Perfecting your System: the Case for Shooting Indoors this Winter

Let’s go ahead and put the inflammatory statement on the table – target archery, whether it be indoor paper or outdoor 3-D, does not make you a good bowhunter. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t shoot targets. Allow me to explain.

I don’t particularly care for indoor archery. Not only is it a sobering reminder that hunting season is over and life is meaningless, but it’s also a time for everyone to break out their bedazzled bows and explain how it isn’t their fault they had to eat tag soup (again) this year. NOBODY CARES THAT YOUR WIFE WON’T LET YOU HUNT, GREG!

That said, indoor archery isn’t entirely without benefit and if you can muster the strength to deal with Greg on weekly league nights, I think you’ll come out a better bowhunter in the end. Probably.

Perhaps the greatest benefit to shooting indoors is it allows you to create or refine your “system.” Everything you do should be done the exact same way – every time. I nock my arrow a particular way. I affix my release a particular way. I draw back a particular way. My way is probably not your way, so figure out what works best for you. Consistency is accuracy, and it’s much easier to be consistent when you’re shooting a designated distance with zero wind to worry about.

As you’re working on your system, you’ll (hopefully) be shooting a lot. Consistency + repetition = good shit. While it’s true that nothing can prepare you for the increased heart rate you’ll experience while drawing back on a screaming bull, the last thing you want to worry about is remembering all of the steps it takes to make a good shot.

Nock the arrow, dial my sight, attach my release, draw back…wait, I need to check my bubble. Ok, there’s the nose button. Shit, he’s gone!

This year I was able to call a bull within 10 yards and make a frontal shot that had him on the ground in seconds. I honestly can’t remember ever nocking my arrow. It was all a blur and it was all muscle memory. None of that makes me Fred Bear, but it is a testament to the number of arrows I shot throughout the year.

As my friends will tell you, I’m not a “gun guy.” I don’t mean that in the snobby, “I only hunt with a bow,” way. Rather, I simply don’t know a damn thing about guns because I’ve never cared to know a damn thing about guns. An old 30-06 has kept me from eating tag soup on several occasions.

There is one rifle I can shoot, take apart, clean and rebuild with my eyes closed, though – the AR-15. That’s because I bent over for Uncle Sam and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years. And, the Corps did a good job of drilling the ins-and-outs of that platform into my brain. Are you picking up what I’m putting down? The more you shoot, the more familiar you’ll become with your bow. It will become a part of you, just like the feeling of regret you experience every time you have to shoot next to Greg on league nights.

Indoor season is also the time to try new things. Get your mind out of the gutter – I’m talking about new release aids, draw lengths, grip types, etc. Hell, you can even try the dreaded kisser or nose buttons, but please do me a favor and treat them like the training wheels they are. If you shoot enough and have a system in place you won’t need the Poachmar Bowmar nose button.

At the end of the day, shooting is better than not shooting, so get in there and put some arrows through your bow. It might not make you a good bowhunter overnight, but it’ll certainly help you become a better archer.

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