What does 900 square yards mean to you? 650 square yards? 400 square yards? I was talking to a friend of mine – Mark Waggoner – about effective shot distance and placement. Mark is an avid bow hunter who sold his archery shop and now simply enjoys life.
His theory was not complex and something I have unknowingly abided by for decades. Mark aptly refers to it as The Kill Box. In some way, shape, or form, a consistently successful archer has unknowingly engrained this into their mindset.
A bow hunter’s kill box is simply the area you should be most comfortable working within.
What Does Comfort Really Mean?
Some bow hunters practice shooting out to 60, 80, and even 100 yards. Why? Because if consistency can be achieved at that distance, think of the confidence gained at realistic hunting distances of 30 yards and in!
Comfort is all encompassing. It is your entrance and exit strategy. It is how your stand is positioned plus the quality of it. It is proper concealment once your safely strapped in. It is – whenever possible – 360° of shooting lanes. It is ranging and memorizing distances when the encounter occurs.
Most importantly, when an arrow is released, you visually achieve good aim point penetration and hear – or preferably see – the deer go down.
Building A Setup You Can Depend On
A dependable and bright arrow nock, such as Firenock’s arrow nock, allows you to immediately confirm visually if your aim was true. If you're not using lighted nocks at least consider something that can be seen in flight. Solid white nocks work great.
Custom built arrows offering impact momentum similar to Exodus’s MMTs, are more affordable than you think. Whatever your setup looks like make sure it's a match made in heaven. Your bow, your arrows, and your boardheads.
A no frills broadhead equal to Afflictor’s Hybrid-X Mini – when properly placed – leaves the red carpet treatment every hunter wants to see.
Whatever your setup looks like make sure it's a match made in heaven. Your bow, your arrows, and your boardheads. Practicing and tinkering is the absolute best way to learn what your setup is capable of.
Simple? Absolutely. Easy? No.
I have written before about how a hunter should adopt a tactical mindset. Be prepared for any scenario which leads to fulfilling your objective. When you are in your stand, saddle, or blind, be mentally prepared when it happens. Hunt enough and “it” will inevitably happen.
A deer does not stop in your shooting lane. One catches you moving. You draw back at 20 yards, but the deer moves to 30. You hold your draw back too long and need to let down. Focusing on your pin and not the animal.
Panic is not an option here. Control your breathing, focus on the mental or real repetitions taken, and hit the cruise control button. Real life practice and encounters are the only way to train your mind.
Control What You Can
What can you control? Yourself. Plan for success and your will succeed. Variables are important, but do not overly burden yourself with them – they are out of your control. Pretend millions of people are watching you and ice will flow through your veins. Remember that luck is that intersection when preparation and opportunity meet.
Break your hunting workshop into a manageable kill box. The size of it does not impress anyone. The success achieved within it does.
Author: Geoff Guzinski, Exodus Black Hat Team Member