Bowhunting is an experience like no other and requires planning and the right tools to find success. According to Archery Trade, the first nationwide survey regarding archery found than more than 18 million American adults participated in archery or bowhunting. If you’re just planning your first trek, here are some tips and tools that can help you to elevate your bowhunting experience.
When planning a bowhunting trip, it’s important to do your research and prepare accordingly. There are many questions to consider, such as do you want to hunt trophy bulls or are you just looking to hunt elk of any kind? Research the states you are interested in hunting and find out what their game dispersal is like as well as the local regulations concerning hunting. States have a limit on the number of licenses they issue. For example, theKentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources plans to only issue 100 bull archery licenses and 290 cow archery licenses for the 2014-2015 season. Planning ahead can guarantee you get a license in a state you want with the game you want.
Just because you are using a bow doesn’t mean that you have to hunt like a cave-man. There are many tools available to make your bowhunt experience more productive and enjoyable. Consider, for example, purchasing a trail camera. Trail cameras are excellent tools for scouting and can help you to not only learn the patterns of game behavior, but also to track specific animals. Digital trail cameras, like the Moultrie Panoramic 150, can detect game and rotate their cameras silently to take photo or video from the area where the movement is detected. Not only can this help you to find where the game is, but it can help you to find where other rare or possibly dangerous animals might be roaming in the area.
If you are planning on taking a hunting trip in a place that is extremely isolated and lacks any cell-phone coverage, you want to be prepared for the worst. Totally losing contact with the rest of the world for a couple weeks might seem great, but if you become trapped or injured it can be a nightmare. The risk can be mitigated by purchasing and carrying a satellite phone, such as the Iridium or GeoPro sat phones. They can provide you with reliable communication regardless of where you choose to hunt your game.
In the end, all the planning and all the best tools available won’t make you a better archer. If you’ve never taken an archery lesson and are completely self taught, you are probably making many small mistakes that can add up to failure. Consider your stance – you should be facing your target at a 45 degree angle, with your feet about 20 inches apart and turned towards the target. Many beginners and self-taught archers tend to stand with their feet at a 90 degree angle to what they are shooting at, which can cause a drawn arrow to brush against your chest and make it veer off from where you are aiming.
Additionally, the way you release your arrow can ruin an otherwise dead-eye shot. If you are a finger shooter, don’t flinch or jerk as you release the sting, simply relax and allow the bowstring to do its job. While gloves might feel like a natural way to draw, consider using a tab instead – gloves can develop grooves from use that can cause the string to catch or hang for a moment upon release and cost you your trophy. Keep practicing and stay aware of how you actually use your bow, and you’ll improve your shooting in no time.