My List of Top 10 Things to Remember As a Beginner Bow Hunter
By Huntress View Team Member Jamie Dailey
You've decided to purchase your first compound bow and now what? Learning the basics of it is a must if you are to master harvesting an animal with it. So I have gathered a few basics that are, in my opinion, the essentials to learn.
1: Learn the mechanics of the bow
Learning what makes your bow work is vital if you are to properly use it in the field. Here are a couple of things you need to familiarize yourself with:
· What cam system is your bow equipped with and how it works
· The timing system and how it effects the arrows flight
2: Know your draw length
This is one of the most important pieces in making accurate shots. Having an inaccurate draw length will cause you problems every time you shoot. A couple issues correlated with an inaccurate draw length will be constant slapping of your lower arm by the string and inconsistent shooting.
If you want to check your draw length stand with your palms facing forward and your arms stretched out to your sides. DO NOT OVERSTRETCH YOUR ARMS as this will cause the number to be off. Have someone measure from the tip of one middle finger to the other and divide that number by 2.5. For instance my span is 65" so I would have a draw length of 26". After you have done that you will need to take your bow to someone with a bow machine and have them set it to the proper draw length. Before you leave be sure to test the bow by making a few shots to make sure you are comfortable with where it is at.
3: Get to know your anchor point
After you have got your draw length set and are feeling comfortable with it, the next thing is to find and get acquainted with your anchor point. The anchor point is the area at which, when at full draw, your hand and release are at. Most people find that their anchor point is behind the ear. A good thing to have as a beginner is something called a "kisser button". This is a small disk that can be installed in your bow string so that when you are at full draw it rests right at the corner of your mouth.
4: Practice in the clothes you will hunt in
I made this mistake many times as a beginner. Practicing in the gear you will be hunting in is a good thing to get in the habit of. For instance, you have been practicing in your everyday clothing, only to get in the stand with multiple layers on and find it hard to draw back and get comfortable. So eliminate that scenario by gearing up (I know it may be hot) and making a few shots just to get a feel of what it will be like when the time comes.
5: Aim small, miss small
Many people find it easier to shoot at huge 3D targets than small circular targets (I am one of those people), but being able to aim and group at small targets will ensure that you have the accuracy to make a clean shot in the field.
6: Practice from your stands
Take some time to visit the woods and shoot from the stand you will be using. Take a rangefinder and know what yardage is at what tree, bush, or even a rock so it eliminates the guesswork. ALWAYS WEAR YOUR HARNESS SYSTEM FOR SAFETY
7: Get a grip, or not
How do you hold your bow? Do you grip it full hand or allow it to rest in the curve of your thumb and pointer finger? Most people will tell you to never grip the bow as it will torque and cause your arrow to fly all willy nilly. So make a good habit of either A: placing just the tips of your fingers on the bow, or B: allow your hand to open all the way fingers pointed out. The hardest lesson for me to learn was not to torque your wrist and get slapped by the string. It will take time to learn what grip you’re comfortable with and accurate in using.
8: Fine tuning
Be sure to have your bow fine tuned a few months before the season. Don’t go a week before to your local archery shop and try to do this because that could create more problems than you want to deal with. I've found that the easiest way to do this is paper tune your bow. You can find many instructional videos and blogs on this method. It's even something you can set up at your house and do, but be sure you know how to read the tears and fix them if you go this route.
9: Practice Practice Practice
Practice makes perfect. Even if it isn't but for 10 minutes each day, practice. Shoot from different distances and different stances (sitting, standing, and different leg positions). You never know what scenario will come up in the field so make sure you are prepared.
10: Just enjoy it.
Just enjoy the time spent doing what you love. Don’t get frustrated or discouraged if it doesn’t work out right from the get go. Take your time and be willing to learn. Take advice from people even if you think you know what you’re doing. It isn’t easy. I know, trust me, but you can’t see what you look like while shooting (unless you video) what other people see. If the advice they give you doesn’t work for you, just say “Thanks, but no thanks”. Have fun, kick butt, and enjoy your knew found skills!