By Tim H. Martin
Photo: An aim small, miss small practice routine helped Tim H. Martin take seven African animals with seven arrows.
When Buckmasters Executive Editor Ken Piper first started working with me many long years ago, we shot our bows nearly every afternoon on a little range outside the office.
At first, we practiced with standard targets such as life-sized foam deer with printed vital areas, and block targets with fist-sized dots. But as we honed our skills, we needed something more challenging and began to use smaller targets.
One day, Ken stapled a Buckmasters business card to a block target and said, “Let’s see if we can hit that at 30 yards.”
Soon, the card began to seem too easy. That’s when I upped our friendly competition. “Now, let’s see who can get closest to the buck’s eye in the Buckmasters logo,” I challenged.
We began to notice this intense focus made our groups tighter and misses smaller. If we couldn’t pull a three-arrow group from a target with one hand, it wasn’t a satisfactory group.
This practice carried over into the field, and our bowhunting success reflected it.
I’ve one-arrow-killed bucks in Illinois, Ohio and Alabama, an elk and seven species of animals in Africa without losing a single animal or needing any follow up shots.
Ken had even greater success. With one arrow, he took an Illinois buck scoring more than 200 inches, and too many other trophies in his career to count. His Land of Lincoln giant still stands as the largest bow buck taken by any member of Buckmasters’ team.
I love the old golfer’s adage, aim small, miss small. This means when you focus on a tiny spot, if you miss, your ball will be closer to the pin than if you had aimed for a general area of the green. The same logic applies when aiming at game.
Pick a tuft of hair on the vital area of the next deer you shoot at, not the vital area in general. Whether your weapon is a bow or a firearm, if you miss that spot, your arrow or bullet will still be solidly in the kill zone.
Try incorporating aim small, miss small into your practice routine. You’ll save yourself a lot of misses and a lot of time tracking wounded animals.
— Photo Courtesy of Tim H. Martin
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