Archery can be one of the most thrilling and rewarding forms of hunting regardless of what animal you are pursuing. The heart pounding seconds as your prey gets closer to your ideal shooting range is like nothing else in the world, and bagging the perfect kill is something that you can brag about to your buddies. But the truth is, it takes a certain level of skill and technique to successfully take down an animal with a bow and arrow, and there are many things that can throw off your shot, causing you to miss your target.
One of the biggest factors to consider when bowhunting is your gear. Not every bow is a good fit for every person. With the technology today, the right bow for you might not be the one you expected, and having the wrong weapon is the quickest way to ensure you miss your target. Consider these factors:
Are you right or left eye dominant? Typically it is the same as your hand dominance, but not always. Most hunters don’t encounter problems when practicing with their less dominant eye, however, when put in high-pressure situations, problems can arise and you might miss that buck. Test your eyes by using the thumb test. Hold your arm up, focus on an object about 20 feet away and cover up the object with your thumb. Your thumb should look out of focus as you continue to look in the same direction as the object. Close your left eye; if your thumb doesn’t appear to move and covers the object, this means you are right eye dominant. If it looks like your thumb moved, you’ve just discovered that you’re left eye dominant. Once you know which eye is dominant, you’re ready to purchase a bow.
Different bows have different draw lengths and it is dependent primarily on the length of your arms and the width of your shoulders.
The draw weight is the amount of force that’s needed to bring the bow to a full draw. This is measured in pounds. Ideally you will want to find a weight that you can easily draw and hold for up to 60 seconds without shaking.
Calculating all of these variables and finding the best compound bow can be tricky. Often times the best move you can make is to seek assistance. Retailers like Cabela’s can not only give you advice and recommendations, they also offer some of the best quality compound bows and latest outdoor gear.
Form and Technique
Proper form can have a drastic impact on the success of your shot. As with any activity requiring skill, you will need to find the perfect form and practice until achieving it on a moment’s notice is as familiar as breathing.
Proper foot positioning is vital. Most hunters will use the “open” stance but other options include “closed” and “squared.” Experiment with different stances and find the right position for success.
Your grip works to stabilize the bow. Find the spot on your hand where you don’t have to have a tight hold on the bow when drawn. Your fingers should be relaxed and loose when fully drawn. This will also ensure that your arm is positioned correctly and your elbow and shoulder is locked. A variety of compound bow manufacturers install a removable grip that can be replaced with an aftermarket grip so that hunters can adjust their grips to their preferred comfort.
Start with your elbow at your chin, pull your arm straight back. Most of the work should be done by the muscles in your back, not your arm.
Consistency is the biggest factor with your anchor position. Pick a spot on your jawbone that allows your hand and knuckles to rest solidly when you let go of the bowstring or trigger of your release. Make sure you use the exact same spot every time—this can have a huge impact on the arrow’s direction.
This is an evaluation that you can use to make sure you have proper form. Have a buddy look at you from the side as you have the bow drawn. Your spine should be straight and your elbows and shoulders should be relatively even, forming a “T” with your body.