Shooting on Target

By Larry Yien

In my last article we developed a sense of how the shot feels. When I shoot I would like a simple and repeatable shot that I can etch into my mind and body. A shot that feels the same at 4 feet with my eyes closed and at 100 yards with my eyes wide open. Shooting a blank bale, or with my eyes closed is fine, but what does it have to do with bowhunting? In bowhunting we are presented with a critter and we must somehow get the arrow to the vitals.

As a bowhunter, the only reason I ever considered target shooting was in hopes to become a better shot. These exercises make me a better shot. I would like to deliver the same shot whether I am shooting a pie plate or a huge bull elk at 10 yards. If you feel the wave of "buck fever" come over you, half as much as I do, you will understand that a rock solid shot is necessary for a chance at harvesting the animal. By perfecting our shot, we can now apply it to shooting an object in hopes of hitting it more consistently.

Up till now, the whole emphasis has been on shooting a shot that feels right both in the mind and body. That is what we want to accomplish while shooting a close bale with eyes closed and shooting a blank bale with eyes open.

Now I invite you introduce another element into your shot. With the same emphasis on the shot shooting a blank bale at 4 feet in mind, pick a piece of straw in the bale and focus on it as you shoot your shot . As you come to full draw focus on the spot, as you anchor think focus, focus, focus. With your same familiar tempo shoot your shot as you focus on that piece of straw. Practice this focus until you feel comfortable. Don't be distracted by where your arrows are going. Focus on a piece of straw and shoot that shot you have learned to love. If the shot doesn't feel right, close your eyes and shoot. When you've established your shot, then go back to picking a piece of straw. The focusing is an element of your shot, yet the emphasis is still on shooting with consistent form.

After you get the hang of focusing on a spot, put up a target. Pie plate, 3-D animal, whatever, pick a spot on the plate or the target and do the same exact exercise at 4 feet. Pick a spot and focus on it shooting your familiar shot with the same tempo you had when the bale was blank. As you feel very comfortable with that, move back a couple of yards. As you gain confidence and your groups are tight, move back a bit more and work on the same thing at a new distance. If you feel like you are losing your sense of the shot, move closer till you re-establish your feel and tempo. In a week or two you will be shooting at your hunting distances and shooting on target. Whatever style of shooting or aiming you do, this approach will make your shot more consistent and allow you to focus on the whole shot.

Till next time, enjoy your shot!

Gap Shooting
String Walking
Perfecting Your Practice
What's the point to shooting?
Shooting on Target
Tabs and Gloves for shooting
Bridging the gap
Finessing Your Arrows

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