Summer weather and the anticipation of things to come make it easy to practice regularly in the months before bowhunting season.
Once opening day arrives, however, bowhunters routinely neglect practice to maximize hunting opportunities. That’s a big mistake. Bowhunters are obligated to themselves, each other, and the animals they pursue to be proficient with their equipment. That responsibility means making time to practice to ensure our gear and skills are fine-tuned. Let’s review four reasons to maintain your practice routines throughout autumn.
Becoming an accurate archer and deadly bowhunter requires consistency. Repeating the same actions time and again requires muscle memory, which we develop by regularly practicing these movements. To ensure your skills continually improve, even during the hunting season, make a practice schedule to keep yourself on track. You might not have much time to practice during the season, but any practice is better than none. Dedicate a few minutes two or three days weekly to practice. Ten- to 15-minute sessions can be enough to stay sharp.
Bowhunting season can be tough on gear. Your bow and accessories travel with you to and from the woods, and up and down from treestands. Those environments inflict many bumps and possible damage. In-season practice helps you detect equipment issues at home, not in the woods. Practice keeps your gear in check and helps resolve issues before they ruin a hunt.
Archery seasons often span several months and include vastly varying weather. In fact, some bowhunting seasons open with scorching summer heat and close with ice, snow and sub-zero temperatures.
Bowhunters must prepare for those extremes and adjust to current conditions, both in our clothes and our bowhunting gear. A bow that’s easy to draw while wearing a T-shirt in 70-degree temperatures can be impossible to pull when bundled in thick layers after sitting in the cold for hours. Practice in the conditions you’ll be hunting. Those practice sessions reveal potential issues, and help ensure you and your gear are prepared.
Practice also addresses mental aspects of archery and bowhunting, and instills confidence that you’ll shoot accurately when opportunities arise. A clear mind is just as critical as proper form and well-tuned equipment. Whenever possible, take a few practice shots before heading out to hunt. Routine practice helps ensure you remain confident and ready to capitalize.
Bowhunting season is our prime time. It’s what we prepare for all year, every year. By practicing throughout the season, we do all we can to ensure our efforts and preparation aren’t wasted. You owe it to yourself – and your quarry – to make in-season practice a priority.