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Archery 101 Part Two

Good Habits Sharpen Archery Skills

Positive habits yield positive results. That basic concept holds true in much of life, including archery. You probably won’t become a great archer overnight, but if you focus on perfecting your habits, your skills will continually grow.

Bow Hunter Walking In Field

Pre-Shot Routines

If you watch baseball games, you know players rehearse their routines before stepping into the batter’s box. Likewise, archers need shooting routines to help focus on the subtle details of executing each shot.

Standing with your shoulders perpendicular to the target, and draw your bow by using your back muscles to squeeze your shoulder blades together as you hold your sight-pin over the target. At this point, many archers make the mistake of jerking the trigger, resulting in an anticipated shot that can’t be repeated. Instead, pull through your shot by continuously squeezing your shoulder blades together until your index finger breaks through your release trigger (the same applies for those who shoot a thumb button release). When the arrow launches, don’t drop your bow arm. Follow through on your shot until the arrow hits behind the pin. If you follow those steps consistently, your shooting routine eventually becomes a subconscious process for executing consistent shots one after another.

Sighting A Bow

Understanding Stabilization

If you’ve paid attention to the target archery scene, you’ve likely noticed long front and rear stabilizers. Accuracy needs to be perfected in target archery, and there’s certainly a place for similar setups in the hunting world. Long front bar stabilizers reduce lateral torque in your bow, and by adding weight in front of the riser, you’ll notice a stray arrow flying left or right of center will become less likely. Back bars, or stabilizers mounted off the opposite side of the riser, promote a level and steady hold at full draw. Think about it – your sight, quiver, and arrow rest are all mounted on the same side of your bow. By adding a backbar to the opposite side, you’ll quickly level your sight’s bubble when you reach full draw.

Picking the Perfect Broadhead

If you want to stir a never-ending debate, ask a group of bowhunters what the best broadhead is. Odds are, you’ll receive many different answers. To be blunt, the perfect broadhead is the head that flies true and works with your setup. However, general guidelines apply when choosing the right tool for the job.

Basic physics suggest that as cutting diameter decreases, penetration increases. This basic fact helps many bowhunters settle the debate on mechanical or fixed-blade broadheads. Mechanical broadheads with large cutting diameters require a lot of kinetic energy to pass through their target. If your setup pairs a long draw length, heavy draw weight, and heavy arrows together, then you can likely take advantage of a mechanical. If that doesn’t sound like your setup, or if you’re targeting large-bodied, thick skinned critters like elk or moose, then perhaps an efficient fixed-blade is the right tool for the job.


To improve as an archer, you must shoot regularly. Find a partner and create a shooting schedule with specific drills to focus on. For example, you might spend an entire session perfecting the surprise release. Some drills might be more mundane than others, but shooting with a partner helps keep you both accountable and allows you and your partner to identify areas for improvement for one another. Shooting schedules also help you get more out of practice. Your skills will improve faster when you shoot with specific goals in mind.

Shoot Indoors

Shooting daily at a range isn’t always feasible, but a quality bag target and makeshift range can keep you shooting daily. Closets, a basement, attached garage or spare bedrooms offer just enough space to shoot arrows indoors. Small spaces limit how far you can shoot, so focus on perfecting your form and follow-through rather than drilling bull’s-eyes. Before shooting indoors, make sure your target can stop every arrow. Even slight pass-throughs can damage walls and doors.

Visit a Pro Shop

You’ll find no better place for expert tips and advice than pro shops. Their experts make sure your bow is tuned and set up correctly. By visiting a pro shop regularly, you’ll a stay atop the latest products. In addition, most pro shops offer leagues, which are great for honing skills while making new friends.

Set Goals

Bow Hunter Nocking An Arrow

Setting goals is vital to improving. Goals help identify weaknesses and chart plans for improvements, but they must be realistic. Achieving greatness requires time, but by setting reasonable milestones and reflecting on your steps for achieving them, you’ll enjoy archery more than ever.

If you want even more bowhunting content, listen in to the latest podcast or dig into the blog – there’s plenty of resources archers can take advantage of.

It’s our hope you can learn and laugh along with the expert voices we feature on this blog. We want to be clear that the opinions you see featured here are just that: opinions. The content belongs to the authors and is not necessarily the opinion of Vortex Optics.

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August 4, 2020
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