Expert archery advice, part two

Previously I broke down some hot topics from the archery world with my dear friend Curtis Ashcraft, but I didn’t stop there. As a hunter, I have always believed that the more information I can learn, the better it makes me as an outdoorsman. So I had the chance to question a man I am lucky to have had as a teacher, and call a friend, Mr. Larry Wise.

Larry is as accomplished as he is accurate and deadly with a bow, however, he’s as humble and straight forward as it gets. With championship after championship, 30-plus years of coaching, and 60 years of bow hunting experience, it’s hard to not hang on every word as he shares his knowledge, and I surely do.

I presented Larry with some of the same questions I presented to Curtis and the pure knowledge that flowed from him to me was astounding. So without further ado, let’s get to it:

What do you think is the most critical and common mistake that archers make when they head to the woods to hunt?

“Far too many archers don’t utilize a one-shot practice session preseason and during season. To know if you and your equipment is really ready you must stand at twenty-five yards to shoot one broadhead-equipped arrow at a paper plate. No warmup allowed; shoot it cold and hit the plate. Do this several times daily during preseason. Do it at least once daily during the season.”

To add an example of how critical this is, Larry shared that, “Just yesterday I did this before heading to my stand and hit low. I checked my equipment over to find a peep sight that had gotten moved while I was recovering a dead coyote. I soon fixed the problem and shot again with better results.”

What would be your open advice to a new archer?

Along with some tips regarding bow choice, Larry mentioned that a new bow hunter’s main focus should be “to learn to shoot properly and consistently with your bow before moving on to something more ‘high tech.’ Remember what Wyatt Earp said a long time ago: ‘Fast is fine but ACCURACY is FINAL!’ Shoot for accuracy.”

How often would you recommend practicing or shooting and is simple target shooting enough? Would you suggest practicing shooting from a stand or mock hunting scenarios?

“For bow hunting I find that 15 to 20 shots five days a week is enough to get ready. Shoot from three yards to 50 yards if space allows.

Practice some steep angles if possible, to simulate shooting from a tree-stand, and practice shooting from a sitting position if you hunt from a ground blind.”

Can you share a little about a recent successful hunt you’ve had and something unique you learned that might offer insight or perspective to someone reading this article?

“You don’t have to go far from home to have a great hunting experience. Just a year ago I traveled to Illinois to hunt for a week. It was a good trip, but I didn’t see any shooter bucks.

“I returned home to hunt my own property for the final two weeks of the Pa. archery season. My friend Brett came to hunt Thursday morning. At 8:05 a.m. he texted me that a buck was headed toward me. I put my phone back in my pocket, looked up and there he was! As quickly as I could I raised my bow toward the opening, drew, anchored, and at that instant the deer stopped in the opening and my 33-yard pin found its place in my view and a vital shot was delivered.”

Even though it all happened so fast, Larry’s continuation of the story drove home the many points we had already discussed.

“I was prepared, practiced and my equipment was ready as well. That’s what we work for over the months we practice, scout and sit in stands — we work for that single minute when an opportunity presents itself. My minute resulted in a nice eight-pointer harvested on my own property and it doesn’t get much better than that.”

It never gets old talking to and learning from a pro.


John Knouse writes about the outdoors for The Sentinel.


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