When bowhunting, it is typically the first shot that counts. On rare occasions, hunters might get a second shot or even a third but 99.9% of the time the first shot is the money shot. Unfortunately, many bowhunters practice as if the sixth or seventh shot is the one that counts. How many times have we said to our friends… or have our friends said to us when practicing for the season, “Well, that was a bad shot but I am just getting warmed up?!”
With only days before archery season officially kicks off in many states, I challenge everyone to practice like the only shot that counts is the first one. To increase the odds of my first shot hitting where I am aiming, I do a few things to prepare myself. I weigh all of my arrows that I intend to hunt with and make sure that when they are equipped with a broadhead, they all weigh within a few grains of each other. I spin test every arrow on a Pine Ridge Archery Arrow Inspector to make sure my arrows are flying true.
I don’t want inconsistent arrows in my quiver because they might not all fly the same. I always have a routine that I force myself to go through before taking a shot to make sure everything is in place so I am calm and ready to execute the money shot.
To up the ante when you are about to shoot your first arrow of the day, have a few friends or family members stand around and hassle you. This will get your blood pressure up and force you to concentrate.
Many professional archers have told me over the years that to prepare for that first shot in the field, they shoot at least one arrow every day all year long. It doesn’t matter if it is summer, fall or winter: they shoot at least one arrow. They take their time shooting that arrow because they know often it is just one arrow that puts meat in the freezer, big bucks on the wall and money in their pocket.
To really simulate a hunting situation, put on all your camouflage, complete with a face mask and shoot the first arrow of the day at a 3D target. I have never crossed paths with a legal whitetail buck with a dot on his chest to aim at. Shooting at 3D targets forces you to concentrate.
In the woods, we often have many things going against us. Our muscles can be sore from a long sit, the weather can be extremely cold and buck fever can set in. So when you practice, try to recreate this type of situation regardless if it is cold or your muscles are sore. It is the first arrow that counts so when you practice, make sure you treat that first arrow like it is the only one that counts… because in the woods, it is.
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