With archery season a couple of calendar pages away, there’s no better time to get your bow out and begin to get ready, said pro shooter and archery shop owner Robert Brookman of Advance, N.C.
But if you’re not getting ready properly, you could be on the way to some disappointment when that first big buck wanders in range of your tree stand.
Brookman, who runs Drop Tine Archery, said practice should be under identical conditions as most of your hunting trips. Shoot in your hunting clothes, shoot at the same time of day and shoot from an elevated platform.
“You have to practice the way you’ll be hunting,” Brookman said. “If you’re practicing in a T-shirt and hunting in something else, you’re not going to shoot the same way. Lots of people don’t practice with gloves, but they hunt with gloves — that changes everything about how your release aid fits.
“You need to practice late in the afternoon, in the same light conditions as you’ll be hunting. You see through your sight different in mid-day, and if you do all your practicing in mid-day, with no breeze, you’re not going to hit the same places as you do late in the afternoon with wind.
“I want to practice from an elevated platform, because that’s like shooting from a tree stand.”
Brookman said that, in his neck of the woods, “July 4 opens people up about hunting season,” and it’s a great time to start thinking about any changes you need to make in your equipment.
“If I’m going to change anything, I’d do it now,” he said. “I want to look at my peep (sight) and make sure I can see through it. I want to check my rest, and if I’m going to change something like my broadheads, this is when I’d change them — not the week before the season.”
Brookman said more and more bowhunters are going to mechanical broadheads instead of fixed, cut-on-impact points.
“There have been a lot of great improvements in mechanicals over the past 10 to 12 years,” he said. “Mechanical points shoot just like field points; everybody knows the accuracy you get.
“The one bad thing about them is they shoot so good, people don’t think they need to practice as much. Mechanical broadheads have made people lazy.”
Shooting traditional broadheads requires some work to ensure you know how they fly compared to field points.
“If you’re shooting a fixed, cut-on-impact broadhead, it will shoot a little different from your field point,” Brookman said. “You need to tune your broadhead to your rest. If you’re shooting your field point fine and you shoot your broadhead a little left, you need to adjust the rest. You might hit a little to the right — the opposite way.
Also, you need to line up the blades on your broadhead with the veins on your arrows. You want them to line up so they’re spinning the same way.”
Brookman said bowhunters shouldn’t worry about how long their regular practice sessions are, instead concentrating on making quality shots.
“I’d definitely tell somebody to shoot 30 good shots a day; just make good shots,” he said. “Good practice is making good shots, not the amount of shots you take.”