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Archery Windy Conditions: Get Out and Shoot or Sit on the Couch and Drink a Beer?

Windy Conditions: Get Out and Shoot or Sit on the Couch and Drink a Beer?

When the forecast predicts blustery conditions, should you stick out your shooting plans or wait for the winds to pass? 

Unless you have access to an indoor archery range, there will be days when wind, rain, and extreme temperatures make target practice unappealing. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should hang up your rig and skip a practice session every time the weather is less than perfect.

Conditions won’t always be calm or otherwise ideal when you’re bowhunting or competing outdoors, so gaining experience shooting in the wind and seeing how it affects your arrow flight can be valuable. Just like practicing from an elevated height or seated position to simulate real-life shooting scenarios, shooting when it’s windy can prepare you for unpredictable weather when hunting.

Especially if you have limited time to shoot before archery season or a 3D tournament, even shooting just 10 arrows between gusts can be productive. You’ll be able to note the wind’s impact and make adjustments as needed.

Of course, this goes for shooting in wind speeds within reason. It can be unwise and unsafe to send arrows downrange when winds are topping 30 mph, but shooting in a moderate breeze is manageable.

If you do shoot when it’s windy, make sure you have a large enough target and/or backstop to account for your arrow drifting, especially the first few times until you figure out to what extent. Start at closer ranges then slowly begin backing up — you’ll see the wind knock your arrow off course more and more as you get farther from the target.

Consider how your individual setup — bow speed, arrow weight, stabilizer design, etc. — will minimize or exacerbate the effects of wind. In addition to aiming off center, you might also need to cant your bow — referencing your bubble level — based on wind speed and direction. This will take some trial and error.

If you only shoot when the weather’s perfect, you probably won’t squeeze in enough practice to become truly proficient or equip yourself to make ethical shots in rough conditions. A little windy, drizzling, or chilly — suck it up and fling a few arrows anyway.   

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The Bow Bully
The Bow Bully discusses a variety of archery topics and offers tips, advice and the occasional nudge to make you a better bowhunter. With years of experience, and an attitude to match, you'll find the Bully has something to offer both beginners and seasoned hunters.

12 thoughts on “Windy Conditions: Get Out and Shoot or Sit on the Couch and Drink a Beer?”

  1. TBB
    Yes wind. I usually try to shoot (practice) with my air guns every day. It is something that helps. I shoot from my breezeway that goes from the house to the garage. So I am shielded from the weather for the most part. But the wind is usually there. Heck we are still having the March winds and its already May.

  2. Have shot .177 and .22 air guns in the backyard range several times when winds were blowing/gusting at 14-15 MPH; yeah, challenging but also satisfying when you still achieve decent groups at 25 yards. If you have an opportunity to shoot – arrows or air guns, don’t matter which – take it because you never know. Used to have a manager at work whose mantra was “tomorrow is promised to no one.” It became annoying to hear it, but he was right.

    Make sure you don’t drink that beer and THEN go shooting, though.

  3. Anyone

    I think the real point is deciding why it is we are shooting. Sure, we want to make clean and ethical shots on whatever game or pest we want to take,, or to score well at competitions. BUT,, the real reason we shoot,, with whatever we use, is because we enjoy it.
    I suppose some take it as a chore. Someone they need to do to eat or get rid of unwanted pests, or to bring home money or a trophy. But I think most of us do it because we just enjoy pulling the trigger or releasing the string. We like the feeling we get when we do well.
    Personally, I enjoy practicing simply because shooting is fun. Wind or not,, I like to pull the trigger. Now, rain is a different story. That will keep me inside, tho I still get a few shots in the basement before my wife catches me.
    The only time I don’t enjoy shooting is when I am using a chronograph without a target. That’s why I try to chrono when it is calm out so I can kill two birds with the same shot. Haven’t thought to chrono my bow. Do you think there would be any use in that?


  4. Just as with air guns a chronograph will let you know if your bow is performing up to snuff or if you need to tweek something, form, arrow weight, string silencers worn out or maybe the string needs replaced. With some of the new high tech sights you can set all the sight pins by knowing arrow placement at 30 yds. and arrow speed. Just turn a knob and your pins are set out to 50 or 60 yds. and further. If you shoot a longbow or recurve not so much.(Unless you’re just curious)

  5. If you practice in the wind, great. If you wait for calm weather to go sling a few arrows, that is great too. Myself, I like shooting my bows. I love the arcing flight of an arrow shot from a traditional bow, or shooting for a group at 60+ yds with my wheel bow.

  6. rk

    When I competed in the VA wheelchair games for a few years, we shot at 30 and 60 yards.. That has been a few years, now. The last time I attended, they were using a different type of target stand. Turns out there was a metal pole dead center of the target, We tried putting backpacks and blankets behind, but there were 30 targets and only so much stuff.

    I ended up with 12 of the 24 arrows I brought, broken. Add to that my sight was damaged by a caregiver wandering around behind the shooting line between the 60 and 30 yard heats. I went back to shooting instinctive and didn’t do badly. Practice does help.


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