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frassettor

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Reply with quote  #1 
I have been shooting at a 6” by 6” square instead of the ol 8” pie plate. I shoot 30 arrows at 20 yards. The reason i am doing this is not only to keep track of my shooting ( if I improve, ect) but because I have a bear hunt booked in 2021. The 6”by 6” square is a good size of the vitals, I believe .
In your opinion, what is a good percentage of “hits” at that yardage. Of coarse I strive for 100%.

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Bisch

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Reply with quote  #2 
At 20yds, I wouldn’t be happy with anything less than 80% in the square. But, I also won’t hardly take a 20yd shot at a live critter. That’s just my decision. I practice every day sitting in a chair at 12-14yds because that is about how most of my blinds are set up. At 15yds, I’d expect 100% in a 6x6 square.

Bisch

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Draven

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Reply with quote  #3 
As Bisch said, 80% minimum (combined score on a 300 round would be 240/300) above 90% is desired at 20 yards. But if you want to hunt bear and prepare for it, nothing compares with shooting a 3D bear target. You will learn a sight picture that will become handy when you will be shooting the real deal - I imagine you are shooting instinctive not using another aiming method.
PS Mark the centre of the square in a way. Focusing on marked centre will give you a better learning experience. If you focus on centre and you miss 3” you are in the kill zone. Without the mark your brain will pic a corner of the square and on paper you are still “in” but on the target you may be 6” off. Shoot blank square after you have 90% “in” on marked paper. And I would start at 10 yards. When 100% are in move to 15 yards. When 100% are in move to 20 yards.

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ManuForti

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Draven
Without the mark your brain will pic a corner of the square and on paper you are still “in” but on the target you may be 6” off.

I have found this to be very true. Our brains are really good at focusing on edges and peripheries, especially subconsciously. I had a Reinhardt target with neon outlined circles and black centers. I can count on both hands the number of times I hit the black, but wore out the green outline (which was significantly smaller in diameter) in no time. That’s where my eye was really focusing, without me realizing it until about the 5th outline was worn out.

No one will ever be 100% at any range, so I’d caution against that approach as a standard for whether you’re hunting ready. It’s neither realistic nor necessary. To be frank, attaining certain percentages at specific distances has never been an effective strategy for me. My experience to build confidence has been to rove as much as possible, picking out all kinds of random objects imaginable at all kinds of distances and circumstances. Feel free to shoot groups, but pay more attention to where your first arrow goes. Follow on shots will likely be better, but if your first arrow is way off, you’re not yet dialed in. Shooting groups over and over at a known yardage is not particularly valuable hunting practice, in my opinion—even if you can hit within 6” almost every time. Change one thing about that circumstance and your brain is lost. Your brain needs a deep and robust index to draw from under field conditions to have the confidence to know it’s seen something like this before and can execute a good hunting shot. Let the roving fields be your guide. When the norm for you becomes putting your first arrow within roughly a basketball-size diameter of what you wanted to hit, from all kinds of distances, slope, wind, etc, hard and fast limitations largely evaporate. Enjoy the process, you have plenty of time.
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Steve Graf

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Reply with quote  #5 
I would talk to the outfitter you are going to hunt with.

If you are hunting from a tree stand, then no amount of shooting from the ground is going to really help you make a good shot from a stand.  Find out how far the shots will likely be, and how high the stands are, and make that part of your practice.

If you will be hunting from the ground, then ground practice is good...
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Selden Slider

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Reply with quote  #6 
Good point Steve.  Shooting from an elevated stand is way different than ground shooting.  Usually bear outfitters have hunters in stands.  Some will let you opt for the ground but not all.  Give 'em a call if you're going to be in a stand practice from one.

To your original question Bisch nailed it at 80%.  Nothing less.  Frank

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frassettor

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Draven
As Bisch said, 80% minimum (combined score on a 300 round would be 240/300) above 90% is desired at 20 yards. But if you want to hunt bear and prepare for it, nothing compares with shooting a 3D bear target. You will learn a sight picture that will become handy when you will be shooting the real deal - I imagine you are shooting instinctive not using another aiming method.
PS Mark the centre of the square in a way. Focusing on marked centre will give you a better learning experience. If you focus on centre and you miss 3” you are in the kill zone. Without the mark your brain will pic a corner of the square and on paper you are still “in” but on the target you may be 6” off. Shoot blank square after you have 90% “in” on marked paper. And I would start at 10 yards. When 100% are in move to 15 yards. When 100% are in move to 20 yards.


I do shoot instinctive. As of right now, I’m in the 76/80% range so far. It’s a blank white square. I thought by using this it will force my brain to pick a spot?
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frassettor

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Selden Slider
Good point Steve.  Shooting from an elevated stand is way different than ground shooting.  Usually bear outfitters have hunters in stands.  Some will let you opt for the ground but not all.  Give 'em a call if you're going to be in a stand practice from one.

To your original question Bisch nailed it at 80%.  Nothing less.  Frank

The outfitter I am using gave me the choice of how I hunt. I chose to hunt on the ground. They will be making me a natural ground blind.
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Yehwa

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Reply with quote  #9 
I remember the first TAS bear hunt in Maine. We were all in tree stands  but before the hunt the outfitter want to see how we shot . We were all good shots but at 20 yards on the ground with a lake right behind the block with a paper plate to shoot at .  Well I got plate fever  🏹🐻😂
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ManuForti

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Reply with quote  #10 
Dan, 😂😂.

Frassettor, given that you shoot instinctive and have chosen to hunt from the ground (both very cool, btw), it will be all the more important to spend as much time roving as possible. You have the benefit of a specific goal—bear hunting in 2021. Practice for that. In my opinion, spending a lot of time target shooting won’t do much to prepare you for shots in the field. Because you shoot instinctive, you need a deep mental bank of shots from all kinds of positions and conditions—that’s the only way to train your mind and body to be accurate in the unpredictable conditions of ground hunting. By all means, use your target at home to commit your form to complete autopilot, but personally, I don’t like shooting at targets in the yard beyond about 10 yards. I shoot at home only for form. Hunting accuracy for instinctive shooting is groomed in the roving fields. Hitting a 6x6 target at 20 yards at home (even if it’s 80-90%) will only teach your brain to recognize that exact scenario and sight picture. I’m just guessing, but I suspect it’s unlikely you’ll be bear hunting in your back yard and know that the bear will be 20 yards away. Like Draven said, you need all kinds of sight pictures and field experiences to condition your instincts to make a shot on game in the unpredictable arena of ground hunting.

My advice, when at home, condition the snot out of your form to complete autopilot—at short ranges where there’s no thought about missing the backstop (whatever that is). Then head to the fields to condition your instinct for hunting accuracy. To really get ahead of the game, pick up a copy of Steve Graf’s “The American Longbow” and follow Chapter 13. You’ve got lots of time, and the next 1-2 years can set you on a terrific path to a lifetime of fun, accurate shooting in the field. Don’t worry about specific percentages or scores. That will only add unnecessary stress. Practice in the field for the next couple of years and you’ll know exactly what you can and cannot hit with a high degree of confidence. Let that be your guide. 👍🏻🏹
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timking

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Reply with quote  #11 
I would be prepared to switch to a tree stand...

The 'problem' with destination hunts is that often all of your preperation boils down to one shot opportunity...Personally, I dont think that you can over think it or over prepare, but at the same time know that crap happens..confidence is key, whatever range and condition you need to put yourself in while training. I DO think that the 80% in a 6" group should be a good guide, perhaps a minimum, but as Manu said, I would be comfortable from different spots...

Outfitters are notorious for telling you what you want to hear, and unless familiar with trad requirements, lumping us in with their experience with wheel bow hunters. Personally if I felt good at 20, I would tell him 15 was my max. Then don't be surprised at a 20 yard set up, especially if on the ground.

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Orion

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Reply with quote  #12 
I agree with Manuforti.  Shooting paper is a lot different than shooting an animal.  The situation is much more tension filled, the animals usually don't stand still (for long), and shot distance/angle can vary a lot.  Stump shooting and even 3-D shooting at club shoots is much better practice for actual hunting conditions.  Not suggesting you stop what you're doing, but rather incorporate the other methods as well.  
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Draven

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by frassettor


I do shoot instinctive. As of right now, I’m in the 76/80% range so far. It’s a blank white square. I thought by using this it will force my brain to pick a spot?


There is a reason why even in indoor competitions the center of the target is marked - on blue face targets - when the archer is not using a sight /sighting system. Blue face target has the center marked and a 3" circle marked with white also (contrasting smaller surface than the next 6" circle). When you shoot paper the exercise is less about aiming and more about execution. Consistent and repeatable execution will land you on the circle/square. For aiming I would put a 1" dot on the empty target butt and just shoot at it 6 to 10 arrows in a row. Take a picture of each grouping and you will know in couple of weeks if you improved or not. The idea is to hit the dot every time, not to give yourself a leeway that a 3" from the dot miss is OK.  Maybe you will never hit the dot more than 30% of the time, but knowing that you can hit it will boost your confidence. The brain will tighten the grouping if your thought/command is to hit the dot. 6" dot at 20 yards is big as aiming surface IMO but ymmv.

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frassettor

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Reply with quote  #14 
All excellent advice fellas and it is appreciated. Fortunately the outfitter is not only a traditional bowhunter himself but after a deposit is sent in, he sends the client a sheet asking how far away would you like the bait, tree stand or ground blind, right or left handed, ect.
Unfortunately I do not have a 3D target to shoot at, I do have a 20 yard range though. Should I possibly take the paper down and shoot at a black block. With the all black fur, I’m just trying to train my mind to “imagine” a spot.
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Draven

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Reply with quote  #15 
Put a small dot first. The part with imagining a spot will come later, when your confidence is up since your execution is good. If you "imagine" a spot now and you shoot 4-6" away from it the tendency is to think "this is where I wanted to shoot!" or you will disregard the execution and try to "aim harder". 
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webster2

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Reply with quote  #16 
Amazingly, for ONCE I sort of agree with Draven.  For instinctive shooting (shooting without conscious use of the arrow or a bow sight to 'aim' with) it is far more effective to simply shoot at a small spot placed on an otherwise blank background than shoot at a large drawn-on square or circle on that background.  If you have access to a 3D bear target to do that (or even a bag target hung horizontally to simulate general size orientation..drawing in the foreleg crease does help on bag targets), all the better.  Better still would be to learn how to visualize that spot without drawing/pasting one on the target. 

By learning to center on the mark you want to hit (i.e., the chosen spot on the animal itself) you will get better with your ability to shoot reasonably quickly, hit near the spot and subconsciously gauge shot distance (which really relates to subconsciously gauging trajectory).  Practice at different distances and angles, standing and sitting.  You'll be surprised how accurate you can get without having to 'think through' the shot...a frequent cause of TP.  For sure it isn't an optimal method for competitive target shooting or long distance shooting.  That is an entirely different can of worms  But it is very effective indeed for most hunting shots like the one you are practicing for and you will really enjoy the fluidity (equating to fun and practicality) of the instinctive style for hunting.

P.S.  If you decide to use this method and also want to improve your form components (ease and stability of draw, reaching/maintaining draw length, back tension, etc.) I suggest using a split-finger string hold and a lower anchor (corner of mouth is good, either middle or index finger) than is typically used for three-under gap shooting.  You'll see why after shooting this method for awhile.  

Hope you get a bear!
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chuckc

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Reply with quote  #17 
Well...another point of view. For certain get as good as you can. If it means adopting a fixed crawl for a certain aim distance you might consider doing it. As Tim said, on these hunts you get one shot, then you deal with the results.

Bear are notorious for not having aiming dots on them. Nor for having shadows, creases, etc to guide you to an aim point, so, sure, practice on a dot, then practice later on a piece of blank cardboard, visualizing that spot.

Also, remember always that an Xring on a paper, or even 3d target does not mean that is the best aim spot. Only on a broadside shot from the same level does it approach that.

So much....but you have time.

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ChuckC

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I did too !

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Sunset Hill "Nate"

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Reply with quote  #18 
I was taught by a very proficient longbow archer and hunter, who was taught by another very proficient longbow archer and hunter, the following....

Imagine the vitals of most big game as a basketball, not a flat target. Basketball diameter is about 9 1/2". The object is to pop the basketball by an arrow going through it. We aim in the center of the ball but any hit in the ball will pop it. So too with the chest cavity...it's a sealed ball. Pop it and the animal won't go far. This helps visualize the arrow going through a mass instead of hitting a flat face. Lots of different angles to get an arrow through the center of the ball / chest.

For me, this took a load of pressure off my mind to execute perfect shots in the field. Aim at the center, but any reason can happen for the arrow to go off intended aim...and as long as I pop the ball, dead animal. It's a matter of thinking in different terms which relate more to animal chest dimensions, than flat spots on a target face, thereby again separating target mentality from hunting mentality.

For small game I envision softballs, tennis ball, or golf ball sized targets. Pop the ball.

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fdp

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Reply with quote  #19 
  That's a worthwhile undertaking.

  As was stated, if you are hunting from an elevated stand the shot is going to be considerably different and that should be considered.

  The majority of people (not all) can't shoot to the 80% level (240) with their hunting equipment. So that or better good shooting.

  Also, keep in mind that the vitals on a bear are a lot bigger than 6" square. Although one certainly wants to be as close to the middle of the vitals as possible. 
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Draven

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Reply with quote  #20 
Chuck, bears don't have dots but how do you know you can hit where you want if you didn't tried to shoot a dot first? I think I was the first saying that shooting at 3d bear will be more helpful than at paper, but when there is no way to get that, you need to adapt to what you have. I've shot enough to know that instinctive aiming method is as good as any other aiming method but it has a different route for training. Since I have no clue about his shooting experience and bow & arrow combo I don't assume he is at expert level where I tell him to aim at the center of the mass and in practice he should be at 3" around that imaginary point with every arrow. If he is not getting that accuracy at 20 yards in "controlled environment" don't expect to make it happen in the woods with adrenaline rush at full speed. Get closer until you get them all at 3" off from your point you look at.  Or work hard to achieve that. 



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ManuForti

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Reply with quote  #21 
Frassettor, how much hunting experience do you have? I ask only because if not much, I wouldn’t put too much pressure on yourself. Assuming you get a shot opportunity within your personal range, if you miss, no big deal. It’s part of the learning process. We all miss, and for most of us, it makes us that much better for the next time. The more opportunities we get, making some hits and also having some misses, the better we become. You should expect to have some missed opportunities before connecting—or at least recognize that such a thing is perfectly normal, and not indicative that you took a poor shot, or adopted the wrong approach. As you practice over the next couple years, try to keep that in mind and have fun. Wildlife are the true experts, and when hunting on the ground, you are quite literally on their turf. They’re very good at surviving, and even for predators whose existence depends on taking game regularly, they still mess up. If this will be one of your first experiences, try and keep expectations realistic, and practice getting close to game undetected in addition to honing your shooting skills. And expect to make mistakes along the way. Those are the best teachers. 👍🏻
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chuckc

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Reply with quote  #22 
Draven...i agree. You missed a line in my response about practicing on a dot first, then moving to blank target
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ChuckC

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CTDolan

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Reply with quote  #23 
"Imagine the vitals of most big game as a basketball, not a flat target. Basketball diameter is about 9 1/2". The object is to pop the basketball by an arrow going through it. We aim in the center of the ball but any hit in the ball will pop it. So too with the chest cavity...it's a sealed ball. Pop it and the animal won't go far. This helps visualize the arrow going through a mass instead of hitting a flat face. Lots of different angles to get an arrow through the center of the ball/chest." - This is the mentality I have when shooting at game and it really does help, a lot. I picked up the idea years ago (might have been from Byron Ferguson...can't recall) and it has made all the difference. It really calms me when taking the shot.

Regarding anatomy and all that, I came across the below last night.

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Sam

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Reply with quote  #24 
I think that shooting paper has a very valuable place in preparing for hunting. It is a valuable measurement pertaining to one's mastery of the mechanics of executing a shot. For example, how often do we go to the target to sharpen up our form? However, it does not always prepare one for the somewhat awkward positions a shot in the field might require, especially when elevated stands are considered. Granted, though, if the shot is overly cramped, it should not be made. Once the proficiency of the 6X6 card or 8" paper plate reaches an acceptable level of proficiency, a lot of stump shooting can help in making "field shots".  Unfortunately, the emotional aspect of the hunt can only be developed by hunting. Stalking can be practiced all year long. Just try sneaking up on your dog or cat if you want some difficult stalking activity. Making a hunter requires attention to many things - shooting, scouting, and emotional control to name only a few. The latter, in my opinion, is the most difficult step in the process of becoming a bowhunter and is never totally mastered.
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Sam McMichael

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Ugly Old Guy

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Reply with quote  #25 
100%
Anything less would be a miss.
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