I can’t speak for other bowhunters, but after sitting stone still in a treestand for several hours and a shooter buck comes walking in, my heartbeat goes from zero to 100 in about three seconds flat!
There’s nothing wrong with that reaction because it means you are excited and having fun, however, an accelerated heart rate can mean big trouble when it comes to shot accuracy.
Steadying for a shot is no easy feat when your ticker is about to pound out of your chest.
I figure the only way to conquer it in a hunting situation is to prepare for it on the practice range.
So, I created an exercise regimen for myself that has helped me prepare for those adrenaline-flooded moments.
I start by taking six shots with my bow, making as tight a group as I can, then putting down my bow and running in place for 20 seconds to get my heart rate up.
When 20 seconds is up, I will grab my bow, take deep breaths to slow my heart rate and attempt to make an accurate shot in the center of my group.
It’s amazing how hard it is to put that seventh arrow close to the first six!
At first, I had a lot of strays. But I noticed over time I began to consistently group the seventh arrow with the others.
Make sure to use field tips, not broadheads, since you will be grouping arrows. You don’t want to damage your fletchings.
This exercise has turned into a game of sorts, and has brought a lot of fun back to my archery practice. I’ll reap the benefits the next time a heart-stopping buck materializes near my bow stand.
— Editor’s Note by Tim H. Martin
I’d like to append Mike Bolinder’s tip by saying his bowhunter’s heart rate drill would be helpful for gun hunters as well.
There’s an Olympic event called the biathlon that requires cross country skiers to control their breathing and heart rates to make an accurate shot with a rifle.
The biathlon actually has roots in hunting as it originated to honor Ullr, the ancient Scandinavian god of hunting and skiing.
Even though our sport is often static, I believe hunters should think of themselves more as athletes than hobbyists.
A little jogging and a gym membership go a long when it comes to climbing trees, dragging dead deer, enduring a cold day in the woods, and keeping your heart rate down when you pull the trigger.
The next time you go to the gun range, shoot a nice group from the bench, then get up, run 50 yards and back, sit back down and see how easy it is to steady your scope.
I guarantee you will quickly recognize the importance of fitness in marksmanship!
— Photo Courtesy of Mike Bolinder Read Recent Tip of the Week:
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