Importance of the Cold Bore Shot

Shooting my bow in the evenings is one of my favorite thing to do this time of year.  It helps get the cobwebs out and puts me in the mind to bow hunt.  It also could go without saying that the practice time is irreplaceable when a shot in the field presents itself.  But am I doing all I can do to maximize my efforts?

As I watched my first shot strike the Block, I quickly took note of its impact.  Down and right about 3 inches.  “No big deal, I just wasn’t warmed up,” I said out loud to no one.  As I continued, my shots found their mark and I eased into a rhythm and was shooting quite well.  Then I had a moment of clarity.  When you’re bowhunting, you are never warmed up.  In fact, most of the time you’re quite the opposite.  Sit in a tree long enough, and you’re going to be downright uncomfortable at times.  If, at one of these times a target animal presents itself, you can’t lob a couple practice shots to get loosened up.  You have to make the shot the first time, often under less than ideal circumstances.

So am I saying you need to get uncomfortable to practice?  No, but you need to pay attention to your cold bore shot.  The first arrow you let fly is the most important of the practice session.  It is the closest thing to a live fire situation you can get, minus the adrenaline high.  Most people never think about it.  If the first shot is errant, most think nothing of it and just try harder the second time to mitigate the problem.  This does you no good.  The first shot means everything because in the field, you don’t get another one.

So how do you practice for this?  The short answer is developing a pre shot routine.  Professional golfers are famous for it.  It will start long before they address the ball.  You might see them stand ten feet behind the ball staring into the distance.  This is not arbitrary.  They’re taking stock of the wind, possible bounce, and most importantly picking a small target.  Once they address the ball, they might wag the club twice and initiate the swing on the third wag.  This might seem kind of  stupid, but a pre shot routine puts uniformity to the task at hand.  It ensures you do the same thing every time whether it is the first shot on the practice range or the final approach shot to the 18th green.  Shooting a bow is no different.

When you grab your bow and head to the back yard to practice, try and shoot every shot the exact same.  Check your stance, draw, anchor, deep breath, and release on the exhale.  Every single time.  When you establish a pre shot routine, your cold bore shot is executed the same as the 20th shot and the results should be the same.  The pre shot routine eliminates all the variables that contribute to errant shots.  In order to be consistent in this game you have to train like you play and establishing a solid pre shot routine will ensure your first shot looks like your last.