Saturday, June 14, 2008

Shoot 3-D Turkey To Improve Arrow Accuracy

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One of the nicest things about spring is I can take my bow outside to shoot at 3-D targets scattered around my yard. Some folks may have pink flamingo decorations (not sure why) but we have various 3-D targets (and I do know why).

I’ve shot bear, coyote, deer, elk, javelina, turkey and other 3-D targets for many years. They are placed in many different locations, and at various angles, and it tests the skills of a bow hunter.

My son-in-law has one or two archery 3-D shoots every year.  He adds some realism to some of his targets. One is a deer target on a cable and pulley system that simulates shooting at a running deer (not that I endorse people doing so).

The average hunter, including him, would never shoot an arrow at a running deer but this 3-D target is moving down-hill. It is very realistic, and fun to shoot at.

Another favorite is one that causes his friends save up old arrows. It is a deer silhouette welded out of steel with a 12-inch hole cut out where the heart and lungs are located. A good hit )through the hole) gives the shooter some bonus points. A miss means a ruined arrow. Boing, and another arrow is turned into scrap.

Some people have six or eight targets and others may have as many as 20 or more. Some are down a hill and a long distance away, while others are placed 15 to 20 yards from the shooter.

Some of the shots are easy but some are partly screened by brush. Others offer just a small hole to shoot through, and they require pin-point accuracy.

Every bit as important is the need to judge distance. It means knowing your bow, and how it shoots at various distances. Most deer in this state are shot at 15 to 20 yards, but some hunters are fully capable of making longer shots.

Ours has been an obstacle course in other years. Sometimes we set them so we must shoot under an overhanging branch, and one or more targets may require the hunter to kneel and shoot around a bush. We’ve even had elevated platforms made to simulate shooting from a tree stand, and some stands have a shooting window such as may be found while hunting from an elevated or ground-level coop.

Shooters can take their time, up to a point. A stake marks the point beyond which the hunter may not stand to shoot at the target. The trick is to toe the line, judge the distance to the target quickly, draw, aim and shoot.

It is relatively easy, but the targets are sprinkled around the woods. There are more difficult targets than easy ones, and this makes it a challenge for the shooter. Deer don’t always present the easiest shot.

The heavy emphasis is on making good shots. Points are awarded for arrows in the heart-lung area, fewer points for a wounding but possible fatal shot, and no points are given for hits that would result in very little chance of recovering the wounded animal.

Shooters must realize this is a game, but one that forces total concentration of the sort needed when hunting live animals. A 3-D target, regardless of distance, requires taking one or two shots.

People who shoot a dozen arrows in one day are probably much better game shots than those who shoot 100 arrows in a day, but just once a week. The daily shooting is always the best alternative for making clean, killing shots on big game.

This method of shooting on a regular basis helps build muscles. It also teaches us how to judge distance, and when and how to shoot for a quality arrow placement.

Any 3-D course is great fun to shoot, and it’s amazing that a bit of competition (as long as it remains friendly) can make other hunters better shots.

It will help improve your accuracy. Anything that makes us a better shot when a fat doe or a nice buck steps out within easy shooting range is in our favor once the hunting season begins.

Posted by Dave Richey on 06/14 at 12:50 PM
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