Patience Pays Off

I first laid eyes on “behemoth buck” about three weeks ago when he graced my game cam with his presence.  I was completely awestruck.  I had never seen such a gorgeous whitetail, and the thought that he was just a hundred yards from my blind sent shivers down my spine.  I was certain I would never see him again – let alone in person.  I did my best to convince myself of that – but my excitement could not be tamed.  I at least had to try.

I was in the blind every chance I could get, often waiting 5 hours at a time.  Not to dramatize the story but I’ve also had a nasty cold – let’s just say there’s nothing more frustrating than having an uncontrollable cough bust your hunt.  There was little morning activity so my schedule was 11 to 4:45.  It was rare to see anything until 3:30, but I had to get there early to let things calm down after my interruption.  I regularly watched three does and a young 4×5, and although it was tempting, I knew I needed to hold out and allow him the chance to mature into his prime.  I considered myself blessed just to be able to observe God’s creation.  They didn’t appear to be in full rut yet, and I knew more bucks would move in once they got heated up.

On November 26th, I headed to the blind for my normal routine.  I waited for three hours before the resident 4×5 and does moved in, and watched the poor little guy get rejected for quite a while.  About 45 minutes later they all froze in their tracks and glued their eyes to the upper right corner of the meadow (behind my blind).  I couldn’t see what they were looking at, but their body language indicated it was something they had respect for.

Adrenaline uncontrollably surged through my body, and I froze…not wanting to spook whatever was approaching.  I heard trotting footsteps now parallel to my blind, and then he came into view.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  It was him.  He was moving fast toward the 4×5 and I knew I needed to shoot quick before they all disappeared into the timber.  He slowed to a stop just before the young buck and lowered his rack…and I took my shot.  He instantly lunged forward and disappeared behind a large log pile.  My heart sank.  I ran out of my blind (not what you should do but I couldn’t help myself) and the second the log pile was out of view I saw him…hooves in the air.  He only went about 10 yards.  Despite my victorious screams, the 4×5 was still curiously sniffing his body as if to say, “Holy cow, I scared him so bad he just fell down and died!”  I ran up to my kill and the young buck finally trotted off with what were now his does.
…It is a very emotional moment to stand above your highly sought-after harvest.  Gratitude, respect, adrenaline, shock, ecstasy, pride, and a slight amount of sadness overwhelm your senses.  If you are even the least bit spiritual, you feel an instant connection with your creator.  I thanked God for the opportunity to harvest such a gorgeous mature animal, fill my freezer, and to enjoy nature in its purest form.  After gutting him I was overjoyed to see a bullet hole straight through his heart, it was a clean kill and he didn’t suffer long.  I drug him to the edge of the meadow and called my dad to bring the truck.  He green scores (gross) at 160.  I’ve been dabbling in taxidermy since last year, and can’t wait to start mounting him up!

INCREASE YOUR ARCHERY ACCURACY

Regardless of your experience level, if you shoot a compound bow, you have baffled yourself over inconsistent shooting.  There are several important factors that affect the accuracy of your groups.

 

Anchor Point

Your anchor point is where you anchor your hand while at full draw.  There is really no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ anchor point, just as long as it is consistent and works for you.  If you don’t know off the top of your head where yours is, take note the next time you shoot.  If it seems to be inconsistent, pick a distinct spot that feels right and make a conscious effort to repeat it each time you shoot.  Make it specific.  Some wait until a certain knuckle touches their ear, some rest their thumb on the back of their neck, and some gently rest the string on their lips.  It is different for everyone.  Take a day to figure out what feels right for you, and stick to it!

 

Grip

It is important to maintain a fairly loose grip.  The tighter you hold, the more torque your body will place on the bow which will lead to inconsistent shots.  Everyone’s comfort level varies on this.  If it freaks you out to have a completely loose grip, work up to it gradually.  You won’t be disappointed.

 

Peep

Centering your peep on your sight is possibly the most important factor, and is often overlooked.  There is so much to think about right before you take your shot, and many archers center it at first, but then forget to re-center after aiming.  Make it the last thing you do and make sure it’s perfectly center.

 

Timing

Slow down.  Steady your breathing.  Even if you’re in a hunting situation and only have seconds to shoot, you should still take enough time to place a proper shot.  And as for targets, they’re not going anywhere!

 

Form

And lastly, as many would advise, is to maintain proper form.  However, if you are in hunting situations, they rarely allow you to take a perfect, proper shot.  You’ll more than likely be crouched in an uncomfortable position you haven’t practiced before.  So my advice, is to practice in these strange positions.  Obviously maintain proper form during 3D shoots, but when practicing at home, make it as realistic as possible…so when you do get the opportunity to shoot, you’ll be prepared.

INCREASE YOUR SHOOTING ACCURACY ON THE HUNT

If you’re like me, you have missed out on a successful hunt because of either shooting too quickly and missing your target, or taking too much time and losing the opportunity altogether.  The sweet spot lies in between both extremes.  Many hunters train themselves to shoot with great accuracy in a controlled environment, but forget to train for the hunt itself.

 

The first step is to do your best to calm yourself.  Unless you’re a trained sniper, it will take lots of repetition to get to where you can pull up and shoot your target accurately as fast as possible. Don’t expect yourself to be able to make a split-second shot just because the animal is in view.

Range Practice:  If you are in an area that allows it, perform shooting intervals.  Run  1/2 mile, anything to get your heart rate up, and then shoot immediately at your target to get an idea of what the actual hunting situation will feel like.  Learn how long you need to wait in order to regain accuracy.

 

The second step is to evaluate your target’s body language.  If it is looking straight at you, you’re busted and need to shoot quickly, or not at all if you aren’t comfortable with your shooting abilities.  If it isn’t looking at you but has an ear cocked towards you, you’re about to get busted and still have limited time.  If it is doing anything else, you more than likely have the time to wait for your target to move into the best possible shot.  The only elk I’ve ever lost was a result of this mistake.  I had been hunting them for years without even getting a shot, and once I finally did, I shot as quickly as possible.  I tracked him for two days, and never recovered him.  Both your conscience and the animal deserve more than that.  Had I waited just seconds longer to calm myself, I would have been eating backstop that night.  Another variable to keep in mind is distance.  If you are 150+ yards away, these situations are diffused…but if you are any closer, they are emphasized.

Range Practice:  Before each shot, imagine your real target in various situations, and adjust your shooting speed accordingly.

 

Although seemingly obvious, the third step is to aim.  In the heat of the moment many hunters succumb to the adrenaline tanned squeeze the trigger the second hair or the “general vital area” is in their scope.  Breathe, and take the time to be certain you are in the correct area.  Also be sure your reticles are cohesive with your aiming style, this is often overlooked.  Crosshairs aren’t for everyone.  Some find it difficult to focus on the center of the lines instead of the lines themselves.  In this case, a dot reticle would be ideal.  Choosing a reticle that your eye navigates quickly shaves seconds off your shooting time, ultimately resulting in a higher success rate.

Range Practice:  Envision yourself shooting not at the bullseye, but at the dead center of the animal’s vitals.  If possible, purchase targets that already have the vitals on them.

 

And lastly, although seemingly obvious, practice.  Practice each of these steps on the range or safe area.  Not just on a rest, but freehand, offhand, kneeling, etc.  Make it as realistic to a hunting situation as possible.  Repetition will train your body to handle the situation instinctively when it arises.


Feb 22, 2013 | Category: Blog | Comments: 2

 

2 comments on “Patience Pays Off

  1. That is one buck to be proud of. Thank-You for sharing the pics. Liked the comment about Thanking God for the harvest, Many times I feel the closness when out hunting or just being out in the woods. Congratlations on a great hunt.

    • Nice Buck. And Story. I live in Ga and have shot some Very Nice Whitetail bucks here. I also have a place in Bozeman Montana. I got a nice Mulie this year and a 6X4 Bull Elk on my property North of Bozeman. I’ve been Hunting Mulies the last few Years in Montana, Wyoming and on an Indian Reservation in North Dakota in the BADLANDS. So do you Hunt Mulies or Elk Hunt ? It’s an Adventure. I’m Currently Working on a Business Project in North Dak. Where the oil Booms going on. Maybe we can Share Stories Sometime. Enjoyed Reading Yours. Happy Hunting and Have a Blessed Day. JN

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