Patience is a virtue and it is rarely more virtuous than during a hunting trip. Every hunter has missed a shot or two during his hunting career. Missing shots is part of how you learn and grow. It doesn’t matter if you’re not perfect. What matters is how you recover from the mistakes.
One reason hunters miss their mark is that they rush their shot. There is something to be said for waiting for the right moment. If you make yourself feel that you need to shoot immediately, you run the risk of shooting before you’re ready. You need to give the game a moment to see if they are going to move. The deer could very well just be passing through the area, or break out into a dead run. If you shoot before you line up the shot, you’ll either miss completely or you could injure the animal.
Make sure you’re drawing your bow back fully to your anchor point on your face every time you draw. When a deer presents itself, you may feel like you want to make the shot NOW, so you release your arrow as soon as you pull your arm back. While speed is a vital component of an accurate shot, it can also be a downfall. Make sure you are taking the time to touch your anchor point on your check or mouth every single draw. Dismissing this responsibility might lead to a missed buck and a soured day.
Don’t Give Up
If you do miss that initial shot, don’t give up hope. Quickly reload and try again. Give yourself a moment between the shots to calm your nerves and get the target where you want them, but do not dwell on the missed shot. Missed shots with an arrow are generally lower impact and might not have severely injured that animal. Shake off the guilt and frustration and move forward. Your next shot might be a perfect one. If you give yourself the chance for redemption, you’ll be able to restore your confidence and the missed shot will fade further from memory.
Don’t Stop Practicing
If you find that you’re missing your shots frequently, make some time for more practice. The biggest mistake a hunter can make is halting practice once hunting season starts. Put in some range time to figure out what you might be doing wrong. Have a fellow hunter or a professional at the range check your form. They might be able to detect some imperfections you didn’t even know you had. Humans are creatures of habit, even bad habits, so there is no shame in making sure you’re on track. The faster you catch what’s messing up your shot, the faster you can fix it.
Hunting requires skill, but a part of your success in the woods also relies on luck. If you missed a shot and you know your form was accurate, you might have just been unlucky enough to have the deer move at the exact wrong moment. Don’t beat yourself up over mistakes. The deer have as much to do with a successful shot as your aim with the bow. If you adopt this mindset, you’ll find yourself at peace with however the trip turns out. Life’s too short to dwell on missed shots, so get back out there and have fun. How do you handle a missed shot? Let us know in the comments!