Monday, July 28, 2008

Getting in Bowhunting Shape

© By Othmar Vohringer

Last year has been very busy and I didn’t plan on bowhunting so I never took the time to shoot my bow. This year is different. We finally have moved to our new house and most of my seminar engagement dates are finalized. Time to sit back and think about the upcoming bowhunting season. With the season opening date set for the 1st. September it was time to visit the archery range and practice.

On Saturday evening I drove the short distance to the Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club, wondering how my first bow shooting session in a year would turn out. Will I have the strength to pull that string back on the bow? Do I still know how to shoot a bow?

I stepped up to the 20-yard target, set an arrow on the string, pulled back, aimed and released. Swiiiish –Thud it went. Would you look at that!! I heard myself saying. The arrow stuck perfectly in the center of the target. That is easy. I thought as I nocked the second arrow and two seconds later it joined the first arrow less than an inch from the first arrow. After five rounds I was confident that – surprisingly to me –it seemed I hadn’t lost my ability to shoot my bow. Although, a faint muscle pain in my back and shoulder reminded me that I need a lot more bow shooting to get the muscles back into shape too.

Encouraged I moved to the 30 yard target, the maximum distance I will shot at a live animal. Again the first group of three arrows hit the target smack in the middle, but not as close as I am used to it. A three-inch group might still be acceptable for hunting but it isn’t to me. While I was pleasantly surprised to get the arrows that close together out to 30 yards after one year without practise I am also fully aware that I need to spend a lot more time at the range to get to point where I can confidently take a shot at a deer.

While I am not a target archer – I consider myself a bowhunter - aiming for points or stacking arrows on top of each other, I still want each and every single arrow to hit exactly where I am aiming at. This type of accuracy gives me the confidence I need in the field.

It is for that same reason that I do all my shooting under a variety of simulated hunting conditions that I may encounter. For the same reason I always shoot wearing my normal hunting garments, plus binoculars and game calls around the neck. My goal is to leave nothing to chance when that big buck stands under my treestand. I do not want to worry about at that precise moment that perhaps bulky clothing, binoculars and the position of the deer could interfere with my shooting accuracy.

In conversations with other bowhunters I have learned that the main reason for missing a deer mostly boiled down to one of the following reasons:
  • The hunter was not prepared to take the shot.
  • The arrow went astray because something, mostly clothing, interfered with the bowstring.
  • The hunter did not expect the situation he was presented with.
To avoid such ugly surprises I have to practice exactly the same way as I hunt. Getting familiar to shoot a bow under different conditions and situations gives a hunter confidence when the moment of the truth arrives. Confidence in ones abilities will bring success.

Since, despite the first promising result, I am still not feeling confident enough in my shooting abilities I’ll head back to the archery range for the next few weeks. I will spend every single day shooting my bow until it becomes second nature again. So when that buck comes I can say, "That's easy, I can do that." For that to happen I have to get in bowhunting shape.

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4 comments:

SimplyOutdoors said...

I was just out shooting my bow last night as well, and I couldn't agree with you more. Practice, practice, practice. It makes things seem second nature and really prepares you for when the moment of truth arrives.

You look good at full draw Othmar. I wish you the best of luck when the season starts.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Thanks for the compliment Arthur. At the beginning of the session I had to make a bit of an effort to remember proper bow shooting posture. Like you said, shooting has to become second nature so we do not have to think about it. It just happens naturally.

Sometime this week I drive to my hunting area to fine tune a few stand locations and hang stands. I wish you good luck too, hunting season is just around the corner I can smell it.

-ov-

Kristine said...

Shooting a bow looks like fun. I tried it once, but I'd like to try it more seriously again. I think I might enjoy it.

Othmar Vohringer said...

It is fun Kristine and you should try it again. As long you don’t get too tangled up in gadgets and competing you will enjoy it.

Just this morning I met a guy at the range that I really felt sorry for. He was fretting, cussing and fiddling around on his bow for well over twenty minutes before he made the first shot. After that he was fiddling and cussing some more. Finally I couldn’t stand it and asked what his problem was since it seemed that the bow performed flawlessly. “I want more speed out of this thing, all my friends bows shoot faster,” He said. Poor guy!

-ov-

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