Hunting season will be here before we know it, and proper preparation can make all the difference between a successful and disappointing experience. Replicating real hunting situations throughout the summer is vital to better prepare for the hunt and prevent simple mistakes from ruining an entire season. Below, we'll go over five ways that hunters can better train during the summer to increase their chances of success.
- One Arrow a Day
One of the best summer archery drills comes from the seasoned bow hunter and television host Fred Eichler. He encourages shooting just one arrow daily to mentally prepare for a real hunting shot opportunity. By simulating the one-shot chance that hunters often encounter while in the field, this exercise helps build focus and precision. Although multiple-round shooting sessions in the yard are beneficial, shooting at least one arrow each day throughout the summer better prepares the hunter for a one-shot-only opportunity, where a single arrow can make or break the hunt.
- Increase Heart Rate Before Shooting
Every bowhunter knows the feeling of heart-pounding adrenaline when a prized animal comes into archery range. Often called "buck fever," has caused many hunters to miss their shot. To help this, it's essential to prepare your body for such intense moments. Conduct a series of jumping jacks or end a long run by picking up your bow and shooting while your heart rate is still high. By shooting under elevated heart rate conditions, you will learn to control your breathing and steady your aim even in the excitement of the moment.
- Shoot in Hunting Gear
Summer shooting practice is typically more comfortable in shorts and short-sleeved shirts, but it's vital to practice in the same gear you'll be wearing during the colder fall temperatures of the hunting season. Hunting clothes can sometimes interfere with the shot, causing deflections or misguided arrows. Moreover, wearing full hunting gear during practice sessions helps you get accustomed to shooting positions and the feeling of the gear you’ll be experience while hunting. This familiarity ensures that you can move comfortably and smoothly during the actual hunt.
- Shoot from an Elevated Position
One significant factor that causes many bowhunters to miss their shot each year is the lack of practice from an elevated position. Practicing from a standing pose in the yard or range is insufficient preparation for shooting from a treestand. When you’re in a treestand for the first time during a hunt, the different stance can lead to mistakes in aiming points and arrow flight, resulting in missed or wounded animals. To avoid this, set up a mock treestand or shoot from an elevated porch or deck that resembles the same height as the hunting position. This practice allows you to adjust and improve your shooting accuracy from an elevated platform.
- Practice with Broadheads
Another common reason hunters experience different flight patterns or hitting points while hunting is because they haven't practiced with broadheads. Using the same weight of field points as the broadheads you'll use during hunting is essential, but it's equally vital to shoot with broadheads to observe any changes or adjustments needed. Practicing with broadheads ensures that you’re well-prepared for the specific conditions you’ll face while hunting.
In conclusion, summer is the perfect time to hone your hunting skills and improve your chances of a successful hunting season. By incorporating these five essential tips into your training routine, you'll be better prepared mentally and physically to handle real hunting situations. So, practice with dedication, simulate the intensity of the hunt, and embrace the challenges that lie ahead. Goodluck this season!