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"Aim Small-Hit Small"


By Mark Stephens and Brian Stephens
Stick'em Archery

As a bow hunter you are faced with a variety of shots just like a soldier in the field.  Practicing for these types of shots helps you become more confident and effective when you need to pull the trigger or let that hunting arrow fly.  One of the concepts we learned in Sniper School was the importance of Aiming Small.  When you Aim Small you will Hit Small.  While a bow hunter is not going to take a 300-meter head shot.  You will be faced with difficult shots at 50, 40, 30, 20 and even 10 yards. 

Practicing in your back yard or on the range shooting at a 3-D Archery target will help your archery shooting skills/technique.  To take your skills to another level I want to suggest practicing shooting at an even smaller target.  Take a small Quarter size sticker and put it on your Archery target.  Another thing we have done is paint a small black or red circle (size of tennis ball) on our deer targets.  By practicing shooting at such a small Archery target you can significantly improve your accuracy.  You can practice at different angles such as broadside and quartering away shots.  Keep in mind for quartering away shots you want to factor in not only where the arrow will enter but also where it is going to exit.  Your hunting arrow placement will be different on broadside vs. quartering shots to ensure your arrow is passing through vitals.  This archery practice technique is easily transferable to the field.  When I am looking at game in the field or an animal I am going to harvest.  I will visualize that black circle on the animal. 

Another archery practice shooting technique is taking a water or milk jug and empty it out.  Then put a little sand in it.  The reason for the water jug is it is about the size of the vitals of most animals you will be shooting.  Then spray some black or red dots about the size of tennis ball on several places on the jug.  Then get in a tree stand or elevated position and have a buddy throw the jug out at 15, 20, 25 yards (Make sure you are doing this in a safe shooting environment).  Take a few practice target arrows you don't mind getting beat up and shoot at the jug/circles on jug.  This will help you practice shooting from an elevated position but it also forces you to aim small not only at the jug but the painted areas.  Again, Aim Small-Hit Small.

Today's compound bows, sights, and accessories have allowed us to be more effective archery shooters.  With that said things can change when your heart is racing due to that 140 class buck walking toward you.  Even a perfect broadside shot at twenty yards can seem difficult when your heart is about to come out of your chest.   We have all had less than perfect shots in the field.  In order to minimize this start shooting at a smaller target on your target.  By practicing this way you can then visualize that small reference point on that animal you are hunting.   As we have said before.  Confidence is a key ingredient to Bow Hunting.  The more you practice like this your accuracy will increase.  Especially, when you are presented with a less than perfect shots.   Remember "Aim Small- Hit Small".

Additional Bowhunting Articles

Archery Calculators


Arrow-ology & Broadhead-ology

Understanding Kinetic Energy

Determining Your Draw Length

Determining Your Draw Weight

Understanding F.O.C. % (Front of Center)

Tuning your Bow

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