Simulation is critical for successful bowhunting. Sure, it’s possible to shoot at paper targets, hone your accuracy, and bring home the bacon; yet using targets that replicate likely shooting opportunities will greatly increase your effectiveness in the field. A quality 3-D target costs around $100 and that’s an investment that will pay dividends over many years. Even if you have a small practice space and a limited budget consider these options:
Team Up: Practice is so much more fun with company (a.k.a. competition), and each person in your group can bring a target to the party. In many ways, shooting in front of your buddies will simulate the pressure of the moment of truth and make practice more effective. You’ll be hunting for a lifetime, so try to purchase one target each year; you’ll soon have a herd of practice critters.
Include Portable Targets: Every set-up needs at least one quality anatomically-correct target, yet you can fill in other spaces with portable block and bag targets, which can be moved into very challenging placements. Think of it like “horse” in a basketball game.
Vary Range, Elevation, and Circumstance: Shoot between trees, at sharp downward angles, kneeling, or from a ground blind. This type of practice not only prepares you for the unexpected but will reveal flaws in your form, like canting the bow, palming the bow, or the dreaded “shoot the blind” mistake of not allowing for arrow clearance.
Vary your targets: Morrell Eternity Targets are nearly that – eternal. (Rumor has it Saint Peter bought one.) Block makes a full line of portable targets that easily stow for transport, with each one offering six sides of shooting. Rinehart offers targets depicting creatures from dinosaurs to zombies. Check the brands used by your local archery shop or on the 3-D course. You can bet they were chosen to add challenge and take punishment.