Bowhunting blunders can ruin a hunt for anyone.  Advance thought and preparation can make all the difference in the world. 

Most important is to know your equipment.  There is more to bowhunting than just pointing and shooting.  One needs to know what the tackle is capable of doing under different temperature and hunting conditions. 

Arrow shafts and broadheads must be matched to each other as well as the bow.  Some hunters take to the field with a collection of mix and match arrows.  Some are new and others are leftovers from previous hunts. 

It is a simple matter to match arrows to the bow.  Manufacturer’s charts take into consideration, arrowhead weight, arrow length, the archer’s draw length, and the arrow stiffness or spine. 

While shooting in practice, one should use the arrows he plans to use under hunting conditions.  With modern arrowrests the bow can be adjusted so that arrows will fly straight and true.  Just jamming a bunch of arrows in a quiver and taking to the field will guarantee frustration and disappointment. 

Before leaving the subject of arrows, here is a word about arrowhead sharpness.  If the cutting edge of the arrow is not razor sharp, it will not do the job.  The idea of bowhunting is a clean humane kill. 

Most factory‑sharpened broadheads are sharp as they come from the package.  However, once they are shot or allowed to rattle around in a quiver or tackle box, they need to be re‑sharpened, replaced or otherwise refurbished.  Shooting a broadhead more than once, without re-sharpening, asks for problems. 

Check the bow before taking to the field.  It needs camouflage just as one wears camo on the rest of his body.  Shiny surfaces of bow limbs and other parts, such as sights, will scare off game.  Nothing on the bow should reflect sunlight.  The hunter should examine the bow from all directions.  If the bow does not come from the factory with a camo paint job, then add one. 

Check the string and cables for fraying.  If a new string is installed, one should remember that all strings stretch during the first two weeks.  The stretch can lower the power of the bow and affect arrow flight.  A bow with less power will not cast an arrow as straight horizontally, nor as far.  Once the string stretch settles in, the archer knows just how much he as to compensate for the slight decrease in kinetic energy.  A good rule of thumb is to leave the string on the bow for 4 weeks prior to the hunt. 

Once in the field, the distance between hunter and quarry is vital.  The hunter must be able to estimate that distance.  It takes practice.  One way to practice is to take a walk, stopping periodically to estimate the distance to a stationary object.  Then pace it off to see just how close the estimate was to the actual distance.  With practice, the estimates and actual distances will become closer to one another.  A range finder is also a good purchase. 

In the field, many hunters make mistakes due to a lack of skill in woodsmanship.  Many hunters spend too much time riding around in their vehicle.  Once in the bush, it is important to move very slowly and quietly.  Some move through the woods as if they are on a stroll down the street.  They shuffle their feet and work up a sweat.  Noise and human scent are danger signs to deer. 

The best way to conceal scent is walk into the wind to a stand that is downwind of where the game is expected.  Many hunters mistakenly think that because they put on a cover or attractant scent, they do not have to worry about the deer detecting them. Wrong! 

The successful hunter also varies his tactics to fit weather conditions and the lay of the land.  Some think that the only way to take a deer is from a treestand.  Some days it is better to still hunt or stalk.  Other times a ground blind is the way to go.  It is important to analyze the situation and adjust the hunting tactics to the situation. 

Patience is a key to bowhunting.  Hunters who are patience and do not move at all, will see game.  Those that get uncomfortable, and move or twitch too much will not.  It is important to be as comfortable as possible so that one will not have the need to be moving.  Movement in the woods gives away the position of the hunter and the deer move around that area. 

Once a shot, it is important that the hunter remain still and silent.  If the hunter shouts to his companions or immediately takes up the chase, chances are he will spend the better part of the next several hours doing it.  The hunter who remains quiet for 45 minutes to an hour, will probably only travel a few yards to recover his downed deer. 

Arrow shot deer do not run very far unless they are spooked by a human following them.  Once they recover form the initial shock of the hit, they lay down until they succumb.  This is a clean humane way for the bowhunter to take his quarry. 

By remembering these essential principals, bowhunters can avoid those bowhunting blunders that ruin hunts.  Think about it.


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