Depending on where you live, opening day of archery season is just a few short months away. Prep work begins now for those who want to start their season in top form. The payoff is confidence, and a seamless transition from the range to the very first hunts of the year. Improving your skills with archery gear ahead of this season starts with a trip to the local pro shop. Here are 10 reasons why you should get started right now.
The weeks leading up to opening day are chaotic at archery shops. Bowhunters who procrastinate battle long lines and busy shops, and they find themselves at the mercy of the limited resources archery shops can offer. Waiting until the last minute means you won’t have much time to familiarize yourself with your gear, and that reduces confidence. Instead, get an early jump on your season by prepping, tuning and finalizing your setup in June.
Most shops have reasonable bandwidth in early summer, which is conducive to fast project turnarounds and efficiency. Whether you need your pro shop to tune your bow, install a new set of strings and cables, or simply cut and fletch a fresh dozen arrows, there’s no time like the present to get started. Turnaround time for most projects is significantly quicker in June than in the days and weeks before opening day.
One-on-one service with the technician at your local pro shop will help you shoot better. Pro shops employ top-level archers who are passionate about helping and teaching others. To take full advantage of these resources, you need to get started early. Pro shops get busy later in summer, and the bandwidth of employees makes them prioritize completing tasks for the masses rather than hands-on interaction.
Most pro shops offer shooting lessons, which are helpful for building better form and mechanics that translate to more accuracy out of your hunting bow. Lessons are great, but they aren’t as helpful when implemented on a time crunch. Use the long summer days and extended daylight hours to implement feedback and techniques you learn when taking a shooting lesson of your own.
Turning good shooting form into habit takes time. Whether you want to beat target panic, increase your practice regimen or add creativity by replicating a hunting scenario, there are lots of ways to create healthy shooting habits. Give yourself plenty of time to turn consistent action into habit.
Time is on your side, so start shooting early and often. While most shops are limited to indoor ranges, some offer outdoor opportunities. If your local shop has an outdoor range, take advantage of it. Shoot from a saddle, treestand or natural ground blind to replicate all the scenarios you might find yourself in during hunting season. Sending arrows downrange on level ground at known distances is helpful, but scenario-based training is a fun way to diversify your skills while using the range at your favorite pro shop.
Several years ago, I identified some inconsistent arrow flight in my hunting rig that left me scrambling just one week before opening day. After a quick trip to a pro shop and the unfortunate diagnosis of needing to replace my strings and cables, I had to re-zero my setup on the eve of the opener. If you want to ensure you don’t end up in this situation, start shooting early so you can identify any potential issues with plenty of lead time to fix them.
It’s fun to try out new gear. Whether you’re searching for a fixed-blade broadhead that flies like your field tips or simply want to experiment with a new style of release, now is the time to tinker.
Inventory is plentiful in early summer, unlike the picked-over shelves you’ll find at your pro shop the week before opening day. Make sure you have the gear you need well in advance, especially considering demand has increased in recent years, leading to more customers competing for fewer products.
You can build a network of like-minded friends who are passionate about archery by frequenting your favorite pro shop. Who knows, you might even meet a new lifelong hunting partner.