How many of you out there are hunters? I'm sure the vast majority of you out there are hunters and probably whitetail deer hunters at that. Then, how many of you hunt from tree stands? Probably again (going on assumption) that the vast majority are hunting from tree stands. So here's the big question, how many of you level your bow sight through the 3rd axis to ensure your level when you shoot downward at that big buck you have been tracking all year? I'm going to guess that the hardcore bow hunters will do this, but the others probably not much. Just get your bow setup from the shop and move the sights around a little bit perhaps.
The third axis is extremely important in hunting situations and in 3d shoots, so what is this 3rd axis? This 3rd axis is when you are in your treestand or are in a 3d shoot and need to tip your body and you are now shooting not on a horizontal plane, but at a upward or downward angle. Such as bending at the waist to shoot at a deer 25 yards out from a treestand 20ft up in the air. This is now what is called the 3rd axis and the sight potentially goes not level with the bow. What then happens is you now are aiming for the vitals, but your arrow hits too far back or too far forward. This could be huge when shooting at the deer you have been tracking all year or at a 3d shoot and you need that 10 or 12, but hit an 8 instead because of the extreme angle.
Now, how do we fix this issue.
To resolve this issue we need to look at getting the bow in a bow vise, then level the bow first off. I typically use my bowstring level to get the bow level both side-to-side and front-to-back. So at this point we can now level the 1st and 2nd axis's of the sight. The first is the front-to-back, I take a small level and then put it on the bow sight itself and ensure that the sight is level, if not I adjust as required per the instructions that came with my sight for the 1st axis.
For the 2nd axis, I then look at the two levels on my sight and bow string. If they are out of alignment, I then adjust my sight to being level and matching my bowstring level. At this point, the sight should be level to the bow in the fashion of just being straight up. Additionally, for most bow hunters, this amount of leveling is fine and with hunting from a stand in a tree, this would be good enough.
Now, once you get into 3d shoots and want to make better shots on your animals while hunting you are going to want to level your 3rd axis to ensure your sight stays level with your bow. Now, there are multiple ways there are do accomplish this, though since it is just myself, I attach my bow to my vise and level just like before, then I tip the bow forward as far as my vise allows, about 45 degrees. Then, there is a 3rd axis that (the best to describe is) swings the sight forward and backward. This is the third axis, swing the sight in / out until the bubble is level. Then tighten it up.
At this point, your sight should now be leveled with the bow vertical front/back and side/side, then when shooting on an angle your sight should be level to the bow at the minimum of a 45 degree angle. So overall, your shots at any angle during the shoot or when shooting at your target animal should be spot on and not need you to hold the bow off target to compensate. Though, this is just leveling your sight to the bow, you will now need to take the time to practice and shoot on all the different angles to get a good feeling of how your bow reacts to all these different types of shots.
Good luck out there and I hope this helps with understanding why the 3rd axis is important and how to get that dialed in!!
I have heard many people talking about how their arm should appear and their hand should look when shooting a bow lately. They then ask, how should the overall position of everything be. So here are some basic tips on how your hand position should be when shooting.
The idea is to have your hand (and by extension your arm) be more like a bar with a handle with your bow resting in your hand (the handle). Your hand position should on the bow should be with where you take your hand and when looking at your hand you should see your life line. That's the first line from your thumb going to the inside of your palm. In between that line and your thumb is the place the grip of your bow should sit.
Once you have that position of your hand and bow, next your thumb should be pointing at 2 o'clock (10 o'clock for lefty's) and then your index finger should be pointing at 10 o'clock (2 o'clock for lefty's). With that your hand should be at a 45 degree angle to your bow. That's the proper grip that you should have.
Now, at this point it is fairly hard to say, but once you have this, where exactly you put your fingers is totally completely up to you. So with that, some people are comfortable just extending their fingers (not really my flavor), some people rest their fingers on the riser, other tuck them into the little opening that is created with the angle. This part is completely up to you and what is the most comfortable and the most repeatable/consistent when shooting.
That's the idea, which is, so long as you have the basics down for keeping your hand position on the bow. Then, what happens next with your hand, as long as you keep it the same and consistent with every shot. Then, your arrow should leave the bow the same and be torque free (as much as possible), leaving you with a more consistent shooting and hitting your target where you want.
For most people archery deer season is over, so the question comes in what now in terms of shooting to stay consistent. You work all summer scouting and practice shooting, then you start getting great groups just as hunting season starts. You practice during hunting season to stay in practice, then season is over and now you what put the bow away? Not practicing so much anymore? Waiting for the spring season to come to start practicing again for turkeys?
Well you could join different leagues at local clubs, such as a spot league or an indoor 3d league. These are great ways, though I found something really interesting while at my local club. So I'm shooting my first 5-spot league and I'm practicing most nights at the 20-yards that we shoot. I'm using my standard Black Eagle Rampage Arrows that my bow is setup for, that I used for hunting. I notice that a few of the guys are shooting these arrows that are crazy large in diameter though extremely light. Now, shooting leagues is nothing new to me (I shot in leagues when I was younger, just not a 5-spot league) and competition has been part of my life since I can remember. So I'm looking at these arrows and so I ask as I do with most things that I'm intriged by.
Now, please hold for a second before I give the answer, Since I love competition, I'm practicing as much as possible so I can shoot that all elusive 300 round shot, meaning, I didn't miss the 5 ring for 60 straight shots. By the end of the league that is my goal and minus twice where I dropped my arm for some unknown reason the last league night, I have improved from 280 to 287, then if I didn't drop my arm, could have had a 297 round. So that 300 mark isn't out of the range of possibility.
Here comes the answer.. and I'm sure it is what you probably would expect..
Shooting the largest diameter arrow you can that is as light as possible gives you the best possible chance to get a higher score. Then I was told if you don't use these, you are at a huge disadvantage. So naturally, that started me thinking more. At my club there is a kid that shoots in the pro rankings and he's an unbelievable shot. His arrows aren't super large in diameter, they are only a littler larger than mine, but way lighter than mine. He rarely misses the "X" spot on the target. If having the larger diameter arrows are better all around, wouldn't he have them and use them? So that makes me even more beg the next question. If you shoot a standard hunting arrow, would your score be just as good or would you need to practice more? The guys at my club are awesome guys and very knowledgeable with shooting. So it just begs the question for me, why not practice more, then you won't need such large arrows?
So at this point, I'm getting off target of the original post. The point was for shooting in the off season to keep form, but what I found due to my competition side is that while I'm trying to keep form with shooting. I know that with most hunting, a clean an ethical kill is about shot placement and correct form. So at that point, wouldn't target shooting be the same thing? Challenging yourself to make yourself better, shouldn't you try to use the smallest diameter arrows you can get to make yourself a better shooter? Which at that point would translate into better scores for target competitions then when out hunting turn into better shots and more ethical kills.
So at the end of the day, shooting spots or any league during the off seasons is a great way to keep in form and shape for shooting. Though, through all this it appears, as there always is, the competition shooters and the hunters. Though a thought would be if a hunter can keep up with a competition shooter who is shooting larger diameter arrows and is considered at a disadvantage with shooting skinnier arrows, does that make the hunter a better shot than the competition shooter or does it all even out or does it at all even matter?
When growing up, I was always taught to shoot with one eye closed. Always shot rifles that way and that just transfered to shooting my bow that way. Then, I came across a movie that you all probably have heard of "American Sniper". Somthing I noticed that he shot with both eyes open. So that got me intrigued and I started looking up shooting my bow with both eyes open. I was then greeted with just exactly how many people shoot with both eyes open and how much more accurate you are supposed to be. So at that point, I wanted to watch the top shooters shoot and low and behold they mostly are all shooting with both eyes open.
I then started do more research and then tried it myself. Hmmm.. yea, that didn't work out to well at first.
First arrow, totally missed the target.. Second arrow, totally missed the target....again.
Then, the third arrow hit the target, but I saw something I never saw before. The actual flight of the arrow. That was something that was soo entirely cool and new. The release felt good, solid, but the arrow hit the target right where I was looking, not the middle but right where I was looking. It was at that point that I decided to re-train myself to shoot with both eyes open. This required, quite a bit more work, then I originally thought at the time, but now at this point, being a year later of shooting with both open. I can certainly say that so long I can shoot this way, I'll stay shooting with both open.
Moving to this method was much harder than originally thought. The reason for moving for me was after researching this topic, it was noted that first during hunting with target aquision. When the animal is moving, shooting with the single eye open, trying to see both the sights and target the field of view is reduced by over half. Then, when shooting at an animal with it being later in the evening (still during legal shooting hours), you will allow for more light into the eye for aiming and target aquisition.
The next part to this, is the way the body works. This is something totally natural for the body, when looking at and aiming wih both eyes. You have the sights of the bow with typically the dominiate eye, then the second eye has the target. The body has the natural ability to bring all this information together and processing it for you and for your body to understand. This is something that is completely natural to your body, then if you think about it. You do it naturally quite often everyday. You probably just don't realize it. When shooting with a single eye open, it takes much more coordination for the eye and body, then processing in the mind takes more time in this scenario as well due that it is not a normal process for the brain. Everything is in 2-d for the brain to process and with a single eye the idea of depth perception is gone.
So at the end of the day, if you are shooting with a single eye open, comfortable and happy with your accuracy, then your probably not one to change the ways (if it works, then don't change it). If you're looking for a more accurate way of shooting, then trying to super tune your bow (another blog post on that at another time). Then perhaps shooting with both eyes open is something you should try. I can tell you one thing, you will see the arrow better and if released correctly, you will see an awesome sight with watching the flight of your arrow all the way to the target.
That's the question.. What is in your PACK?
Hunting season is right around the corner if your from my area or might have already started. Eitherway, if you're like me then you are getting your last minute pack stuff ready. So what exactly does that mean? The items in your pack that you take with you. Well, depneding on how long you are going for the answers are different, though ultimately the primary or essential items are fairly the same. So back to the question, what are the essential items needed for your pack?
Your pack should be large enough to carry 10 essential items for your hunt, plus all the extra "do-dads" for actually hunting.
First Aid Kit:
This is going to be a requirement regardless of how long you are hunting. Accidents happen, so you need to ensure that if they do you have the items needed to take care of yourself out in the field.
With the advent of GPS on our phones and I admit I probably rely on it in the woods more than I should. Having an "old fashioned" compass and knowing how to use it will certainly help you from getting lost.
Guaranteed at some point during your hunt you will need an extra rope. This rope will come in handy when needing to drag your harvest out, tying it up to dress it or anything else that might come by.
You should pack at least one bottle of water for while out in the field. This will keep you hydrated while hunting. Also, the food, such as protein bars or something similar that will sustain you for a decent period of time if you get lost.
Garbage bags come in handy for cleaning up after your mess with field dressing your animal or if it starts raining out, you can cover up your pack and other things that you may not want to get too wet.
Small brush Cutter:
No matter how well during scouting and checking stands you clear the area. There are some places that just seem to come back even though might have been there last week clearing the lanes. These will help emensely when you need that last small branch cut off.
There are 101 uses for zip ties. When your done with field dressing your animal and you need to attaching tags, attaching things to your stand to hold or just simply for holding your deer legs apart to dress it or tying together to carry it out. THere are tons of uses for these.
Matches or a lighter:
These come in handy for multiple reasons, though if you are going on an all day hunt or out to some new places that you aquired during the off season that you haven't spent as much time in. If you get disoriented or lost and need to build a fire, having matches and/or two lighters could be indispensable for your survival.
Flash lights are a requirement for heading out hunting. When it starts to get dark and your heading in, it can be easy to miss a mark that you made for the way out. Keeping an led flash light will keep a very bright light for you on the way out if you get turned around, which at that point your not worried about jumping deer. For your standard walk out, using a small LED light on your hat would be all that might needed to provide just enough light to get out without spooking the neighbors down the street.
Wet Ones Wipes:
These have mulitple uses from cleaning up after field dressing or when nature calls. Using Scent killing ones for sweating if it is a hot day would certainly help out as well.
So those are just some of the items that I normally keep in my pack. While each person may vary on what they might consider essential items, these are items that I typically keep in my pack. After that, you have your standard items including allergy medicines, pain killers and then the calls needed for the game your hunting, scents used and those kinds of things.