Anyone who has ever bowhunted can attest to the fact that there are few activities that offer the same level of pure enjoyment and satisfaction as that of pursuing game with bow and arrow. Bowhunting is an activity where success is often decided by mere inches, and this success is earned through dedication and diligence toward your craft.
If you find yourself interested in the prospect of heading afield solely with archery tackle, it is important to first understand that there are a number of things to consider before getting into bowhunting. A thorough understanding of each of these principles will ease the inevitable learning curve associated with bowhunting, and assist you in setting your expectations realistically.
The following are several words of wisdom that I wish I had been told prior to beginning my bowhunting journey.
You Will Have Off Days
Just as any target archer from time to time experiences days when practice sessions do not go as they had hoped, you will have days in the woods where you feel that nothing goes as planned. You will spook game, miss shot opportunities, and make a less than ideal shots. These things happen to all bowhunters.
The important thing to remember is that you must always take these days as a learning experience, and resist the urge to feel let down. Consider what caused your hunt to unravel, and form a plan to ensure that these mistakes are never made again. Remember, bowhunting is a learning experience that never ends.
You Must Practice Regularly
Like any physical task, proficiency at shooting your bow is only gained through repetition. This proficiency carries over to your next hunt, as you must be able to execute a nearly perfect shot in the moment of truth, as pressure is mounting. Make it a point to shoot multiple times a week, and avoid prolonged periods without practice.
When a deer, turkey, or other game animal is standing only mere yards in front of you, you will be overcome with adrenaline. When this happens, forming logical thoughts becomes much more difficult. Extensive practice allows muscle memory to take over, assisting you in making the most of these opportunities.
Practice Should Reflect Hunt-Like Conditions
Unlike shooting in your backyard on a summer afternoon, you will likely not be wearing a T-shirt and tennis shoes while in a treestand. Bowhunting takes place in a wide range of conditions, and many require you to wear bulky clothing in an attempt to remain warm. This can make it more difficult to maintain proper form and remain accurate if ill-prepared.
Occasionally practice in full hunting attire, as this gives you a feel for what you will be contending with in the woods. Also, if you intend to hunt out of a treestand, practice shooting from an elevated platform whenever possible. Likewise, ground blind hunters should seriously consider practicing from a sitting position.
Choosing Gear Is A Personal Decision
When choosing archery gear, you should base your decision on your personal needs and financial capabilities. You should, under no circumstances, allow the thought of having to have the nicest equipment deter you from taking up bowhunting. Remember, our ancestors pursued game with wooden bows and chiseled stone arrowheads, and they were successful nonetheless.
Purchase a beginner level bow and whatever arrows and broadheads that you feel to be affordable. This will allow you to begin hunting, and you are always afforded the opportunity to upgrade this equipment at a later date, as time and money allows.
Consider Finding A Mentor
The quickest way to success in any new endeavor is to find a mentor that is already achieving what you wish to be in the near future. Most experienced archers are ecstatic to see beginning archers joining their ranks, and most will be more than willing to help in any way possible. Their years of knowledge can cut the learning curve associated with bowhunting drastically.
Maybe you have a family member, friend, or neighbor that already enjoys bowhunting. If so, politely express your interest and ask for guidance. If you do not know anyone who bowhunts, take a trip to your local archery pro shop and locate the individual that appears to be most knowledgeable. Ask this person for advice and explain to them why you would like their opinion.
Hunting For Success
Those that begin bowhunting, typically find themselves pondering why they did not take up the sport sooner. Hunting in this primitive manner assists you in becoming a more efficient and studious hunter overall, and typically provides you with greater opportunity to go afield. Through diligent practice and ample forethought, you will soon find success in your endeavors and build memories that will last a lifetime.