Want to come away with more than an “almost” or a “next year” this season? Read on to find out seven secrets of the pros!
By: Jace Bauserman
Whether you plan to head to the woods with a bow, rifle or both, these 7 tips will help boost the number of arrows and/or bullets you put in the vitals. The key is doing more than reading them and saying, “Ya, I kinda do that,” or “Great, more tips from guys that don’t know what they’re talking about.” These guys do know what they’re talking about. Read their words carefully and pick out a few tips that will help you. Then apply those tips and have a great season!
1. “The best archer in the world can’t hold his pin dead-still on target,” said champion archer and T.R.U. Ball Marketing/Staff Shooting Coordinator Brandon Reyes. “You have to trust the process. Guys and gals get too caught up in going out and shooting hundreds of arrows. It’s better to shoot a dozen perfect shots. If you can address the target and execute perfectly all the way through, then you made a good shot. Focus on execution and not just sending arrow after arrow downrange. Trust your pin float. Your subconscious mind is constantly dragging your pin across the area you want your arrow to hit. When the shot breaks clean and it isn’t rushed, you’re on your way to becoming a better archer and bowhunter.”
2. “You need to spend time behind your rifle,” says Senior Communications Manager for Savage Arms J.J. Reich. “Too many guys and gals shoot a few rounds before the season and call it good. If you shoulder your firearm consistently, you can enjoy repeatable accuracy. A good rifle will promote accuracy. A system like the AccuFit allows you to shoulder your rifle and align your eye with the optic in a more consistent manner without moving your head around to properly acquire the target. If a rifle consistently gets caught on your body or clothes when you shoulder it, it’s probably too long for you. A rifle that fits properly should shoulder quickly and easily. Keep this mind when you’re testing rifles.”
3. “Shooting 3-D and target archery has made me an efficient bowhunter,” says accomplished shooter and Prime Archery Marketing Specialist Tim Checkeroski. “Shooting 3-D and indoor Vegas rounds forces you to deal with pressure. There are people watching you. There are shots going off while you’re trying to execute. This type of pressure elevates the heart rate, much like a big buck will. The more you put yourself in these situations, the more comfortable you become.”
4. “It’s all about a system,” says Train to Hunt champion and archery pro shop owner Phil Mendoza. “If you don’t have a detailed system, you’re in big trouble. The whole process will start to breakdown and that’s how target panic begins. Your pin hits the target and you trigger the shot. Shooting like this leads to a loss of joy and in-the-field missies. If you have system where one thing happens and then the next, and you repeat this system each and every time you trigger your release, it will become muscle memory. You will start to focus on the system more than on the shot. Pretty soon, the shot will just happen, and it will be right where you want it to be. If you want to have a better year in 2019, develop a system and then put that system to practice.”
5. “Time on the bench,” notes accomplished big game killer Jason Weaver. “I hear all about guys and gals wanting to shoot and kill game at long distances. That’s fine, but so much goes into making an effective downrange shot. You need to spend time on the bench. You need your rifle to become part of you. You need to make sure your cheek weld is the same each and every time. The view through your scope must be the same. You need to learn to control your breathing and the like. The only way to do that is through consistent practice. Shooting off a bench is controlled. It boosts confidence and really allows you to learn your round and your weapon.”
6. “My pro tip is about picking a release aid,” said Prime Pro Shooter Kenny Lantz. Kenny is coming off a huge win at the first ASA Pro Shoot of the year in Foley, Alabama. “You have to find, between a hinge, button and index, what works best for you. I’ve shot against the best archers in the world and I’ve been beaten by every release out there. Each of these archers that master their releases do something a little bit different. There is more than one right way to fire a bow. I can remember watching YouTube videos of all the top archers. I would try and do what they would do. A lot of times, that just wouldn’t work for me. I’ve tried every kind of release out there. You’ve gotta find the release that’s right for you and master it. Don’t feel like you’ve gotta do the same thing as everyone else. Be an individual and you will find something that will work for you.”
7. “Regardless of the weapon, distance or target, I trust the process,” said Marc Smith. During his outdoor tenure, Smith has shot professionally in the archery arena. Today, he focuses on educating and helping others become their best. He is a mule deer Yoda, and has taken throngs of bucks with broadheads and bullets. “Once I’ve determined I’m going to take the shot I follow my well-rehearsed and practiced shoot process. I discard the attributes of the trophy aspect and only focus on the exact spot I intend to put the bullet or arrow. Shot set up, proper breathing and follow-through, it’s all taken into account and executed each and every time. I practice shooting so much that my shot is automatic regardless of the weapon in my hand. By following my process, it takes the focus of missing or something bad happening out of the equation. Remember, nothing is foolproof. There are no guarantees in shooting, but this process has worked more times than not for me over the past 35 years.”
There you go! Words from those who get it done on the range and in the woods. Heed their wisdom and make this season your best to date. Now get practicing!