Western Wisconsin’s Paul Korn is one of the most accomplished hunters in North America. The polar bear is the only North American big game species he has not taken with his bow. Paul makes annual trips to Alaska and has also hunted in Africa. As founder of A1 Archery in Hudson, Wisconsin and Tombstone Creek Outfitters in Northern Missouri, Paul has literally seen it all when it comes to archery hunting. He is also a contributing archery writer for Outdoor Life Magazine. Foremosthunting.com’s Chris Larsen recently spoke with Paul about summertime preparation for fall archery seasons.
The most important thing you can do is practice. That seems simple enough but Paul emphasizes quality over quantity. He says shooting 20 good arrows two or three nights a week is better than shooting hundreds of arrows. You are bound to become fatigued and your form will be off after shooting too many arrows. Archers are also more likely to focus if they are shooting only a few shots at a time.
Shooting in low light, fog, wind, and rain can also help prepare you for the season. Paul recommends shooting arrows from longer distances. If you shoot targets at 50 yards, 25 yards will be easy. Another good drill to try occasionally is to take a single shot in a realistic situation. Sit in a tree stand with all of your gear on and shoot at a deer target that is partially behind a tree at a difficult angle. Paul says this is the time to work out the kinks. “Hopefully, you will find out at that point that your safety belt is tight or your binoculars are hanging in your bow.”
Another thing to work on is aiming from the bottom of the target up. Deer almost always drop a little on the sound of the string. Sometimes it’s only an inch or two but if you are aiming from the top down and hit your release a little early, it could cause the arrow to fly right over deer. If aiming from the bottom up, a deer ducking the string should put the vitals right on target. This is something that must become engrained in your shooting regimen.
If you are just getting started in bow hunting, Paul recommends being sure that your bow is tuned and set up for you. “If you’re bow isn’t set up correctly, it’s going to make it hard to shoot.” Equipment is far better than it was 15 or 20 years ago. If a bow is at the proper draw length and weight for you, finding success at the range and in the stand will come with practice.
One of the most important aspects of bow hunting is mental strength. Focusing while hunting is the difference between average hunters and great hunters. Paul says you need to focus on hunting… not work or home life. Another mental mistake he sees hunters make is not believing good things are going to happen. After days on stand of seeing nothing, many hunters take themselves out of the game. When the moment arrives, they are not ready to shoot. Paul says being prepared to be successful is one of the biggest factors in being successful.
While many hunters avoid shooting does, taking does is one of the best ways to prepare for shooting trophy bucks. According to Paul, “You’re getting all the things you can’t get in the backyard shooting at a target. Now you’re shooting at a real live animal. You gotta figure out when to draw and how to read the body language. Did it turn and look at me? Do I have to stop it? Do I have to aim a little bit lower? You can learn all this stuff by doing as much hunting as you possibly can. I’ve learned a lot about deer by shooting does.”
For more on these topics and recommended gear for the upcoming season, click “play” on the podcast icon at the top of this story.