3 Off-Season Archery Tips

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Ways to enhance your bowhunting practice regimen

It's easy to become complacent during the off-season. But you can't do that. Here are three tips for staying on top of your game.

(Bill Konway photo)

Don't Get Grounded

It's often difficult to think of fall bowhunting early in the year, but regular archery practice can never begin too early since it keeps your shooting skills sharp and those hard-earned muscle memories fresh. With modern compounds' forgiving nature, we tend to delay our shooting practice until summer or even early autumn. And that makes refreshing the skills acquired last year all that more difficult to re-hone.

One of the more common complaints I hear is how a bowhunter missed what seemed an easy shot from his or her treestand. Most often the miss was a result of not practicing from a height that duplicated the treestand. How you shoot and where your arrow strikes when at ground level is a lot different than from a height of, say, 15 feet or so. Regular practice sessions should always include some elevated shots, whether from a treestand (if you have trees on your back lawn or property) or even a roof that approximates normal stand height. If you have trouble mastering the distance and accuracy differences caused by the elevated position, you might consider a pendulum sight that automatically adjusts to the vertical hold angle the bow is being held and shot, from ground level upward to normal treestand heights. And don't forget the safety belt.

Match Point

Bowhunters who do a lot of 3D shooting, whether organized or at home, normally use field points of the same weight as the broadheads they'll be using come the fall hunting seasons. So far so good. However, once they're ready to hunt, they need to consider the changes that occur when field points are replaced with broadheads.

We all know that non-expanding broadheads will usually group differently than did the field points on the same arrows. But if the arrows used for practice were initially spin-balanced and set up with broadheads in place, each arrow should be marked so the same broadhead can be reinstalled to assure maximum accuracy. This can be done by marking or numbering a vane on each arrow for identification and then storing the corresponding broadheads with those same marks or numbers (empty egg cartons work well for this) so the broadhead is an exact match to the original arrow it was installed on.

Rx For Old 3-D Targets

Thanks to a budget-minded friend, I picked up a simple tip to extend the lives of old 3D big game targets -- the beat-up kind some shooters send to the landfill because fresh inserts are no longer available. The guy simply buys one of those basic closed-cell (usually square) archery targets, cuts it in a size(s) that will replace the main vital area, traces its dimensions on the side of an old 3D target(s) for it to fit in, then, removes the old shot-up section and replaces it with the section of the new cell, using the aerosol-type insulation foam. Once dry, he spray paints it in the appropriate color to match the rest of the 3-D target. Cheap but practical — and that pretty much describes my frugal friend.

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