From guest-writer Colton Conner The snow is almost gone and it’s time to start slinging some arrows. This is a great time of the year to get outside and start shooting some 3D targets or even just shooting the old bag target. After spending all winter shooting inside at a 20 yard range, it’s nice to get out and enjoy some realistic shooting. Spring time also brings you closer to the fall season, but not to look over the present spring bear season. The spring bear season is one of the most common archery seasons utilized in our local Matanuska-Susitna valley area. Most of us, by now, are more than excited to get out in the field and start setting up your stands and getting your baits set. But before you go, don’t just assume that your bow will be right on target like it was when you shot your broad heads last fall. Although most of you have been shooting all winter and are in tune with how your bow shoots and the condition that it is in, some of us have not shot as much as we would have liked over the winter, and are just pulling the bow off the moose antlers that have been hanging in the garage all winter. Some things you want to do before you head to your bear stand and stick a nice bruin. First: You want to check your condition of the strings and cables. If you haven’t shot in a while it’s a good idea to make sure they are waxed really well and have no dry rot or frays in them. Any brand of archery wax will do wonders to a string and cables. Get into a habit of maintaining your strings. Even if you don’t shoot it over winter it’s advantageous to keep them waxed. Second: Don’t assume anything when it comes to accuracy with your bow. Get outside and start working those muscles and get back into shooting shape, start at short distance. Put on some field tips and start out at the old 20 yard pin with a few dozen arrows. It’s always good to warm up and make sure your bow is shooting accurately. If you are shooting fixed blade broad heads make sure they are flying true at 20 yards before moving back to farther distances. It’s a big a bummer to send a high dollar head into the rocks. Make sure your rest, sight, and quiver bolts are all tight and in place. Check your center shot and knocking point when you are shooting your field tips as well. These are just 3 simple things you can look at before you head out to the field. Third: PRACTICE. PRACTICE. PRACTICE. Nothing beats practice. Shooting arrows at all distances and positions can prepare you to make a shot of a lifetime this spring or in the future. I always try to practice from extreme angles up or down. Shooting from a deck or your roof is good practice. Also try shooting from kneeling position, and sitting positions. Practice to shooting from a sitting position turning your body in ways that may come up when hunting from a tree stand. I also recommend bringing a small portable target out to you stand so you can get comfortable shooting in the same situation you will be in while hunting. This will help you determine which branches need to be cut and what shooting lanes are available. Always remember to “Aim small miss small”. If in doubt of distance always add 2 yards to what you think the distance is.