I opened the back door of my house this morning and smiled while breathing in the fresh air. Like most mornings these days, my bow was in-hand. The wolverine target sits against the fence at forty yards and has been taking some abuse over the last several weeks. I will be on a plane heading to Africa in less than two weeks and I want to arrive with complete confidence. Like a pitcher on the mound, I focused all my attention and executed three good shots. I try to shoot a minimum of 20 arrows per day during the work week, and weekends are often spent at 3-D’s or shooting many arrows in the backyard or archery range. You really can’t shoot too much! It’s easy to become lackadaisical when it comes to tuning, but the truth is, a well-tuned bow can and will make a difference in your success.
Today’s high performance bows can be a bit finicky when considering arrow grouping, especially with broadheads. It’s never fun watching a “cork screwing” arrow flounder toward the target. This can totally destroy confidence, but in many cases is an easy fix. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure we’ve all been through the confusion of battling a bow/arrow that just wouldn’t produce that “perfect” hole through paper. Though frustrating, it normally ends as a positive learning experience and aids in the growth of becoming a better archer.
Paper tuning is one of many techniques used to define a “tuned” bow/arrow, but I think too many folks set themselves up for mental failure with this. Before a person can consistently punch a perfect hole through paper, he/she has to be mechanically sound in their shot execution. The only way to produce consistent form is to practice, and practice, and practice. In fact, you can have poor form, and if your poor form is consistent through practice, you’ll still be able to achieve good arrow grouping. The combination of good form and practice is obviously the best combination.
All of us need to consider form maintenance. Whether it’s your favorite tech at the local pro-shop or someone you respect as a shooter, ask them to critique your form. Quite often the smallest adjustment can make a huge difference. I’ve been a very avid archer for over 20 years and I’ve learned to have an open mind to constructive criticism, not make excuses, and practice as often as I can. I know this attitude and discipline has helped me through the years. I’m always learning something new. So, before you prioritize paper-tuning or any other tuning technique, make sure you’ve done what it takes to duplicate a well-executed shot, both physically and mentally. When your body and mind are in sync and your form is consistent, it will make all tuning techniques easier.
In my opinion, the best benefit of a well-tuned bow is that you as an archer have done what it takes to achieve this through practice so when that nice bull steps into range, your body and mind will instinctively make that perfect shot. Last season, I unfortunately only had one day to hunt elk. At around 10:30 that morning, the good Lord presented me with a shot opportunity. I’m very thankful my body and mind was ready and my family has been enjoying some great elk meat.
Wow, we’re only 4 1/2 months away from elk season! I know I’m going to do what it takes as I happen to have an early Arizona elk tag in my pocket this year. Yeah, I’m a little excited! I wish everyone the best luck getting prepared! God Bless.