Editor’s Note: With the start of bowhunting season only a couple of months away, you need to start practicing now. Frank Pearson of St. David, Arizona, owner and operator of the Frank Pearson School of Archery (www.frankpearson.com) and nationally-known archery coach, has seen the evolution of the bow from the longbow when he first started shooting and competed with up to today’s modern bows and most-technical bowhunting equipment. If anyone knows archery, and how to help an archer shoot better, you can rely on Pearson. This week Frank will give us practical tips on how to shoot better, whether you are a tournament archer or a bowhunter.
Pearson: Never use the words, target panic, again. The real problem is distance panic. The way we solve this problem is I have the archer stand 3 yards from the target, put a 3-inch spot on that target, have the archer pull the bow back, line-up the target in the rear sight, put his front sight in the middle of that dot and go-through his shot routine with a long follow-through after the shot. When he or she releases the arrow, I want the archer to stand in position like an archery mannequin. If you remain in the same position after the shot as you’ve been in before the shot, an animal never will see you move, and you’ll have a clean follow-through. But, if you let your release arm fly around after the shot, and an animal spots you, sometimes it can duck the shot. Then you’ll have to add another 100 yards to your tracking before you find your animal, because it saw you move.
The first night of practice before bow season starts should be at 3 yards. The next night, move the target back to 4 yards from where you’re shooting. The next night, move the target out to 5 yards. Continue to move the target at 1-yard increments, and adjust your sights until you are shooting 45 yards accurately. Use this system every night, until you have your target at 45 yards. Then you’ll realize there’s no such thing as target panic or buck fever. You can’t get rid of either by trying to shoot a 60-yard target. If you have target panic at 60 yards and continue to shoot 60 yards, you’ll have target panic forever. But if you start-off shooting at 3 yards with your 60-yard pin and then sight in at 4 yards to hit the target in the center every time at 4 yards, you consistently move that target back 1 yard per day, and you consistently sight-in and shoot each day accurately, then you’ll see that you can shoot accurately at any distance from where you want to take a shot. You show me an archer who has target panic, and I‘ll show you an archer who refuses to use this system to eliminate target panic. They may think they’re too good as shooters to start off shooting at 3 yards and move the target 1 yard every day. Or, perhaps they’re too lazy to put this much time and effort into solving the problem.
Question: Frank, why have you stayed in archery as long as you have?
Pearson: My wife says it’s because I like it, and I guess that’s true. We have 14 fields set-up here at my house for shooting archery. They are much like a golf course, so that the students can shoot from 10 yards to 8 yards from 14-different stations. My playroom in my house is 3,000 feet with 10-foot ceilings, so I can shoot 30 yards indoors. My playroom is also set-up, so that I can open my side door, stand inside and shoot outside up to 50 yards, if there’s rain, or the weather’s too hot to go outside. I guess I am eaten-up with the sport of archery. And I don’t think that is a bad thing.