Beat the Heat and Summer’s Shooting Blues

Summer brings warm weather, longer days and plenty of mosquitoes. That means you’ll have time for extra practice on your backyard target, but sometimes it’s simply too hot to enjoy it safely. You don’t want to be dizzy from heat exhaustion when trying to steady your bow. Take these precautions to beat summer’s heat.

Don’t Overheat

Drink plenty of water while practicing. Although target archery is a stationary sport, you’re psychically exerting yourself every time you draw your bow. Sweat might also make your grip sticky or slippery, so keep wiping it off. Sweating can also dehydrate you quickly. Take frequent breaks and watch for signs of heat exhaustion, including dizziness, muscle cramps, excessive sweating, and cool/moist skin with goosebumps. Go inside and cool off if you notice any of those symptoms.

Practice Later

Don’t rush your practice. Wait until sunset if you have to. Photo Credit: Sustainable Man

Don’t push yourself to practice during the hottest part of the day, midday to midafternoon, unless you must. Wait until closer to sunset, when temperatures are more manageable, and beautiful hues color your backdrop. If the sun is in your eyes, wear a brimmed hat or sunglasses to block the glare. Either that or move your target to put the sun behind you, if you have room. Don’t shoot if the sun blinds you. You’ll risk shooting a rogue arrow. Play it safe. Set up your range for clear, well-lighted shots.

Don’t Let the Bugs Bite

Make sure you spray to protect against mosquitoes. Photo Credit: Parents.com

Backyard practice helps you prepare for bowhunting, but you don’t need to be scent-free. Spray down with as much bug repellent as needed. If your backyard has trees, check yourself for ticks before returning inside. Also rid your yard of any standing water. Stale water in bird baths and elsewhere provides breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which love to bite exposed skin. Spray your wrists, feet, ankles and lower legs. Natural eucalyptus oil is an effective repellent, and doesn’t contain DEET. If you protect yourself, shooting near dusk can be relaxing.

Visit the Range

If you’d rather stay in an air-conditioned room, practice at a local range. You’ll likely find other archers there beating the heat, so enjoy their company, share advice and discuss shooting techniques. The range might offer a summer league, which keeps you on a practice schedule.

No matter how hot your summer, there’s no need to let it scare you from practicing. If you listen to your body, and protect yourself from the sun and bugs, you can practice all summer.

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