It’s time to multitask and start thinking about whitetail hunting—archery style. What? I know, I know. The toms are still gobbling and irritating you with their suspended animation as they taunt you from just out of range, but that bow isn’t going to shoot itself this fall.
Unlike your shotgun that you can dig out of your gun vault and take hunting with minimal preparation, archery equipment requires more bonding time. It takes precise matchup of equipment, dedicated practice and year-round familiarity to keep your shooting skills polished. This is especially true if you’re like me and have a new bow to become friends with. I’m only a few weeks away from an inaugural big game black bear hunt with my new Mathews Heli-m, and I’ve been going to extremes to make sure me and my bow are best friends. I haven’t taken it out to dinner and a movie yet, but I might (don’t tell my wife).
If you want to become best friends with your bow and get the jump on autumn archery seasons, take a couple of these tips to heart. Just don’t cheat on your spouse by spending too much time with your bow.
1. If you don’t feel comfortable giving your bow a tune-up, take it to a pro shop for a pre-season inspection. Make sure all cables, strings and accessories are in proper working order.
2. Select the arrows and broadheads you want to hunt with and use them at every shooting session. I gave up practicing with field tips long ago and always shoot practice broadheads.
3. Are you thinking of a new release? Switch now so you have months to become comfortable with it. I admit to rotating between an index trigger release and a thumb-style back-tension release to keep target panic under control, but I make sure to shoot with both every session.
4. Move your target. Shooting at your target from varying distances, angles and elevations mimics hunting conditions. Move it to prepare yourself for real-world hunting environments.
5. Lastly, practice—at least some of the time—with a lifelike 3-D target. I like the ease of my Block, but I also pound arrows into my GlenDel Buck to ensure they’re passing through vitals at killing angles.
All right, enough babbling about pre-season bowhunting preparation, get back to that obstinate gobbler.