Many bow hunters shoot their bows all year long, but many, like myself, usually wait until around Labor Day weekend to sling a few arrows.

I have had the same bow for many years that has has dropped a lot of nice deer and the bow still shoots great.

Now I have a lot of buddies who are always after the next big thing and buy a new bow every couple years.

Ever since bows were being built that shot over 300 + feet per second, the price of bows have went up drastically.

I used to shoot on and off all year long but life happens so I don't get out as much to practice, but I still do some practice to get ready for season.

The last thing I want to have happen when that big buck steps out is to miss and even worse I don't want to wound a deer and not find him.

I have passed on many big bucks because I just couldn't get the right shot on them. It wasn't because I wasn't confident in my shooting ability or my equipment, I just like to make sure I make a good, clean, humane shot. Plus, you don't have to track them that far if you make the right shot.

There are a couple reasons why I like to target shoot often the month leading up to bow season, and the first is to build up my stamina of holding the bow back. There are many times a big deer has noticed the movement of me pulling back my bow and then I'm stuck holding my bow until he stops looking at me.

I also like to make sure I didn't bump anything in the field the prior year that may have altered my sights, plus make sure the peep site and the string are in good condition. Not to mention, taking a lot of shots before entering the woods always builds my confidence.

I have been using a pendulum site for a long time. It's basically one site pin that I can move to the yardage that I want to shoot in. These are a bit more complicated to set up because you have to site the bow in at twenty yards and sixty yards get them dialed in. But when you do, you usually don't have to adjust them again. They just don't move no matter how hard you are on your bow while getting in and out of the woods.

There's another reason that I like to practice before season and that is because I hunt a lot of different ways which means I shoot a lot of different ways.

Yes, I stand traditionally like everyone else and shoot at my target. But sometimes I'm hunting off a bucket or tree stand seat and I like to practice that way because it puts your body in different positions and I find it really helps. Heck, I even do some shots off my knees in case I stumble upon a big buck walking to or from my spot.

I haven't done this yet at my house but in the past I have hung a tree stand in the yard just to get some shots in that are closer to simulating how I would actually shoot in the woods.

I will take my ATV out with a target to some of my stands and take a few shots. My stands are all up there around twenty-two feet and I have learned that once you get over seventeen feet up, depending on the bow, you need to make a little adjustment on your shot because of the angle and the height.

So think about where you hunt and how you will actually shoot in the woods and try practicing that way. I know its not optimum to practice from all your hunting spots - that can spook some deer if you are hunting close to bedding areas or where they generally are. But, emulating your hunting shot in your practice will give you great confidence and increase your chances of bagging that big ol' buck.

Good luck out in the woods.

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