How to Become a Stone Cold Killer in the Deer Woods: It’s Not Shooting More Reps

By Brodie SwisherOctober 21, 20202 Comments

I’ve always felt a special connection to bowhunters that loved the  opportunity for live targets. I remember sharing hunting camp years ago with a couple other like-minded guys that agreed, our dream hunt would be any place that offered ample shot opportunities, at equally ample species of game, both big and small.

Turn me loose in a place like Texas with my bow, 3 dozen arrows, and a pocket full of tags. That’ll be like heaven on earth as far as I’m concerned.

My hunting heroes have never been the guys that shows up at camp and shoot the deer the outfitter has picked out for him. My favorite hunters have are the ones that know how to get things done on their own, and always seem to come back to camp with meat. I call them, Stone Cold Killers. They shoot a lot of arrows, punch a lot of tags, and haul lots of meat to the house.

How do you become a stone cold killer in the woods?

Read on…

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Will you be able to handle the moment of truth when the shot opportunity arrives?

Shooting More Reps Won't Cut It

There’s been this cute little trend among some hunters where we liken ourselves to sports athletes. We like to use gym talk around the archery range. I miss the days where we simply shot our bows with our buddies, or “flung a few arrows” with the family. Nowadays, you ain’t cool unless you drop the word, “reps,” at least a few times in your pre-season routine.

“Got a few reps in tonight before dark.”

“Who got  their reps in tonight???”

“Crushed another archery workout after work. 100 yard reps sure feel good.”

But regardless of what you want to call them, excessive reps (practice) won’t make you a stone cold killer.

Practice on the range builds confidence in equipment and ability, but it will not prepare you for what your body will experience with a live target in bow range.

Should you be shooting a bunch or arrows and practicing as much as possible? Absolutely! Send it. But it’s not the secret to making you deadly in the deer woods.

I’ve seen some of the best shooters I know fall apart when it comes to killing animals. Regardless of what you see on social media, just remember, more reps on the range doesn’t equate to more tags punched in the timber.

Great Gear Equals More Deer...Nope

Some hunters believe the lie that if they just have all the right gear, they will surely become a stone cold killer. The truth is, you can wear all the Scentlok and Sitka you want and still not kill any more critters than the guy that rolled up to the woods in Walmart camo from head to toe.

You can suck down all the MTN OPS product you can handle if that makes you feel better about your chances, but they are not the secret to making it happen at the moment of truth.

Don’t get me wrong, I love great gear. I like to hunt with the best gear I can get my hands on. But at the end of the day, I know Sitka won’t save me. It’s on me. 

You can take all the selfies you want with your cool gear and gadgets, but do you have what it takes to punch tags? 

It's nice to have great gear, but making the shot is on you. Can you make it happen?

The Secret to Being a Stone Cold Killer is to Punch More Tags

Want to become a stone cold killer in the deer woods?

The secret is to punch more tags. It’s all about experience with live targets in front of your pins. There is no other replacement. Foam targets and yellow bullseyes won’t cut it. You need live, flesh and blood targets in front of you to help you handle the moment prior to taking an animal’s life. It’s a big deal. 

There’s no other experience like taking one of God’s critters off the face of the earth. It’s a fleeting moment that should be respected and appreciated. The moment is typically filled with an overwhelming adrenaline surge that often leads us to blow up at the shot. 

The ability to control the fight or flight within us at this moment can only be won by more time at full draw on live targets. Again, it comes with experience.

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Punching more tags and building on your experiences is the number one way to become a stone cold killer in the deer woods.

How do you gain such experience?

Keep a squirrel arrow in your quiver and shoot one every chance you get. Shoot every coyote that comes by your stand. And more than anything, quit passing up does.

I hear new bowhunters make comments like, “I’m holding out for a big buck,” or “I want my first deer to a big one.”

My advice – get over that mentality.

Notched doe tags lead to more notches in your belt of experience and ability as a bowhunter.

Quit letting does walk by. They are a great way to fill the freezer. If you don’t need the meat, surely somebody else will.  Shooting does, will help you gain the experience you need to consistently be a stone cold killer in the deer woods.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is, shooting more animals is the key to better handling the unavoidable fever that washes over your body at the moment of truth. With experience comes wisdom. And as the years go by, you’ll find yourself hunting smarter, more efficiently, and having a lot more fun as you punch more tags on the game you pursue.

Brodie Swisher
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Bowhunting.com. Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
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