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!