Archery deer season is in full swing and it's a great opportunity to spend time in the woods if you didn't draw a rifle tag. You can purchase an over-the-counter archery deer or turkey tag and be hunting big game.
"Well," you might be thinking, "what chance do I have in connecting with a deer or turkey with a bow?" As a friend of mine said many years ago, "you can't get one from the Lazy Boy chair in the TV room... so let's go archery hunting!"
Here are some personal tips from an amateur archer of six years who has learned by making almost every mistake in the field. Let's get started.
First, get to know your bow by practicing at least three or four times per week. You might be thinking that will take too much time. Once your bow is tuned in, you might only shoot 10 to 15 arrows per practice session. When you are shooting, vary your distances to replicate the actual hunting experience. Some archers feel very comfortable out to 50 or 60 yards. My comfort zone is 20 to 30 yards, so that is where I practice. The thrill of a big game animal up close will unnerve even the most veteran hunters and archery can give you that chance.
There is so much more to discuss, but that will come at a later time. A couple of my friends just recently tagged two trophy bucks. Tige Godac visited neighboring Utah, where there are some real trophy mule deer. He tagged the biggest deer he has ever shot with a bow. I asked Tige what tip he could share with us.
He offered the following: "If your goal is a big deer, make sure you have done your preseason scouting so that you're hunting in an area that actually has trophy bucks." He also shared this tip: "If the shot is made, wait 15 to 20 minutes before tracking begins." Even if very little blood is found, you should stay with that track and spend time looking in every nook and cranny for that animal. Don't give up! Persistence pays off in most cases.
Mark Kile shot his trophy Coues Whitetail the third day of the Arizona archery season and his tip is: "Know your distance before you shoot." That means one must use a rangefinder or tape measure and do your homework. Mark knew the distance where this trophy whitetail stepped out as 42 yards and he had practice that shot many times before the opportunity presented itself. The result was a beautiful whitetail buck.
There is so much information about archery hunting to learn and understand, but don't get overwhelmed. The learning takes place every time you go out or through instructional videos and seminars. There is just something about being in the field and listening and observing everything, in preparation for that moment to pull your bow. Nothing may happen for hours or even days, then all of a sudden that animal appears inside of bow range. The excitement and adrenaline rush is hard to describe, but that is the nature of archery hunting. It's a great way to hunt and enjoy God's creation. Try it. You'll like it.