Every bowhunter at one time or another has made a mistake that has cost them an animal or has cost them a good clean shot leading to hours of trailing. Those of us who have been bow hunting for a number of years have discovered most of these mistakes and have worked hard to learn from and correct them.
In this article I’m going to take you through some of the biggest mistakes that archers make so that you can catch them before they ruin your hunt.
Missing the Kill-zone
In order to bring down an animal as fast and as painless as possible you need to shoot the animal in the kill-zone. The kill-zone is right where the lungs and heart are housed together. This kill-zone placement varies a little on different animals and also depending on the animals’ position (standing, laying down).
Poor placement of an arrow on an animal will turn your hunt into a nightlong event as the animal will take longer to die. Before you venture out hunting it is a good Idea to familiarize yourself with the vitals, of the animal you will be hunting. This will help you to better judge where you should be shooting. Practice is also a huge importance. You can do this by going online and looking for pictures or what I would recommend is getting a 3D target, the best out there in my opinion are the Rinehart targets: Rinehart Targets Broadhead Buck 3-D Archery Target
Rinehart Targets Bowhunter Buck 3-D Archery Target
This is by far one of the most commonly made mistakes that causes hunters to wound or lose their animals. This is mostly due to 2 reasons. The first reason is that the archer has not had enough if any practice judging yardages and therefore is very inaccurate when it comes to guessing the range of the animal.
The second reason is that some of the hunting scenarios in the bush make it hard to judge distance because of the tunnel effect or hills or some other obstacles you may run into. The good thing is that this problem can be fixed by placing markers around your tree stand or hunting spots so that you can more easily identify the different yardages.
Another great option is to get a hold of a rangefinder( Ranger Eye 800 – Laser Range Finder) these will definitely help to make sure you don’t misjudge your distances again.
Equipment in Poor Condition
In my opinion nothing is as frustrating as going hunting getting all setup to shoot at an animal and then having something break on your bow because you have neglected to ensure that all of the components of your bow were in good condition. This is a very common mistake as well.
People often forget that a bow is a piece of equipment that needs to be taken care of and serviced just like a vehicle or a machine. Your bow should be tuned, sighted in, and checked for anything that could be worn out or broken on a regular basis, especially before going on a hunt or to a competition shoot.
If you practice with your broadheads at all they will become dull so before you begin your hunt take your broadhead sharpener and touch up the blades a bit. I would personally recommend the one I use it is a bit expensive but it works great G5 Montec Diamond Stone Broadhead Sharpener
Arrows have to be spined correctly to the poundage of the bow. If the spine is too stiff or too loose the arrow will never fly accurately.
Following Up Too Soon
I have definitely made this mistake myself, and it is very easy to do. There’s nothing like finally getting that shot on a beautiful animal, and seeing the arrow hit the sweet spot and the animal run a short distance and then lay down. Adrenaline and excitement overwhelm you and automatically your climbing out of your trees tand and rushing towards your trophy.
As you near the animal you see it twitch and then you see it spring to its feet and start off again, and all you can do is stare in disbelief. This is the problem with following up too soon. Although animals that have been shot in the kill-zone die fairly quickly remember that the animal is running on adrenaline which causes them to be able to keep going if they feel threatened again.
The general rule that I follow is to wait about 20 min if the animal was hit in the kill-zone, and about 35-40 minutes if you feel that shot was good but not the greatest. Following this rule you will increase you chances of recovering your trophy animal and not have to chase it for hours.
Drawing Too Much Weight
Way too many bowhunters are obsessed with speed and therefore crank down their bows to the max draw weight possible so that they’re shooting the max speeds possible. Now don’t get me wrong, speed and kinetic energy is important but its not the only important thing to worry about. Accuracy is just as critical as speed and energy. By having your draw weight set beyond your ability to comfortably draw your bow, you will just handicap yourself and inhibit our ability to correctly and effectively shoot your bow.
Believe me when I say, the few feet per second you stand to gain is not worth the probability of missing your trophy animal. Remember too, that drawing your bow is relatively easy when not in hunting gear and standing on the ground. It becomes more difficult from a tree stand not too mention that the degree of difficulty is compounded with cold temperatures and layers of clothing making it all of a sudden nearly impossible to draw your bow.
Too often I’ve seen archers at a archery range that can barely draw their bow. I sometimes can’t help but wonder what happens when they are out hunting.
Mistakes will be made and there is no use in stressing out about them. The key is to figure out what you did wrong and try to learn from your mistakes each time you make one. By understanding and learning from your past mistakes you greatly increase your chances of becoming a better bowhunter.