Spring turkey season is over, deer season seems far off in the distance, and you can only have so much fun shooting at targets. As an archer, crossbow and long bow alike, what do you do to occupy the time? How do you keep your senses sharp and your skills honed?
One great summertime activity is ground hog hunting with your bow. A farmer’s worst enemy, these critters can demolish a section of soy beans in a matter of days. And with their keen eyes and wary personalities, they make a perfect small game target to practice on.
With permission from any local farmer, trek out to an open bean or hay field in the early morning or late afternoon. Look for areas of vegetation damage near a field edge, and if you find a hole or two, you’re in the right area. Locate a spot in the shade or with some decent cover and take a seat. Ground hogs have incredible vision so odds are you spooked him down his hole. But not to worry. They are curious animals and with patience, you will see him pop back up to survey the area. There is your opportunity.
These animals are great for some live, summertime practice for several reasons. Their vision makes stalking up on them undetected nearly impossible. You have to learn to make slow, calculated movements. They are also a much smaller target than whitetail or turkeys so you’ll be practicing your shot placement as well. Lastly, they teach you to be patient. You never know how long it will take for them to reappear from their hole. But that’s ok. You never know when that Boon & Crockett whitetail will walk down your trail either.
Another fun summer archery activity is bowfishing. Carp are the most popular fish for the sport, but you should check with your local fish and game service to see what else might be on that list. Carp spawn in early summer (end of May through June) when the waters warm up. This brings them to the shallow waters and makes them excellent moving targets to practice your shots. From a boat or the shoreline, you can bet you’ll shoot a lot of arrows. Bowfishing is a fantastic way to introduce youth to the sport of archery and is a great way to spend a Saturday with the family.
Whatever you decide to do, get out and shoot your bow so you’ll be ready. Deer season is just around the corner!