LAST UPDATED: March 10th, 2017
I’ve had the opportunity to guide a lot of people on their first bowhunting trip. There have been lots of kids, as well as men and women. No matter the age, size, or gender, one thing remains the same. Shooting fish with a bow can be tough for the beginner. Sadly, we often put first timers in the boat, hand them a bowfishing bow, tell them to “aim low,” and then turn them loose. This can be frustrating on the rookie, to say the least. Several years ago I watched a young man grow increasingly frustrated throughout the night as he continued to miss shot after shot. I vowed on that night to help new shooters, prior to their night on the water, to be better prepared for flingin’ arrows at fish. There is a solution for better bowfishing practice.
How to Shoot Better When Bowfishing?
The solution is simple. Practice. Think about it. We practice all summer long for deer season by shooting thousands of arrows at 3-D targets in the backyard. Serious bowhunters spend a tremendous amount of time preparing for the opportunity to unleash a few arrows each season at deer. Yet the idea of ”practicing” for bowfishing is almost unheard of. I honestly can’t recall one article I’ve ever seen on shooting practice for bowfishing. Bowfishing offers the opportunity for more shooting than pretty much any other hunt out there, but practice prior to big game is almost unheard of.
One company making bowfishing practice more realistic, and a whole lot more fun, is Rinehart Targets. Rinehart makes a 3-D carp target that gives you the opportunity for realistic practice prior to your time on the boat, or wading in the shallows for fish. Don’t practice for bowfishing by shooting at a deer target or dots. Practice for shooting fish…by shooting a fish.
Keeping It Real
Shots at fish will typically be very close. So close in fact, you can’t miss, right? The fact is, these can’t-miss-close shots are deceiving. The angle of the shot coupled with the refraction of the water makes shooting fish a challenge. A practice session from the actual boat you’ll be shooting from will help you see exactly how you and your equipment will perform. A lot of fish are shot nearly straight down as fish cruise up under the boat. Can you make that shot? Put a 3-D target in place, and practice it. Shoot from a variety of positions and angles to make sure you’re prepared when these shots come your way on the water.
Young shooters often struggle to clear the shooting rail with their bows as they attempt to shoot tight-angle shots. Contact with a lower limb or cam on the shooting rail can quickly derail a bow. Put your youngster through the test to see what needs to be done to give them the best chance for success.
Bowfishing’s exponential growth in recent years is due to the fact that it is one of the funnest outdoor endeavors out there. It combines the best of bowhunting, fishing, archery, boating, and good times on the water. It’s truly hard to beat. Practice with a 3-D fish target is a great way to get your child hooked on a fun and exciting sport that’ll last a lifetime.