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3 Steps to Critical Off-Season Archery and Rifle Practice

There’s still snow on the ground here in Colorado and fall hunting seasons might seem distant. But there’s plenty to do in preparation for your next adventure. Perhaps most importantly, it’s critical to continue your archery and rifle practice.

In our previous article on training for the 2020 season, we briefly mentioned the importance of staying sharp at the range. But as hunter’s it’s something that deserves a good deal of our attention – year round.

One of the most important elements of ethical hunting is being prepared and confident with your weapon. That means more than just a quick sight-in the week before your hunt. When I was guiding elk hunts in western Colorado, I witnessed more than one botched opportunity for no other reason than lack of familiarity with a weapon.

Whether your upcoming hunt is the trip of a lifetime or an annual occurrence, you owe it to yourself and the animal to put in plenty of practice time. Here are a few things to consider as we prepare for the upcoming hunting seasons.

1. Finalize Your Setup

If you’re making changes to your archery setup or rifle loads, this is the time of year to make those decisions. Don’t put it off and go into the summer still undecided. The last thing you want is to feel rushed trying to dial in your system right before opening day. 

Get to the range here in the next few weeks and spend time with those new arrows or bullets. And remember – you could spend eternity tinkering with these decisions. At some point, you’ll have to make a decision. Do it soon, giving yourself plenty of time to dial it in and then practice.

2. Get Familiar with Your Gear

Will you be hunting with a new backpack this year? How about a new binocular harness? As you spend time at the archery or rifle range over the next few months, you should also think about your hunting gear, clothing and accessories.

When your hunting gear is settled, give yourself plenty of time to get familiar with it. How does your rifle sling work with your backpack? Can you comfortably draw your bow wearing that new jacket?

When the weather gets warmer this spring, take your gear out into the field for some test runs. Don’t forget to practice with your bipod or shooting sticks. Wear your hunting gear to the range for practice. All these little things can cause hang-ups in the field. When it counts, you’ll be doing it out of breath and heart pounding. Will you be ready under pressure?

3. Find Your Confidence

The benefit of starting these things early in the year is that there’s plenty of time to practice without feeling rushed. Little by little over the next several months, become confident in your weapon and how it works with the rest of your hunting gear. Don’t leave yourself any surprises.

Hunting is full of uncontrollable factors. So by the time fall hunting seasons arrive, it’s a great feeling to be prepared. That confidence in your weapon is one less thing you’ll have to worry about. Confidence is an important part of maintaining a positive mental attitude throughout your hunt, which subsequently, is a key ingredient to success.

Gearing Up for Your Next Hunt

As you gear up for the next big adventure, please let us know what we can do to help. From game bags to boots, and cook systems to knives, the hunting products we carry are items we have tested and personally use in the field. 

Keep in touch with us on Facebook or on Instagram at @caribougear. And if you’re in the Denver Metro area, please stop by our showroom in Highlands Ranch and say hello. Have fun and be safe on your upcoming adventures!


By Ryan McSparran

1 comment

  • George Poles: March 09, 2020

    Hi Sir, I agree with your comments but I would like to add one more, important for me and I think so for everyone as well.
    That is scout your hunting area, not over the topo map but walk and walk and see new spots.
    It means spend a lot of time into the forest and for me have the same importance than the previous ones you mentioned.
    George Poles

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