Archery Tips for Hunting the High Country

4 Bow Hunting Tips for Rugged Terrain Hunts

Archery hunting is often characterized as a sport that requires a high level of patience and persistence.  Becoming an effective and efficient archer is not an overnight process.  It requires a level of commitment and dedication that is virtually unmatched within the sport of hunting.  With that said, success in the archery woods is often predicated on not only how sound you are as an archer, but also the conditions in which you are hunting. Making an effective shot with archery equipment can be tricky enough on level ground in ideal conditions.  However, toss in the challenge of navigating uneven terrain, extremely variable winds, and difficult shooting angles, and you have certainly stacked the deck against you.  Archery hunting big game in the mountain high country of the Western United States and Canada is where these situations are encountered. Here are a few simple bow hunting tips and techniques that you can employ that will help ensure that you are sending your best arrow down range despite hunting the difficult conditions.


Of course, when discussing any type of hunting in rugged terrain one of the first “tips” must be to be in shape! Why? This video should be sufficient reason enough…


Archery Tips for High Country Hunting


Below are 4 quick bow hunting tips that could drastically improve not only your experience with your high country bow hunt, but also that critical moment just before releasing your arrow.



Tip 1. It’s all in the Hips


Without a doubt, one of the biggest challenges of hunting in rugged terrain is overcoming the difficulty of shooting uphill or downhill.  Though it may seem simple, shooting at an angle requires a little more thought than you might expect.  The trick to mastering an uphill or downhill shot is all about bending at the hips and waist, and is an archery tip that you can master very quickly.



The proper technique for mastering a shot such as this, regardless of the angle, is draw the bow back as you would normally on level ground.  Once you have your anchor point set, bend at the waist toward your target.  This method will ensure that you maintain your form and your anchor point, which is critically important in maintaining your accuracy.


Read my full blog on shooting tough archery angles here.


Tip 2. Keeping the Time


Shot timing is an important part of being an effective archer.  From the time that the bow comes to full draw to the time the arrow leaves the bow is different for everyone. However, everyone has the window of 3 to 4 seconds when the arrow needs to be released.  Push it too far one way or the other, and your rhythm and form can be off which can greatly affect your accuracy.  Why is shot timing relevant to the topic of hunting in rugged terrain?  When you have hiked all day and you have finally worked to within bow range of your target, the adrenaline can be pumping.  As a result, you will most likely have a tendency to rush the shot.  It is critically important that you remain patient and make sure that you are calm and ready to make the shot before drawing your bow.  This will help you keep your shot timing as consistent and effective as possible.  You want to do all you can to make that first shot count, it may be the only opportunity you will have.




Tip 3. Reduce Your Target Panic


Hopefully you are reading this months or weeks out from your western or high country hunt. If that is the case, taking the time now to reduce your target panic could drastically increase the chance that you make a well placed shot on the game animal your pursuing. Rugged terrain, long distance shots, high wind, and threading the needle through brush can, and probably will, be encountered on your hunt. If you have even the slightest bit of target panic at home, it will be compounded on the mountain. If left uncorrected, this feeling of anxiety and fear of poor shooting can spread to every time you draw your bow back. If you think it’s frustrating not hitting your mark on the target in your backyard, you will reach a new level of embarrassment and frustration when you miss your mark on your big hunt! So what can you do to fix it before it gets to that stage? Check out the archery tip video below.



Tips 4. Take a Hard Look at Your Hunting Gear


Archery hunting in rugged conditions can be extremely hard on you and your archery equipment.  Automatically assume that your equipment will take a few bumps and knocks along the way. Therefore it is critically important that everything from your optics and pack, to your bow, arrows, and other hunting gear is durable enough to withstand the abuse.  The last thing you want is to hike uphill for several hours and finally get in a position to make a shot, only to find your archery equipment damaged and unusable.  If you find yourself heading to the high country for the very first time, do your homework and take some time to research the area.  This can help you get a feel for exactly what you will be facing when you step out of the truck and can help plan ahead and ensure that your hunting gear and archery equipment are up for the challenge!




If you have the opportunity to hit the high country with your archery equipment, toss your bow and hunting gear in the truck.  Archery hunting in these landscapes can offer some of the most exciting experiences that an archer could ever ask for, and if you keep these 4 simple bow hunting tips in mind, you will set yourself up for success!