Tips & Tactics

Ready or Not

Ready or Not

By Ken Piper

Getting close to deer isn't the hard part of bowhunting.

The most difficult aspect of bowhunting isn't getting close enough to deer. The hard part is getting off a shot when you're just 20 yards from one of the most paranoid animals on earth. Even slight movement can be noticed by a cagey old buck or, worse, a smart and experienced doe. It's not that does are better at detecting danger than bucks, but there are usually a lot more of them.

That said, it's not realistic to think you can be 100% ready to take a shot the entire time you're sitting in a stand - or, if we're talking about being ready, maybe I should say standing in a stand.

The key is to find the right balance between comfort and being ready.

Bow hangers are almost essential for a comfortable hunt, but they also can be our biggest obstacle for getting off a shot. I've tried positioning hangers so the bow hangs right in front of me in an almost ready position. The problem with that is the hanger can be in the way when you try to draw. I now keep the hanger out of the way and try to hold the bow more often, or just rest it in my lap.

Another mistake I used to make was leaving the bow on the hanger until I saw something I wanted to shoot. Now, if I see any deer, I take the bow off the hanger and hold it in a near-ready position - and I keep it there until there are no deer in sight. You never know when a buck will walk in on feeding does, so be ready.

I have friends who stand up and hold their bows for the last hour or so of daylight. If you can do so comfortably, great. I move around too much when standing. The extra movement offsets any benefits I might gain by already being on my feet. Instead, I opt to hold my bow with my release clipped to the loop. It's also a good idea to practice shooting while seated so you're confident if you need to release an arrow from that position.

You already know how a buck can seemingly materialize out of nowhere, so anything you can do to keep him - or the many does around your stand - from seeing you get ready to shoot will dramatically increase your chances.

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Thoughts on Does: Everybody wants to shoot a buck, but does are the key to deer management.

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Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd