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One of the most challenging aspects of archery whitetail hunting is staying within your range. Most archers have a maximum ethical range of about 30 yards.
Sure, they can hit from a little further away but their target groups are all over the place after 30 paces.
Even experienced archers who can consistently place small groups at 40+ yards continuously work on extending their range and improving groups.
Tips for Long Distance Shooting
Here are a few tips for shooting better at long distances.
Level It Up
Even mid-priced sights now have a bubble level. If your sight has a level, use it before every shot. If you shoot very well at 20 yards but see your groups scatter at 30 yards, it is probably because you’re torquing your bow. The same thing can happen to archers when they advance from 30 to 40 yards.
Moving your bow slightly out of level one way or another may be tough to detect at 20 yards but at 30 yards the problem is exponentially compounded. Focus on the level bubble before releasing every arrow. Most people who torque their bow have no idea they are doing it.
If you are consistently shooting tight groups at 30 yards, spend an entire practice session shooting at 40 yards. Take your time and avoid rushing your shots. The object is quality over quantity. Get a good assessment of how you shoot at 40 yards. Work on the 40 yard shot for a few sessions.
If you find that you still can’t create the group you’re looking for, work back to 35. Shoot in steps until you’re consistently shooting at your goal distance. If progress is limited, have a pro watch you shoot. They can point out mistakes you probably don’t know you’re making.
Mix It Up
Don’t shoot the same target day after day. If you normally shoot outside, go to an indoor range and fire some arrows. If you’re an indoor shooter, head outside to really stretch your shooting distance. One of my favorite drills is shooting at a different type of target. If you typically shoot spot targets, you may have a tendency to put the pin over the target and punch at your release.
Shooting a 3D target removes the bullseye effect and will fix a trigger punch. Shooters who exclusively fling arrows at 3D targets often are unaware of their actual aim point. Different targets force shooters to break habits and take stock in their shooting deficiencies.
Shoot Some Duct
If you still can’t seem to find your rhythm at longer distances, take a piece of duct tape and run it vertically over the entire height of the target. Don’t worry about how high or low your arrows go. Just focus on putting all of your arrows on the tape. You can line up all of the pins on your sight with the tape to ensure you’re not torqueing the bow.
Once you’ve mastered putting all of your arrows on the tape, run the tape horizontally and continue the drill. You won’t be able to use your pins to line up the shot but you will find that most of your arrows will land in the center of the target as well. This drill is a great way to simplify the target picture and create tighter groups.