Friday, May 22, 2009


Taking the Dayne Shuda approach to blogging with Robin Hood, I want to share with you what I consider the most important aspect of Archery. Not just Archery but Bow-Hunting for Deer Archery. There is a big difference.
I can not tell you how many guys I have hunted with that have told me about their prowess with a bow. They can shoot the wings off a butterfly at 30 yards, split an arrow like our hero Robin Hood or shoot a grouping of 5 arrows that can cover a quarter.
Impressive, but shooting targets is a hell of a lot different than shooting a deer. Most of the deer I see do not have a big target stapled to their side. I have seen these expert shots return time after time after missing their deer at 10,15,20,25 yards. They can’t believe they missed. God knows I have missed them at 5 yards.
Then I see the guys that limber up their bow, shoot a dozen shots at a target before the season, and bring in a deer or two every year. How? The answer is concentration. It is very important in shooting a rifle, but is doubly important for shooting a bow. My brother will usually not even shoot his bow before opening day, but half the time he will bring in a deer that weekend. It is ability to focus his concentration totally on one spot for about 3 seconds that helps him.
Deer always do the unexpected. They will appear at odd angles to your chosen shooting lane. You will have to stand taller, lean over or crouch down to get a decent shot. You almost never get that easy shot that you practice in your backyard. Most of the time you are up in a tree and have to shoot downward at a rough guess of a distance. Plus, drawing your bow back can take from a second to 3 or 4 minutes if the deer is alert to any strange sounds. How many of you have had a deer jump the string? Or held your bow halfway back until your arm gave out. These are secondary problems but concentration is what you have to understand when everything comes together for you to release the arrow.
Do not concentrate on the deer or on his side. You have to forget everything but a quarter size spot you pick out on the side of the deer. Learn to block everything else but that. Block out other deer, the rotten stand you are sitting in, most importantly if it is a buck, the size of his rack. It is hard to do and hold that one spot in your mind as you prepare to shoot. Good bow hunters know this and are able to make the shot no matter how much or little they have practiced. Hit close to the target spot one time and the deer is yours. Forget everything else except that spot for three seconds. Practice this concentration as part of your summer practice and you will be able to take more deer no matter what the circumstances of your hunt.


Dayne Shuda said...

This is a great topic, Rex. I don't know that I've ever seen the topic of focus when practicing archery. Great advice.

PS - I'm one of those hunters who doesn't shoot a bow all off season. I pull it out on opening weekend and hope for the best. It hasn't served me wrong...yet. I do shoot a few small targets from the tree stand if there aren't deer around to make sure it still works.

matt said...

Excellent post. To concentration I would add relaxation. If you're relaxed and concentrate, you'll kill the deer. That's one reason, I think, the guys that don't practice are often successful. They're so confident in their ability that they are totally relaxed and able to concentrate on that little spot.

On the other hand, some guys who don't practice just shoot like a guy who didn't practice.

SimplyOutdoors said...

Definitely an excellent tip. Aim small, miss small.