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Author Topic: Establishing an Extended Comfort Zone  (Read 1120 times)

Offline George D. Stout

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Establishing an Extended Comfort Zone
« on: March 03, 2005, 05:52:00 PM »
At the risk of incoming barbs and spears, I'm going to attempt to give my advice here for those who wish to expand that ambiguous, warm/fuzzy comfort zone for taking a game animal. Topics like these always seem to be a tad controversial but that's okay too. I believe we have a fairly well established compliment of knowledgable folks here who can contribute their two-cents worth and perhaps create an effective and even civil dialog.

In an attempt to "bust the myth" of a 17.3 yard comfort zone, I'll siimply share what I believe to be a good starting point to perhaps get that to 24.7 yards. So bear with me (please don't bare with me 8^)) for awhile. Now, I also may offend an instinctive purist along the way, so again....hear me out first, then let er' rip.

Using the old baseball analogy again; to become a good outfielder, you must learn to get the ball to the infield, or even home plate, very consistently if you are to be effective at your position. The only way to learn to throw a baseball accurately up to and over two-hundred feet, is to throw the baseball those distances. Knowing that, there are some fundamentals to doing that, including; position of body, use of muscles, concentration, arm motion, and follow-through, to name some of the components. If those fundamentals can be developed to a consistent degree, an accuracy will develop, even at those extended ranges. It does take time, and work, that's for sure. But anything worth attaining usually does. Contrasting that, you can't expect to be a good outfield thrower, if you play second base all the time and never endeavor to throw more than ninety feet or so.

Now, if you are interested on being a better game shot, and expanding your effective range, you should basically do the same thing.

One of the things I learned about shooting barebow, many years ago, was to establish a good follow-through. I remember my first shot at eighty yards was laughable, and I never thought I would ever be able to hit the bale. That of course changed with time and practice. One of the best pieces of advise I ever got was to maintain my bow arm position until I saw or heard the arrow strike. No matter if if was five yards or a hundred yards....keep the bow arm extended and solid until I saw or heard the arrow strike the target. The second best piece of advice I got to extend my distance was to (cringe!!)...know what my point-on was. That is to say, at full draw, where would I place the tip of my arrow and have it hit there.

Now, before the "gapper" attack comes, I think it is important to say that our shooting, call it instinctive or what, involves a deep understanding of our surroundings, or periphery, during the shot. Sometimes we don't see these things consciously and call it instinctive. Sometimes we pay attention to the point of the arrow through all of the shots, and that we call gapping. I am of the first line, since I'm pretty much unconscious most of my waking hours 8^).

I do know where my point on is with my bows. After that, I really don't pay attention. But....I do know where it is if I pull to anchor, hold, release and follow through. Mine us usually between 50 and 55 yards with my recurve, and index-in the corner of the mouth-anchor. Through practice, over the years, I have developed that peripheral feel for shorter ranges and have become very effective.

What I would suggest to those who seem to have trouble getting to past Papa Bull's paridigm of 17.3 yards, is to first make sure your form is solid. Including the stance, draw, hold, aim, concentration and follow through. The aim needs to be developed through establishing that point-on. However, the form needs to be solid and repeatable before that will work properly. Especially that follow-through...see above.

Find yourself a safe place to shoot over fifty yards, preferably with a good backstop. If you don't have a target bale, use anything you want that you can place a bullseye of sorts on. Place that target and walk back until you can draw, put the tip of the arrow on that target bullseye, release and followthrough and hit that spot. Take enough shots to adequately judge that your form was solid and it wasn't a lucky hail Mary. Take your time and repeat your form, until you know for sure that your point-on is at that distance. You will miss quite a bit the first times you do it, but you will get the idea. Once your are comfortable, then measure the distance to that spot and remember it.

One of the reasons that I think this works is because most poin-on shots will be out there past forty yards, depending on your anchor point. You must develop focus on a spot to refine your accuracy at that distance, and that will improve your focus at twenty and thirty yards, and that will aid in your accuracy.

This isn't something you can feed into your computer and print-out on a sheet of paper. It is different with every archer and must be worked into the personal hair-covered computer to work. Form is the first key....it must be solid, and repeated. And....followthrough of that form is a must....not an uption.

Try to find that point-on. It won't compromise that feeling of being an instinctive shooter, but it will make you a better one, and you should see that comfort zone being more comfortable....maybe even expanding a bit.

This is siimply stated and not meant to be all-inclusive, but it is a good place to start. Let me know if you try it, and how you do.

George

p.s.....I didn't spell check, so be kind 8^).

Offline FLHunter

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Re: Establishing an Extended Comfort Zone
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2005, 06:28:00 PM »
George,

I agree with you, but most folks here consider themselves instinctive hunters. Thats fine and good!!!!   :)  

In a way I wonder who is getting ready to pull the trapdoor on the gallows if you suggest using target shooting or techniques to improve with.

Personally, I think that theres alot to be learned from shooting all types of archery. Can you imagine shooting clout or a 900 round, I can. Although not hunting shots theres alot of skill to be learned, similair to practice drills used in most other sports, ie. baseball, basketball,or football you get the drift. When not hunting I shoot quite abit of field archery which is from 20ft to 80yds. I'm starting to shoot a bit more 3-D, but that in the past has been mostly in the backyard for hunting practice, not score thats changing.

Suggesting someone to expand their horizons oftens exceeds peoples "comfort zone" as you well stated. Well the waters fine, jump on in!!!!!  :D  Heck you don't have to be great at other forms of archery, but at least try to learn from them. It offers opportunities to make you a better hunter or archer, whatever your goal. Really what do you have to loose?

Good post George!!!!   :)
Aim Hard!

Offline woodsman

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Re: Establishing an Extended Comfort Zone
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2005, 08:20:00 PM »
To make this work do I need to start judging yardage to the target???

Chris

Offline Keener

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Re: Establishing an Extended Comfort Zone
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2005, 08:47:00 PM »
If I understand it right, Chris, you need to get an idea of the point on range. Anything closer than that your arrow point will be under the target, anything further away, your arrow point will be above.
With practice your brain will just "know" where the arrow should be and it will become automatic.
I don't believe you have to know that it is exactly 22.6 yards to the animal and your arrow needs to be 3 inches under "the spot".
I think.

I am no expert by any means and do not mean to imply I know anything about this. I am merely explaining how I took George's post. From a newbie point of view.
I'm probably wrong.    :rolleyes:

Offline SHOOTO8S

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Re: Establishing an Extended Comfort Zone
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2005, 09:02:00 PM »
George....excellant advice!
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Offline Blue Moose

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Re: Establishing an Extended Comfort Zone
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2005, 09:25:00 PM »
Good post (on several levels).

I believe it pays to have a functional understanding of gap and point-of-aim techniques, even if you primarily shoot instictive. At some point it's gonna come in handy for you.

Example: Rod, you remember that bear in the thick pines at Tannehill? During one of my rounds the sun was hitting the area around the vitals and creating such a glare that I just couldn't focus on the 10, muchless pick a spot. I knew my trajectory at that distance, so I picked a spot down around the belly where there was no glare, shot P.O.I. and hit the 10.

I've always remembered that shot because it was such a great example of how learning your trajectory will eventally pay off.

Tal

Offline SHOOTO8S

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Re: Establishing an Extended Comfort Zone
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2005, 10:34:00 PM »
Tal.....Yeah, I remember that bear and the shot you made is a perfect example of the benefits knowing your set-ups trajectory....another example is shooting under or over overhanging tree limbs or brush. As you know, I'm a dedicated "gap" shooter, but if situation calls for it, I can look at the "spot" and shoot, simply because I've practiced enough at most ranges to be able to feel or use muscle memory to aim. Most folks could benefit from both styles of shooting.
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Offline Jake

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Re: Establishing an Extended Comfort Zone
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2005, 11:44:00 PM »
Excellent post George.  Thank you for sharing.

Offline Dirteater

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Re: Establishing an Extended Comfort Zone
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2005, 12:03:00 AM »
I like the ideas expressed in this thread.  I too believe that it is beneficial to utilize )or at least know how to utilize) more than one method of aiming.

Offline Rod Parsons

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Re: Establishing an Extended Comfort Zone
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2005, 02:17:00 AM »
Excellent post. I wouldn't worry too much about offending some hypothetical "pure instinctive".
A totally pure, dyed in the wool instinctive will be a rare bird indeed. I reckon most of us shoot according to the circumstances, although we may favour one method or another.
Rod.
It's meant to be simple, not easy...

Offline George D. Stout

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Re: Establishing an Extended Comfort Zone
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2005, 07:07:00 AM »
Keener....For a beginner you are keener than most 8^).   That's pretty much the gist.  For good "instinctive" shooting to develop, one must have a beginning reference of somekind to fall back to, so the mind itself will refer that to form.
George

Offline toby

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Re: Establishing an Extended Comfort Zone
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2005, 08:28:00 AM »
I am going to give this a try, but in all honesty am a little afraid to to so. I am a self-taught instinctive shooter (whatever that really is) and am always looking for tips to improve.

What makes me a little hesitant to look at the arrow, is that when shooting now, if I happen to "look" at the arrow, my concentration and accuracy are shot. So, if I happen to look at the arrow, which rarely happens, I let down and start over.

I'm aware of the controversy that says that everyone "sees" the arrow whether or not they claim to. IMO there is a difference in "seeing" and "looking" at something. When I drive my truck I "see" the steering wheel, but if I "look" at it too long, I'll probably go in the ditch.

Don't get me wrong,  I know where the arrow is while not  looking at it, but I don't "look" at it.

But, George's description of doing this as an aid to improvement, and his reassurance that one will return to their "natural" method of "aiming" has me convinced to give it a try. I do believe that good practice at longer distances makes us better up-close shooters.

Thanks George
TOBY

Offline George D. Stout

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Re: Establishing an Extended Comfort Zone
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2005, 08:34:00 AM »
Toby,  don't take this as a "you must look at the arrow" at all cost.  I just want folks to know where that point-on is with their equipment.
That allows your mind/body to acquire relevant information that will aid in your shooting.  I use it as my own training tool, and the key is solid, repeatable form.  If your form isn't consistent, you will still have issues.  And I always follow-up with follow-through, the most important part of the shot in my mind.  
George

Offline JC

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Re: Establishing an Extended Comfort Zone
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2005, 08:56:00 AM »
Good post George, speshully bout the follow through.

Although I don't shoot with the "point on" cause I never want to conciously see the arrow (messes me up something fierce), I have spent more time lately shooting 40-50 yards, especially the first few shots of the session. It really helps me get the mental and physical concentration in gear for the other shots I take. Anything you do wrong at 10 and can't really see will be painfully evident at 40-50. It seems to make the 20 yard shots almost a gimmie after 5-10 arrows at long distance.
"Being there was good enough..." Charlie Lamb reflecting on a hunt
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Offline toby

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Re: Establishing an Extended Comfort Zone
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2005, 09:34:00 AM »
George, thanks for clearing that up, I'm anxious to try it as soon as our 2 feet of snow disappears,

JC,  I like your idea of using a long shot or shots early in a practice session to set  the mind. I usually start close and am pretty sure my concentration on form isn't the best because I am so close. I'm going to try your suggestion as well, after I determine my "point-on" per George. Great stuff!!!!
TOBY

Offline Dogsoldier

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Re: Establishing an Extended Comfort Zone
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2005, 10:30:00 AM »
if your like me you have trouble grouping from 20 yards but still I get out at long distances and shoot...I love to get out at 80 or 100 yards and shoot just for the heck of it...I love to shoot period

Offline Rod Parsons

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Re: Establishing an Extended Comfort Zone
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2005, 02:43:00 PM »
This goes back to one of the reasons we shoot proper bows and arrows in the first place.
Surely we are hooked on the whole experience, including cutting loose with a few long ones and just watching them fly. I know I am.
But then I also shoot a slightly intuitive style of point of aim at English longbow target and clout shooting, as well as roving which is like stump shooting at extreme distances.
Shooting long target requires, as a repetitive discipline, a slightly different mindset to unmarked distance 3D's or hunting, but even when  I am not consciously aware of "seeing" the arrow in flight, being locked into the mark, I am equally sure that the old coconut computer is taking it all in, I just have to do it often enough to embed enough data that I can come up and either know that it is right or it is not.
If you see this as an unrealistic leap of faith, then I would say that you are not ready to shoot  "instinctive".
As an aside on target shooting, even if you think it irelevant, I will say that if you can stay on, or even just tight at 100 paces, whatever your style of shooting, you will probably see an improvement in your short shooting.
For example, a slight inconsistency in draw length or loose that might produce an acceptable outcome at 15 paces can produce a very wide shot or even a clear miss at 100.
Rod.
It's meant to be simple, not easy...

Offline Jeff Strubberg

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Re: Establishing an Extended Comfort Zone
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2005, 09:00:00 PM »
As a mechanism for improving your hunting shots, I am 100% with you, George.

File my comments away under the heading of "cynical".  Taking long shots on game seems to be one of those things folks can't resist doing because they can make the shot on an inanimate target.

Just 'cause we can, don't mean we should.  Agreed?
"Teach him horsemanship and archery, and teach him to despise all lies"          -Herodotus

Offline Mudfeather

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Re: Establishing an Extended Comfort Zone
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2005, 09:20:00 PM »
This is neat thought provoking stuff. I like to shoot long distances. I think it helps me alot with closer shots. I can't utilize the point on deal because my left eye is my dominant and I shoot right handed.  :knothead:   I do cant my bow more than most to "align" stuff.

On the distance thing-I was shooting quail yesterday  (with a shotgun: I'm not that good) :  and the guy I was paired up with was a "bowhunter".  "[dntthnk]"   We began to talk about going out west and he informed me that he was advised to sight in for 70 yards.  :eek:   :  I missed the next half dozen birds I shot thinking about such.  "[laffsmyl]"  

It was said earlier by someone- to me it is not about ABILITY- It is about UNPREDICTABILTY of other uncontrollable things.  :rolleyes:
"Dad, you and me are bow shooting huntin buddies OK?"

My son Kasey- age 5...Jan 8, 2007

Keith Bruner

Offline JC

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Re: Establishing an Extended Comfort Zone
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2005, 09:56:00 PM »
"It was said earlier by someone- to me it is not about ABILITY- It is about UNPREDICTABILTY of other uncontrollable things."

Dang, leave it to a fellow cracker to berl it down to the thick juice! That's it exactly Keith. I have no worries about me making a shot on foam at 35 to 40 yards...but a live animal probably won't be in the same place when the arrow gets there.

I'm rite-dare witcha Jeff, I just practice long cause then the 20 yard shots seem so much easier. And 20 is a long way for most of the shots I've taken...I like to smell em afor I skewer em.
"Being there was good enough..." Charlie Lamb reflecting on a hunt
TGMM Brotherhood of the Bow

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