Practicing for the Hunt
- Begin practicing months before the season begins. Top crossbow hunters practice year-round. The length of the practice session should increase as the hunting season approaches.
- Locate a safe place to sight-in, and practice with target points that match the size and style of the broadheads you expect to use for hunting.
- Work with your equipment. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and tune the equipment until each arrow flies straight and true.
- Resolve all equipment problems before you hunt. If your target arrows don’t shoot well at the practice range, your broadheads won’t shoot any better in the field.
- Double your benefits by practicing on full-size 3D animal targets. Not only can you practice hitting what you’re aiming at, but you also can visualize the primary aiming zone and the vital organs that lie inside. Another useful exercise is to place the targets in hunting situations and practice judging yardage as well as shoot/don’t shoot angles.
- Practice from unknown distances. One of the difficulties many crossbow hunters encounter is estimating distances to a target. Practice sessions tend to take place at known yardages with sight pins set to those distances. Practicing without marked yardages will help you learn how to estimate distances in the field.
- Try practice shots from a sitting or kneeling position, and especially from the elevated position you’ll use in a tree stand.
- Using blunt- or JUDO-type points, practice in the field on dead tree stumps or other objects. This important field practice is also good for improving your ability to estimate distances to targets.
- Practice until you consistently hit where you’re aiming.
- Establish your “zone of confidence”—the range at which you are assured of making vital and trackable hits on big game animals.
- Practice in the clothing you plan to wear when you hunt. Loose or bulky clothing may cause you to shoot differently.
- Continue practicing until you become confident in your shooting ability. Then you’re ready for the hunt.
JUDO is a registered trademark of Zwickey Archery, Inc.