Don’t prepare for shots from 20 yards if you can shoot up to 30.

One of the most common issues with stand setups is getting too close. It’s natural to want an easier shot, but your chances of getting that shot increase dramatically the further you get from the deer’s area of ​​travel.

In the early days of my archery days, I used to cut lanes out of the thickest cover I could find and set up right next to the trails I had made. Deer used them, and I had many close encounters (5 meters or less) with males and does, but I was never able to shoot. I still remember several times I could see the look of shock on a deer’s face when they saw me sitting right next to the trail – it probably matched mine. This is an extreme example, but it still applies to setups on more traditional terrain.

I made the same mistake when hanging trees, again too close to trails or food sources.

One of the best reasons to continue shooting practice after setting up your gear is to hit where you want to and to extend your effective range. Surprisingly, the average shooting distance for dollars in the record books is around 20 yards. But that doesn’t mean you have to sit exactly 20 feet away from where you expect to see your money.

If you can shoot consistently from 30 yards, then stand that far. It’s the distance I’ve come to find that strikes the best balance between making a feasible shot and going undetected. The extra 10 yards or so offers the possibility of more cover between you and the cautious deer eyes, as well as some leeway in case a buck does not stay on a trail.

Conversely, even if you are a great shooter, don’t get too far away. A whitetail is not a foam target, and it will react to the sound of your bow. Sound travels much faster than even the most expensive bow you can buy, and deer react instinctively and without thinking. The more nervous they are before the shot, the more violent and extreme this reaction will be.

Distances beyond 30 meters give them too much time to move, resulting in hurtful shots and outright misfires.

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