News: Shoot Like an Archery Pro This Season
Every bowhunter or target archer wants to be a better shot. Let’s go straight to the experts and get some real-world archery advice from some of the best bow shooters in the world — members of the Mathews Pro Staff.
One of the most important things to help improve archery accuracy is the execution of the release. Accuracy is nothing more than consistency in your form and execution of your shot.
When you learn to shoot a mechanical release correctly, the results will shock you. I see so many bowhunters and first-time archers “triggering” or “punching” their trigger. When you punch the release, your brain is commanding your finger or thumb to jump on the trigger when your sight pin is getting close to your target. That creates all kinds of movement in you and your bow. Learning how to focus on just aiming until the bow fires is critical to accuracy.
The next time you shoot your bow, try to aim at your target, and hold your sight pin as steady as you can. Squeeze your trigger or thumb barrel very slow and steadily while you continue to focus on holding your pin in the middle of your target. When the bow fires and it surprises you, that arrow will more than likely hit the middle.
Shooting the perfect shot probably won’t happen overnight. Focusing on how you get the arrow to your target — not where it hits — will greatly help your accuracy.
— Darrin Christenberry began shooting in 1991. He started competing in 1994 and won his first 3-D World Championship in 1997. He turned pro in 2002 and won ASA’s Rookie of the Year award. Since then, he’s added two IBO National Triple Crown titles, an ASA Shooter of the Year and 10 other national titles.
Jack Wallace II
I’d like to go a little different direction from the normal advice. Most archers already know it’s very important to have the proper draw length. That’s pretty easy to find with the help of a local pro shop or with some calculations, which you can find online. Most hunters already know about sharp broadheads and a well-tuned bow. I would like to share something many bowhunters don’t often think of. My tips involve making you a little more accurate to help with what could be the shot of a lifetime.
You hear about many folks who crank their poundage up higher during bow season because they want more speed and energy. I do exactly the opposite.
During my 3-D tournament season, I shoot 100 arrows a day at higher poundages. I’m shooting special types of arrows for specific reasons. But when the hunting season rolls around, I lower my bow’s draw weight about 5 pounds.
Why? First, I’m not shooting nearly as much. Also, I know that when the moment of truth arrives to draw and shoot at a Pope and Young whitetail, I might have been sitting for hours, it might be very cold, and I could feel stiff or out of position. What if that animal comes from that not-so-perfect direction? How awful would it be to not be able to draw your bow? Or not draw in a fast, smooth fashion without all that over-your-head pulling, twisting, grunting and movement? We all know someone who has been there and lost an opportunity.
The most important thing is placing an arrow accurately where you want. Having a bow with a slightly lower draw weight for that moment could be the key to help you get drawn and make a shot with better form and execution.
Another tip is something many archers miss when preparing to make that all-important shot. We’ve all heard to be careful of our bow-arm sleeve, coat or jacket so we don’t hit it with the bow string. However, I think archers need to think about their pulling arm, too. It’s just as important.
As it gets colder during the season and you have on more clothing and layers, the amount of material around your biceps, triceps and forearm muscles is much thicker. The form, alignment and draw length you had while practicing during summer in a T-shirt or light sweatshirt is totally different. For example, if you are a right-handed shooter, you might have severe trouble drawing your bow from a seated position or if the animal comes to your right. You might not be able to get full extension of your pulling arm, allowing the biceps and forearm to get close enough together, while wearing extra layers of clothing.
During colder weather, I often shorten my draw length slightly. I will use layered vests as much as I can to cut down on the material I have to squeeze between my pulling forearm and biceps. This lets me get the bow pulled back tightly and in proper shooting alignment. I believe shortening your draw length just a bit will eliminate this potential loss of consistency and accuracy.
We sometimes miss these little considerations, but they might be the ticket to help you be prepared and make that shot when you need it most.
— Jack Wallace II began shooting 3-D archery tournaments at age 7. His dad got him into archery, using 3-D for competition and to be a better shot for bowhunting whitetails. Jack turned pro in 1995 at 19. He’s a two-time IBO World Champion, two-time IBO National Triple Crown champion, three-time IBO Shooter of the Year, an ASA Shooter of the Year, an ASA record score holder and a 12-time IBO/ASA champion. He’s also killed Pope and Young elk, bear, whitetails, antelope and mule deer.
I always enjoyed hunting with my family, so I wanted to ensure I was the best possible archer in any hunting situation I might encounter. I simply got hooked on 3-D archery and wanted to take it to another level — farther than my father and grandfather knew existed.
I still have the drive to be the best hunter I can be, but I also have archery goals that include being the best representative for archery and my sponsors.
Everyone talks about pressure and how you can handle it at a high level. Here’s my advice: The only pressure in this sport is pressure you put on yourself.
That’s across the board. Look at it from a female perspective. My best advice to lady archers is to never be intimidated by a fellow male archer. Some of the best archers in the world are female, and the sport loses a lot if women archers feel intimated by male archers.
Make sure you have the proper hunting apparel for the situation. Also, make sure your feet stay dry and warm, your jacket is thick enough to keep you warm and your equipment suits your hunting adventure.
— Brandon Reyes was introduced to archery by his father and grandfather, who still bowhunt. He won the Realtree ASA Pro Am in Augusta, Ga., as an open pro. He’s also killed a 42-inch Canadian moose on video and a 168-inch Illinois whitetail.
When setting your peep sight, I recommend starting by going to the longest distance you will be shooting, regardless of the tournament or hunting situation. After setting your peep for the long-distance shot, your sight housing should be centered in the peep.
This is to prevent losing the bottom of your sight housing and sight level in the peep with long-distance shots. It also helps prevent your anchor point from moving and your shot from hitting low at longer distances.
When you have your peep height location set for long-distance shots, go to shorter distances and shoot to make sure you’re still comfortable with the peep location. If you’re satisfied with its location and rotation, finish by tying in your peep to prevent it from sliding or coming out of the string.
— Tommy Gomez has won numerous archery tournaments, including the FITA 3-D World Champion title.