"Well this sucks," is all my good friend and archery hunting partner Scotty could say after his fourth consecutive broadhead-tipped arrow found its way far from its intended mark. For Scotty, an archer who typically places five out of six arrows into a fist-sized target at 40 yards, this was borderline maddening. This feeling, a sense of frustration as archery season looms, seems to plague the working-class archer who often finds little spare time to shoot consistently.
So how can you make the most of your shooting time when time is running low? Here's a simple tip to curb your last-minute archery angst.
Focus on quality, not quantity.
I, like most archers, relish the time spent at the range. In the not too distance past I use to find myself spending the entire day at the range. My time was divided between refining each arrow, chatting with fellow club members, even cooking up a lunch or dinner during marathon stints near the club house. On these days I could loose more than 200 arrows.
Fast-forward three years, a full-time job, college, and a shortening archery season and my range time has become a fraction of its former self.
Today, meaning an average workday, set the simple goal of six arrows.
And even six is a stretch. The goal should actually be just one. The first shot each evening should, in your head, be a play-by-play of your dream hunting situation. Visualize that monster mule deer feeding, or that rutted-up elk walking into your setup, standing a mere 30, 40, or 60 yards away, whatever your chosen distance may be, as you draw and anchor your bow. In archery you only get one shot, so make it count. On midweek days, shooting is all about reaffirming your in-depth weekend practice sessions--a chance to build upon quantity with the visualization of success.
This abbreviated practice can be accomplished with a standard block target or a full size 3-d archery target. The benefit of a 3-d target is the emphasis on shot placement, which can be adjusted to practice quartering shots. Just remember: be deliberate with your shot, because this season may boil down to that one well-placed arrow. Good luck!