This marks my 49th year of archery hunting. This by no means makes me an expert. All I can do is share my opinion on what has and has not worked for me over the years. In fact, it is funny how I am still learning every time I hit the woods. I feel when you quit learning and think you know it all, you need to take up another activity. So, with that being said, here are my five tips for beginning bowhunters.
The first thing you need to do is hit your local archery pro-shop and figure out what equipment package will work best for you. When I say equipment package, I mean bow, arrows, rest, release, and sight. There are a variety of manufactures’ and they are all different. I would tap into the cerebral of the archery tech at the pro-shop and see what he or she says. Then I would try out at least three products of the list that I have given and see what you like. You must feel confident in the equipment that you
select when you head out to hunt.
The second thing you need to do, once you have your equipment go to a target range and shoot until you feel confident in your abilities. I would start out at shooting ten yards and working on your form. Get the feel of the bow and draw cycle. Once you are feeling comfortable start moving back in
10-yard increments. Once you are sighted in and on top of your game, I recommend practice at 50 and 60 yards. Once you start shooting good at these distances, shooting at 20 and 30 yards is a chip shot. Try this sequence and believe me when I say it works!
The third thing, is determine where you are going to hunt! I recommend talking to local farmers or hang out at a local coffee shop and get to know the locals. You can gain valuable information by doing these two things. Once you have a location, I recommend getting very familiar with the area. You can accomplish this by walking the property. Make a note where the feeding areas are, where the water source is and try and figure out the deer travel routes. It may take many visits in figuring out a property.
Don’t get frustrated if you can’t figure it out right away. I have a ranch that I own and I have hunted it intimately for 10 years and I am still trying to figure it out. Once you have an idea where the deer are, now set the stands. Keep in mind, you may have to move your stand sites multiple times to hone on the exact deer travel routes.
The fourth factor to consider is, try not to accomplish too much at the beginning. Don’t put pressure on yourself to shoot the biggest deer in the county. Be patient and make the main goal to figure the deer movement and their patterns. Remember, LEARN THE LAY OF THE LAND!!
Also, I will couple this with number 4. Watch some YouTube videos and learning the gutting and skinning process once you shot your deer. This is some of the best organic meat on the planet. Make sure to use it and prepare properly!
The fifth and final thing is, make sure to enjoy the sport of archery.
It is such a privilege to be able to hunt in a free world. Make sure to represent our sport in a positive manner. Make sure to hunt legally and always ask permission to hunt. Never argue with another hunter on any of the social media forums.
I see saw much bickering between hunters in these venues. In most cases all this is, are big egos trying to strut how much they know. Now, get out there and enjoy yourself.
Rick Philippi is sponsored by Bowtech Archery, Grimreaper broadheads, and Black Eagle Arrows.