How To

More Tips from a Bowhunting Old Timer

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  • One more problem with shooting from blinds with relatively small shooting windows- If you are an instinctive shooter, the game always looks further away when looking through a shooting window. I think we instinctive shooters use surrounding objects and their relationship to the animal when estimating range. With me, this problem is more pronounced with narrow vertical shooting windows than with narrow horizontal shooting windows.   The solution is to have a shooting window that is as square as possible and 8 to 10 inches minimum on a side.  This might make you more visible, but with slow movements, a black background and  well camouflaged  face and hands it should not be a problem
  • If  you shoot feathers, you already know that they can make a lot of noise when nocking an arrow on the string.  This noise must not be a natural one because it sure spooks game!  It has always irritated me that fletching clamps are so short.  I like to use 4.5 to 5 inch fletch and you have to place the back of the feather too close to the nock.  If this distance is too short you will invariably rub your fingers against the back of the fletch (making the tell tail noise) when trying to nock and arrow.  This is especially so when using a tab (as I do).  I try to push the feather as far as possible to the front of the fletching clamp to gain as much space as possible.  I’m considering going to four fletch just to get away from this problem.  The only reason I hate to use four fletch is that it takes me 25% more time to fletch and arrow.  Yes, I’m that impatient!
  • I think the vast majority of my misses have been on severe downhill shoots, which is what you have every time you shoot from a tree stand.   I suspect most instinctive shooters would agree that they have a tendency to shoot too high on downhill shots.  I solve this problem (at lease I try to) by canting my bow to a near horizontal position.  With the exact same sight picture, a horizontal bow seems to shoot lower than when the bow is held at a vertical position. Naturally, this works best when shooting off the shelf and not with an elevated arrow rest.  You might want to play around with this.
  • Last but not least- Know exactly where the heart and lungs are positioned in the specie you are hunting.  In my opinion, most 3D targets are made with kill zones too far back. Practicing with these targets can promote aiming spots too far back.  The fact is, that on most animals once you get much more than two inches behind the front leg, you are getting close to the diaphragm.

On most antlered species, the heart lies directly above the leg bone and only 5-6 inches above the belly line.  While the heart is relatively in the same position on most  four legged species, the lungs can be quite different.  Cats, or instance, have lungs that extend  quite far back.  There is a book on this subject that is authored by a South African Veterinarian ( Keven Robertson) called “The Perfect Shot”  that is must reading.  This book is on African game, but there is enough variation in specie size to match most of the North American species as well.  This book is available through Safari Press (phone: 714-894-9080) and sells for $65 but it’s worth every penny.  After looking through this book you will be impressed on why angling away shots that are low and forward are the most productive. This book is written for rifle hunters, but we can certainly learn from it as well.

Images courtesy Dennis Kamstra

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