Photo Courtesy of Doug Gray, CO
by Mike Hoff
Miss quick or eat well. It sounds a bit silly, but this is a question that all modern archers must consider when purchasing new equipment. It seems that every new bow on the market hypes its speed capabilities. Though the feet per second that a given bow has the ability of throwing an arrow is fun to know and even to joust about with other archers in the off season.
I submit to you that the real question is “how accurate” is this new bow I’m considering. The fastest arrow in the world won’t ethically harvest your animal of choice, if it isn’t married to the accuracy of the archer. That’s right; it is still the responsibility of the individual archer to become proficient with the outfit that is finally decided on. Sure you do need to do your due diligence when shopping for new equipment and there are a whole lot of great new gizmos and gadgets that possibly could help you become a better shooter.
I would suggest that the three most important things you can do to become a more prolific hunter are as follows and in order of importance:
- PRACTICE: Practice not only makes you a more accurate shot, but it builds confidence and muscle memory. Muscle memory can get you through many situations that otherwise could be a failed shot or even worse the wounding of an animal that we all respect so much! It’s that little voice inside you that says, “Okay, this feels right, shoot!”
- HUNT: As foolish as it sounds to even put in the article, the more you hunt, the more you learn about practical issues with the way you shoot and the situations which may arise that force you to shoot in either an uncomfortable position, or in less than perfect conditions. All of these are important lessons and WILL come into play at some time in your hunting career.
- READ: Thirdly, I suggest that you read. Don’t just read the adventures of other hunters that share your passion, but also read bow tuning articles for instance. Read about the particular habits and natural “seasons/phases” of the game that you intend to hunt. Understanding more about the sport as a whole will make you a better hunter, conservationist, and ethical person in the field. Don’t forget to study enough first aide and survival skills and techniques to keep you and the others in your hunting camp safe and able to hunt again.
All of these issues make you a better than average hunter and archer! Not the speed of the arrow. Sure that does come into play with issues such as “jumping the string”, but look before you and see who has made a name for themselves in this field, don’t shoot what they shoot, shoot how they shoot. They all have, without exception, put their time in on the practice field and the actual field. They have written and read countless articles and books, they have become students of the sport and most importantly they are accurate and ethical.
Remember there are reasons top fuel dragsters aren’t worth a darn for NASCAR, they lack a very important attribute the ability to control where the darn this is going. Before you fall prey to the manufacturer’s speed ratings on what makes the best bow for you remember this phrase: “Miss Quick Or Eat Well”