I have had a fear of heights since I was a child. Not necessarily the height of a building or mountain, but basically ladders and unstable contraptions. I have found that practicing from an elevated stand in my backyard really helps. When deer season starts, you don’t have to get used to the height since you’ve been climbing and shooting out of your stand all summer. If at all possible, I climb into my stand once a week and shoot five arrows from different angles and distances.
While deer hunting you might ask yourself, “What would I do if a deer came from this side or that side?” With your stand in the backyard, you can practice from any position imaginable. Here’s a photo of a 20-yard group from my ladder stand using a 64-inch Pronghorn longbow. I placed the stand in a giant pecan tree with plenty of cover, just like a real hunting setup.
My accuracy has improved greatly. Practicing from a treestand is also a good time to test different clothing for string clearance. When shooting from an elevated position, we have a tendency to short draw without anchoring properly. You might even experience erratic arrow flight due to the short drawing. Some guys advocate bending at the waist, while others recommend bending the knees. My thoughts are that you should practice from your stand to find out what works best for you. ALWAYS wear a safety harness and practice other safety measures when using an elevated stand.
Editor’s Note: Matt Steed from Mississippi won the prize package that includes a Camp Chef Smoke Vault, cover and jerky trays. Congratulations Matt! A big THANK YOU to Camp Chef, and to all of you who submitted tips. Watch for new tips in the coming weeks. Although the contest is over, I’m always looking for great tips to share with our traditional bowhunting community. Keep ‘em coming! ~Robin