View Full Version : Shooting Tips

09-15-2008, 09:06 PM
I am new to the art of bow hunting. I have been at it for about 4 months now with a Martin Wildcat, and I am absolutely addicted to shooting it almost every day. I always have a pile of fun shooting at my block target and Blueridge 3-D buck.

So far in that time, I have managed to wear out a string, the vitals in my buck I got just one month ago, and put a serious hurt on my block target. I started out practicing at just 20 yards, and now usually shoot from 35-40, with pretty consistent accuracy. I realize I might not ever need to shoot that far in the deer woods, but it is still fun shooting from that distance, at least for me.

My question is if anyone has any good tips to help me become a better shot? I would like to read, ask, learn, and practice as much as I can before the season starts here in central PA on October 4.

Any constructive input on the subject would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance, and shoot straight!

09-15-2008, 09:16 PM
Great topic, I am always looking for tips too.. I have 3 of the 3d deer targets that I have set up in my lawn and I try and never shoot from the same spot (on the lawn). I walk out to a spot on my lawn and shoot one arrow at each target, then collect the arrows from my targets and go shoot from another spot. I have the targets staggered so they are at different ranges also.

09-15-2008, 10:00 PM
Some things I have always been told are to put yourself in as much of a real-life scenario as possible:
- Wear to shoot what you will wear to hunt (you would be surprised the difference it makes to have a long sleeved camo jacket on to shoot the first time.)
- If you are going to be hunting from a treestand, shoot from an elevated position.
- If you are using fixed blade broadheads, make sure you shoot them before going into the woods the first time. They will almost ALWAYS fly differently than your field tips (I have shot both fixed and mechanical, and to be honest, I have my preference, but I think that decision falls on you) The only tip I suggest when purchasing broadheads is buy extra the first time. My first season, I bought what was left at the store, because I wanted to save a buck or 2 when I was 16 and when I needed new ones, the store didn't have that brand anymore.

One problem I had when I first started bowhunting was I thought that I needed to have that baby cranked right up to the heaviest I could get it. What I didn't realize is that I dont need to be pulling back 72lbs to kill a deer. Make sure you can pull your bow back comfortably, with a deer right beneath you. 50lbs will kill a deer. Heck, a well placed shot with a bow set at less than that will kill a deer (mine does not go any lower, so I am not sure what setting you can set yours to) If the bow is too heavy, you will be struggling in all different directions to pull it back cautiously, where as if it is set just right, you will have no problem.
- Not much of a shooting tip, but scout your Azz off. You get the first crack at the big boy in the woods, make sure you know where he is at.

- I am sure that you have heard this more than anything, but I will say it here, and everyone will agree: PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE (you can never do this too much)

09-15-2008, 10:06 PM
Thanks for the input so far, it is making a lot of sense. Please keep it coming. My bow is actually adjustable from 55-70 lbs. When I started shooting it, I shot 62 lbs without a problem. I have since then maxed it out at 70 (as I am a pretty big dude) and I can shoot 100 arrows without straining any muscles.

However, I do need to start practicing in hunting attire. I already do practice from the blind I plan to hunt in this year, and place me 3-D deer up behind trees and such in the woods out back of my house.

Thanks and I look forward to hearing what everybody else has to say!

09-30-2008, 05:28 PM
I agree with mikey the bow does not NEED to be maxed out to kill deer. However, the most efficiency is achieved on most bows when MAXed. Efficiency is the ratio of energy stored in the bow to the amount of energy transferred to the arrow. Due to cam timing, the most energy transfer happens at maximum setting. If you are struggling, then by all means, back it down and practice until you toughen up. A shaky hold and tired muscles will kill accuracy. Practicing inaccurately will only ingrain inaccuracy into your shooting form. But, if you are tough enough, you should max it out, there is no benefit to shooting slow arrows, none. Energy is mass times speed squared. Increasing the arrow speed slightly therefor greatly increases arrow energy.

But you asked about increasing your accuracy. This is a little drill that not many have heard of called "the inner position". Stand six feet from your target backing, raise your target so that center of target is at shoulder height. Stand in your normal shooting position, close your eyes and draw your bow with arrow knocked and ready to shoot. Peek through the sight, are you on target? Adjust your footing so that your are aimed at center. Repeat the drill. Close eyes, draw, hold as if aiming, then peek to see if you are on. Keep adjusting your form until you are on when you open your eyes. Now that you are positioned correctly, continue to the next step, shooting.

With your eyes closed, knock your arrow, draw, hold, feel it. Hold comfortably and relax as much as possible. Feel the position, feel the strain, feel if you are swaying. Become a rock and just breathe. Hold with no thought or effort. Finally, when it FEELS right, touch off the shot. Do not peek until your arrow has hit the target. Note where the arrow hit because you will have to retrieve each arrow or you will most certainly start breaking them. So, repeat the inner position excercise. Shoot again and again with no effort to aim or hit your target. Just feel the position, the balance and the strain. Feel the let off. Let the shot off without effort. Let the shot "come to you". Soon, you will find you are blasting through the same hole on your target as your muscle memory and inner position are trained to perfection.

Do this each day. Best done before you start your aiming practice. Train the muscles and body memory first, then the eyes are just there to put the finishing touch on your aim. Don't expect to be an overnight success, but give it a couple of weeks. I bet you will find you tightened up.

09-30-2008, 07:27 PM
This isn't a shooting tip but it's important as heck and most guys never do it, WAX YOUR STRING!!!! Use a good quality bee wax that's intended for bow strings and wax it often. It'll make your string last alot longer, and it'll weather proof it so it doesn't become all frayed. After waxing the string use a old piece of leather between your index finger and your thumb and rub the whole string down, the friction will make the wax melt right in.

09-30-2008, 08:15 PM
When shooting from an elevated position remember to bend at the WAIST, dont get in the habit of just dropping your bow arm...... Its easy to forget when on stand and that buck is within 15 yards!!!! :oops: :oops: :D BTDT

SCENT SCENT SCENT.......There arent enough ways to contol human odor... If you can afford scent lok then you are ahead of me but, I take every precaution I can to keep me from stinkin up the woods.... I use lots of spray scent killer. NEVER wear my clothes in a vehicle, I keep em hanging outside as much as possible to keep them from picking up foriegn odors. Wash them once a week in scent killer. Use cover scent. Buy a cheap tote from wal-mart, and one of those scent safe bags (giant ziplock) in the sporting goods throw some leaves dirt ect.. in with it. I toss in an earth scent wafer. Seal it up and put it in the tote. When I am traveling thats how I get my clothes there. Seems painstaking. But the real pain is getting up at 4 am sitting in your stand for an hour before light and at first light hearing that snort 100yards downwind!!!!

Stay mobile...if you have a couple slow days try getting up and taking a little walk. You may find a patch of acorns that just started dropping, fresh scrapes or rubs. Dont be afraid to set up new stands once the season and rut progress. Pressure, seasonal shifts, changing food, approaching rut will all affect movement... STAY ON FOOD and DOE!!!!!! Where there are doe there will be buck......especially end of Oct thru the end of season theres nothing better than a live decoy.

Grizzly Gary
09-30-2008, 11:13 PM
May be repeating myself but just in case...Welcome to GrizzlyLand DeerPredator!

A most interesting thread here. Much very good info.


Reading your post is mind boggling. Makes me think of the old Martial Arts TV/Movie shows............Grasshopper, when you can walk across rice paper without tearing, you will be a master. :wink: :lol: :lol: :lol: I must say that I will try this training technique.

Thanks DeerPredator for posting this question.

Grizzly Gary
09-30-2008, 11:15 PM
I forgot to remark on another thing you said, "I am new to the ART of bow hunting."

Most interesting you describe Archery as "an ART."

Comments anyone?

10-01-2008, 07:44 AM
I have been shooting bow for 20 years now. I started when i was 11 years old. I'm still always learning every year. I feel there is no wright way or wrong way to shoot. What ever feels comfortable to you, and alway's stay consistent in what you do. I always try different grips that pro's use but i always go back to what feels comfortable.

10-01-2008, 08:04 AM
Don't shoot from set yardages, wander out in your yard & take random shots. Will help you to "guesstimate" yardage when it really counts!
Shot sitting, standing, from stand, blind, etc. Become comfortable shooting in any angle.
For competition one thing i do is make the target smaller. Start with getting all arrows in the large blue ring, then the red dot.. from there use a orange/green (whichever color) sale ticket (the lil circles you see on everything at garage sales). It will help you become a more accurate shot.
Finally only tip I can ponder at this moment that hasn't already been mentioned....


Good luck & happy shooting!

10-01-2008, 08:05 AM
Gary, your are correct. This is a martial art technique.

However, it is unneccesary and ill advised to scream at moment of release.


10-01-2008, 11:21 AM
How long can you comfotably hold 70lbs? Remember the goal is to kill a deer with your bow. Here is the question I pose to you if you could hold 70lbs for 1 minute or hold 55lbs for 2 minutes which set up would offer you your best chance to kill a deer. Add in freezing temps and the fact that a sharp broadhead at 55lbs should pass through a deer, I'd think your hunting with to much weight.

Just my opinion and I know more weight makes your bow faster and flatter, it also make your bow more critical and as a new archer that can be tough to understand.

My son and I often practice on several targets at once we shoot no more than 24 rounds. The best kill shot on the target gets to pick the next shot, its a lot of fun, you get to debate kill angles and practice like you were actually hunting.

Best of luck, reading above a lot of great tips. FM's advice about shooting with your hunting gear is a golden tip.

10-01-2008, 12:57 PM
No matter how tough you are, you will not hold 70 back as long as you can hold 55 back. But that would be a good test. If your bow has 80% let off you will hold 14 pounds on a 70 lb bow and 10 lb on a 50 lb bow. If you are frail, those weights will be quite noticable. But if you lift at the gym, you might be hard pressed to detect the subtle difference.

I do not know how long I could hold each back because I have always shot 70. But I am getting older. In spite that I have a great workout program, I am feeling a bit weaker in my old age. No matter how hard I try, I cannot bench what I could just a few years ago. But I do deliberately pull and hold and hold and hold, like those guys on the worlds strongest man. Hold until you absolutely fail. Then let down, DO NOT SHOOT. Then rest a bit before trying again. You build a lot of lactic acid in the muscles with this excercise and you have to move, bend, stretch without further straining the muscle to get the blood to clear it out. Don't rest more than three minutes however. I would recommend this excercise AFTER you have completed shooting for the day, or schedule this for days you are not going to actually shoot. Also, practice pulling BOTH right and left sides. You are not shooting, you are building symetry into your skeleton and muscles. It is very important not to get your body trained lopsided.

You will greatly increase your ability to hold within two weeks if you have not practiced this excercise previously.

I often use the cable weights and set it up to pull same as you do your bow. There is no let off when you pull the cables however. Train like this, holding real weight back with no let-off. When you pull your bow back, it will seem effortless. Your stamina will increase many fold over holding back a mere 14 pounds.

10-01-2008, 02:59 PM
I know I've posted this before, but last year I started doing HEART RATE practice.
It simulates the feeling of shortness of breath and the physical effects of an adrenaline rush.
I shoot a group, then run to the target and run back. I'll tell you what, it makes it real fun to shoot when your breathing hard and shaking a bit. great practice

10-01-2008, 04:08 PM
That is a most excellent idea. I will add that to my list, good one.

10-02-2008, 08:26 AM
Lots of good advise. Address shooting points. A few of my thought on hunting with a bow. I started hunting archer in 1962 at Tidoute, shot my last kill last evening at 6pm (doe).

What position are you going to shoot from sitting, kneeing, standing. Standing is the best, but if you sit in a stand, then you must move to get into shooting position. Think it oout before sat morning. If you wait till yousee a deer and then want to stand for the shot, IMO you will be moving when the deer is close. Try to spot deer far from your stand. If you are in a thick area and you want to shoot standing, you will want to stand from dawn till 9, best hours. Same in the evening, stand from 5 till close of hours. this is strenuous. If you learn to shoot sitting you are more comfortable and more relaxed when a deer presents itself. Ground blinds (my favorite) are more comfortable and you need only rise a little to get a shot unseen.

Second point. Give the deer you shoot at least one hour before following. watch closely for every inch the deer flees after bing shot. Know the cover and terain around your blind before you hunt it. Where would a wounded deer bed and bleed out??? Have some ideas on thsi before you shoot one.

I use a tracking string on my bow, helps lots. It gives me hundreds of yards of line attached to my deer.

Take a flahlight on all late nigh hunts, with extra batteries. learn some tracking skills.

Unfortunately, too many deer are shot and not found in PA every year. It is bad for the sport, bad for the game, and really tough on the archer.

Just some thoughts.

Bwanna Jim
10-03-2008, 12:55 PM
You can take the heart rate practice and apply it to gun shooting also. I do this at the club instead of using a spoting scope to check my shots. Just like buck fever!
I do this when shooting alone from my tree stand too. Climb down pull arrows and climb back up and shoot again before you can catch your breath.
Be sure to strap into that safety harness!!!!!!!!!!

Something else we do before season and at camp during the season is to practice real life set ups. Put up your tree stand or pop up blinds. In the woods not in your back yard,unless your lucky and live in the woods. This is great fun with a bunch of hunting buddies.

The shooter takes his/her position in tree/blind closes their eyes while friends set up targets at unknown ranges and angles. It is then up to the shooter to decide which targets to shoot at as some may not be shootable. Lots of fun. Change it up for every shooter every time so you never know where or how far that target will be when you open your eyes. Sort of like taking a nap and finding a wall hanger has snuck up on you!!

Yes we do have some moving targets to shoot as well.
Only one we haven't tried is the jumping the string shot,but one of our buds is working on that target. Can't wait to see how he rigs up a 3D to duck at the shot.

Good luck to all and make them all double lungers!

10-16-2008, 12:38 PM
May be repeating myself but just in case...Welcome to GrizzlyLand DeerPredator!

A most interesting thread here. Much very good info.


Reading your post is mind boggling. Makes me think of the old Martial Arts TV/Movie shows............Grasshopper, when you can walk across rice paper without tearing, you will be a master. :wink: :lol: :lol: :lol: I must say that I will try this training technique.

Thanks DeerPredator for posting this question.

Thanks for the warm welcome Gary! I just thought that since I am new to this, why not ask everybody I can who have been doing it for much longer than I have?

I think this is a great source to learn as much as I possibly can. I really appreciate everything everybody has to say. It is most helpful.

10-16-2008, 12:42 PM
So man people quit launching arrows during hunting season. Keep that block out there and keep shooting.

10-16-2008, 12:50 PM
So man people quit launching arrows during hunting season. Keep that block out there and keep shooting.

That is funny that you mention that DUCKS. I was actually out two days ago because I got a new block 4x4 target. I also wanted to make sure I was still able to hit something, because as you said, I had not shot since the season started.

I was very happy with the way I shot though! From 30 yards, I shot at the vitals side of the target, and stuck all six of my practice arrows in the heart and front of the lungs with every group.

By the way, let me know next time you want to shoot. I learn more and more every time I have the opportunity to actually shoot with somebody other than just myself. LOL

10-16-2008, 12:57 PM
Im goin home in about 35 mins..

Got laid off yesterday.

You have my no. and this site. Just get out there and kill something!!!!!

From the way things are smellin here this mornin you have plenty of cover scent!!!!!!
(skunk that is) LMAO :lol:

10-16-2008, 01:02 PM
Im goin home in about 35 mins..

Got laid off yesterday.

You have my no. and this site. Just get out there and kill something!!!!!

From the way things are smellin here this mornin you have plenty of cover scent!!!!!!
(skunk that is) LMAO :lol:

Yea, I could not believe that those idiotic dogs got sprayed this morning!!! LMAO, but I might be home around 6:00 or so. I will give you a call later. Hope you can still hang out for a while, even though the job is finished, or close to it!

10-16-2008, 01:58 PM
My biggest help was going to 3D shoots. It really helped with my yardage judging. And like Ducks said, don't stop practicing just because the season is here. I shoot a few arrows every other night in my basement just to keep in form.

10-19-2008, 09:07 PM
I forgot to remark on another thing you said, "I am new to the ART of bow hunting."

Most interesting you describe Archery as "an ART."

Comments anyone?

Hey Gary,

I guess what I meant is that there is an absolute love I think you need to have for something in order to accell at it. Therefore, anybody who has fun with something such as archrey, probably really enjoys it and spends a lot of time doing it. Which in my eyes, would make it some form of "art."

That however is just my personal opinion, and I am open to anything else somebody might have to say on the subject, but that is where I stand.

10-20-2008, 05:52 AM
Hey DP you are a very very good archer for someone just starting out!!! I think you will spank some azz on the 3-D course!

The practicing you did EVERYDAY this summer is what everyone should do!

DeerPredator was out everyday shooting. Stting up his ground blind and shoooting out of it even. He completely destroyed a new 3-D deer target and a Block target this summer.

Your ready, you just need a critter in front of ya.

Im sure youve seen the misc.page and seen where theyve busted my nuts .dont worry there is 1 thing about archery if you do it long enough, 2 things will happen
1-youre gonna miss
2-youre gonna wound something

What you do after each one of those is where you prove what kind of man and Sportsman you are.

10-20-2008, 12:09 PM
Thanks for all of the kind words DUCKS. I really appreciate all of the help and advice you offered to me while you were here. I had a blast and learned a lot from you in the short time you were here.

I have heard I will do those same things from other people as well. So I def. believe what you are saying. I just hope that I can bounce back and hopefully kill a better deer the following year. I really love to shoot, and having the right attitude, at least to me, made it even more enjoyable.