Be field ready with final bowhunting preparations
By this point in the game, it can be assumed that serious bowhunters have scouted hunting locations, hung opening day treestands and shot plenty of practice rounds in the backyard or at the local club. After all, that’s part of responsibly preparing for the upcoming statewide archery deer season, which opens Oct. 5.
Muscle memory is essential in the sport of archery, and bowhunters need to put in plenty of range time to be as proficient as possible with their equipment. If you haven’t been shooting, consider holding off on hunting and instead hit the range to get dialed in again.
Sure, you may be able to hit the target vitals at 20 yards and call it good enough, but that’s not good enough for the field, as you want your mind and body to go into archery autopilot when drawing on a deer — a result that only happens from dedication, practice and a familiar relationship with hunting equipment.
A variety of factors can impact performance at the time of the shot, from clothing, to nerves, to poor form, to mismatched arrows, and full draw on a whitetail isn’t the time to figure out you have a problem.
The best advice I can give is to practice shooting in hunting-like scenarios prior to that first hunt. Before throwing your hunting clothes in the scent-free wash cycle, get dressed, thread on the broadheads with which you plan to hunt, and practice shooting from a variety of realistic hunting positions.
For some bowhunting setups, especially if using new hunting tips or lighted nocks, arrows may fly differently than the field tips you practiced with all summer. Make a point to test this out early, so it doesn’t burn you later.
Clothing can get in the way, too. If it does, figure out a way to keep it tucked back tighter to your body, or change your wardrobe. Nothing is worse than an arrow flying off course because of a bulky arm sleeve, a glove prematurely punching a release trigger, or a dangling drawstring or accessory getting caught in your bowstring.
Taking time to fine-tune and check these simple items off the list before opening day can pay off hugely when the moment of truth presents itself. Trust me, if you think you’re good now, and it turns out later that you weren’t, you’ll regret it … and I’ll say I told you so.