The draw results are out and if your luck is anything like mine you’re now planning an open archery hunt. While flinging arrows all summer, in the back of my mind I held hopes of trophy archery elk and rifle muley tags. With those firmly behind me, it’s now time to step up and mentally prepare for what this season actually holds. I’ll be chasing both with my bow now and the game planning has begun.

Photo Copyright Jason LugoAlthough nothing can entirely prepare you for a real life encounter with your prey, archery tournaments are pretty reliable supplements to in-the-field training. Courses set up by groups from Idaho State Bowhunters feature a variety of 3-D targets with each shot requiring yardage estimation and angle compensation which can both prove quite tricky. More than one arrow has been lost due to faulty calculations, but the experience these challenges provide is invaluable. No matter how often you practice on level ground, it can’t truly prepare you for shooting in the real life rugged terrain of draws, rock ledges and hillsides. With most hunting situations presenting angle adjustments of some sort, backyard practice ranges just can’t compare.

Photo Copyright Jason LugoThe targets range in likeness from mountain goat to coyote with vitals marked out on each animal. Repetitive visualization of targets’ “sweet spots” helps cement perfect shot placement in your mind so when presented with similar shots while in the field, you’ll know just where to settle your pin. Adding to the element of reality, many courses require a bit of a hike in between targets which presents entirely acceptable practice since we all know hunting out west doesn’t come easy.

The courses aren’t only for hunters, however. Competition and recreational shooters enjoy the action in wide age ranges. Little guys with their first archery set-ups can be found mixed in with seasoned shooters, all just out in nature enjoying a good time.

Photo Copyright Jason LugoAs the last tournament of the season, ISB will host its annual Jamboree in the pristine Stanley basin this July 20th through the 22nd. This is a great way to get in tune for hunting season or just enjoy time with the family and either way is a perfect excuse to head for the hills.

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