With the opening of the archery bear and deer seasons in the Special Regulations Area just five weeks away and the statewide opening of the deer season the first Saturday in October now is the time to begin practicing shots expected to be encountered while hunting.

In many instances bowhunters have been honing their skills even before the final patches of snow and ice had disappeared this spring.

Since then they have been target shooting at everything from target bags in the backyard to life-size animal 3-D targets at weekly club shoots and weekend festivals. That kind of dedication has created muscle memory and confidence in judging distance when the moment of truth comes, but it may not have prepared them for making “the” shot under actual hunting conditions.

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