Ditch The Range!

Have you ditched the archery range yet? No? Well ... it's that time of year.

No, I’m not talking about putting up your bow and putting in time on the couch with a video game joystick in hand. What I am suggesting is that you consider leaving your indoor archery range or manicured outdoor range for the rest of the season. Here’s why.

Archery ranges, indoor and outdoor, have their purpose. They provide a pre-ranged, oftentimes climate-controlled, area to shoot. They give you a constant venue to focus on form, control, concentration and to dial-in a bow to precise, personal standards. If you need to shoot during a cold snap, a rain storm or a heat wave, by all means visit one. But now that hunting season is creeping up on you it’s time to practice like you hunt.

Mother Nature isn’t usually user friendly. She definitely isn’t to bowhunters. Wind, rain, terrain, vegetation and the likes all fight with you to make the perfect shot. That noted, you need to get out and practice in the midst of everything Mother Nature can dish out. Regardless if you use a block target or a 3D deer target, practice in the real world the remaining weeks before season.

1. Practice in all weather conditions. Now is the time to see how wind affects the flight of your arrow, including drift. Don’t ditch practice time if the wind is blowing. You should also fling a few arrows in the drizzle and during the heat of the day. Early pronghorn and elk seasons often sport temperatures of 90 degrees or more.

2. Practice shooting through vegetation. It doesn’t matter if you’re hunting deer or elk, you’ll likely be threading an arrow through a leafy window, past a limb or over a log. Place your target to reflect some of these possibilities and try to bust through a vegetative screen now and then to see what it does to your arrow flight.

3. Practice shooting the incline and decline. Modern rangefinders such as Nikon’s new Aculon compensate for the distance difference in steep shots, but you still need to make sure your mind and shooting form meet the demands of steep shots, whether from a tree or in the mountains.

4. Finally, practice with broadheads. Unless your broadheads fly exactly like field points, and I mean exactly, it’s time to shoot solely with broadheads. Wind can catch the slightest edge of fixed-blade or expandable heads and change the point of impact. Learn now how your broadheads will fly later on the big hunt. I’ve been shooting my G5 Montecs since June. We’re good friends.

I’m busy enjoying my new Mathews Creed XS, but I’m shooting it in a hunting-world setting. Here’s hoping you are as well.