Yamaha Outdoors Tips — Why Bowhunters Miss

By Bob Humphrey

There are many reasons why bowhunters miss deer.  The most common is simply misjudging distance.  That one’s relatively easy to remedy.  Use a rangefinder.  You should also spend idle time on stand practicing your range estimation.  Pick a spot, estimate the range, then check yourself with the rangefinder.  The more you practice, the better you get. 

The next most common reason, which results in over-shooting, is failure to compensate for the steep downward angle when shooting from an elevated platform.  According to Newton’s Law, the force of gravity is greatest on an object traveling parallel to the ground. 

It is less on an object traveling at a steep downward or upward angle.  Shooting at steep angles may result in hitting (or missing) above your point of aim.  Simple solution: aim low.

That remedy also applies to our next excuse - string jumping.  No matter how fast your bow shoots, the arrow still travels slower than the speed of sound.  The sound of your shot will reach the animal before the arrow.  An alarmed deer will crouch down, essentially loading its spring-like legs, before it leaps away.  If it’s quick enough, it can actually duck under the arrow - called jumping the string. 

Here again, aim low - at the animal’s heart.  If the animal doesn’t move, you hit it in the heart.  If it does crouch, you still hit it in the lungs.  Another solution is to use a pendulum sight, designed to compensate for up or down angles by moving as you tilt your bow.

Continuing down the list, we come to a group of maladies that can largely be grouped under negligence.  This includes inadequate practice and failure to properly maintain your equipment.  Shoot, shoot often and simulate hunting situations when practicing.  Check and maintain your equipment on a regular basis.  Just as you wouldn’t go on a long off-road trek without first checking your ATV’s fluids, air and moving parts, you shouldn’t head afield on a hunt without making sure all your archery equipment is in shape.  Take good care of it and it will take care of you.