Archive for the ‘Archery Deer Hunting’ Tag


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A kind of wooly appearance to the woods greets the dawn in the ShawneeNational Forest.  The archer views it from his treestand perch as he strains to see deer moving toward their bedding area.  Suddenly a multipoint buck appears and moves away out of range.  There will be another day.


Good habitat and acres of public access draw bowhunters to southern Illinois each October to ply their skills with bow and arrow in an attempt to harvest a white-tailed deer.  The archery deer season begins October 1st and continues into mid-January, except during the firearms season.


Although hunting pressure can be intense during the firearms season, the bow season is quite another story.  The combination of public land forest, old crop fields, private hay and grain fields produces some fine hunting situations.  Hunters often make the mistake of thinking that since these deer live in close proximity to man, they are easy to approach.  They are not.


White-tailed deer are often visible.  More often than not they vanish into the vegetation without being observed by the hunter.  Deer cover a lot of country seeking receptive mates as well as food and shelter.  They do not wander around, but rather they travel trails with a destination and a mission.  The trails usually follow the slope of the land and are located in areas that provide cover for their travels.  Deer make the most of cover available to them.


Early season archers encounter pre-rut deer on summer trails as they pass back and forth between bedding and feeding areas.  During the rut, rub and scrape lines mark a buck’s home territory.  Bucks follow the lines from bedding to feeding areas in the evening and vice versa in the morning.  But, they have love on their minds rather than just eating and sleeping.



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As we take up archery deer hunting one of the first subjects is how to shoot one without it jumping the string.  A deer jumping the string is probably the most common excuse, valid or not, for missing that deer of one’s dreams.

Jumping the string occurs when the arrow approaches the quarry and usually happens as the deer drops down in preparation for a speedy exit.  It is like the deer’s legs becoming a coiled spring which he releases when he runs away.

Theories abound about the deer seeing the arrow or hearing the release.  In an address by Bill Winke, a noted bowhunter, at the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) annual conference a while back briefly addressed the subject.

Winke maintains that deer do not see the arrow.  They drop because it is their first reaction to hearing something alien to them.  A reason to make your bow as quietly shooting as possible.

Bill Has studied this action in deer.  He finds that does are more prone to jump the string.  Ninety percent of does and 50% of bucks will jump.  For the bowhunter, the safe answer to the problem is to stop them from walking and aim low.  If they drop you have a good hit in a vital area and if they do not drop you still have a good low hit.




Despite all the additions and improvements, the key to successful bow hunting is still draw, aim and release.  These seven steps for fall bowhunting success are common sense practices that apply to all bowhunters.

 Accessories popular with many hunters can enhance basic bowhunting skills.  They are not a substitute for those skills.  If you follow these suggestions this fall you will be a more confident and successful hunter.

 Step One – Begin by shooting a lot.  Shoot at different distances and varying angles.  The quality and quantity of your practice is important.  Set up a schedule and stick to it.  Begin by shooting one hour per day three days per week.  Muscles used in shooting need to be strengthened with practice.  Overdoing it in the early part of the practice season can result in injury.  The next week add one day or one hour to the schedule.  Soon you can be shooting daily.

 Step Two –  Pay attention to the release of your arrows.  It is important to be as smooth as possible in order to get correct arrow flight.  In order for an arrow to be consistently accurate it is vital that you use the same anchor point.  Varying it up or down will cause the arrow to shoot high or low.  If you use your jaw as an anchor point one time and the corner of your mouth the next time the arrow will not get the same amount of energy from the release.  The result is a shorter flying arrow.

 As your practice schedule gets more active you will build your arm and shoulder muscles resulting in your finding it easier to draw the bow.  This can allow you to pull the arrow back further than you intend and will result in more energy being transferred to the arrow.  That in turn can cause the arrow to hit the target higher.  Being consistent with the anchor point will keep you from overdrawing your bow.

 Concentrate on drawing, aiming and releasing in one fluid motion.  Soon this will become an automatic reflex.  When that big buck steps out you will shoot correctly and automatically correctly.

 Step Three – Every time you pick up your bow check all the aspects that can change.  Check the sight, rests, string, string serving, cables, wheels, etc.  Murphy=s Law works in bowhunting too.  What can become damaged or out of adjustment will.  If you make this preparation a regular part of your preparation for shooting you will not find any surprises at the wrong time.


 Step Four –  Today there are a number of foam targets on the market that are not all that expensive.  Buy one and use it.  The 3-D targets get you accustomed to shooting at a specific point on the animal, an important factor in hunting.  But the targets with concentric circles and a bulls eye work the same.  You just have to learn to envision that bulls eye on the animal in the field.


 Step Five – When shooting at targets move around and shoot from various angles.  If you will be hunting from a treestand practice from an elevated location.  The roof of the garage or a step ladder works well.


 Step Six – It is important to practice on days when the weather is unfavorable as well as good ones.  Once in the field you will not have the choice of picking the weather under which you hunt.  Get to know all aspects of your hunting equipment.  Shoot while wearing your hunting clothing so that you can tell if it will adversely affect your skills.  Learn how to do basic bow repairs.  Things can break and a good hunting trip can be ruined if you do not have the ability to do a repair in the field.


 Step Seven – If you have a second bow take it along in the field.  Practice with it as well prior to the season opener.  The bow might be the one you had before you purchased a new one.  Having a back up bow can be additional insurance against having to sit in camp while others hunt.  Even if you are hunting near home the back up bow can mean not losing a weekend of hunting because you cannot get yours immediately repaired.


 In short, it is important to practice all of your hunting skills all summer leading up to the fall hunting season.  Practice and analyze your abilities as you do.  Practice with the same intensity with which you hunt and you too will bring home the venison this fall.

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