Until recently 40-yards bow hunting shots still were viewed as “long” by many archers. Not only the range was hard to achieve but also the limited bowhunting gear accessible by bowhunters in the past restricted the maximum of range that was able to reach by bow hunters. Even when an arrow could hit that distance, it would not have enough power and accuracy to take the animal down. But that is not the case anymore.
Since 10 years ago, quality of bow hunting gear have developed impressively because of tough competition in the market and relentless development by equipment makers. Those really introduce a change into the scene of long-distance bow hunting as a whole. Performance improvements of hunting archery have enabled even the beginners to shoot consistently at over 50 yards. The advancements have not only expanded the distances bow hunter could shoot but also made shorter shots more deadly and made long-distance competitions become a new kind of entertainment.
When to Shoot a Long-range Shot
Even minor mistakes will become noticeable and costly when you want to set your bow on a far target. For example, an unwanted breath at the last moment or wrong form all could move the arrow several feet from the point you want. Long-range shots are always difficult and if you want to shoot for long distance, consider these two important factors.
First, whether you could provide enough power not only to reach the range but also to fatally wound the animal. You would want sufficient power for the arrow to penetrate deeply enough in the animal and as a result, increase the damage caused by the broadhead. The typical energy needed is at least 30 ft-lbs for a deer and more than that for bear and elk. How quick your arrow moves and how much it weights contribute into this energy. If you want to increase the power of the shot, use a fast archery and heavy broadhead/arrow combination. But remember that more weight in a broadhead could limit the distance you could shot as the arrow becomes slow faster and restrict the range. The ideal solution is aiming at a sweet combination of speed and weight for a maximum kinetic energy.
Second, you have to make decisions on how to react instantly to each situation: whether wait for the deer out or if you want to take quartering to the shot. You don’t have much time considering in the field or your shots will miss the target entirely and would them. Each animal has different drawbacks and you should know them beforehand for quick reactions. That’s why you need to take serious preparation to help you out in this kind of situations.
It is important to already have in your mind which combination of broadhead and arrow you will need or have all the hunting gear you need. Your health, both physically and mentally, is also important factors that should be treated with caution.
Practicing is the key to successful shots and to be well prepared, you should practice shots at 15 yards longer than the range you want to aim out the openfield. For example, if 50 yards is your maximum shooting distance, you should have the ability and comfort in executing the 65 yards shot just fine. Practicing like this would help massively with your confidence on the real shots.
Having expensive equipments is not enough and all the money will be wasteful if you do not have enough preparation and knowledge. Keep practicing until you understand all the usual mistakes that could be magnified each yard further the arrow flies. Below are five tips to help you be confident and skillful in long range bow hunting for better results.
- Stance. Make sure that you have developed a good stance for execution of your shot Keep practice in different stances. The best way to develop a good stance is to put your feet directly up beneath your hips and adjust your feet width to have a good stability and comfort.
- Grip. Push the bow into the palm then loose up the hand to decrease the torque. A good grip could mean all the differences between a miss and a accurate shot so it is very necessary to maintain your good grip. It is recommended that you choose a bow which has thin grip. It would help you maintain good precision.
- Release. The most difficult task from long range shooting is the releasing of arrow. Although you can not notice a rough release in 30 yards but it will mean all the difference at long range shots. Just relax your mind and let the muscle memory and days of practice take over the action.
- Pose. Archers tend to immediately lower their bows to track the arrow coming to its targets. Stop doing that when bow hunting. Keep your aim still through till the arrow comes to the target, unless your arrow does not reach your target, you have to keep aiming on it. It demands practice for adopting the style.
- Distance. All the preparation will become pointless if you estimate the range wrong. Use additional help like rangefinders to calculate exactly the distance you need to shoot.
And lastly, but the most vital thing is being honest about your personal ability when you get out into the field. You must know when can’t just shoot a long shot comfortably because you would want to doubt about yourself while bowhunting. Your aim should be composed and focused and execute your shots pertinently and professionally.
Many things must go well to have accurate long-range bow hunting shots, from preparation in making the shot to how to deal with situations in the fields, your form, your bow, the wind, etc. But essentially believe in yourself and have the ability to take long bow shots will make your hunts more interesting and give you a higher probability of taking down the animal by an arrow.