Canine Catastrophe in Colorado! What?

Judd Cooney wrote an interesting article published in the current issue of “Predator Xtreme”. (1) The matter at hand is the reintroduction of the Gray Wolf into Colorado.  The last Gray Wolf in Colorado was killed around 1940. (2) The Gray Wolf is on the Endangered Species Act but has been removed from that list is some states in the Northern Rockies. (3-6) It has further been suggested that the Gray Wolf has reached a population where the numbers indicate the animal should be removed from the Endangered Species Act. (7,8)

Cooney’s article caught my eye because don’t like wolves.  To be clear I don’t like the thought of being eaten by wolves.  On the other hand I know it is unlikely any wolf will ever seek me out, driven by intent, malice, curiosity, hunger, or accidental intersection and try to eat me. I have seen wolves in the wild on two separate occasions.  Each time we were at a comfortably safe distance from each other. Admittedly, of all predators wolves rank high among those I prefer to avoid.

The Predator Xtreme article, whatever my opinion of wolves in general, did fail a sniff with one particle word – liberal.  The word was written paired with ignoramuses.  While I would certainly not be considered a liberal neither am I a conservative.  No, if you’d feel a need to “label” me you’d have to choose “moderate”. In other words, I won’t jump on an issue without reading enough to allow me an informed decision.  In some circumstances I lean toward conservative and other a more liberal position.  So, when I read “liberal ignoramuses” describing some group I read more of the article.  Cooney’s article left me searching for more answers. So, I read the full text from the Colorado Secretary of State for the citizens of Colorado to vote in regard to the Gray Wolf. (9)

What I read, despite my lack of wolf love, seemed, well, reasonable.  Then, I looked at who supported both positions on the proposal.  Again, both side looked reasonable and each lacked an apparent ignoramus. Actually, both sides seemed void of any liberalsim or conservatisms as a whole.

The folks wanting the wolves seemed environmentally conservative and the anti-wolf folks leaned toward protecting against wolves’ appetites.  The proposed bill is actually a suggestion to study how Colorado might reintroduce the wolves and protect against hungry wolves.  It all seemed fairly reasonable.  So, why did Mr. Cooney make an attack on any poor ignoramus I don’t understand?

Predator Xtreme has a print circulation of around 82,000 and is published six times a year. (10) I don’t know how many people the digital copy reaches.  The print annual recipients of the magazine create less exposure than this website  [over 1.2 million visitor reading 2 pages per visit annually] (11) Cleary, the printed word isn’t intended for the ignoramus. (12) No, I think the article was intended for the voters of Colorado.

I know a lot of people in Colorado, not one is an ignoramus and most are not liberals although some are liberal. (13) In fact, most of the folks I know in Colorado are moderate to conservative by nature.  The State seems to be conservative as a group; not as liberal minded as is sometimes thought. (14) None of them fit into a class of ignoramuses.

The wolf reintroduction proposal seems well thought out.  Folks for and against the proposal appear, from their writings, pretty smart to me.  I expect the voters of Colorado will decide how this one ends.  I further expect a columnist for Predator Xtreme who lives in Iowa has about as much influence in the Centennial State as an archer from Georgia.

  • Note:  I’ve placed this is my category for Outdoor Adventure.  Should you be chased by wolves and you survive it would have been an adventure.


(1) Cooney, J. Colorado Courting Canine Catastrophe. Predator Xtreme. Page 76 Jan/Feb 2020


(3) Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, “Gray Wolf History,” accessed December 6, 2019

(4) Idaho Fish and Game, “Wolves Delisted: Idaho Perspective,” accessed January 9, 2020

(5) Idaho Department of Fish and Game, “Wolf Management / Status Timeline,” accessed December 6, 2019

(6) Colorado Independent, “What you need to know about a ballot effort to bring wolves back to Colorado,” accessed December 6, 2019

(7)  Fish and Wildlife Service, “Gray Wolf Proposed Delisting Questions and Answers,” accessed December 6, 2019

(8), “Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removing the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife,” accessed December 6, 2019

(9) Colorado Revised Statutes, Section I, add 33-2-105.8




13) Employed by the company that purchased mine, a Boulder company for two years, 2011 – 2013.


Gait and Competitive Archery in the Elderly

In the elderly population there is an easy observation that, to me, is suggestive of ageing and fitness.  You might think by looking, and you would be correct, you can guess whether or not a person is old.  Certainly a 65 year old doesn’t have the same youthful appearance, as does a 25 year old.

What if you put a mask over the face of a 65 year old and a 25 year old – could you identify which was the older of the two if they were walking past?  Maybe and probably because you might be observant enough to note other changes of skin tone, posture or by using some other evocative surveillance techniques.

What if you covered the 25 year old and the 65 year old from head to ankle (leaving some space between the ankle and the floor to avoid a fall in this experiment) with a burlap bag and had them walk across a room. Both wearing the same brand and model shoes and socks so that all you see is a burlap bag held upright by two feet per bag with all four feet looking the same.  Might you still be able to pick out the younger stealth walker?

Maybe – maybe not.

Generally, watching their gait one can select the 65 year old if you know for what you are looking to find.  As people age gait changes.  Older people will have both feet planted before the lagging foot lifts into the next step.  Younger people lead into the forward step with trailing leg the moment the front foot strikes ground.  Next time you are at a grocery store or the Wal-Mart parking lot watch folks walking into the store.  After a few minutes you’ll recognize the difference between a youthful walk and that of many senior citizens.

You may further find that there is no absolute.  You will see old geezers prancing along eager to grab the best shopping deals and you’ll see worn out youngsters huffing a puffing to get the electric cart in order to cruise toward their purchases. Still as a rule older folks do have an identifiable foot plant while walking.

Gait is something I watch during archery tournaments or during a group practice.  Your initial thought is this is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read.  (Over 40 years of health care work experience does take a toll.) Here’s where I let you know there’s more to the observation.

The individuals with an older gait lean toward lower relative archery perfromance score.  The statistical analysis comes a bit further along in this writing.

Can you increase your score by improving your gait if you are older?  Well,  that is a stretch – but in all likelihood, yes.

Ageing is characterized by a number of physical changes that contribute to a decline in the ability to perform daily tasks. (1) Archery is not a vigorous activity, however, archers do a lot of walking and a lot of standing for long periods of time.

If an archer’s ability to perform a solid walk diminishes then might the activity associated with that walking decline? I can’t say that is true, but it seems so. What I can further say is that generally there is an associated score difference with the groups exhibiting variance in gait.

Here are the numbers:  Over the past two years I’ve observed 12 archers placed into two groups of six. Group 1 is the group with a relatively youthful gait.  Group 2 are the archers with an older gait. The mean age for Group 1 is 63.2 years and Group 2 is 63.3 years. The difference is 0.14 years and is not statistically significant (p = 0.92, paired t-test).

Before I go further both groups practice archery roughly the same amount and have been performing archery for similar lengths of time.

Now the very interesting results: Group 1 out scored Group 2 by an average of 20 points.  The data includes indoor and outdoor tournaments over one and two days of scoring. Even so a Group 2 archer has beaten Group 1 archers but not as a rule (Once out of 8 matches).  So, I can somewhat rule out that Group 1 had better archers.  The single Group 2 win came during 1-day event.  Which suggests the Group 2 archers, as a set, with noticeably older gaits performed less well than more youthfully gait Group 1.  The results are statistically significance (p= 0.035, paired t-test).

From this I conclude that the Group 2 demonstrating an elderly gait was not as proficient at archery compared to Group 1 with the more youthful gait.

The elderly gaited group could improve their walking with exercise.  In a study of people, mean age 65.9, stretching was shown to reduce hip flexion contracture and increase hip and pelvis range of motion, thus improving gait performance. (1)

Over a twelve week program the test subjects were given supervised stretching designed to improve their range of motion. After 12 weeks they displayed gait parameters that were similar to those reported in young healthy adults. (1)

I believe that the gait observation, identifying an elderly walk, identified archers with a generally lower state of general fitness.  A simple exercise program may improve general fitness and this may reflect in higher archery scores. (2, 3) This might be more relevant in the older archer.

(Note: this is a small sample size.  A larger sample might change the results. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest this is accurate.)


(1) Cristopoliski F1Barela JALeite NFowler NERodacki AL Stretching exercise program improves gait in the elderly. Gerontology. 2009;55(6):614-20. doi: 10.1159/000235863. Epub 2009 Aug 27



Prime Time Archery

In the US there are 4 million people that annually take part in triathlons (1).  The Ironman World Championship is televised on NBC Sports every year.  Triathlons are exciting to watch.  For the athletes they are punishing.  If you are unfamiliar an Ironman it is an endurance event where athletes swim 2.4 miles, complete a cycling time trial of 112 miles, then run a marathon (26.2 miles for those of you that don’t know the distance of a marathon).  The three endurance tests are completed in sequence without a pause.

There’s a time limit to complete the 140.6 of 15 hours.  If an athlete fails to complete the total 140.6 miles distance in 15 hours they are recorded as did not finish.  Each leg of an Ironman also has time limits.  If an athlete fails to make it out of the swim or off the bike under the time allotted for any segment they are pulled from the race.

There are shorter distances for triathlons.  For example a popular distance is the 1/2 Ironman where each segment is halved.  There are still time limits for the 70.3 miles.  There are other triathlons that have a 1200-meter swim, 40-kilometer cycling distance, and a 10 k run to finish it off.  Some athletes prefer sprint distances like a 500-yard swim, 12-mile bike and a 5K run which are available.  Any distance requires a lot of discipline, training, expensive equipment and pricey entry fees. If someone is willing to pay there is a match for him or her in triathlon.

Archery on the other hand isn’t televised on NBC.  There are bow hunting shows on some paid cable network that are generally sponsored by a bow manufacturer and other hunting gear companies.  There aren’t shows for the big archery tournaments on major networks.

You can find big archery tournaments on YouTube.  Unless you enjoy archery odds are you aren’t searching the Internet for folks flinging arrows. People seem more likely to select golf should you enjoy slow moving sports.

Archery is slow. Golf is slow.  Triathlons are not slow.  Despite being slow golf is entertaining to watch even if you don’t play golf.  Watching Tiger Woods win his last Masters was exciting.  Woods repeatedly walked around pretty landscaping in Augusta hitting a small ball into a small hole better than other folks who were all doing the same activity.

In archery we shoot arrows into small dots or nearly unseeable rings on a foam animal.  Archery is hard to do well.  In an Ironman the top professional men will soar over a course and finish the 140.6 miles in around 8 hours.  The professional women aren’t far behind. An Ironman is hard to do well. An Ironman is also hard to do not well.

Should you watch NBC’s Ironman World Championship show not only will you see the blazing professionals but also NBC will highlight those in misery struggling to come in under the cut off time.  You never see some duffer on a golf course at 20 over par.  No one wants to see that sort of embarrassment. But, if you’re in an Ironman, shuffling along in the dark during the final leg of the triathlon having snot running down you face you are fodder for a camera crew.  The crews have to do something; those top pros have finished the race and gone home.

Archery’s top professionals are a marvel to watch.  The announcers on events found via the Internet do a pretty good job of keeping viewers (other archers) interested in the competition.  Golf’s announcers have done the same for audiences. The stories told about the golfers are often similar to those being uttered in hushed reverence about archers.

In America 25 million people play golf. (2) That is about 8% of the population.  You can find golf on television pretty much year round.  There are even paid channels, if you subscribe, devoted to golf.  If you look around you can also find an ample supply of triathlons with watch.  Should you be on of the 1.9 million triathletes in America you know where to find them.

If you are among the 18.9 million American, over the age of 18 that participate in archery your viewing options for archery aren’t in the same ballpark as golf. (The triathlon figure includes all participate aged 6 and above)  (3,4) Yet, the numbers of participates for the two sports, golf and archery, are similar.

There are differences in the wealth backing the sports.  Golf in the US has an annual revenge of around $23 billion dollars while archery comes in around $363 million. (5,6) Triathlons, which is a smaller sport than archery, has annual revenue of around $3 billion dollars, (7) None of those are in the athlete footwear ballpark of $72 billion annually. (8) Archery doesn’t even come close to the annual revenue of bicycles of $7 billion. (9) But, the King of sport is the NFL, which took in over $15 billion last year from fans. (9) Yes, that’s $15 billion earned by the NFL from adoring fans. Major league baseball earned about $5.82 billion (10) (NFL and MLB revenue does not reflect gear/equipment sales)

Archery isn’t “big” business.  I think it could become bigger.  Like golf there are stories for broadcasters to quietly share during televised events. Archery would certainly be easier for film for camera crews than triathlons.  But, archery isn’t going to reach the living rooms of most Americans if it depends solely on hunting shows.

Hunting is a large segment of the bow manufactures earnings and one where customers will buy the newest gizmo that promises to improve their skill as a bow hunter.  Of course, more practice would be a better investment.

I believe the volume of people in archery, about that of golf, is enough to bring the sport into mainstream.  I just don’t think hunting shows are the conduit. The conduits, in my opinion, are field, 3D and target archery.  But, then no one is asking me.


Slow Down

Over the past month the exercises in my training plan have all been those associated with starting from the beginning.  Weeks were spent shooting at targets 11 yards away.  Then, those targets moved to 15 yards, 17 yards and finally 20 yards.  Each move occurring after scores had reached an acceptable level.  Each arrow was judged not on the score rather whether or not the shot had occurred properly.

Admittedly 100% proper form was not achieved.  At 11 yards the arrow might land in an X but the form may still have been off.  The further back the more pronounced a poorly formed shot scored. With an indoor State Championship less than three weeks away 18 meters is the distance of focus.

Rushing shots or depending on luck are not methods for consistent scoring.  Both of those bad methods to shoot remain in my quiver.  They are hard habits to break.

Two things hamper shooting: rushing the shot and slamming off an arrow hoping for a bit of luck.  We’ve all been lucky a time or two.  On the other hand that luck isn’t always good.

A friend and early coach once told me, “Get one arrow, shoot it, retrieve it and shoot it again – one arrow at a time.” Boring!  Shooting arrows is fun, if it weren’t archers would probably become runners. (I know you are unlikely to run unless you’re being chased – that was a joke.)

I took the advice after years of avoiding the one at a time practice.  I held in the game for 15 arrows from 18 meters before I broke.  It was a boring as I’d imagined.  (I considered going for a run at arrow 10)

Off to a goot start
Okay, one 9 and one 10 the rest Xs

The practice did make me slow down and focus on just one arrow at a time.  The results were painfully good.  It taught me that if I slow down I shoot pretty good. Hopefully, once was enough although I doubt it.

Georgia State Indoor Championship versus the Super Bowl

It shouldn’t even be a conflict  – an archery tournament versus the Super Bowl.  While I don’t play football I love the game and did play for six years. Had I not raced bicycles and made the choice to focus on racing when I was 18 I’d have played football longer.  I wouldn’t have played at one of the big colleges, but I’d have played.

I don’t regret the choice to stop playing football irrespective of being scouted and having talks with a few colleges during high school.  Cycling was my choice and it took me further in sport than football might have done.

Cycling took me to World Championships and made me a member of a USA Team.  I still ride.  But, my competitive ‘fix’ comes from archery.

Sometimes at archery tournaments or while practicing with others I find that should the topic of football arise there’s a smaller group of fans than one might find in a bar on a Saturday or Sunday during the football season.  So, it comes as little surprise to me that a major archery event in Georgia has been scheduled on top of the Super Bowl. Heck, the past two tournaments here have been held in conflict with UGA games.

During the University Georgia Football game overlaps with Georgia archery a couple of friends and I managed to get the tournaments in before rushing to a bar to watch the college game.  After the game we made it back to the tournaments in time for the awards.

The next archery State Champion, the one on February 2nd, is a minor problem.  Picking the morning (0900) shooting line I’ll have plenty of time to make the drive home before game time. Those poor souls that love football who travel further and pick the afternoon (1300) shooting line will miss the televised game, have to record it hoping they don’t hear the score before watching, or listen on the radio.  That is unless they stay in a hotel overnight.

Super Bowl Sunday is typically a full day event for my family.  This year I’ll have to hold back on the pre-game festivities at least until I’ve shot my 60 arrows from 18-meters.  As far as hanging around for any award I might earn – I’ll find it later in the event I place in the top 3.

Ranked #1 in Georgia Two Years in a Row

Results from the Georgia Archery Association’s State rankings show me finishing 1st (AG) for the second year in a row.  The Georgia Bowhunter and Archery Association’s rankings have not been updated since June 19th.  In those, for some reason, I’m not listed.  I understand that data will soon be updated.

Finishing first in my age group in this State is a haul.  At any given tournament there are at least 4 other archers in my division that have beaten me at time or two.  The scores are always close. Then, there are outliers, fellows you don’t see often or don’t know who could show up and spoil it all.  At one event in 2020 the top three archers in my division all surpassed the prior State record.  In another the first and second place finishers just missed the National record.  I expect that record my fall in 2020 or 2021 to a Georgian.

It is tough to win here in Georgia.  The State’s archers are members of National Teams, the Para-Olympic Team and the 2020 Olympic Team.  It isn’t unheard of that during a tournament some record is broken whether it be a State, National or World record.

Georgia is a Mecca for archery.  At local ranges across the Peach State you’ll find walls papered with targets pounded with perfect scores.   My targets remain aloof where perfection is demonstrated – perhaps in 2020 I’ll be able to add one to some wall of honor.* It seems I’ll pretty much have to be able to reach that level just to hang in there with these Southern boys in my group. What is clear is that when ever an archer over 60 registers for a tournament here that archer has done so intending to win.


  • I’ve come close.  There’s always that one untrained arrow.  Length of time trying: 6 years, 2 months, 4 days at this point.

New Year Resolutions and Facebook

Entering the roaring 20’s I have zero resolutions.  I have training plans and goals, but no resolutions.  Each year I pick a new topic to learn.  This year I have one that I began a bit early having completed my 2019-learning course early.  None of this relates it how much I dislike Facebook.

In 2019 there were specific fitness and sport objectives related to archery and running.  Those sport objectives have been rebooted for 2020.  Like 2019 I am entering 2020 with a level of optimism.  That optimism has nothing to do with Facebook.

If it were not for this website I’d remove myself from Facebook.  Aside from the posts by friends Facebook is overwhelmed with commercial crap and bogged down with unedited untrue “Fake News.” (Not limited to a political party, cause, position, religion, race, sex, economic resource, nationality, pet preference, automotive brand favorite, or stance on global warming)

Certainly, some Facebook posts are occasionally factual.  But, I am not about to sort through the bull on the world’s largest social media warehouse attempting to find them. Often times I skim past commercial offering designed to separate people and communities.  I particularly despise those paid posts. For the most part I too often see commercial posts that are meant to be inflammatory.  That’s no way to make a living that is by building division. For example, I often see t-shirt offerings where the shirts have offensive and divisive slogans.  You may see them too.

I stay on Facebook for the hard to find, thanks to all the commercials, posts by friends.  The posts are there by I must weed through the garbage to find them.  The weeding has become too tedious for me.

If it wasn’t for the connection between the folks that read these ramblings who find their way to this site via Facebook I’d have been gone years ago. In 2020 I am going to do an experiment whereby I stop posting as often stories from on Facebook.  After a while I’ll measure how many visitors continues to have per month.  If there is no appreciable difference – so long Facebook.

In the meantime, I’ll work through my 2020 archery plan and see how that pans out. And by the way – Happy New Year.

2019 Bye Bye

Rolling into 2019 there was a high degree of optimism.  By January’s end,  a month into the year, it was obvious something was amiss.

Despite plenty of hours of training and practice following a decent plan scores just didn’t increase as they might have in my imagination.  In 2018 as I set the 2019 plan in place archery was going well.  As the year matured the curve of improvement frankly didn’t rise as planned and hoped.

Last year, I was able to compete in 14 tournaments.  The reduction in competition primarily being less 3D than in previous years – a factor of diminution associated with travel to and from State level events.

Of the 14 events 4 were local 3D shoots that were completed as paid practice.  By paid practice I mean, events in which I wasn’t sufficiently ready to compete, shot in a younger age group, or might have been in way over my head.

That leaves 10 events on the National, Regional or State Championships.  Even though I won four of them it was my individual scores that, for me, were less than satisfying.

Those 10 major events left me with four wins (2 State Championships, 1 National level Championship – Suwanee, GA USA Archery 18-meter, and a win at the Georgia Cup), the others were three-second place finishes, two 3rd place finishes and 4th (NFAA Regional).

Those 14 events (the 4 local 3D excluded from the summary above) don’t include league style competitions.  The losses were all very close.  No loss was greater than 3 points and one was a second based on inner 10 counts.

The win to loss ratio wasn’t the disappointment.  The failure was in my overall scores.  At some point it seemed I’d simply misplaced my developing form and slid backwards.  I still hit some sloppy tens but the feel was off.  For 2020, in hopes of finding a better rate of improvement, I’ve built a training plan and schedule to reboot performance.

On the other hand this website continues to grow with monthly visits up by 20.8% or over 24,000 visitors per month.  If I only knew how to make money here that would be nice.

Sometimes You Just Grin and Bare It

This past summer we got very little rain here in Athens, Georgia.  We seem to be catching up now that the weather has cooled down.  It has been raining non-stop for the past few days.  It has also been cold.  I can take the rain or I can take the cold but rain with cold is a whole other agony.

Yesterday was a wash – literally.  Running wasn’t missed.  Archery and cycling were scheduled rest days so it worked out.  This morning we awoke to more rain.  Running on trails does provide some slight cover, less so now that the leaves are mostly on the ground.  There are plenty of large evergreen pine trees and the trails are dense but running still leaves one human and one dog wet.   On top of the rain and cold the wind pitched in to support sub-optimal conditions.

River, my lab and running partner doesn’t mind the rain.  In fact, puddles provide opportunities to crash through water at full speed.  She comes home a happy mess.  I come home wet and cold. Still, it is more fun to run than not to run.

The weather forecast suggested there would be a short break in the rain.  The forecast was accurate.  The break meant at least an hour of archery practice could be attempted.

We got a short pause from the rain

As soon as the rain paused I headed out to the range.  Today’s practiced was a focus on form; an effort to reclaim the accuracy I had a year ago.  Since November of 2018 my scores have been slowly sliding into an abyss.  Recent training has all been about regrouping.

The rain on pause, the temperature into the 40s, it was go or miss the day.  Rain was predicted to return after a short breather.  The wind on the other hand was in full form.  In fact, in our woods we’ve had four pine trees blown down during the past few days.

That’s a full tank of propane that remained useless.
The wind was so bad I couldn’t even hang the targets straight

The wind was harsh enough to prevent my outdoor propane heater from staying ignited. It would fire up and fade out.  But, it was just going to be an hour or so of shooting so all that could be done was grin and bare it.

Conditions remained windy without rain for the hour and a half I got to practice.  It wasn’t so bad temperature-wise.  The wind did get me a couple of times but I kept everything in the yellow. Certainly practicing outdoors was more fun that staying indoors, maybe less pleasant that practicing at an indoor range. (The indoor ranges were all closed)

Re-hanging the right target and finishing. The last 6 arrows of 75.

A Christmas Miss

Locally, there was a Christmas indoor tournament over the weekend.  I’d heard the start time was 0900.  It was actually ay 1000.  There was no way around the extra hour and errands that needed to be completed.  Maybe I’d have made it home in time to have completed my assignments and maybe not.  So, I chose to miss the competition.

That was likely for the best considering the way I’ve been shooting.  For a while things were looking up.  Now, things are looking rather flat. Those things are scores.

Data is important to record.  If you’ve not collected your practice and performance data you really don’t have much information to establish way to manage your progress.

After the completion of the weekend’s errands following the abandoned Christmas shoot I looked over my 18-meter data.  It wasn’t inspirational regarding advances in performance.

The data reviewed includes just those post 18-meter inner 10 ring rule changes.  There was a linear slope upwards over time.  However, the log of those numbers showed a much flatter slope.

Scoress were moving in the right direction then did a nose dive

Nope, there weren’t any moments of insight regarding practice changes to improve the slope.  But, there were a number of little adjustments found in the notes associated with the score. Those notes may help refine my 2020 training plans and hopefully I can get back on the right track.

I missed the local Christmas shoot but ended up having a little extra time to take an in-depth dive into my 18-meter data.  That review may end up having been a better way to have used that time.