Making the Shot: 3 Keys to Successon Oct 1, 2012
Pick a Spot
It sounds so easy. Yet, in the clutches of your “shot of a lifetime”, it can literally be one of the hardest things to do; sometimes impossible. A lot of archers, and I was once one of them, tend to aim “at the deer” while under the pressure of a live shot. However, nothing will undermine your chances of success like shooting at the entire animal. That may sound weird, but if your aim is directed at the “whole” deer, then you’re really not focused on where you want your arrow to impact. And if you really don’t know exactly where your arrow is going to land, how can you logically expect to hit anything with it?
Case in point: When that buck came trotting into my shooting lane, I wasn’t looking at the single hair or spot I wanted to hit. I was more concerned with his headgear; “lusting” over it actually. Sure, I placed the sight pin “somewhere” on him, but I couldn’t tell you where. Obviously, my aim was nowhere near where it should have been, otherwise, I would be writing about something else and he would be staring down at me from my living room wall. Picking a spot takes the focus off of the antlers and puts it back where it belongs….aiming. It essentially forces your mind to work when it otherwise wands to shut down. If I would have simply concentrated on a single tuft of hair or discoloration on his chest my mind would not have turned to gravy so easily, and I likely would have made a killing shot. Sometimes the hardest lessons are also the most educational.
Failure to pick a spot is typically the result of rushing through the moment in an attempt to get out of an uncomfortable situation...like drawing back on the buck of your dreams. While we all live for this moment, the ill-prepared bowhunter will try to get out of the situation as quickly as possible....releasing the arrow is the easiest way to do that.
Understanding how important it is to pick a small aiming point on your next trophy, you may be tempted to believe that you can wait until the moment of truth arrives before actually testing that theory. Don’t. In the heat of the moment, when your mind disengages, you likely won’t even remember to do it. The solution? Picking a spot must be part of your everyday shooting routine. It should be something that is performed on every shot you take from this day forward; in practice or in the field. Simply reminding yourself to do it, verbally or perhaps by strategically attaching stickers to your bow limbs, can’t always be relied on to pull you through the throat tightening process of a live animal shot.