Practice Should Be On Bowhunters To-Do List
MADISON – Twenty minutes of daily practice with a bow and arrow will not only improve a hunter’s aim but also muscle strength – two factors state hunting safety specialists call crucial to a safe and successful outing.
“Hunting with a bow and arrow is not like riding a bike. You forget over the year and you can get hurt if you venture out without taking time to review and practice those skills,” said Tim Lawhern, Department of Natural Resources Hunter Education administrator, and a bow hunter himself. “Shooting with archery equipment is not something that comes back to you just like that. Specific muscles are called into action in archery, and those muscles must be conditioned through practice.”
But, Lawhern adds, before hunters practice they must inspect their equipment.
“Inspect the bow limbs, string, handle and other parts. If there is anything not in excellent condition, take your bow to any archery shop for repairs or parts,” he says.
Once the equipment is ready, Lawhern recommends starting to practice immediately.
“This will help bow hunters get their arm, shoulder and finger muscles accustomed to the task for shooting and help improve accuracy,” he said.
“Two weeks before opening day, your first shot in practice is your gauge of whether you are ready to go into the field,” he said. “If your first shot is on target, you’re set.”
If a hunter’s practice time is limited, Lawhern says take closer shots than normal. “For most, that is less than 20 yards.”
Another valuable practice tip is to do your sessions from the same set-up you will use while hunting. “That includes a tree stand while wearing heavy clothing,” he said. “That means practice from an elevated position in your back yard – and wear your hunting clothes.”
Other safety tips from Lawhern include:
Use arrows tipped with broadheads.
Get a fall restraint device, such as a harness, and use it.
Use three points of contact while climbing into and out of tree stands.
Never climb into a hunting location with bow and arrows – raise and lower the equipment with a haul line.
More information about hunter safety and bow hunting safety is available on the DNR Web.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Lawhern, DNR Hunter Education Administrator – (608) 266-1317