Broken arrow leads to better bow shooting

August 13, 2012

Faith and Reasons

I have one year of archery under my belt, and I have learned one very important thing – the key to success is in your head.

In other words, the sport is mostly mental. That important fact landed like a carbon arrowed zipped into a hay bale yesterday during a practice session.

As I draw near to the bow hunting opener next month, I am trying fine tune my shooting to make sure my arrow hits the mark when I – hopefully – take aim at a deer. Thus, instead of shooting several arrows at a time, I chose yesterday to shoot one arrow at a time. I am trying to make each and every shot count because, more than likely, I will get only one shot at any deer that comes my way.

At the same time, I wanted to test shoot two broadheads that I plan on using this fall – Rage and the new Ulmer Edge by Trophy Taker. The two heads are very similar. Both are mechanicals in which the blades deploy from the rear. The Rage comes with a practice head, while the Ulmer Edge comes with a set screw that keeps the blades from deploying during the shot. I like this feature, as it allows the archer to shoot with the actual head versus a separate practice head.

The good news is I shot both heads at 20 and 30 yards and they both hit in the same spot as my field points. So, I don’t need to do any more shooting with them.

The bad news – and what gave me the opportunity to learn an important lesson – is that my favorite arrow broke during the session. I didn’t have the foam target propped up well enough, and it fell over after my arrow hit, snapping the arrow.

I was bummed at first, but then decided to take the advice of my wife, who told me that situations like this can be opportunities if you let them.

I decided to test that theory. I said to myself, “Well, I’ll just  have to find a new favorite arrow.”

Guess what? I have a bunch of them now. Why? I learned that what really makes an arrow hit the mark is good form. When I shot several others arrows after my “favorite one” broke, I was able to get all of the others to hit at or near the bullseye. As I increased my concentration to try and find a new favorite arrow, my form got better and all of my shots were good.

That’s a great lesson to learn, and it helps my confidence way more than believing I shoot better with my “favorite” arrow. The truth is, today’s carbon arrows (which is what most bow hunters use today) are remarkably consistent from one arrow to the next. In fact, the carbon arrow is one of modern archery’s best technological advancements. Thus, when you buy a set of arrows from a given company (I happen to use Gold Tip), all of them should hit in the same spot, at least at short distances like 20 or 30 yards

In the long run, I think I’ll be much better off believing that my shooting form is the critical factor, not which particular arrow I’m shooting. Yesterday, after my practice session, I was able to proudly tell my wife Julie that I applied her little kernel of wisdom to archery.

Who knows? Maybe she’ll be able to offer me more good advice, like where to put up my stands.


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About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

View all posts by Dave Hrbacek