Archery coach Alli Armstrong Vaughan on training for Hunti
August 31, 2021
Training the way you hunt is essential, and summer provides a great opportunity to get out and shoot your archery in preparation for the upcoming hunting season. You never know what the circumstances will be when you have a chance with an animal. Therefore, it is better to be ready for any situation or shooting position. While practicing the different positions below, keep the fundamentals of form in mind. During these situations, try to limit your overall movement as much as possible. After adding these techniques to your training routine, you should be confident in your experience in the next archery season!
Tree stand – standing shot
I’m from Illinois, so between October 1 and mid-January you’ll find me in a tree. It’s the number one practice shot I do because I’m very likely to pull one off in the fall. It’s good to remember with these shots that angles come into effect. While standing, remember to bend at the waist to account for these angles. In addition, it is important to be fast and quiet. I can replicate this by trying not to make a sound when I grab my bow from the hanger and stand up in the tree stand.
Blinded on the ground – Shooting seated
Another realistic shot I like to practice is sitting down and shooting blind on the ground. Drawing your bow while seated may seem more difficult than drawing it standing up. Be sure to practice this move ahead of time, so you’ll be ready when the time comes. Remember that form is always important. In a seated position, I also practice rotating the waist while stepping back. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the blind’s openings so that you can turn quickly to pull through all the windows.
Spot and Stalk – Pull to your knees
For spot and stalk situations, I practice kneeling shooting. It can also be more difficult to draw from this position, so practice is required. ;Furthermore, I practice shooting at the edge of a tree or various cover. It’s very realistic when you’re spotting and stalking because you’re trying to stay hidden rather than shooting in the open.
Shoot in your hunting gear
It is important to shoot with the same equipment and clothing that you will use during your hunt. Shooting in casual summer clothes in the yard will be very different from shooting in a heavy hunting jacket. If you haven’t had it in a while, a coat might feel a little constricting, so be sure to train with it. Make sure your sleeves don’t interfere with your release and the collar or hood doesn’t affect your anchor points. You might even end up having to take pictures with your backpack; it doesn’t hurt to try a few shots like that to find out what it would look like.
Film in a variety of weather and temperatures
Remember to train in bad weather and varying temperatures. It can be wind, rain, snow or even cold. However, if you do this, be careful of your bowstrings and the effect the precipitation might have on them. The chances of having perfect weather on every hunt are slim, so it’s good to be prepared for adverse conditions. When you’re cold it can be harder to draw your bow, so check that your weight isn’t too heavy for you.
Take photos in low light and direct sunlight
Similar to the weather, lighting will almost never be perfect during your hunt. Generally, the best times for animal movement will be dawn or dusk, which means low light. Prepare for those low-light situations where you can still shoot ethically and legally. Your pins and the light through your gaze will look very different than they would with more daylight. The same applies in direct sunlight; it is wise to be ready for both.
Shoot with broad heads
Once I get closer to hunting season, I change my field tips and shoot wide points to make sure my full gear setup is accurate. Putting broadheads on your arrows at the last minute and expecting them to hit precisely where your field point arrows can be damaging. They will fly slightly differently than your field tips, so take that into account beforehand.
Shoot the same species
Shooting points on a foam or layered bag target are great for aiming down your bow and ensuring your bow is always visible, especially after travel. However, I’m getting my best practices on a 3D target that’s the same species I’m hunting. This gives me a realistic idea of where to place my arrows and increases my chances of success. 3D targets are also the best way I have found to practice different angles.