Use Video Archery to Sharpen Your Hunting Skills

The head of a large heavy-racked buck was all I could see as he hesitated at the edge of the tall marsh grass. I waited calmly as he scanned the field for danger. He looked away and I pulled to full draw as he stepped forward and walked across the open field. He hesitated again mid-field, offering me a perfect broadside shot and I took full advantage of that split-second lull and released my arrow.

THA-WACK! My blunt-tipped GoldTip 3555 smacked the video screen and a red marker displayed my exact shot location on the deer. Up popped the on-screen summary:

VITAL (shot placement)

8 (points awarded)

24 (total points)

Good choice (comment on shot taken/ "Poor Choice" is another comment...)

3 (# of arrows shot)

(chronographed arrow speed readouts for each arrow are usually shown, however it wasn't working the day we shot)

I quickly stepped aside as the screen displayed the next shooters name. The rest of us waited to observe the new whitetail scene about to begin.

My husband and I warming up before the video starts. Make sure to take the time to shoot several rounds from 20 yards.

Video archery is more than a game measuring your shooting skill. It's as close to the real deal as you can get, with actual hunting situations played out in "real-time". Just as in hunting, you must quickly evaluate shooting opportunities and you must make good shots. On-screen cues alert shooters to prepare, and then the scene rolls off twenty yards in front of you instantly immersing you in a hunting environment. Some of the optimum shots are presented almost immediately, while others require patience and restraint. But beware...hold out too long for the best time to release your arrow and the screen will "black out" and you'll be handed "0" points for "timing out". This usually happens after just ten seconds, which sounds fast, but actually allows plenty of time for shooting or holding for a better shot. Some shots are no-brainer, perfect broadside or quartering away opportunities, while other times the only "kill zone" shot is one that must be taken through small openings in the brush or trees. Other scenes may include several bucks or bucks and does milling around, forcing you to decide swiftly on the best target choice, then reacting before another deer blocks your aim. As you'll quickly learn, timing and shot placement are key, just as they are during a real hunt.

Finishing my 20 yard shot at the screen, I quickly move aside to make room for the next shooter. As you can see, shooting is done under low light conditions and down a fairly narrow lane.
Challenging and exciting, yes, but don't think for a second that this is easy or relaxing.

Our hearts were all pumping with anticipation as each new scene unfolded. We were all fully aware, just as in hunting, that each shot could make you or break you. We shot Advanced Interactive Systems (AIS) '''TechnoHunt" simulator at R & E Sports Shoppe in Tomah,WI. Laser discs are available in a variety of hunting situations with a variety of game animals to choose from. We chose the "All Whitetails" disc. Many hunters are familiar with the Dart Target System by Hall Interactive Solutions, LLC. ,the pioneer archery simulator system. Regardless of the system used, the basics remain the same: choose your laser disc from the many choices available, replace your target points with blunt-tip points supplied by the archery shop, shoot a series of arrows (usually 25 in rounds of 5) from 20 yards, receive instant on-screen evaluations after each shot and a computer print-out with your scores and averages after completing the program.

Average shooting time for a foursome is an hour, with cost based on the number of shooters. The more you have, the cheaper the fees, which usually run between $8 and $20 per hour. Our cost was a mere $8.00 each. Both seasoned hunters and beginners will benefit and it's a small price to pay for fine-tuning your focus, increasing concentration levels and sharpening your shooting skills. With bow season still months away, I can't think of a more fun and affordable way to spend a couple of hours.
The TechnoHunt print-out includes shot placement and score for each of the twenty-five targets, total score and average score.If available, averages from previous shooting sessions will also be displayed.As you can see, I was shooting well until I realized I was on track for a score of 200 and blew my last 5 out of 6 shots!

TechnoHunt Scoring System:

10 = Bullseye (heart shot)

8 = Vital (lung shot)

5 = Body (anywhere outside of the vital zone, excludes head, neck and legs)

0 = "Timed Out" (screen blacks out after 10 seconds if no shot is taken)

0 = "Obstacle" (missed shots caused by interference with trees, branches or brush, which there are a lot of!)

0 = "No Points" (shots at the head, neck or legs or a miss)