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Author Topic: Tips and advice on "picking-a-spot" on game, its ruining my hunting  (Read 1302 times)

Offline ptaylor

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Missed the same turkey twice this past weekend on consecutive days from less than 15 yards. Several deer last season all misses at less than 20 yards.

I get so freaked out I just pull my bow up and shoot, and every time I realize later that I never have picked a spot.

"Picking-a-spot" is the only factor that is keeping me from becoming a succesfull trad hunter. I can't take another year of near misses.

Should I buy tagets that look like the game I'm hunting? What specifically should I be practicing on? Any tips or hints, I'm becoming desperate.

Offline Snakeeater

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Using targets that look like your intended game should help you to get past the buck fever some.

Some folks find that getting  your shooting down to a routine helps to overcome the excitement. Add concentration on a single hair or patch of color on the target to your practice regimen.
Larry Schwartz, Annapolis, Maryland

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Offline Bill Curlis

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ptaylor,

You are having the same trouble that many hunters have. It sounds like you are looking at the entire animal when you shoot.

You may have heard people speak of having tunnel vision when they shoot. That is picking a spot. You only concentrate on the area of the animal you want to shot it at. A hair out of place, light hitting a feather. You get the idea.

Shooting at 3-D targets can help you get the feel for this. You must still concentrate on the smallest spot that you can see well. For some that is the size of a pin head, for others it's the size of a baseball, and for others it may be larger yet. The point is to aim at the smallest possible point that you can see and try to let everything else, the rest of the animal, go out of focus.

Hope this will help. It takes time and practice but once you are able to do this you will see great improvement on hunting shots.

Bill
Pick a spot and concentrate!

Online Carcajou

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Best thing to do is, not to look at the animal as a "whole"...by that I mean, once you make the decision that you are going to shoot that animal, start by focusing on one spot behind the wing, or shoulder and concentrate! Pick a tuft of hair, a ruffled feather, a dark feather, etc....

go out in the back yard and shoot at a ping pong ball in the grass next to a basketball, you will probably hit the ping pong ball more often than you'd expect...it narrows your focus down....

and dont get intimidated by the critter! it happens to a lot of people. just focus, pick a hair, and shoot!
" MEMBER ~ COMPTON Traditional Bowhunters "

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Offline Bill Curlis

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Carajou,

We must have been thinking the same thing at the same time. Very good advise.
Pick a spot and concentrate!

Offline Frenchymanny

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Hi there,

How often do you practice?
in hunting situation it is your automated routine that comes up so if you're practicing for a lung shot (on dear)you will automatically lock your aim on lungs.

Myself what helps me a lot, I imagine the heart beating <> the deer.

Go and hunt for boars in reserves if you can to build up confidence.

regards,
F-Manny
Coureur des Bois
Big Jim: Buffalo Bows 62" 60@27 & 65@27 ThunderChilds 56" 62@27 & 62@27 Desert BigHorn 59@27
ML, Shrew &TC Knives
With a sturdy bow, a true shaft, and a stout heart, we journey forth in
search of adventure.

Dr. Saxton Pope

Offline Frenchymanny

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Double post
Coureur des Bois
Big Jim: Buffalo Bows 62" 60@27 & 65@27 ThunderChilds 56" 62@27 & 62@27 Desert BigHorn 59@27
ML, Shrew &TC Knives
With a sturdy bow, a true shaft, and a stout heart, we journey forth in
search of adventure.

Dr. Saxton Pope

Offline JC

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Good advice here, I especially like Carcajou's. I still sometimes struggle with this if I let myself "slip" into the giddy oblivion when inside "wolf range" of a big game animal.

One thing I will tell you from personal experience, the best way to become an effective killer is to kill game. Sounds simplistic, but there is no substitute for actually making the shot on a live animal. I strongly suggest small game, again and again to help hone your shot picking. Helped me considerably...and still does to this day.
"Being there was good enough..." Charlie Lamb reflecting on a hunt
TGMM Brotherhood of the Bow

Offline vermonster13

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Everyone has good advice. I second the small game. Once you get blood on an arrow, the others get easier.
TGMM Family of the Bow
For hunting to have a future, we must invest ourselves in future hunters.

            http://www.blackswanarchery.com/

Offline overbo

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JC hit the nail.I struggled w/ picking the spot and still do at times.Shooting game of all types hones the killer instincts.

Offline macbow

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Re: Tips and advice on "picking-a-spot" on game, its ruining my hunting
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2006, 03:41:00 PM »
All good advice. During the summer you might go bow fishing. When you spot some fish don't just throw an arrow right away. Study the fish, notice the gills moving look for odd colors rtc. Once your totally calm then pick a spot and follow through with the shot. Do the same thing with some squirrels. and then when deer season arrives do't rush the shot, do the same routine looking at the dee, Tell yourself your not going to shoot so that you remain calm.
If your first thought when you see a deer is "pick a spot" everything becomes easier. From the moment you remember to pick a spot way before it is in range start trying to find the spot, maybe some hair out of place or a muscles edge.
I missed two deer this past season and  there is no doubt I didn't pick a spot. Yes the deer ducked but that just saved me from wouinding them with a high hit.
Ron
United Bowhunters of Mo
Comptons
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"A man shares his Buffalo". Ed Pitchkites

Offline poekoelan

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Re: Tips and advice on "picking-a-spot" on game, its ruining my hunting
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2006, 03:51:00 PM »
This is my two cents. Don't have a deer with a bow yet, so take it for what it's worth...

First, know the spot where the arrow must strike to make a clean kill. Know what it looks like and where it's at. Know how the different angles will look in order to put the arrow in the kill zone. Sounds simple and everyone probably already knows that.

Second, as you are sitting on your stand, tell yourself over and over that you are going to pick the spot. If you are like me, you will way more than enough time to do this before you see any game.

Third, and most important, IMO. As an animal comes into view, make a quick descion as to whether or not you want to shoot it. If more than one exposes itself, this can get very complicated. Most of us will want the biggest one. I am going for the closest one. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. But the closest one at forty yards might not be the closest one when they come into range. I don't know for sure, but I bet more people screw up the shot when their concentration is divided between targets. Not to mention the fact that there are more eyes, noses, and ears present to bust you.

But once you decide to shoot a specific animal, put your eyes on it's kill zone and keep them there. Forget about antlers and anything else. I practice this on any animals that I see without my bow. I even practice this on dogs and cats. Just focusing on the kill zone as soon as I see them. Of course, I don't point an arrow at them.

I believe the more you keep your vision focused on the kill zone, the easier it will be to pick the spot. So as soon as I spot an animal, I keep myself focused on the kill zone.

This all just my untried opinion and it's what I do mentally to keep my odds up when I finally get the oppurtunity. But it's something I've thought about alot.

Any opinions from the veteran deer slayers?

Offline Ray Hammond

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Re: Tips and advice on "picking-a-spot" on game, its ruining my hunting
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2006, 03:58:00 PM »
depending on how much game you get to see at close ranges, it may also be helpful to go someplace like a wild game park or ranch..we have on in Atlanta called Yellow River Game Ranch..they have all kinds of stuff there from rabbits to whitetails.

go there and watch deer. Get up close to the fence, and watch their interaction/actions and just familiarize yourself with them udner circumstances where you are NOT shooting them.

Look at their musculature, the bone structure, even carry a NBEF vitals chart with you and compare the living thing to the pictures on that.

Sounds too simplistic, I am sure...but being familiar with the game is part of getting over the hump...a lot of good advice above too.
“Courageous, untroubled, mocking and violent-that is what Wisdom wants us to be. Wisdom is a woman, and loves only a warrior.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

Offline Al33

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Re: Tips and advice on "picking-a-spot" on game, its ruining my hunting
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2006, 04:21:00 PM »
Good advice by all.   :thumbsup:

If I am not careful, I get too concerned about spooking the animal and think about how not to versus thinking about the shot.
One thing that has helped me over the years is to mentally shoot every animal you see a photo or video of. When looking in a magazine at a deer standing somewhere, mentally shoot it after focusing on where you want the arrow to hit. I promise you that if you will do this over and over from now until next deer season it will help wonders. Works even better when you are watching game on videos.

Good luck and know for certain you have a lot of company with this problem, but you WILL overcome it.

Offline swampbuck

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Re: Tips and advice on "picking-a-spot" on game, its ruining my hunting
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2006, 04:35:00 PM »
If somebody already said it I,m sorry as I didn,t read all the posts....

I like to find something out of place...a fat wrinkle on a deer is good and genrally there is a wrinkle or tuff of hair to shoot at.On turkeys I,m a greenhorn and can,t help ya LOL but would think the same apply,s....Don,t shoot at the bird but at the end of a feather or somethin.....hope to find that one out soon myself LOL anyway on deer it's pretty simple for me I shoot at fat wrinkles and if not that I try hard to sever the aorta.The last has gotten me a bit to close to bones in the past so I,ve opted for the wrinkle for trad gear with decent results........good luck!!
Shoot straight and have FUN!!

Offline Wile E. Coyote

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Re: Tips and advice on "picking-a-spot" on game, its ruining my hunting
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2006, 05:20:00 PM »
Unsure what your hunting history is so that makes some suggestion difficult. Have you taken game yet with your bow? How many opportunities do you get yearly at the game you are missing?

I think the important thing you mentioned in your post was "I just get so freaked out I just pull my bow up and shoot". Don't feel like you are alone, almost every archer I know has felt that way one time or another.

It can be difficult at the moment of truth to stay in control, and do everything just like we practiced. It becomes exponentially harder when we really want to succeed, its called hyperintention. The experience becomes so important that we subconciously sabatoge ourselves. Based on experience I don't believe that practice on targets is going to help you much, sorry. You need time on live animals.

Here are my suggestions. I has worked for me, hope it does for you.

First if possible find a place to hunt where game is plentiful. Just spending time around game will help you to learn how to stay calm at the moment of truth.

Secondly tell yourself you don't care if you shoot this deer or turkey.(of course you do) Convince yourself that if you don't shoot this one, another one will give you an opportunity. What you are trying to do here is not turn it into a make or break situation.

Don't even begin thinking about how great its going to feel when you are successful. Go as far as to consider that you probally will not shoot this animal.

When it gets in range and you are ready for the shot, make your draw and aim as though you are just practicing, just counting coup, and not planning on really shooting. Hell I would even consider (if you get more than 1 or 2 opportinities a year) drawing, picking a spot and letting down. If you get away with that then do it again but drop the string this time.

Believe me letting one animal pass and not shooting it but staying in control is a much faster method of regaining control than shooting and missing several animals. Result as far as number of animals taken is the same, but the experince of staying calm at the moment of truth will last you a lifetime of good shots.

As stated I belive that your problem is a mental one (as I would expect it is for most archers)and not a physical one, so it is mental practice you need. You need to be in the situation that stimulates the problem to solve the problem. Shooting in your backyard may help your shooting, but it is not the cure to picking a spot. To learn to pick a spot on game you have to pick a spot on game, sounds simplistic but nothing simulates the actual experience like the actual experience.

Best of luck, and stick with it, it will be worth it when it all comes together. All archers are tested, its the ones with deep resolve that become true bowhunters.
Wayne LaBauve

"Learn to wish that everything should come to pass exactly as it does."

Offline John Krause

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Re: Tips and advice on "picking-a-spot" on game, its ruining my hunting
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2006, 05:26:00 PM »
I believe this is the HARDEST part of being a successful trad hunter. Many never get it and give up or remain unsuccesful. But you can't give up. You are going to miss some. Maybe a bunch. Then maybe start nicking a few or (bad deal)wounding some. There is heartache(some quit in this stage, I know I almost did) in this but you have to perserve. I think it is part of the process in developing into a deadly archer. Then you will have a clean kill. This breeds confidence. As stated above nothing but killing will make you a killer. After you break the ice you start getting better. You can still backslide but you will get calmer and more focused.

I need a shot at a relaxed, totally unalert deer. If possible I will draw, hold and then let down once or twice and really get in control before I let an arrow go. This takes some discipline and some passed shots for me but shots that develop real quickly make me rush and not focus on that spot. I still struggle but have had some success the last few seasons. It is all about focusing on that spot. I call it focusing on a single molecule on the tip of a single hair.

I still have a long way to go before I'm where I want to be but i can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Keep 'em close, tell yourself over and over to focus as the animal comes in range, breathe, stay in control and make the shot. Just remember there ain't nobody that is 100% at this game. This is what makes stickbows so challenging in my opinion and why we are such a small % of the bowhunting population. We develop our physical and mental skills instead of buying gadgets to make it easier. If it was easy everybody would be doing it.

Sorry for the rant..........Just the way I feel.
When a man shoots with a bow it is own vigor of body that drives the arrow,  his own mind controls the missile's flight......His trained muscles and toughened thews have done the work

Offline Al33

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Re: Tips and advice on "picking-a-spot" on game, its ruining my hunting
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2006, 07:00:00 PM »
Swampbuck,

After loosing a longbeard two weeks ago that I shot through the right breast as his head was down and quartered to me, a friend who has killed several with his bow told me to shoot him through the hips next time. It made good sense to me because if gets hit there he cannot run or jump and if he cannot run  or jump he will likely not fly. Last Saturday morning I got another chance but it was on a jake. I let him get broadside at 16 yards, aimed for the drumsticks, and the Zwickey hit right next to but in front of them passing through his vitals, He stumbled 30 yards before doing his dieing wing flap. Short of a spine shot for me this is the spot I will aim for in the future.

As all this relates to this thread, think drumsticks when shooting at a tom.   :D

Offline Otto

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Re: Tips and advice on "picking-a-spot" on game, its ruining my hunting
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2006, 07:12:00 PM »
JK

So are you shooting RH or LH these days?  I can't keep track.

Hope to see you at Cloverdale.  I got a lawn chair and a fire with your name on it!!!!!   Gotta tell you my turkey huntin stories.  Too long and painful to put into print.
Otto

Offline John Krause

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Re: Tips and advice on "picking-a-spot" on game, its ruining my hunting
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2006, 08:50:00 PM »
Been shooting righty the last few years. Should be there Lord willin. Be rollin in 730 or 8 Fri night. It'll be fun catchin up. See ya in a few weeks.....Ps  got a pretty good turk this year! Lookin forward to hearin your story.
When a man shoots with a bow it is own vigor of body that drives the arrow,  his own mind controls the missile's flight......His trained muscles and toughened thews have done the work

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