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GRANT: Once we get into July, it seems like deer season is just around the corner. It’s certainly not too early to start getting ready.

GRANT: South Carolina’s season opens August 15th; Kentucky opens the first week of September. And when you start thinking about it, that’s not a lot of days to practice and make sure you can make the shot when you’re in the stand.

GRANT: I really enjoy shooting a bow and I shoot year-round, but I kind of change what I’m doing starting July. I’m totally focused on preparing for bow hunting.

GRANT: I want to take some time today for myself and I thought I’d share with you all just to go over some basics of how I practice and what I do to make sure I can make the shot when an opportunity presents itself.

GRANT: Right off the bat, I make sure my bow is tuned. You can get really frustrated out here practicing when your form is good, you’re doing stuff right, but your arrows are going all over or off to a side because your bow is not tuned to you.

GRANT: Tuning may be even more important now than it was back in the old days when bows weren’t quite as accurate, and people didn’t expect as much. With the new bows, a really solid back wall and everything going on, you need to make sure the bow is tuned for you.

UNKNOWN: Pretty good.

GRANT: The tips I’ll share today are all designed about making a good shot while bow hunting. When you’re out in the yard or maybe at a 3D league or in the shop shooting, it’s easy to slow down and do everything just the same. But when you’re up in a treestand and all of a sudden that big buck comes cruising in and you grab your bow, you need something that’s so reliable, you can make that good grip or that good release even in that high-pressure situation.

GRANT: One of the things I’ve learned is how you hold the bow. The grip can have a huge influence on if the bow is tuned for you.

GRANT: For example, a lot of the newer bows have a pretty large shelf, which is great for a lot of things. But it seems natural just to put your hand up there, get right below it, so you can keep your hand in the same place every time. But a problem with that is if you just put a little more pressure on your index finger or your thumb, you can twist and turn that bow in about every direction. And that means it won’t be tuned for your set up.

GRANT: I used to grip the bow by doing that and I had a lot of torque issues. It was really difficult to paper tune because it would change each shot.

GRANT: Now when I grip the bow, of course, I’m turning to get my elbow out. My index finger is right below the shelf and actually higher than the thumb. And then, I rock it up just like I’m leaning against a wall.

GRANT: Another really important consideration about your grip is make sure you don’t have it on your lifeline. That was taught for years and years. But if you think about it, when you’ve got it on your lifeline and you kind of get a hold of the grip a little bit, either side of that can put more pressure on the bow. And I’ve learned – I’ve been taught by great people – just to put the bow on this big pad and you can’t hardly put any torque on there when it’s sitting on this pad. You just have the one muscle right there and it’s not changing as you do this.

GRANT: Put all that together. My index finger is right below the shelf, so when I get in there, it doesn’t go up into the shelf. My thumb is going to be a little lower. That means my elbow is out. And what I do is just put my index finger on the front of the bow; let these fingers just curl up.

GRANT: Some people put all of ‘em on there, but I just put that one on there because it’s natural. There’s less muscle tension that these fingers just curl up. Holding ‘em out straight means you’ve got some muscle tension and that can transfer into your shot.

GRANT: So, I’m like I’m leaning against a wall. I know my starting point is the index finger, right below the shelf. I lay my thumb on this side. The index finger gets right on the front of that shelf and I pull these in right beside it. And that’s my bow grip.

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GRANT: Some people probably have their own draw length on their bow or they think they’re getting their elbow out so the string won’t hit their arm and they shoot with their arm bent.

GRANT: But if you think about that, it’s not as solid. It may be an eighth or a quarter inch more or less on any given shot and that’s going to mess up the point of impact.

GRANT: When you’re locked in, if you will, and you’re like this and you’re locked in, the bow is exactly the same distance from where your release point every shot.

GRANT: The number one thing about being accurate with a bow is consistent. Being able to repeat it exactly the same over and over.

GRANT: If you watch the pro archers on the world tournament, some will have their fingers out and they’ll be all over. They’re anchoring high, low, whatever. But they’re doing it exactly the same each time.

GRANT: Well, that’s what we have to do. It’s not necessarily a right or wrong, but whatever system you use, should be repeatable so when you’re in that treestand or blind and you go to grab your bow, it’s exactly how you’ve been practicing.

GRANT: Once I have my bow hand in place, it’s time to think about my release hand.

GRANT: For years and years, when I would think about anchor point, I would dig my knuckle or something behind my ear thinking I’ve got it in exactly the same place every time, which I did.

GRANT: But, unfortunately, that put a lot of string pressure on my face and downrange my arrow would kind of swing around like a fishtail.

GRANT: I’ve learned now that when I come in to draw, that the most important thing is that the string splits my nose and touches right here at the corner of my mouth. And if I’ve got my hand out exactly all the way, the length will be exactly the same. I’m not even touching my ear at this stage.

GRANT: If you’re going to make some changes to your shooting form, I recommend making changes to one thing at a time. Don’t work on your grip and your release arm and maybe the poundage of your bow all at once. It will probably throw you in a tizzy.

GRANT: The goal is to make sure it’s 100% repeatable. You’re doing it exactly the same each time. A tool I’ve used that’s really helped me is my cell phone. I’ll get a ladder or something and prop it up right next to where I’m shooting because it may feel like, “Boy, I’m doing that just right.” But then you watch it back on a video on your cell phone and you’ll say, “Oh, my gosh. That’s so different than the shot before.” And that one technique has really helped me.

GRANT: Something I learned, and unfortunately, I learned it late in my archery career, is to make each shot count when I’m practicing.

GRANT: When I was younger, I’d grab half a dozen arrows, go out there and whip ‘em all to the target and try to figure out what’s going on.

GRANT: But when you shoot one arrow at a time, it makes me really focus on my form, make sure I’m following through where I’m holding my pin – because that’s what I’m going to have when I’m hunting.

GRANT: I’ve been shooting a fair amount, so I’m going to step out here. We’re 20 yards away from the target. But I don’t just shoot at the target. I’m going to pick out the kill spot. And that target is slightly quartering away from me, so I want to be a little bit further back.

GRANT: I try to make myself, even in practice, think about what angle is the arrow going through the vitals. And where do I need to aim to make sure I have the maximum effectiveness of that shot?

GRANT: In this case, a deer or the target is quartering slightly away, so I want to pull back towards their rear end just a few inches. And an easy way to do this is just think or imagine a line that goes through on the front side and comes out right behind the back of the off shoulder.

GRANT: So, when I look at this target and I think about the back of the off shoulder, I’m probably over to the right of the target three or four inches from where I would aim if it was exactly perpendicular to where I’m standing.

GRANT: Taking your practice to that level makes sure when that big buck comes in not exactly where you wanted it, that you’re already trained, just automatically, to think about where the pin placement should be.

GRANT: Once I’ve got my bow tuned and I’m shooting pretty well, my form is just like a machine. Man, I know exactly what I’m doing. I don’t even think about it. I’m just focused on the critter.

GRANT: And I come out here to practice. Well, I still start out at close range even though I’ve been practicing at longer distances.

GRANT: I have found – and several of the big pro shooters have shared with me – that the number one thing to being a good bow shot is confidence.

GRANT: If you’re doubting the situation, your set up, or the shot distance, or anything else, there’s that doubt in the back of your mind and that triggers a cascading downfall of other things that impact the shot accuracy.

GRANT: So, even though I shoot a lot, I tend to start out at 20 yards or even in our shop at about 10 yards. Sometimes I’ll put a paper up and shoot through the paper five or ten times first thing in my practice session because the paper will tell me if my form is great and that rip is exactly the same every time.

GRANT: When it gets on in the summer, my bow is tuned, I’m shooting good, my form is good, it’s pretty tempting just to get out here and start at 30, 40, 50 yards. And every now and then, I will do that with the first arrow. Just go out there at 37.5 yards; take a shot to replicate that hunting situation.

GRANT: But usually after I do that, I’ll come back up to 20 yards or actually go in the shop and shoot through paper.

GRANT: One thing about taking the first shots through paper or paper tuning, is that will tattle on you if your form isn’t right. The tear, no matter which way it’s going, if it’s going all over, you know that your form is varying, and the bow is probably just fine.

GRANT: I want to remind you to make every shot count. Don’t just come out here and wing a bunch of arrows and consider that a good practice session.

GRANT: By shooting one arrow at a time, making sure each shot counts, you’ll be well prepared when the opportunity comes to put some fresh venison in the freezer.

GRANT: Practicing with a bow is a great way to get outside and enjoy Creation. But just like you need to practice a lot, it’s extremely important to be quiet every day and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.

GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.