In a recent Bowhunting.com staff meeting, Justin Zarr brought up a guy by the name of James Jean. “Have you ever seen this guy shoot?” he asked. The rest of the team went to grabbing their phones to pull up Jean’s Instagram account – @jamesjeantrickshots.
There we found a long list of videos with a wide range of shots. Some were the standard trickshots you’ve likely seen from exhibition shooters like Byron Ferguson. But there were plenty of shots that’ll leave you asking, “Is that even possible?”
Some of the shots are so crazy, the skeptics quickly call bull and assume it’s merely fancy editing. I decided to connect with Jean for an interview to get to the bottom of what he does and how he makes it happen.
Check out the video below for a look at some of James Jean’s trickshots.
Jean started shooting a bow very early on as a child. “Ever since I can remember, I had a bow,” says Jean. “I had little toy bows, and then a little bear compound bow when I was around 9 years old. I did a lot of shooting as a kid, then took a break until I was 18. That’s when I got into bowhunting and fell in love with it. I was back to shooting all the time.”
It wasn’t long before Jean transitioned to a traditional bow for the added challenge. He was always looking for something to keep things interesting and challenging. That’s what led him to go from shooting stationary targets to moving targets.
“I started shooting moving targets on a zipline, then got into all the traditional trickshots that have been around for a long time,” says Jean. “It wasn’t long before I was shooting clay targets out of the air and just about anything I could find to try. Over the years the trickshots have just slowly evolved into what I’m doing today.”
Jean’s shots include a little bit of everything. You’ll find him shooting an aspirin pill and rings out of the air, shooting curved arrows around obstacles, ricochet shots, a boomerang arrow shot and much much more. A lot of the shots will truly have you scratching your head.
But how does he do it?
“The shots are all about timing and learning to manipulate your arrow,” says Jean. “Most people don’t realize just how many ways you can manipulate an arrow to do some pretty crazy things. From the fletching on the arrow, to the way you load and drop the bowstring, you can make your arrow do some pretty amazing stuff.”
Although Jean didn’t get into bowhunting until the end of high school, he credits his dad with his love for hunting from an early age. “My dad has always been a huge hunter,” says Jean. “He’s hunted all over the world. In fact, that’s how he met my mom, while on a hunting trip.”
Jean enjoys hunting for just about anything. From deer and turkey, to bear and bowfishing, he’s always looking for the next adventure in the woods.
He’s also filmed hunts for a number of hunting and outdoor shows over the years. All the experiences have led him to where he is now – capturing some incredible archery trickshots on camera for his followers. His trickshots have even led him to develop some great partnerships with brands like Black Rifle Coffee Company and Bear Archery.