Like many things in life, bowhunting is a skill that’s best learned through experience. You can be the most skilled target archer on the planet. But until you’ve been in the wild, drawn your bow on a deer, elk, antelope, whatever, and released an arrow, you don’t know jack about bowhunting. I can’t list all of the things I’ve learned about bowhunting through real-life experience. For example, when it’s safe to move on an antelope or when it’s not. What a good tree looks like for hanging a whitetail stand. What an arrow and blood trail look like after a killing shot or what they look like after a bad shot….and on and on. You can read stacks of articles and books on these subjects — and it’s never bad to do so — but until you live it, you can’t fully comprehend the real-world applications of the lessons. (whitetail lessons)
I was reminded of the power of experience recently on a winter bowhunt for hogs in Georgia. I’d killed several hogs over the years with various firearms. But never with a bow. Still, I’ve shot lots and lots of deer with my bow, so how much different could this be? My new Mathews Creed was dialed in and driving tacks in the weeks preceding my hunt. (Creed Bow review) So my shooting skills were razor-sharp when I climbed into the stand the first evening. The metal ladder was perched at the top of a slight hill, on the edge of a field, overlooking a clearing in the swamp thicket below the field. If the hogs passed through the clearing on their way to the cut cornfield, I’d have a 28-yard shot. No problem.