Drawing On Live Animals

You really can't simulate a hunting situation during practice at home, or even at the shooting range...

You really can't simulate a hunting situation during practice at home, or even at the shooting range. In a typical year, you might get to shoot at two or three animals all season -- and that's not really a whole lot of practice.

The two things you can't practice outside of a real hunting situation are drawing on a live animal and aiming at a live animal -- especially one that just might move at any second. So when I'm out hunting, I try to draw and aim at every legal deer that comes by within shooting range.

Because I'm trying to practice doing things right, I like to go over my entire shot sequence each time I draw back on an animal. I make sure to check for a good shot angle and to determine which pin to use and exactly where to put it

I like to go through all the motions, just as if I were going to shoot the deer. By doing this, I learn what I can get away with and, more importantly, what I cannot get away with. Just as in any other sport, you'll do better when you're actually playing for real, because you've done it so many times before in practice.

Now, just to get my heart rate up and get me excited, I like to imagine that the deer I'm drawing on is a big buck just to make myself a little nervous. I try to decide when I'd actually draw my bow, and when I'd take the shot -- things that cannot be practiced at the shooting range. As the deer moves on through, I keep watching to see if the particular time I chose to shoot ended up being the best shot opportunity, or if I should have waited.

The one thing I've figured out is that I usually have a lot more time and a lot more opportunities than I first thought possible. This experience typically makes me a little more patient the next time around.

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