Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 57
Using sight pins to find range and other tips for making clutch shots.
hooting a bow is like throwing a
baseball. There are fundamentals
to master, but you need practice based
on "feel" to get better. The more automatic your shots become, the greater
your chances are of doing everything
right when the shot of a lifetime presents itself.
The most common shooting form
errors under the stress of a hunting shot
are: failing to come to a full draw, not
anchoring properly and failing to align
the string peep.
These mistakes will cause misses or
worse, bad hits. Take the time to ensure
the shot is set up properly and aim at a
spot. Hunters often shoot at the deer
and not at a spot.
Focus at the spot that will allow
your arrow to pass through the vital
organs and keep staring at that spot
until the arrow hits the deer. That's
KNOWING THE RANGE
The most common reason for shooting high is incorrectly estimating the
distance, or shooting from an elevated
stand without compensating for the
A mature Pennsylvania whitetail
is small, standing on average about 36
inches at the top of the shoulders, and
measuring about 14 inches from the
belly to the top of the back just behind
the front leg.
The vital area of the heart and
lungs lies behind the front leg and falls
within a 10-inch diameter circle.
People normally view deer at a distance, and when hunters get within
bow range of a whitetail (30 yards or
less), the animal appears much smaller
than they expect. Normally they assume it is farther away, which leads
to the overestimation of the distance.
Viewing deer in captivity can make
you more familiar with their physical
size and allow you to look at them at
various ranges, including up close.
Practice range estimation at every
opportunity by estimating distances to
objects as you walk in the woods, or on
a casual stroll through your neighborhood. Pick out any object, estimate
the distance and confirm it with your
rangefinder, or by walking it off.
If you own a rangefinder this also is
great practice to become more comfortable with its use.
When estimating distance, try to get
it as accurate as possible. Don't assume
everything is in 5-yard increments.
You might estimate 15 yards when it
really is 16 or 17½ yards. The closer
your estimate, the more accurate your
shot will be.
If you use your stride to determine
distance, check the length of your
normal stride. People are different sizes,
and so are their strides. My normal
stride covers 5 yards in 7 normal steps.
This knowledge allows me to pace off
Bowhunters often mark several
distances around their stands using
colored tape for a ready reference.
A hunter spotting colored tape im57