The Beginner Bowhunter – Part 1

Jacob Mehr Hunting Tips & Tricks 6 Comments

Part 1 – An Introduction.

I need your help. But before we get to that, let me catch you up to speed.

I’ve always had a passion for the outdoors. Growing up I spent a lot of time fishing, camping, and just being in the woods. At age twelve, like most boys, I completed my firearm safety certificate course and finally got to begin hunting. Since then, I have chased after whitetail, grouse, ducks, and geese. And I’ve loved every minute of it. However, for the last decade there has been something I’ve wanted to begin, and that something is bowhunting.

And the time is now.

I am 31 years old, live in north central Minnesota, and finally have a bow.

This February, I was able to pull the trigger on purchasing a Mission Hype DT from our local archery shop, Beimert Outdoors. The guys were super knowledgable and a ton of help in choosing my bow, getting me set up, and sighted in at 20 yards. As soon as the snow melted, I was able to practice in my yard a handful of times. But that was almost two months ago and I haven’t shot since. See I am high school math teacher along with the varsity baseball coach, and to say the least, spring is a very busy time of the year. When I’m not at school or the ball field, spending that time with my family is an absolute must. Now summer is here, I’m excited for fall, and I know it is the practicing over the next few months that will ultimately help lead to a successful hunting season this fall.

This is where you come in.

Now I am an experienced whitetail hunter, but all of that is with a rifle. Bowhunting is a different beast. Throughout this series of posts, I will be chronicling my preparation for my first bow season and asking for your advice and tips.

So here it is, please comment below on the top three things you focus on when it comes to your shooting form.

I’m grabbing my bow this weekend to start shooting and can’t wait to hear what you all have to offer. Thanks a ton!

Jake

Proverbs 3:6

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Comments 6

  1. Profile photo of Matt Vernon

    Well fist off welcome to archery! I have been hunting with a bow for a little over 10 years and while it sure is fun and rewarding, sometimes it is also very frustrating. You really need to re-assess your expectations in most cases. #1 thing to remember is Patience. You are going to need to let that deer come in a lot closer then you did with a rifle or even a shotgun and since you have been hunting for quite some time you know, the closer that deer is the better chance they have of busting you on the slightest move. (that is the fun part, having a deer inside of 20 yards and just watching them move around and enjoying the awesomeness of God’s Creation)

    So to answer your question here are my top three
    #1 a smooth slow draw stroke
    #2 remember to use your back muscles and not just your arms to draw back, the back is much stronger and can hold longer before the shakes start
    #3 keep your bow arm bent slightly and bow hand relaxed to minimize torque on the bow

    practice practice practice and it will all come together!

  2. Profile photo of Jacob Mehr Post
    Author

    Thanks for the great reply, Matt. I appreciate it. I’ve really been focusing on relaxing my hand and it has come easy. For some reason though, I struggle to keep a slight bend in my arm. I will continue to work on that. Thanks again!

    I’m still looking for more advice that anyone is willing to offer! Thanks for reading!

    1. Profile photo of Matt Vernon

      No problem Jacob. Archery is a great pastime, even just practicing is so much fun.
      As for the bend in your arm, you will get figure it out. It only takes one or two times getting slapped in the forearm by your string to help you remember to bend that arm a little….trust me 🙂
      Have fun and shoot straight!

  3. Hey Jake! Welcome to bowhunting! I’ve been shooting for a while now (13-15 years- I forget) and when it comes to form repetition is my number one. Practice. Practice. Practice. Until you can literally draw in your sleep and focus on your anchor points.

    Number two is build your strength. It’s going to be hard to hold your draw when you first start but with all that practice, you’ll be able to hold steady for longer periods of time as you never know how long you’ll have to wait for a deer to take that one or two extra steps into your shooting lane.

    Number three is breathing. Appropriate breathing will help you hold your draw longer, be more accurate and stay calm while you watch that deer close the distance.

    Good luck and get out and practice!

  4. Jake

    My approach to bow form is the sayme as my approach to everything, keep it simple. There are only two steps to shooting; aiming, and releasing. Within these two are the other tips you’ve received (strength, breathing, grip, anchor point…). I personally separate the two steps and work on them separately. Aiming is simply holding steady on a desired point, this can be done in the house. Draw your bow, anchor, and hold steady on any small household item (I use light switches) for as long as you can and repeat. This will build stamina and will focus the mind on “aim small, miss small”. Next is releasing the arrow without tweaking the bow. The drill I recommend for this is closing your eyes. Stand close to your block, draw and aim, close your eyes and slowly squeeze your release. There is a huge difference between punching the trigger and releasing and arrow. It’s the same idea as a slow trigger pull rifle hunting. It should surprise you when the arrow releases when done correctly. I’ve always figured that if I hold steady and release an arrow with torquing the bow, it will consistently fly true. Beyond these tips, I do most of my practice at 10 or 60 yds. The ten yard practice is driving tacks through form repetition and muscle memory and the 60 yard practice just makes everything else seem like a chip shot. All good coaches practice harder than they play and after a few rounds at 60, the 20’s and 30’s are cake. Hope this helps, welcome to the passion of sticks and strings, it’s hard to go back.

  5. Thought of a bit more that might help…Practice hunting scenarios. Shoot sitting down, estimate distances (vs ranging), shoot in between pins (35 yds), shoot at twilight, shoot from a tree stand/elevation, shoot from a ground blind or simply in the brush/woods. Shooting from an elevated position can cost newbies deer, you can’t simply drop your bow arm (changes anchor point) you need to pivot/bend from the hip. Few deer are shot standing broad side at noon at 20 yards in mowed grass. Once you get your fundamentals, start applying them to hunting. There’s a whole group of serious shooters that never go in the woods (I call them paper punchers and they can be recognized by magnifying lense sights, 4′ stabilizers and hip arrow quivers) that can be great assets when learning form but personally I love to hunt so my practice mimics my end game. Luck favors the prepared.

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