After my recent Colorado mule deer hunt video the editors at Outdoor Life had a couple questions for me. First, how the hell did I miss a 10-yard shot? Second, how the hell did I re-knock my arrow so fast and get off an accurate follow-up shot?
The answer to the first questions was simple: the deer was moving a lot faster than my arrow when he blew off his bed. The awesome GoPro footage shows the arrow right on path, but the deer bounded out of the way. When the arrow arrived at its intended destination the deer had turned and bolted.
As far as the reload speed, that’s pretty simple to understand, but a little harder to execute… It’s practice, practice, practice. I practice with that old idea in mind: prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. So when I’m out at the range or shooting 3D targets I always try and simulate REAL hunting situations. That means missing the first arrow and reloading as fast as humanly possible. If you do this enough it will become second nature and your body and mind will be on autopilot when the moment of truth arrives. So getting a second shot off in under 13 seconds, cool as it looked on the GoPro, didn’t just happen. It was a scenario I’ve rehearsed all off-season long.
Next time you’re at the archery range, give this try and see how you fare:
Knock out 20 to 30 push up’s and then hop to your feet and fire an arrow at 20 yards. Immediately after that shot, reload, and fire that second arrow at a target 40 to 50 yards away. Start with targets the size of a paper plate. Soon you’ll find, if you keep on practicing, that regularly hitting a target the size of a softball with that second shot is not out of the question.
Remember, stay calm, pick a spot and never give up! Anything can happen out bowhunting. Prepare for anything and everything.