Precision Bowhunting - Shooting, Hunting, and the Aftermath

Precision Bowhunting - Shooting, Hunting, and the Aftermath

Reading Precision Bowhunting - Shooting, Hunting, and the Aftermath 7 minutes

At this point in the year, most of us are daydreaming about last fall. Feeding off of the memories we made and salivating for the next season. With that in mind, I figured now would be the best time to go over some practices in precision that have helped pave the way to success more times than not. These are things you can do right now in preparation for next Fall.


Bowhunting is filled with many hills to climb and narrow twisting ravines to navigate through. Perhaps the most important one though is the shot. Focus and composure are in order. A failure here will haunt you for eternity.

With shooting a bow, and in reality, shooting any weapon, repeatability will lend to both accuracy and precision. In order to consistently hit what we are aiming at we need to consistently do the same thing time and time again. The best way I’ve personally found to do this is by creating an ironclad shot process.

What is a Shot Process?

A shot process is a series of things we do and/or think about up until we fire a shot. A process that we can lean on at every turn to help keep us focused and composed. It might look something like grip, draw, anchor, level, aim, relax and pull. That’s a really basic way of laying it out, but these can be as detailed as you want them to be. Whatever route you choose, just make sure you do it the same way every single time. And that goes even for when you’re wearing pajamas and flinging arrows in the backyard.

I’ve personally noticed that having a shot process and staying in it genuinely helps me not focus on the animal so much. It pushes the shakes to the side. Stay in it and make a good shot. You can shake all you want after the fact.


This bowhunting business is a game of inches. The little things do matter and can mean the difference between you stopping at the store to buy meat on the way home or reaching in your cooler for a fresh backstrap.


There is a hardline difference between natural noises and unnatural noises. Animals hear noises all of the time and all around them. Things like sticks breaking, rocks rolling, etc. And while some of these things may cause them to raise their head from breakfast, they won’t come unglued the instance they do. An unnatural noise though? Like an arrow clanking on a riser or sliding across an arrow rest? That will send them running for the hills.

For this reason, moleskin is your friend. Pay attention to potential areas where you accidentally make noise. Like your arrow bouncing on the arrow shelf or your handheld release swinging over to clank your quiver. Apply moleskin to these areas and they’ll be silent, ready for the field. Also, inspect the launcher of your arrow rest. If it’s bare or the felt has worn down, apply moleskin. This will silence your arrow sliding across it. I once had a mule deer stalk blow up because of this very thing.

Loading an Arrow

Deer especially are hardwired to spot movement. And the less movement we make in the least amount of time, the chances of getting seen decrease dramatically. There are an incalculable amount of folks who load an arrow by guiding the tip through the arrow shelf first, slide it forward, and then back it up to nock it. It gets the job done, but that’s a whole lot of movement and time.

Doing the above method on average takes about 4 seconds and involves a lot of movement. Cut that time and movement in half by simply holding the arrow about 3/4’s of the way towards the vanes with the nock dang near in line with the string and d-loop. Now, just push the arrow toward the riser and back to nock it. That literally takes 2 seconds. Time is money.

Drawing Back

Go to an archery range and just sit and watch. You’ll see more times than not folks making erratic movements in the name of drawing back their bow. Whether it’s sky drawing or just putting everything they have into pulling that string back, which is less than graceful. This doesn’t bode well for remaining undetected. Our point on movement we mentioned above holds true here as well.

If you can’t slowly draw your bow back without straining or pointing the bow to the sky, I’d highly suggest you drop your draw weight and build from there. You will build enough strength to bring it back up eventually. I promise the deer don’t get intimidated by you barely pulling back 80 pounds. They sure as heck care if the arrow goes where it’s supposed to though, especially when they don’t know you’re there in the first place.

The Aftermath

A hunt is never truly over. There is plenty to do after the season has passed.

Keep a Log

Throughout your hunts, it helps to keep a log. Log such things as prominent sign, good glassing spots, when and where you saw animals, etc. We can only remember so much and by having references like this to refer back upon, it’ll help paint a much clearer picture for future hunts to come.

No Such Thing as Too Little Too Late

Finding sign late is still finding sign. It doesn’t matter if the season is over. It is part of a pattern that can be extremely beneficial to you in the future. I’ve found old sign at the end of hunting season plenty of times that has paved the way to success for me the following year. Animals’ habits are annual and you can capitalize on that if you’re paying attention.

How Can You Improve For Next Year?

In a perfect world, we’d do everything right and never make a mistake right? Yeah, I know that sounds great and all, but it’s just not the world that we live in. We all make mistakes. What all of us don’t do though is acknowledge them. So, look back on your season and truly ask yourself what you did wrong. How could you have done something better? Even if you filled your tag, the answers to these questions will hone your abilities.

Final Thoughts

There is a thin line that one walks when choosing to pick up a bow and go hunting. A line that starts with preparation during pre-season, and ends at the destination, their tag wrapped around the animal they seek. In order to not slip off of that line from start to finish, it takes precision on all fronts. A calculated approach that caters to shooting, hunting, and even after the hunt. With it, you’ll reach that desired destination much more often. Without it, you will fall more times than not. Be precise in your approach, and you’ll be precise in where you end up.