Preparing for bow season can be a lot of work, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Some of the fun ways to practice archery are stump shooting, 3D archery, bowfishing or just slinging arrows in the backyard. Learn about these fun practice techniques in this video with Greg Clements of The Hunting Public.
The typical archery range is flat, with targets set at exact distances. In contrast, 3D archery takes the archery range into the woods, introduces unique angles, and creates new ways to have fun with a bow.
This discipline gets its name from the three-dimensional animal targets that challenge archers at each station. The targets range from small skunks to massive elk, and are set along a course that resembles a hiking trail.
Each target helps create a different shooting scenario. You might shoot downhill at a deer target, and then walk a few steps to shoot at an alligator in a swamp. The shots try to mimic the countless scenarios bowhunters could face in the field.
Stump shooting or “roving” is one of the oldest archery games. And it’s simple: Find an old tree stump, pick a spot on it, and shoot. You’ll feel like a little kid as you fling arrows. A regular walk in the woods becomes an adventure. You can stump shoot at home or on public lands. Check with your state game agency to determine legality.
For stump shooting, use a special type of arrow point called a judo. These points are blunt and have wire claws. The blunt point reduces penetration into stumps, and the claws prevent arrows from burying into the grass.
No stumps? No problem. Ball-shaped archery targets are available from your local archery store. Throw the round target and shoot where it lands. Pull your arrows and repeat.
Bowfishing takes the relaxing sport of fishing and turns it up a notch. Bowfishing is hunting fish with a bow and arrow; instead of hooking fish, you shoot them with a barbed arrow and reel them in with a bow-mounted reel.
Bowfishing is not only fun, it helps the environment. Enthusiasts usually target invasive fish species such as carp and snakeheads. These fish can decimate aquatic ecosystems if left unchecked.
The activity doesn’t require a lot of expensive gear; with a few items from your local archery shop, you can ready your bow for bowfishing. You can bowfish in creeks, streams, rivers, ponds, lakes and salt water. Visit your nearest archery store to learn about local bowfishing hot spots and getting started.
If you lack time to practice, don’t despair. You don’t have to shoot dozens of arrows to rack up meaningful practice time. All you need is one arrow.
If you have a backyard range but little time to use it, one-arrow practice is a great solution. Shoot once at your target, with no warm-up or make-up shots. By taking only one shot, you must concentrate and do everything right, just like when you’re bowhunting. Mix up your shooting angles, distances or shooting position each day to keep things challenging.
If practicing for only one hour per week best matches your lifestyle, you can maximize that hour by crafting a plan with training goals, and set precise times for each goal.
Here’s a sample practice plan:
Bowhunting is a never-ending challenge, but the harder you practice, the easier it gets. If you practice smartly this summer, you’ll be calmer and better prepared when it’s time to shoot this fall.