Tips & Tactics

Virtually Perfect Practice

Virtually Perfect Practice

By Ken Piper, Executive Editor | Buckmasters

If I told you I’ve shot a thousand or more trophy bucks, you’d think I was either a poacher or a liar.

I’m neither, and although the vast majority of those bucks were shot in a virtual setting, that experience has done more for my real bowhunting than any other type of practice or expensive gear.

I’ve been shooting video hunting simulators since 1999. Not only are they a lot of fun, there is nothing better that will help you prepare for drawing your bow on a monster buck.

If you’ve never seen these systems in action, check with your local archery shop. The only special equipment you need are inexpensive blunts for your arrows. A light for your sight helps, too.

A computer system controls a projector that shows video clips of live whitetails. You decide the right time to shoot and must overcome distractions like other deer, poor shot angles and foliage. You also have to take shot angle into consideration and aim accordingly. When you shoot, the computer stops the video and gives you a score.

Ken PiperWhile you’re having fun and learning about shot placement, you’re also developing muscle memory and conditioning your mind for the real thing. The more I shot the video, the less I had to think about drawing the bow, placing the pin on the vitals and making a smooth release.

I still get buck fever when I see a racked buck coming my way but, thanks to the videos, my nerves no longer keep me from making a good shot. That’s a good thing, because when I looked up and saw a 206-inch buck heading my way on Nov. 7, 2004, I knew instantly I was seeing a buck of several lifetimes.

Routine took over, and my brain automatically began to take my body through my video habits. Without having to think at all, I set my feet, looked for a good opening, checked my release on my string and made a smooth draw to my cheek. When the buck stepped into the chosen opening, my 20-yard pin automatically settled just behind the shoulder blade, and my finger gently touched off the release.

If honing my skills by playing a hunting simulator game can help me fill tags, I know it can be a game changer for you too.

If you have a unique or special tip you’d like to share with Buckmasters fans, please email it to and, if chosen, we will send you a cap signed by Jackie Bushman, along with a knife!

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Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd