UNCLE TED ARCHERY ACCURACY TIPS FOR MORE BACKSTRAPSby Ted Nugent
By Ted Nugent
I am a simple man. Not so simple minded, but real simple in the logic department. Unfortunately, I am also a hyper intense maniac kind of guy, dangerously plagued with a bad case of out of control over the top mad man passion and lust for life. If I could just calm down once in a while….. Nah, I like it like this.
Who else would have, could have created all these cool animal breeding guitar masterpieces like Stranglehold, Great White Buffalo, Fred Bear and a few hundred more if I weren’t like this. Mankind owes me. This is the soundtrack for ultimate living, and I have no regrets. Thank You Lord.
Unfortunately, such a hyper personality is the worse kind for archery control, and I blame this intensity of life for my tendency to snap into occasional target panic hell. It ain’t pretty, but I do attack this malady with the same maniacal enthusiasm I do everything in my life, and I would like to pass along to all my Mystical Flight of the Arrow BloodBrothers a little tip for controlling this ugly beast. I know for a fact that a huge number of archers and bowhunters wrestle with various degrees of target panic, and if I can manage it, anyone can.
Basically, target panic manifests its ugly self in the weird, inexplicable strangeness of failing to be able hold our sight pins dead on target. I shot bare bow, instinctively with no sights for the first fifty years of my beloved archery/bowhunting life, then around 1977, BAM! I went chimp on myself.
Lucky me, I had a blessed life where the mighty Fred Bear was a close friend, and my terrified phonecall to this great man immediately brought me some relief and confidence. He explained how he was ready to abandon his beloved bow and arrows due to a bout with target panic in the 1950s, but worked on a management program to over power it.
Whew! Thank God! Thank Fred!
Step one, according to Fred, was to get a super lightweight draw bow that gave as little muscle resistance as possible. I got a Bear Hunter recurve at 35#.
Step two was to shoot at very close range at a big, obvious target. So I stacked four bales of wheat straw and placed a large white paper plate in the middle and stood at ten feet.
Step three was to shoot with my eyes closed to memorize the shooting sequence and concentrate on the smoothest release possible.
Step four, and the most difficult and frustrating move, was to draw down on the paper plate, now with a small black dot in the middle, and force myself to zero in on my ultimate sight picture but not release the arrow. This step nearly drove me crazy, because I would tell myself I was not going to let my arrow go, which seemed to fool my brain allowing me to perfectly point my arrow dead on at the little black dot, and of course then I would release the arrow and it would hit the small dot perfectly for a few times. I struggled like a crazy man to force myself to not shoot, but would defy my own will and shoot anyway when my sight picture looked so good. It about drove me crazy.
Focusing on Step three, I would say a three step prayer, where I said the sign of the cross. “In the name of the Father“, I would pick a spot on the paper plate, “And of the Son”, I would anchor solidly in the corner of my mouth, and “Of the Holy Spirit” I would close my eyes, and on “Amen” I would roll my fingers away from the string.
Through nonstop practice, I was so dedicated to the three step prayer, that it was as if I wasn’t shooting a bow, but rather simply going through a muscle memorized imprinted procedure, and I really started shooting incredibly accurate.
Most of the time. I would occasionally slip out of mind set and flinch like a pinched school girl, my arrow nearly missing the whole wall of straw. It was bizarre.
I went to a compound bow in 1978, and a year or so later began to use a mechanical release, but still shot without sights, canting my bow just like I always did.
I never gave up, and eventually got better and better with hunting weight bows at longer range, but had to constantly work on managing the prayer.
Years later, my good buddy Bryan Schupbach at Schupbach Sporting Goods in Jackson, Michigan, put together one of my Martin bows with sight pins and a peep sight and said I had to genuinely dedicate myself to go for this setup to see what I could do.
And it worked. I still shoot a lightweight 50# bow, but the three point prayer combined with the consistency of fiber optic sight pings in a large aperture peep sight has turned me into a pretty good shot. I doubt I will ever get back that pure instinctive longbow touch I had as a kid, but I sure don’t miss very often and my beloved bowhunting is more intense, fun and gratifying than it has ever been in my 62 years. God it feels good!
The final piece to the accuracy puzzle, particularly on game animals, is to not focus on the pin, but rather on the exact spot you want your arrow to hit. The pin should actually be in your secondary vision, the animals vitals your primary vision. For me, to look at the pin and try to walk it onto the magic triangle of the beast brings back some of that target panic freeze off target, and that is not good.
For those lucky dogs, like Mrs. Nugent and my sons, who can simply nail the pin down on the exact spot everytime and without a hick-up, simply shoot the animal in the heart, this all sounds like psycho babble. But target panic is as real as a heart attack for many, many archers and bowhunters across the land, and many of us are convinced the prime cause of attrition in our sport.
I hope you all share this with your hunting families and friends, and go over each step diligently. I am also convinced that if done so, we could finally have the ten million bowhunters in America that we should have. But each step is critical, and what I believe to be a sure fire recipe for ultimate bowhunting accuracy.
May the bloodtrails be short and may the sacred backstraps flow like manna from heaven.
For signed copies of Ted Nugent’s books, including “BloodTrails II-The Truth About Bowhunting” visit tednugent.com