the more you practice them the more these awkward angled shots become easier to make with confidence.
In closing I hope these few tips are taken to heart and practiced, knowing that the archery season is right at our door step. Good luck to all of you this season, I hope it is a safe and successful one.