When Should I Draw My Bow?

A deer is finally in range. It’s calm and going about its business and has no idea you’re near. You start drawing your bow and…the deer takes off. 

To reach full draw undetected, you can’t make your move at any random moment. You have to know when to draw your bow. 

You should draw your bow when …

… the deer is relaxed.

Many predators target white-tailed deer, so they constantly check their surroundings for danger. When calm, they eat, flick their tails, wander around, and groom themselves. When threatened, they stomp a hoof, bob their head, and sniff the air, trying to confirm their suspicions. Being able to read a deer’s body language and knowing when they are calm can mean the difference between getting busted and getting a shot.

… the deer looks away or moves behind a tree.

Don’t be fooled into thinking deer can’t see you while browsing. Vision is a superpower in deer because their large eyes are on the side of their head, providing a 300-degree field of view. Their only blind spot is the 60-degree void behind them. If you can see a deer’s eye, it can likely see you. Don’t draw your bow until the deer looks away or puts its head behind a tree or thick brush. 

… the deer is within bow range.

Know your effective shooting range and don’t draw until your quarry is within your lethal range. Although it’s difficult to wait, it boosts your odds of success and you can shoot the instant you settle your pin over the animal’s vital.

If your effective range is 30 yards and you draw when the deer is advancing at 35 yards, you’re stuck if it stops one step later. That deer might wait several minutes before it resumes walking into range. Most bowhunters at full draw will have tired by then. They’ll have to let down, or risk shaking, which can cause bad or missed shots. If they let down, they risk being seen when drawing a second time.

Can you stay at full draw long enough to outwait a buck? Try this drill with your SpyderWeb Target:

Place your target at 20 yards. Draw your bow and hold it for two minutes—don’t aim, just hold. Then, bear down and aim for a full 15 seconds. Make the shot after those 15 seconds are up. When you can do this easily, you’ll have a better chance at drawing earlier and undetected. 

Commit to spending some quality time with your bow and your SpyderWeb Target. You’ll be thankful you did when you’re looking past the pins at a wide-framed eight pointer next season.

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