*As published at www.GlobalOutfitters.com
By Kevin Reese
When considering hunter ethics, the most important element beyond the scope of wildlife conservation and habitat preservation is shot placement. Good bowhunters understand this critical ingredient and practice year round to ensure their prey receive nothing short of best efforts from confident, ethical integrity-minded sportsmen.
As a matter of shot placement, accuracy and consistency are key. Many say practice is the only answer to consistently accurate shot placement; while this is true, it’s not the entire formula; well tuned equipment is also vital to your accuracy. Confidence in your equipment is as important as competence in your shooting abilities. Archers of all ages struggle with shot placement at some level whether dealing with target panic, buck fever, improper form or a bow in need of proper tuning; they key to mistake-proofing is using the process of elimination.
Ensure your bow is well tuned, including timing, tiller, center shot, etc. and that your shooting equipment matches your needs, i.e. correctly spined arrows. Once you are sure of your equipment, ensure your shooting is consistent and accurate; at this point, accuracy doesn’t necessarily mean you’re making great shots, it simply means you are grouping your arrows and establishing a pattern. Now it’s time to sight in your bow.
Here’s a simple to tip to make sighting-in a bit easier. Consider a cross, or crosshairs – a cross pattern is made of both a vertical and horizontal line; the point at which those lines meet is the bullseye. The problem most archers have when sighting in is that they focus on the bullseye as a point of aim instead of one line at a time.
Pick a side of your target specifically used for sighting-in and tape or spray paint a cross that spans the entire target. Decide which line you would like to aim at first; I like to aim at the horizontal line so we’ll begin there. Aim at only at that horizontal line and shoot well to the left of the vertical line. Move your aiming point to the right a couple of inches and put your pin on that horizontal line again, shoot, then move your aim to the right a few inches and shoot again; continue shooting at the horizontal line, moving from left to right, until you establish a consistent vertical distance above or below that horizontal line. If you consistently shoot below the horizontal line, adjust your pin or sight elevation down. Conversely, if you’re shooting above the horizontal line, adjust your pin or sight elevation up. ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR ARROW WHEN ADJUSTING YOUR SIGHT!
Now, follow the same method for adjusting your windage (left to right adjustments). From the top and moving down every few inches between shots, aim only at the vertical line and shoot enough arrows to consistently show a pattern of hitting either to the left or right of that line. If you are hitting to the left of the line, adjust your sight to the left; if you are hitting to the right, adjust your sight to the right. Again, ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR ARROW WHEN ADJUSTING YOUR SIGHT!
Many people understand how to sight-in a bow; however, many struggle with the process because they concentrate on hitting both lines at the same time. Sighting-in on one line at a time simplifies the process by concentrating your focus on one broad focal point – just try to hit the line, period. When you adjust to hit one line and then the next, your next shot will be exactly where you need it – in the vitals.
Hunt hard, hunt often.
Kevin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions and comments.by kevinr