I finally got to the patch of sage brush that would put me within 50 yards of the heavy 4×4 muley. I had just finished checking and re-checking the yardage to the bedded buck when suddenly one of his does rose to full alert. Not knowing what was going on, the buck came to his feet. Before I knew it I was at full draw and a split second later, my Easton arrow was on its way. I watched my terminal lock head punch a hole right through both of his lungs. As he ran off I realized I was in perfect follow through form. I had just filled my tag and did everything just right when it came to executing my shot though I didn’t even remember hooking my release to the string. After quartering my buck I packed up and made my 7 mile journey back to civilization. On my way out I had a lot of time to go over what made my hunt successful.
The conclusion I came to was lots of practice. Not because I remembered what I practiced, but because I practiced so much that my shot process had become second nature. Even though I was so pumped that I couldn’t consciously think of my shot process, my subconscious knew how to handle the situation. The feeling of not only harvesting an animal cleanly but also executing my shot properly in doing so put the icing on the cake. After all, that’s why we practice.
We all seem to find reasons why we can’t practice shooting during the off season. In my opinion it is just as important to practice in the off season as it is during hunting season. Here’s an example of why practicing in the off season is so important. If we only walked 2 weeks out of a year, we probably wouldn’t be too good at it. But we walk all the time. Do we ever have to think about taking the steps to walk? I think not. Our subconscious does all the thinking for us. Now if we applied a couple of hours out of a week throughout the year to practice, think about how much easier it would be for our subconscious to help us during crunch time. Also think about how much more natural our shot process would come to us.
If there is one thing I’ve learned in my 16 years of bow hunting, it’s the less you have to think about in crunch time, the more you can focus on putting an arrow in the boiler room. By practicing daily, our shot process will become almost instinctive, even when our brains turn to mush in the heat of the moment