Once bow season ends, most archers hang up their bows until summer. But not so fast! Winter indoor archery leagues can keep your skills sharp, and they offer other advantages too. Here are five reasons to join.
The obvious advantage of joining a winter archery league is to keep you on target. Year-round practice helps ensure that you’ll be ready when a big buck steps in front of you next hunting season. Starting cold in the summer after several months away from archery means you’ll have to reestablish your shooting form, relocate your anchor point and retrain your mind. If you never stop, you don’t have to go back to square one.
By shooting continuously, you’re also keeping your muscles strong. If you take a break from shooting, you could notice some fatigue and soreness when you resume regular practice in the summer. Keeping those shooting muscles in shape will aid you if you have to hold your bow at full draw for an extended period of time as a deer takes the final steps into your shooting lane.
If you’ve never shot with a league before, it can be intimidating. It’s one thing to shoot at your backyard archery target, but shooting while complete strangers are watching can rattle even competent archers. Still, there’s no reason to be scared. You might get a little good-natured ribbing from other competitors, but you’ll mostly find other archers are quick to offer shooting tips and constructive criticism that will help make you a better shot. Usually, you’ll shoot a couple of sessions at the beginning of the league to establish your average and then be paired with a partner accordingly. If you rank near the bottom of the barrel, you’ll be paired with a real Robin Hood. That could turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you as an archer. You’ll be able to learn a lot from your partner, both through advice given to you directly and also just by watching him or her shoot.
Although you may join a league as a complete stranger, you’ll likely make new friends. These new pals could turn into shooting partners once the league is over. Having other people to shoot with gives you more incentive to keep practicing. Who knows? You might make some new hunting partners and even gain access to new areas.
If you live in a cold region, shooting indoors at an archery range may be the only real way to practice in the winter, at least if you want to take more than a couple of quick shots. Outdoor ranges will likely be closed, and trudging through snow and pulling arrows with numb fingers is no fun anyway. Shooting indoors just makes sense, and a weekly night at the range is a great excuse to get out of the house, make some friends and help fend off the winter blues.