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  • Writer's pictureRidge Hunter Staff

5 Ways to Scratch the Summer Bowhunting Itch

Summer can be a tough time of year for bowhunters. Summer food plots are generally in the ground and producing, trail cameras have been set, stands have been pulled and there isn't a lot of hunting related activity going on.

With so little to be done until fall gets closer, it can be difficult to find ways to scratch the hunting itch. There are remedies though, and they might even make the difference between tagging your target buck or leaving the woods disappointed this fall.

Target Shooting

The most obvious way to get your archery fix is to simply get outside and shoot. Setting up a target in the backyard is a great way to keep your skills sharp and even improve them throughout the summer.

You don't have to stop in the back yard though. Try taking your target somewhere where you can get up in a tree or in a blind and take realistic shots. You can even do some pushups, jumping jacks or short runs before you shoot to get your blood pumping. This will simulate the adrenaline you'll have when your hit lister steps into range.

3D Shoots

While shooting regular targets does provide great practice, it can get boring. Fortunately, there are other options.

3D target shooting is a ton of fun and brings another realistic element to summertime shooting. The same way you can take your block target to the woods, take a 3D target to your hunting spot, set it up in your shooting lanes and let some arrows fly.

Additionally, if you're into competition or you don't have the luxury of owning your own 3D targets, you can get into a local 3D tournament. These types of shoots will give you the opportunity to practice many different realistic (and some unrealistic) shots. It can be a lot of fun to get your hunting buddies together at these tournaments as well to add another level of competition.

Video Archery

Unfortunately, the video archery world isn't what it once was. Popularity has dwindled over the last decade, but that doesn't mean it's not a great way to get your bowhunting fill in the offseason.

Several archery shops still have video screens and a few even host occasional tournaments. The biggest draw to this form of archery is getting to shoot at a moving image of a real animal. 3D targets are realistic, but video is about as close to the real thing as a bowhunter can get during the offseason.


Targets and screens are fun, but nothing beats actually shooting at live game. Bowfishing lets you do just that.

Whether you're on a boat, on the bank, on a river or at a lake spillway, bowfishing is one of the most fun ways to scratch your bowhunting itch during the summer months. Shooting at carp, gar and other junk fish is a blast and it helps you get some repetitions in with archery equipment.

If you don't want to use your whitetail rig for fish, which is not recommended, an older bow will do just fine. Set it up with a reel and the proper arrows, hit the water, and you'll be hooked. A few weekend trips bowfishing and before you know it, it'll be time to hit the woods again.

Predator Control

If being on the water isn't for you, you do have an option to hit the woods. Not only will you fill your bowhunting needs, but you'll also help out your deer herd.

Coyotes can be devastating to deer populations, especially in the summer months when fawns are extremely vulnerable. For this reason, there are almost no limits on hunting them throughout the Midwest. They are legal to be taken year round in most states and, more importantly, you can use archery equipment to harvest them.

You're already looking for excuses to get in the woods and shoot, so why not take the bow and a call and see if you can eliminate some predator issues. Try putting on your camo and going out in the morning before the day gets too hot. Call close to dens and keep your eyes and ears open. Pulling a coyote in to bow range and getting a shot off may be the most fun a bow hunter can have during the summer months.


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