Tips from a Bow Hunter we could all use
Carol Watson spoke wednesday night to the HV NADA meeting about her experience as a bowhunter.
While there are obvious differences between that and hunting with a rifle, some of what Carol shared is relevant to those of us that hunt with a gun of some sort.
1) Practise, practise, practise
Carol emphasised how important it was to practise, and with the equipment that you are going to hunt with. She will dress in the gear shes going to hunt in, and practise shooting from all the positions she's likely to shoot from. How often do you see guys up at the range "practising" off a benchrest, in their street clothes. Carol emphasised little things like how the collar or flap of her hunting jacket might get in the way (especially is certain positions), or how awkward it might be to shoot with gloves on etc something you won't know till you actually are in that situation. try and practise in any position you'll encounter where you shoot. If hunting in the bush you're not always going to be able to get your comfortable behind a bipod for example
2) The target is a Basketball
Carol pictures the vital area of the game shes hunting as a 3 dimensional basketball, encompassing the heart/lungs area. She aims to put an arrow through the middle of that zone, and will wait for the animal to get in a position where she can do so. Rifle shooters have no leeway, and we can reach that area from a lot more directions (even rear on with right rifle/ammo combination), but ultimately we are usually trying to get our bullet through the same area. Visualising the target as a basketball in the animals chest area is a great way to work out where to aim depending on how its standing relevant to us.
3) Don't stand out from the crowd
Because they always get in close, Bow hunters are very aware of how they look, sound and and smell. Carol mentioned she even tests her hunting gear with a ultraviolet blue light to see how UV reflective it is. Bow Hunters routinely use products that mask their scent, and applied to their boots etc also mask the scent trail that they would normally leave behind when walking through the bush. While many of us would carry a lighter to test the wind, even that is too noisy for them to use so they use smoke type products. Not suggesting rifle shooters need to go to those extremes, but makes you realise just how acute deer's senses are.
So rather than simply think bowhunting is too different, think through what we can learn.
Who is Carol watson
Carol is one of the owners of Advanced Archery, a specialist bowhunting shop that supplies bowhunters and their local stores throughout New Zealand. As the shop manager she has hands on experience with all the equipment and spends a lot of time teaching new shooters as well as the old hands who want to improve their accuracy and be more successful hunters.
A five times NZBS (New Zealand Bowhunting Society) ladies champion and only the fourth lady bowhunter in NZ to have shot deer - red, sika, fallow and sambar as well as pigs - and the first to take both tahr and chamois with a bow in New Zealand. In the United States Carol has shot elk and black bear and on a recent trip to Australia she was happy to take 3 chital stags.