Are You Ready for Opening Day?


Confidence is a tremendous accuracy booster; the more certain you are about a shooting situation, the better you’ll perform. Deer hunting requires a lot of practice from various positions, ranges, and shooting scenarios. If you hunt from a stand, you’ll want to practice from a deck, a ladder stand, or a ladder to be sure that you can draw the bow properly and shoot accurately. If you hunt in dense, early-season woods, practicing through simulated shooting lanes will increase your skill. Crossbow shooters should take similar measure to prepare by shooting off-hand and watching for limb clearance. Practice is great, but how do you know when you’re ready? When that one opportunity arises, can you deal with the pressure of the moment of truth?

August Products 2011 145Here’s how to tell. Rick Wilson, founder of Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (a great organization and cause), uses a one-shot test. Each morning before heading off to school, the teacher dresses in his camo clothes, picks up his bow, and shoots one arrow from his back deck at a realistic deer target. If the shot is perfect, his confidence soars; if it was off the mark, he does not shoot again. That’s the beauty of this system. An animal rarely gives you a second shot, so this one-shot test forces Wilson to think about the miss all day until he can return home and practice that evening. The next morning, Wilson takes one more shot. It’s real work to siscipline yourself to take just one shot. When you can make three one-shot kills three days in a row, you’re ready. This is a simple yet effective preparation strategy.

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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.