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Ten very informative tidbits of information that will make you a much more accurate and consistent archer.


1. Have a Consistent Anchor Point

Having a consistent anchor point is paramount if you want your arrows to fly true. The last thing you want is to draw back and anchor at different points from shot to shot. Make a conscious effort to anchor is the same spot each time you draw your bow. I have five points of reference when I draw back and anchor. I use a kisser button. When I draw back it comes to rest at the corner of my mouth. My nose touches the string just above the kisser button. The fletching on the arrow rests between my bottom lip and chin. The big knuckle of my pointer finger touches my ear lobe. And my outstretched thumb runs along my jawbone. This exact method may not work for everyone. But the process will. Once you draw back and anchor in a mechanically sound way, make note of different reference points that you can use each time you draw. You will shoot tighter groups on a more consistent basis if you do.


2. Keep Draw Weight Down

Everybody and their brother would like to shoot eighty-pound elk bows. Why? It isn’t necessary. Sure, if you look like the guys on the movie 300 and can whip a Brahma bull – go for it. More power to you. But if you can’t comfortably pull a certain weight do your arm a favor and don’t pull it. Fifty to 60 pounds of draw weight is plenty enough for most big game animals. If you are hunting elk, moose and the biggest of big game it will be better to have more weight. But for deer, antelope and other similarly-sized animals it isn’t necessary. Whether you are hunting, or just shooting, a smooth draw is a must. Too much weight will only cause excessive motion and decreased accuracy.


3. Monitor the Peep Sight

This is a problem with a simple solution. But it can cause havoc and frustration if you don’t have it just right. Make sure the peep sight is in the right location to begin with. Too high or low on the string will interrupt the flow of your shot. It’s in the wrong spot if you have to move your head to see through your peep after you’ve anchored. Your peep should work in unison with your anchor point. Once you have it in the right spot it’s time to tie that bad boy down….tight. Do whatever is necessary to keep the peep sight from sliding up and down on the string. Even the slightest shift can throw off your shot.


4. Shoot the Right Arrows

This is often overlooked. It is very important to shoot the right arrows. Most arrow manufacturers’ websites will have selection charts available. It will ask you a series of questions about your bow and then recommend the best shaft for you. Follow this advice. It will make for a better working system. Something else to consider is why you are shooting. Whether it is hunting, competition or just to be out in the back yard, have the right arrow for the job.


5. Use Forgiving Releases

Releases have come a long way in the last few years. In the past, about the only option was a hard shaft running from the wrist strap to the release. Now we have better options. Numerous companies now sell releases with nylon straps connecting the release and wrist strap. This style is much more forgiving and will allow shooters to get away with a little more error in shooting form.


6. Control Breathing

Breathing is a huge part of archery. You have to control breathing in order to make an accurate shot. I take slightly-deeper-than-normal breaths before releasing the arrow. This allows for relaxation of the mind and muscles. More control over breathing will lead to more accurate shooting.


7. Shoot Longer Distances

It is good to push yourself. It makes you better. The same holds true in archery. Let’s say you are comfortable shooting a target out to thirty or forty yards. Now back up and shoot at fifty and sixty to lengthen your range. That doesn’t mean you have to shoot an animal at those distances. However, shooting longer distances on the practice range that are outside of your comfort zone will make you a better archer. For example, the more you practice at longer distances, the better your form and shot execution will become.


8. Paper Tune Your Bow

Paper tuning is a great way to see how well your entire rig is functioning. Try this effective remedy if you notice your arrows not flying as well as they should. You may need to make a few adjustments if arrows aren’t flying straight. Paper tuning your bow will tell you exactly what adjustments you need to make.


9. Follow Through Correctly

The follow through is just as important as the rest of the shot process. The first step in correctly following through is to keep an open grip. Don’t clench the bow in your hand. Keep your fingers open and relaxed. Allow the pressure from the draw weight to seat it firmly in your palm. Use a wrist strap if you aren’t comfortable keeping your fingers open.

Once you release the arrow, it is important to keep your arm steady. Don’t drop the bow downward as soon as you shoot. Dropping the bow will drag your shot and cause you to miss your target. Keep your arm outstretched and allow the bow to tip forward instead. Then drop your bow once the arrow has reached its destination.


10. Practice Practicing

Practice practicing might sound a little redundant. But it has meaning. Make sure you are putting in time at the range. Make sure you are mechanically sound in your stance, draw, anchor, shot and follow through. Shoot enough that you allow yourself to get better. But don’t shoot so much that you burn yourself out.


It is also important to know your limits. Don’t shoot longer than your endurance will allow. Quit for the day once you start getting fatigued. Shooting while tired or sore will only create bad habits. It won’t improve good ones. Bad mechanics develop when you are too tired to execute good ones. Keep that in mind while at the practice range this summer. Archery is fun. And today it is one of America’s fastest growing sports. Practice shooting your bow, master your craft and share it with others. Archery and bow hunting is something to be appreciated and respected. The more we understand it, the more we can help others to. Have fun shooting at the range this summer.


Crossbow vs. Vertical Bow


Tactical Differences between the two tools


For years, many have claimed that the crossbow is superior to the compound bow and therefore should not be allowed in the regular archery season. Allegations that the crossbow is deadly-accurate out to a hundred yards making it nothing less than a rifle that shoots arrows are still common place among the uninformed. It has also been claimed that the crossbow is unsafe, too easy to shoot and more efficient than compound bows. If all these assertions are indeed true, then it would seem that the crossbow does have a distinct advantage over its vertical brother. Now those of you that shoot and hunt with a crossbow on a regular basis are fully aware that these claims are a frivolous attempt to discredit and ban a very practical hunting tool that has been proven to be a great asset to our hunting community. Firsthand experience has taught you that the crossbow is very comparable to a compound and in some situations, not up to par with the vertical bow.The ballistics of the majority of vertical bows are superior to the majority of crossbows. The mystical ingredient is the power stroke. Even though a crossbow has a heavier draw weight, the power stroke is much shorter. It is the power-stroke that generates the kinetic energy that is stored in an arrow as it is launched at its target. Kinetic energy is the fuel that delivers the speed, range and impact to the arrow. The average power stroke on a crossbow is 14-inches compared to 25-inches on a compound. With the string pushing the arrow for an extra 10-11 inches, the vertical bow is delivering maximum kinetic energy far superior to that of a crossbow.



Another claim made about the crossbows is that it is less safe than a vertical bow. Truth of the matter is that crossbows are just as safe as vertical equipment, if not more so. Ohio has had a crossbow season for 33 years. The fact is that there are more crossbow hunters in Ohio than there are vertical bowhunters, yet the documented injuries from each bow are virtually the same. Each has approximately the same number of fatalities and the approximately the same number of injuries based on documented history. How then, can anyone claim that crossbows are less safe than vertical bows? It would seem to me that those making such claims are either afraid of crossbows or ignorant about them, perhaps both. and be taken seriously just be?Another area of difference that keeps surfacing is the fact that crossbows are too easy to shoot. If, by easy, one means easy to learn the basic mechanics of the tool and to become comfortable with using it, I must agree with the claim. That is one of the redeeming things about the crossbow. In a half hour to an hour on the range, anyone should be able to have the basic mechanics down and be shooting tight groups at 20, 30 and even 40 yards. At that point, there will still be many rough edges to file down, but the shooter should have a firm grip on the basics.



However if “too easy” means it is too easy to use in the field and from the stand, then the person making that statement has never had a crossbow in their hands. The crossbow is heavy, cumbersome and awkward to handle in the stand compared to a vertical bow. The physics of the crossbow make it difficult to steady when shooting, which makes the crossbow less accurate than the vertical bow. Documented final scores turned in on the range at IBO and NFAA tournaments (both allow the use of crossbows in their national competitions) by the pros definitely prove that the vertical bow is more accurate than the crossbow when shot freehand.Maneuvering a crossbow the stand is another big disadvantage. A cocked crossbow is uncomfortable to hold on your lap because of its shape, extra bulk and weight. Because it is front end heavy, it is more difficult to hold steady when shooting. Without a rest to steady the shot, the crossbow is not as accurate as a vertical bow. Scores shot by the pros at IBO and NFAA tournaments document that fact because crossbows scores are lower than those shot by compounds.The “less accurate” fact is also why the claim that crossbows are more efficient is also untrue. The more efficient implement of the two is definitely the compound bow. When it comes to exhibiting a high ratio of output to input, the crossbow falls behind its vertical brother. With a vertical bow second and even third shots are commonplace, but not with a crossbow. Greater distance, flatter arc and less kinetic energy are all reasons the crossbow is less efficient than the modern compound bow.



The similarities of the two, however, are very easy to see when one looks at the other side of the coin. They both shoot an arrow and they are both short-range weapons, for most users, 40 yards or less. They are both fun to shoot bringing big grins and great adventure to those that are devoted to them. The both play a key role in recruitment of new hunters of all ages and both sexes, worldwide. Bottom line is that whether you are into vertical archery or horizontal archery, they are both archery.