By: Steve Piatt
I’ve never been one of those guys who releases countless arrows each session, choosing instead to keep it to 12-15 or so. Enough to break down the muscles a bit, but not enough to lose my concentration. And, as I do when training a Lab pup, I always end on a high note, with a tight group or one particularly solid hold, release and follow-through.
That said, I pay attention to the first shot of the session more than ever. That’s the arrow you’ll be releasing at a whitetail – not one 10-12 arrows into your practice routine after you’ve warmed up a bit.
In fact, I will periodically – and this is one of the benefits of working out of a home office in a rural area – step outside with my Mathews Z7 and a single arrow and take one shot, just one, at my bag target. My thinking is I don’t get a three-shot warmup when a deer steps into range; I get one shot. So my one-shot practice routine, which I’ll do several times a day, is an important one leading up to the season.
It’s pretty simple, really, and takes just a few minutes. At mid-morning when I need to step away from the computer. Right before or after lunch, perhaps. Later in the day when I toss a load of laundry into the washer. One shot. Maybe at 20 yards, maybe 30. It best simulates a hunting scenario, when you have to deliver the arrow without any warmup. You’re not a relief pitcher coming in from the bullpen. You need to make one arrow count on command when a deer arrives in your shooting lane.
Certainly multiple-arrow sessions have their place in developing your shooting form, building your muscles and tightening your groups. But don’t ignore a one-shot practice regimen. That’s the kind of scenario you’ll be dealing with in the deer woods.
Too, practice that single shot at varying draw-and-hold times. You could very well be asked to hold for a long time before the whitetail – or perhaps even a black bear – presents the right shot opportunity. See how long you can hold at full draw before releasing. It’s another way of creating a hunting-type scenario.
In fact, as I finish this blog I think I’ll step outside a let one fly. Then I’ll get back to work and do it again later.