(Do it NOW! Not right before season!)
Many archers like to be constantly researching, analyzing and experimenting in hopes to continue improving their success rate in the field. We spend hours and hours, if not days, in the stand and when that moment of truth comes… we all want to deliver. However, sometimes in our quest for the next best thing out of the market, we complicate shooting or lose what simply works. The result of slipping accuracy or no improvement can just add to more frustration and lost confidence, and we all know confidence is key in archery. The following are five simple ways you can improve your shooting.
1. String Loop
This little piece of string can help in three ways compared to hooking your release directly on the bowstring. First of all, string-loops are more forgiving of minor imperfections in your release. A loop also prevents an arrow from sliding up and down during a shot. And last, string-loops protect your string and serving from common wear and tear.
2. Round Pin Housing
Aligning a round pin housing sight with a round peep sight is just another “anchor point” to result in better aiming and consistency from shot to shot. Although some bowhunters like to center the pins, matching up the circles instead tends to make for faster aligning and keeps the same anchor regardless of what pin you use. This can also allow you to use a larger peep sight, meaning more light can pass through so you’ll have more visibility in low-light conditions.
3. Bubble Up!
If you are a beginning archer, ignore this step. Otherwise, to improve your shooting, start paying attention to the level on your sight (many have them, and if not, you can buy levels for bows with a self-adhesive backing to stick to your sight) and centering the bubble. You’d be amazed how far off you can be when you pull back and THINK you have your bow vertically level! And you’d be amazed at how much this can make you shoot left or right. This can help you while 3-D shooting different terrain and especially while bowhunting at different angles.
4. Draw Weight +/-
When pulling back your bow, you should be concentrating only on aiming, not on struggling to pull it back! Don’t have your poundage too high. It is said that if you can’t sit down cross-legged (Indian style) and pull back your bow… you have too much poundage. Plus, the smoother and slower you can draw your bow, the less likely you are to spook quarry during the draw cycle. Also, unfortunately many guys like to max their bows because they can. However, their shoulders are ruined once at an older age. With today’s bow, there is no need to have “Safari poundage” for whitetail hunting.
On the flip side, having enough draw weight is a struggle for many women. When shooting less than 50 pounds, adding just a few pounds can make a world of difference, especially with fast-reacting game. During the summer, work to increase your poundage by just adding two or three pounds at a time until you are completely comfortable with shooting.
5. Watching other shooters
Yes, I included this! Because you can learn so much from others. It is amazing some of the wacky shooting stances or white-knuckled bow grips you can witness if you just watch others. (Also, you’ll notice many women like to angle their hips forward and beginners often lean their head to the bow – more no-nos.) Visit a 3-D shoot, archery range, or even look at shooting photos of your hunting friends on Facebook… watching others can really remind you of what to steer clear of with form. And watching someone with great form can help you improve, too. Look closely to the details… their anchor, their time aiming, stance, bow grip, hips, back… everything. And then learn from it. It can also really help to watch yourself as well. I’ve set up a video camera/tripod on myself before while shooting and then played it back to see if I noticed anything I can improve.