PSE’s Christopher Perkins Gives Tips to Make You a More Productive bowhunter
Editor’s Note: Christopher Perkins from Athens, Ontario, Canada, has been shooting for PSE for the last 2 years. In 4 weeks of 2012, this 20 year old earned $18,000 in two professional archery tournaments – not bad for a summer job. But, Perkins never really set out to be a tournament archer winning championships and money and gaining sponsors. Like many tournament pros, Perkins just wanted to shoot better, so he could become a more proficient bowhunter. However, Perkin’s love of bowhunting and the desire to become a better bowhunter lead him to participate in archery competitions and world championships. He discovered like many of us have that the marriage between target archery and bowhunting produces a much better target archer and bowhunter than just choosing one of these two archery sports.
Question: What is your opinion on using deer scents and deer lures for bowhunting?
I didn’t use deer scents and lures until last year when two of my buddies and I went to Illinois for a deer hunt. Up here in Canada, I primarily hunt funnels and pinch points where a large block of woods is necked down going to a feeding site. But, I found when deer are cruising in open woods that lures can be effective.
Question: Chris, give us five tips that will make anyone a better bowhunter.
* Participate in target archery to become a better bowhunter. Target archery teaches you not to just aim at the deer and not to just aim at the vital area but to aim at the center of the vital area or the spot you want to hit. In target archery, you learn to narrow your focus to a very small spot that you want to hit, which causes you to shoot more accurately at least that’s what happened to me. Learning that principle of target archery drastically has increased my accuracy as a bowhunter. Target archery also has made me set up my hunting bow to be just as accurate as my target bow. To make a good shot as a professional archer, I need to be able to shoot and have the arrow hit in the center of a 2 or a 3 inch dot from 50 yards and at every distance for 50 yards to 5 yards. By learning to shoot that accurately, I am much more confident, I shoot better in the woods, and I spend less time trailing deer.
* Practice. Once again even if you don’t get to the point where you can shoot the center of a 2 inch dot at 50 yards, practice shooting archery in the off season to make you a better bowhunter than if you don’t practice.
* Keep your bow tuned up all year long. One of the big mistakes I see when hunters are shooting before the season, and for instance, they know that their strings have some wear on them, they’ll often think, “I can probably get one more season out of this string.” If you think that you can get one more season out of your bowstring, then the day you think that, go, and get a new string. Start shooting that string to get ready for bow season. Maybe you don’t think your sight or your rest or another piece of equipment bad enough or worn enough to justify replacing it. When you think that thought, that’s your brain telling you to replace that piece of equipment now. You never know when that trophy animal of a lifetime will be standing in front of you within bow range. When that opportunity comes along, you want to have the best equipment you can afford to do the best job it can possibly do.
* Make a friend of the people at your local bow shop. When you buy new equipment or new accessories, get them to set up your bow to make sure everything’s put on properly. Bow maintenance year round and practice shooting year round are the most critical elements in becoming a successful bowhunter. Developing your deer hunting skills is a given. You have to do that whether you bowhunt or gun hunt. What we are talking about is specifically being a better bowhunter.
* Develop patience probably one of the most difficult skills. Remember that bowhunting is a game of waiting. Waiting also includes waiting for the animal to get within the distance that you feel confident that you can make an effective shot. For instance here in Canada where I hunt, I feel that I can make an effective shot at 50 yards IF there’s no wind, and the deer is calm and relaxed and either feeding or looking away from me. I can shoot accurately at distances greater than 50 yards. But in the places where I hunt and under the conditions that I hunt in, I choose not to take a shot of more than 50 yards. If the deer doesn’t come into that range, I don’t shoot even though there’s a good chance that I can take the deer. You must have patience to wait long enough in the woods sitting in your tree stand or ground blind to finally see a deer and then to wait for that deer to get within the range for you to take a shot.