Maximum “Effective” Shooting Distance by PSE’s Jared Bloomgren
By Jared Bloomgren
This is another one of those touchy subjects with many. It often turns into “I can shoot farther than you” conversation that turns to arguments at times. Even worse when you start throwing in the talk about animal distances!
This is what it comes down to and it is as simple as this. Your maximum effective shooting distance is that distance in which you are comfortable and can consistently put your arrows in a group one after another repeatedly. For some this is 40 yards and for others it may be 90. Keep in mind this is not shooting at live targets during hunting conditions per say!!
“So what do you need to do to increase your maximum effective range?” It all comes down to one word…….PRACTICE! And then more practice, practice, and practice! Try not to use an excuse that it is too hot or cold out, it is too windy, it is too wet, it is raining, etc…you get the picture. Sure there has to be limits but by shooting in as many adverse weather conditions as you can will also increase your shooting capability and confidence. Having confidence in your shooting and your equipment is very important and this can only be gained by shooting as often as possible.
When I first started shooting over 25+ years ago I started shooting at 10 yards and over time my range increased to 20, 30, 40, 50, etc…As I became more confident in my equipment and myself I began to stretch that distance to 110, 120, etc…Granted this didn’t happen overnight or over a year or two. I am still brushing up on my shooting today and I feel as if I can never be as good of a archer as I want to be!
A practice that I like to do at times is shoot an arrow at my target and run to that target, grab my arrow and run back immediately picking up my bow and shooting another arrow. Sometimes I do this while shooting up or down a hill as well to mimic the effects of being short of breathe as if I had to get up a hill quick to make a shot. As I get better I start to move the target farther away.
I am to the point today that I usually practice at ranges greater than 80 yards. This makes those 50 yard shots feel like chip shots and those 30 yard shots a slam dunk! So what is my maximum effective shooting range? Right now I would say that it is 120 yards but can stretch that out to 140 yards but I lose a bit of confidence after 120 yards. I can assure you that I will continue to improve on that! Remember, this is while target shooting.
Another thing that makes this type of shooting possible is by having a flat shooting, fast performing bow. That makes the Omen Pro and Max my favorite bows to date because of their raw performance. The shorter brace height has never been an issue for me either. Having great form makes these longer shots possible and longer shooting will actually improve your form. Why? Because a minor flaw in form at 30 yards may mean a 2” change in point of impact. A minor flaw in form at 100 yards can mean a foot or more! Longer shots force you to improve and keep your form consistent. Longer shots compound minor flaws in form and this makes you become a better shot and archer. Shooting from various positions is also important. Standing (even and uneven ground), sitting in various positions, with various types of clothing, different angles, etc…again, you get the point. Mimic as many various shooting positions and situations you can.
Now to what everyone is wondering. You wouldn’t dare shoot at an animal at 120 yards would you?! Well that all depends…..More than likely not but I will shoot at and kill animals at longer yardages than most archers would even think about shooting. Again, why? Because of my practice that I have done and the confidence I have in myself and my gear! 120 yards is not a shot I have ever done and do not plan to because I like the challenge of getting in close as I can for a shot! With that being said the animal’s behavior, body position, and weather conditions do come into play for each shot. An animal that has no idea I am there and is completely relaxed will allow a farther shot than an animal that is alert and nervous. Every condition has its place and many do not have a place for a shot at all. Keep in mind that I will never loosen an arrow on an animal that I know will not make a good clean ethical kill shot! We should all have that same belief in our mind at all times.
The greatest archer of all is the one who knows his limitations.
Only you can answer what your maximum shooting range is. It will depend directly on your level of confidence and capability directly related to practice and the shooting you make yourself take part in. Maximum shooting distance on a live animal in a hunting situation takes on many variables that also, only you can decide on.
So what are you waiting for?! Get out there and practice and brush up on your skills! I challenge you to start practicing at longer distances. You will be happy you did! It will increase your maximum shooting range guaranteed!
Jared “J-Rod” Bloomgren is a hardcore Do-It-Yourself bowhunter who strives to better himself each year in the outdoor community. As a professional hunter, freelance writer and photographer, he likes to relive his outdoor adventures through written expression and photography making the reader feel as if they were along on the hunt. He attributes much of his success to the vital education he has learned from the various big game animals that he hunts. He is quoted as saying, “In each and every hunt, success or defeat, I learn something from every outing and that I can put in my arsenal of knowledge to use at a later date, a later date that will again put my wits against that of my prey.”