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.