The Art of Aiming Your Bow
By Joe Bell
One minute my buddy Jeff and I were trudging up a steep slope in the rugged California mountains, the next we were watching deer flush from the thick understory like a covey of quail.
Our panicky hearts grew with excitement as five does and one buck suddenly stopped to gawk about 40 yards away. My friend was shooting a barebow setup and preferred closer-in shooting, so he gave me the firm whisper to shoot. I quickly pulled up my bow, drew, and snapped the sight pin on the buck’s chest. I didn’t squeeze the release’s trigger — I believe I smashed it. The arrow clattered against brush and rocks — a clean miss. I grew disgusted with myself but persistently followed the trotting deer up and over the steep terrain.
About an hour later, after tiptoeing around, I spotted the same buck bedded on a gnarly hillside. The distance was at the edge of my effective range, but it felt right. I drew horizontal to my feet and rotated my torso slowly while bending at the waist. My sight pin eased on target this time, and I picked a small spot on the deer’s ribcage — visually burning a hole on where I wanted the arrow to go. I began visualizing how I wanted the broadhead to impact the deer and where it should exit. Suddenly, I had tunnel vision, and then the arrow was off. The arrow struck with a solid thud. The deer bolted but then spun and rolled to the ground. I sent a second arrow to finish the job. It was an amazing, memorable experience that really begs the question: How did I miss so badly the first time around, but then connect so well on the second attempt?