Deer hunting with a bow is extremely challenging, and this is precisely why it draws so many hunters each season. The payoff to the greater challenge is the increased gratification that the hunter earns when they successfully complete the hunt. In order to do this, they need determination, focus, patience, practice, and time.
In addition, if they are an experienced rifle hunter, they may have some additional hurdles to clear due to being set in their habits. However, no matter the hunter’s background, the goal of a quick, clean kill is attainable with the proper effort and direction. Here are top five tips that should help you along the road toward mastering archery deer hunting.
5. The Proper Equipment
The first step in becoming a master bow hunter is to choose the appropriate weapon. It is one thing to understand the need, but an entirely different thing to accomplish it. Some of the qualities are easy to choose based on the hunter’s height, weight, and other physical qualities. However, there are aspects of our physicality that are much more subtle and not so easily quantified.
As the hunter gains experience, they begin to recognize their preferences, and then choose a bow based on them. This is not possible when one starts out, so it is best that the new bow hunter does not spend a great deal of money on that initial bow. Buy one within a reasonable budget that provides smooth operation while reducing torque and force as much as possible.
4. Concentration and Calm Intensity
Whether one hunts deer with a bow or with a gun, concentration is a key to success. However, it’s important to note the distinction between deep concentration and tunnel vision. New hunters tend to focus on focusing and therefore overcompensate. So honed in one particular spot, they lose the sense of their environment, which is often a necessity for a successful kill.
The other great problem is anxiety. Once the hunter spots the big buck, the adrenaline flows, but then the waiting game begins. Therefore, the hunter must actively learn to channel that energy in a positive way. This is true for all forms of hunting. However, a bow is much more prone to error from the subtlest movements.
3. Proper Stance
The proper bow stance is a tricky proposition that many people compare to a golf swing, and there are some similarities. During each stage (draw, aim, and release), there is distinct and proper foot placement and balance. It is difficult for the new hunter to keep the three phases of stance in tune with the motion of their head, arms, and chest. Having a tutor is very helpful. Videos available on the Internet are also a great resource. It is easier to accomplish once the hunter has witnessed it done properly.
Many philosophies throughout the world equate understanding to “becoming one with”. That definition is particularly fitting to hunting where the best hunters are those who become one with their target and the environment. The hunter must understand how the deer thinks and moves in order to anticipate its actions. The human hunter cannot be fast enough to succeed with a bow simply by reacting.
We all know the old adage that practice makes perfect. That applies to bow hunting just as well as any other endeavor. The difference is that bow hunting can be incredibly frustrating, so the hunter must prepare himself or herself for this ahead of time. If they go into it expecting fast results, they are setting themselves up for disappointment, which leads to people quitting. There must be a strong dedication to the effort in the early stages before one becomes an accomplished bow hunter.
The key to mastering deer hunting with a bow is practice, much as it is when hunting deer with a rifle. The difference lies in the learning curve. The rifle disguises many of our flaws, flaws that are too readily apparent with a bow. However, with dedication, one can overcome those shortcomings on their way to mastering the bow.