Follow these archery tips and tactics and have more success this deer season
By: Josh Honeycutt
Those who’ve hunted with any weapon understand how difficult it is. The animals we pursue certainly have the upper hand, but that's even truer for those who archery hunt. It’s all about getting close to your target, which is no simple task. That’s why we’ve assembled these 40 bowhunting tips and tricks to boost the odds this season.
Before the Hunt
Much of the preparation work a bowhunter should do needs to take place before the season opens. Some of these things include:
- Purchasing the correct hunting licenses, permits, tags, stamps, etc.
- Shooting using your dominant eye.
- Using an appropriate draw weight.
- When choosing and shooting a bow, accuracy and quietness trump speed.
- That said, faster bows tend to be more accurate due to less arc. These also reduce the distance a deer can drop when “jumping the string.”
- Understanding deer vitals and anatomy in relation to shot placement.
- Spending plenty of time at the range shooting your bow.
- Tuning your bow, arrows, and broadheads. Ensure all equipment is in order.
- Practicing a consistent anchor point for improved shooting.
- Shooting in various positions, including the scenarios you’ll be in while hunting, such as sitting in a treestand or ground blind.
- Wearing your hunting clothes while practicing, especially if wearing extra layers.
- For those dealing with target panic, (safely) try blind-bale booting to overcome it.
- Memorizing where everything is in your pack. This makes you more efficient when trying to find something quickly in the field.
- Ensuring your clothes and gear are as scent-free as possible.
- Using cover scents on your hunting clothing and gear.
- Hanging treestands and position ground blinds for optimal archery shot opportunities.
During the Hunt
Once in the field, there are many tips and tricks you can deploy to increase the odds of success. Keep the following in mind:
- Always wear a safety harness when hunting from elevated positions.
- Keep an eye on the wind. Use a good wind checker, such as milkweed.
- Use a hunting app, such as HuntStand, and all the beneficial layers provided. Aerial, topo hybrid, 3D, and many other app layers are available.
- Set up downwind of trail intersections.
- Get close, but not too close, to bedding areas. Deer rarely venture far from these during daylight, and you can’t take long shots with archery equipment.
- Focus on key terrain features that create close shot opportunities, such as pinch points, funnels, benches, ridges, points, etc.
- Be very aware of the wind direction.
- Pre-range areas around your treestand or blind that might offer shot opportunities.
- Take ethical shots.
- Ensure deer are within your effective range.
- Only broadside and quartering-away opportunities are acceptable.
- Watch the shot angle. The sharper the angle the higher you should aim on the deer’s side.
- The best advice? Aim for the exit.
- Straight-down shots are ill-advised.
- Keep a backup arrow easily accessible in case of a miss.
- Remember to aim small, miss small. Pick a hair and aim at it.
- Where gun seasons fall during the rut, the best time to bowhunt are the days leading up to the gun season opener.
- Follow all hunting regulations.
After the hunt
Bow season is over, but there’s still plenty to be done. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but consider doing the following:
- Replacing bow strings as needed to keep your bow in top condition.
- Conducting maintenance on archery gear you plan to keep.
- Scouting your existing hunting properties to learn more about them.
- Finding new places to bowhunt, and scout these areas, too.
- Reflecting and determining in what areas you need to improve, and how to do so.
- Never stop practicing with your archery equipment.
All things considered, the most important tip is to always put safety first. Be as effective as possible, but never sacrifice your health or wellbeing. You can’t #HuntMore and use these bowhunting tips and tricks if you can’t go afield.
And remember, if you need hunting land access, you just might find the property of your dreams right here on LandTrust.
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