Outdoor Life - - NO EXCUSES -

Late one Septem­ber evening last sea­son, I watched the 10-point I’d been hunting ease through the tim­ber to­ward my stand. By the time he was 20 yards away, I had eight min­utes of legal light left— but it was too dark to see through my peep sight when I drew. We might prac­tice shoot­ing from long range, while seated, and from tree­stands, but few of us prac­tice shoot­ing in the low light white­tails pre­fer. To be clear, I’m not talk­ing about Hail Mary ar­rows in the dark—but if a big buck is stand­ing in bow range and it’s legal to shoot him, don’t you want ev­ery ad­van­tage? Try this. Take a Look: Large-aper­ture peep sights might give up some long-range pre­ci­sion, but they al­low for max­i­mum vis­i­bil­ity in low light. That’s what a white­tail hunter wants. As you’re po­si­tion­ing your peep be­fore the sea­son, draw your bow and close your eyes. When you open, you should be star­ing right through it, at your pins. If you have to move your head at all to see it, keep tweak­ing its place­ment—and don’t serve it in un­til it’s per­fect. This way, you can sky­line the peep aper­ture, hit your sec­ondary an­chor point (see be­low), and take the shot, confident you’re lined up, even if the peep it­self is tough to see. Dou­ble An­chor: In good light, a peep sight makes shoot­ing eas­ier. But many bowhunters are too de­pen­dent on them. It’s per­fectly pos­si­ble to shoot good groups with­out a peep, es­pe­cially in­side 30 yards. I pre­fer to es­tab­lish a cou­ple of con­sis­tent an­chor points (a kisser but­ton on the string helps) that be­come in­stinc­tive. Prac­tice Late: Wait un­til 15 min­utes after sun­set to be­gin your evening prac­tice. Move your tar­get out of the open front lawn and into the woods. As it gets darker, check your peep against the sky­light and keep on shoot­ing un­til it’s too dark to see the tar­get. That’s usu­ally about 30 min­utes after sun­set. An­other ben­e­fit of this drill is that it trains your eye to pick out de­tail on a dark tar­get. What about that 10-point I men­tioned? I did just this: raised my bow up to find my peep in the sky­light. Then I low­ered it slowly, and hit my sec­ondary an­chor point. I put my fiber-op­tic pin, which I could see clearly, be­hind the buck’s shoul­der, which I could also see. I re­leased the ar­row and lis­tened to that buck fall dead 75 yards away. —W.B.

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