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Target shooting has become an increasingly popular sport over the last decade. While it is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and your archery equipment during the off-season, it is also a perfect way to prepare you for those pressure-filled hunting scenarios.

For starters, target shooting allows you to understand your yardage comfort zone. Sighting in your bow on a target with easily identifiable marks, preferably dots, allows you to pinpoint the adjustments you need to make to deliver a lethal shot. Most beginners are capable of a 20 yard shot, while some more experienced shooters might reach out to 60. Whatever distances you are most consistent and comfortable at are the distances you should limit yourself to when a shot presents itself! ALWAYS practice using a range finder while target shooting. This way you know what different yardages look like when you’re out in the field.

If you hunt from a tree stand, it is paramount that you simulate this set-up while target shooting. Find a place with a sturdy tree and hang a stand to shoot from. This will help you learn how to compensate for the shot angle and will teach you to recognize the differences in yardage from an elevated vantage point. As always, practice proper tree stand safety when shooting our hunting from a tree stand!

If you want to take it a step further, use 3D targets . While any sort of target shooting will benefit you, 3D targets allow your brain to process the image of whatever game you are preparing to hunt (elk, whitetail, turkeys, hogs, etc.). Yes, some of these targets can be expensive, but you can also search for archery clubs in your area. These clubs often host 3D archery competitions throughout the summer months and can provide great fun while you hone in your shooting skills.

As hunters, we all know how easy it is to make a bad shot, so if you want to kill that big buck this fall, you need to be prepared. Target shooting will prepare you in a variety of ways, so make it a point to get out this summer and shoot your bow!