For Bowhunting Success Shoot "By the Numbers"

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In archery, repetitiveness is EVERYTHING.

Same anchor point, same release action, same grip on the bow, same follow through... it all comes down to the N'th degree of "little" things making the final result of accuracy achievable.

I made a test recently - I have two bows that I am going to hunt with this year - an older PSE and a new Bear.

I have a set of arrows for each bow that are different in length.

I have been shooting quite a bit and my groups are getting better - I have been out of bowhunting for almost 20 years - but I still was looking for any little thing that could make the shooting better.

I numbered each of my arrows 1 through 6 and then started recording, in a circle drawn on paper, where each arrow landed in relation to the bullseye.

For each group of 6, I marked them all out on paper... then shot again and marked again... etc.

At the end of my VERY FIRST practice session like this, a lot of things became crystal clear!!!

* almost every one of the arrows fell in the same sector of the target everytime, in that # 6 was always low and left, # 2 was always high, etc

* I began to recognize patterns, like when I shoot the Bear - I can always see # 5 corkscrew just a little bit... I knew I had one doing it - but now I know WHICH one...

* some arrows, for one reason or another, have very little hysteresis in them - in that they shoot in the same place, almost every time and are closest to the intended aim point

* it is VERY apparent which arrows to line up as your first, second and third choice for hunting... you KNOW which ones are the most accurate and the best choice to nock up when you get in the stand.

This does wonders for your confidence and helps you eliminate the arrows that could cost you a chance at a deer.

I guess the next logical step is to take a dozen arrows for each bow and identify the best 6 out of that dozen to use as your hunting arrows... I have basically just taken the 6 I am going to hunt with and determined which of these are the best out of that group.

I will state again - the traits of each individual arrow were incredibly apparent when you started charting them out like this... there was NO doubt!

Try this tip with your arrows and see if you can not drive some of the margin for error out of your shooting.

In closing, I will leave you with this: "In God we trust - all others bring data"... this is exactly what this process will allow you to do... effectively quantify the performance of each arrow.

Best of luck!



deerhunter30's picture

Great tips. I shoot my bow

Great tips.

I shoot my bow quit a bit in the offseason and I can only practice for a short time without taking breaks. Once I shoot so much I start shaking from pulling my bow back so much and my arrows dont group like the beginning of practice and then trying to make sure your bow shoots perfect is impossible .

I have a redhead red dot mounted on my bow whick works great but you must be very steady with this kind of sight being that you dont use a peep so your bow must be drawn and held the exact same everytime after you get it sighted in or the red dot will not appear in the sight. That is why I like using this kind of sight it eliminates the accidental problem of holding your bow the wrong way.

arrowflipper's picture

Great tip

Great tip Jim.  I have shot hundreds, (no thousands) of arrows during the summer months leading up to deer and/or elk season.  I try to shoot at least two times a day for about 20 minutes each time.  I don't know that I ever taken the time to plot each of my arrows.  I do see which ones tend to hit best and I do put them number one, two and three in my quiver.  I don't have a clue why arrows fly differently, but they sure do.

"Same anchor point, same release action, same grip on the bow, same follow through... it all comes down to the N'th degree of "little" things making the final result of accuracy achievable."

I agree with you on this except for one point.  Practice does not always make perfect.  Practice does ALWAYS make permanent.  It's important that you have someone watch you shoot and look for little things that you may be doing wrong.  If you practice wrong over and over and over, you tend to always do it wrong.  You might shoot pretty well, but not perfectly.  It's the little things that go wrong at the moment of truth. 

I suggest going into an archery shop and letting them watch you shoot.  They will quickly pick up on little things you or I might not realize we're doing wrong.  They won't charge you for this service and it can do wonders for your shooting.  I suggest this especially if you haven't shot for an extended period of time.

Then, when you have corrected little mistakes, you can practice them over and over and when they become permanent, they are permanently perfect.  That's just my opinion though.

hunter25's picture

Well this is a great tip for

Well this is a great tip for me. It sounds like everyone else was pretty much on to it but I had no idea. I have not hunted or used a bow for about twenty years now but even when I did I never even thought of something like this. I plan to get back into it this summer and now I have one more tip in my arsenal of good ideas to hasten the process back to competence.

Thanks for a great tip that I can use.

outdoorsman121's picture

Great tip

Great tip! Before hunting season I practice every day all summer. I practice with everything that I would have during a real life hunting situation. I put on my hunting clothes, shoot same tips and uses same arrows. But before this i decide the arrows out of a bunch that shoot the best and that give me the best pattern just as you suggested. And i thought I was the only one who does this technique. For me knowing where my arrow will go as soon as I hit the release is one of the most important things to me when I hunt with my bow. I make sure I have appropriate equipment and practice, practice, practice and after all of this preparation it will allows me to feel confident  and with that making me a more ethical and successful hunter.

ManOfTheFall's picture

My son and I have always done

My son and I have always done this. Even when you buy brand new arrows of the same type oyu have to test every one. Two different arrows will rarely ever fly exactly the same. I can't tell you how many times I have bought arrows and just laid them in the don't use pile because they don't fly how we think they should. Yes, we always number our arrows. We definitely know which one will go in our bow first, second, third, and so on. Thanks for the great tip.

gatorfan's picture

Another great tip!

I really like this one!  I have always just put arrows that wouldn't shoot as well as I like to hunt with in my pile of practice arrows.  I never really thought of classifying the arrows that I actually hunt with as best-to-good.  Thanks!  I think I will give this a "shot" when I get home!

Critter done's picture

Awesome Tip

I have found this to be true. Great tip. I know guys that do research with thier rifles and ammo but they don't practice it with thier bows and arrow.