5 things to help Prepare for Bowhunting

Posted: 06/26/2012 in Archery, Gear, Hunting, Tips and Tricks
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By E. Jones at HuntOnly.com

From Huntonly.com

5 Things That Will Make Opening Day Much Sweeter

I’m the type of hunter that daydreams about being in the woods all year long. I start preparing for archery season in May, and try to practice with my bow year round. Even though I can’t seem to get bowhunting off my mind, I still end up running around getting all the things I should have gotten done in the summer two weeks before the season starts. This year I decided to get more organized. I set out five goals to work on regularly throughout the summer.

1)Practice, Tune, Practice
The first on my list is what I consider to be the most important factor of bowhunting- practice and tuning. These two go hand in hand and cannot be left until the end of the summer. The ability to make an accurate and clean shot is critical to ethical hunting. Also, you gain great confidence in your equipment and your own shooting abilities, something that can be invaluable when that once-in-a-lifetime shot presents itself. I started changing some equipment and gadgets on my bow in late May. The first few weeks were mostly the tuning stage where I spent a great deal of time fine-tuning my bow. It started with paper tuning, then moved onto bare shaft tuning, and finally broadhead tuning. With all the tinkering and changes, I wasn’t completely tuned until the middle of July. Currently I get 3-inch groups at 35 yards with three different types of broad heads. I’ve spent a few years collecting 3-D targets and set up a nice range for practice. Try to get out and practice 5-6 days a week at ranges varying from 10 to 55 yards. I also practice from an old ladder stand in my range. This is important because your arrows tend to shoot high when you are in an elevated position, so practicing from the ground alone won’t cut it if you hunt from a tree.

From Huntonly.com

It is also beneficial to make your practices more challenging, which can add a lot of fun. My cousin and I regularly shoot together and will play “Horse” throughout the night. We walk all over the range trying to come up with a creative and difficult shot. As the night goes on, the shots get much more interesting. We routinely shoot from our knees, through a small window of brush, and at long ranges. Be safe and creative when doing this, and it will make you a much better shot.

2) Scouting Trips
Midsummer scouting is critical to any bowhunter’s success, and is commonly overlooked by many hunters. I know too many hunters that rely on early season hunting and past experience as their only scouting tools. Consequently, they end up blowing golden opportunities and missing a chance at a deer. I hunt many agricultural areas and try to spend one or two nights every two weeks just watching. The key to scouting is getting to your location with enough time to be there when the deer emerge. It can be as simple as sitting in your truck with a spotting scope or as difficult as walking 2 miles, hiding in the brush, and being attacked by mosquitoes. Regardless of the effort involved, a few trips throughout the summer will help you narrow in on your trophy, and will give you a good idea of what is out there.
I also like to rely on the information that scouting cameras provide. I have a strong distaste for tromping through the woods in the summer heat, looking for sign, and leaving my own sign behind. I have numerous cameras set up on food sources, trails, and mineral supplements to help me pattern the deer. A camera set up over a mineral supplement will provide incredible photos and show you just about every buck on your property.

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