Becoming A Better Bowhunter: Part 1

Growing up in eastern Oklahoma, I “cut my teeth” hunting whitetail deer.

As a diligent student of whitetails from an early age, I learned the ins-and-outs of the game fairly early in my life.  By the time I was in my early 20s, I was bow-killing whitetails on a regular basis – I thought I knew it all! Funny thing was … I still wasn’t very good at consistently tagging trophy bucks.

Claypool's Becoming A Better Bowhunter 12 5-14
The author says bowhunters often stop practicing once the deer season opens, which is a big mistake.

In 1980, I made my first out-of-state, Do-It-Yourself bowhunt for Colorado high-country deer and elk. Becoming addicted to this pursuit, I focused most of my attention toward the endeavor for the next couple of years. During these multiple-week trips, I was pushing my mental and physical abilities to their limits; my perspective on toughness was redefined by these outings. In addition to becoming tougher, I also found myself quickly becoming much smarter — this in turn, boosted me up many rungs of the ladder of outdoor maturity.

What I’m getting at here is this: become an accomplished Western bowhunter and you’ll become a MUCH better whitetail hunter also. Hey, start spending a few weeks in the wilderness, mountainous West; you’ll soon find yourself giving Midwestern whitetails a “dirt nap” much more frequently!

The Devil Is In The Details
Most bowhunters have no problem practicing with their bow throughout most of the year, yet, when season arrives we have a tendency to let our practice sessions slip from the radar – NOT a good thing! It is at this juncture of the preparation process that we should be paying greatest attention to detail.

When season arrives, be sure to suit up in your cold weather clothing and take a few shots to inspect for problems. Often, the addition of heavy clothing can, and will, present changes to our shooting form that will result in varied points of impact. Such findings must be addressed before a blown shot opportunity on a big buck results. Possibly, the addition of an arm guard can save later heartache. You may also find yourself needing to adjust your form slightly to compensate for the bulky clothing. Possibly, you may find that you need to lower your draw length by one-half to 1 inch in order to achieve better – and more consistent — results.

Whatever the findings, be sure to shoot your bow with your hunting clothes on before you go to the woods, taking many things for granted.  Assuming that everything is “good to go,” instead of leaving no stone unturned, caused me much heartache in the early days of my bow hunting career.  Be smarter than that!

Check the Tip section now for  Part 2!

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