Archery has always fascinated me, I shoot my bow several times a week. Practice in and of itself can be as much fun as hunting with archery equipment. I have spent many long evenings shooting with friends in the backyard. Shooting at a dot on a target can get repetitive and somewhat boring if that’s all you do.
Here are some ways to make your archery practice more social, fun and maybe even more effective.
You probably played horse at the basketball court, but it can also be played with a bow and arrow. Set up a multi target, or 3D target. The first shooter calls out a specific target and everyone takes a shot at it, The person who misses the target gets a letter A. Then the person who wins that round can move the target and call out the next target. The game keeps going until someone has ARROW then they are out of the game. This is a fun game to play with 2-5 people and will test how well you shoot from different angles, positions and ranges since the target is always moving.
Distance is king in this archery game. Each archer starts at 10 yards and takes a shot. If a shooter fails to hit the ring or vitals on the target, they are knocked out. The survivors back up another ten yards and shoot another round of arrows. This continues until one person remains. If all remaining players fail to hit the target at the same stage, the person closet to the mark wins. Make it fun by having the losing persons retrieve the arrows between each round. This is a fun game to play with 2-5 people and you will get to know your maximum killing range
Go buy a bag of small balloons and blow them up to the size of a tennis ball or so. Place several on each target (if you have more than one) at different distances. You can use a small nail or straight pin to secure the balloons to the target. Step back at unknown distances and start shooting! You can have a competition between shooters by giving points for each balloon hit, or sometimes we’ll just shoot until you miss. Once you miss it’s your buddy’s turn to shoot. Loser has to blow up the next balloons!
Commercially Sold Targets and Games
There are several different variations of games that can be purchased at different shops and online. They feature several targets with familiar games such as tic-tac-toe, poker/blackjack, darts and others. These targets can be fun if you shoot with friends often.
Shoot One Arrow Everyday
Keep your bow in the garage and stick a target down your driveway or place it in the backyard. Use an arrow with the broadheads you will be hunting with. Arbitrarily pick a spot and walk to it. Can you make the shot? The only way to find out is to try.
This simulates a real hunting situation. One where you will need to guess yardages, compensate for angles, obstructions and even weather conditions. Sometimes it’s ok to say, “No, this is not a shot I would take,” and walk around again to reposition yourself.
As Bowhunters we don’t get second shot opportunities in the wild. Put yourself in the mindset that this is an once-in-a-lifetime shot on a trophy elk, deer, moose or anything you have a tag for this fall. When you have one shot to make the kill, can you do it?
Archery is a sport, and practice makes perfect, but don’t fall into the same routine and only master the 20-yard broadside shot. Introduce competition and different shooting situations to push yourself, identify your weaknesses and become a better bowhunter.