When you take up any pursuit, you want to be as proficient as possible. In archery elk hunting, you need to be a good enough to send that arrow into the boiler room in the heat of the moment. Here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind as you’re striving to beef up your shooting skills.
Number one: buy good gear
Invest in the best quality equipment that you can afford. It’s frustrating as a bow shop owner to watch people buy gear for a few hundred bucks. When they buy cheap equipment, it doesn’t shoot very well, and they start to think “I’m not very good at this. I’m not going to bowhunt anymore.” If instead you come in and get higher-quality gear fitted by a professional, you can learn some basics, and you can learn which arrows you can get that won’t break the bank but are still going to be better than the arrows you buy at Walmart. If you can, you want to spend about $800-1,100. If your budget is $500, spend 200 more dollars. I think a lot more people would enjoy archery if they had the right equipment.
Number two: Shoot your bow year round
Don’t wait until late July to pull the bow out of the case. No one has time to get comfortable with their bow, arrows and broadheads with only 40 days until the season starts. Instead, every week of the year, go out once and shoot your bow five or six times. Make sure it’s on target and everything is still functioning smoothly. You’ll have no anxiety as hunting season closes in, because you know you’re a lethal assassin with your bow.
Number three: Find a good coach
Everyone has a coach in some areas of their life. If you’re not good at shooting a bow and you ask someone who is good at it, say a certified coach, to show you the basics, they’re going to help you get better. If you can’t afford professional lessons, find that more skillful friend and ask them for some one-on-one instruction as a favor. And make sure to fact check your friend. Ask them where they learned how to shoot a bow, so you know you’re learning from a reliable source.
Number four: Keep it simple
Archery is a gear infested world. There’s so much stuff out there, and it can be tempting to follow the newest gear fads. But before you move on to the latest and greatest release aid, stabilizer, etc, make sure you master the equipment that you already have. You’re putting the cart before the horse if you switch to a back tension release before becoming efficient with a trigger release first.
Number five Build muscle memory
Archery is about muscle memory. Make sure you set your anchor points to be in the same position every time you shoot your bow. I recommend making a fist holding it to your chest bring it up behind your ear to the soft spot behind your jawbone. That’s where that knuckle goes. Your second anchor point—the angle of the string will automatically go to the corner of your mouth, so you bring your face over until the string is contacting the corner of your mouth. For the third anchor point, you have to lift your head up and over and set it on top of your nose. Your facial structure shouldn’t change, so you can stay really consistent.
Start with the correct grip:
Stand next to a doorway and fall into it catching yourself with one hand. You’ll immediately go to the middle of your palm; you’ll have a wide-open grip, and the back of your hand will be facing you.
Know when to stop shooting your bow. Your form will start to fall apart as you get tired, and you’ll form bad habits. Some people shoot their bow 200 or 300 times. In my professional opinion, that’s too much. Shoot 30-40 perfectly executed arrows with perfect form, then put the bow away.
If you follow these guidelines, when September rolls around and there’s a big bull coming in, you can be confident drawing back, setting your anchor points and executing that perfect shot.