Shooting on Pearl Harbor Day at Mid-Del Archers in Delaware

It was a cold and windy day of 3D competition in Harrington, DE on Sunday December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day. Mid-Del Archers put on another excellent tournament. The course is not super difficult but there are no easy X shots. And as usual there were plenty of great shooters on the range.

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The temperature wasn’t unbearably cold at 37°F (2.7°C) but it was the wind that hammered us. The wind speed was 16 – 19 mph with gusts up to 29 mph (26 – 30 kph with gusts to 46 kph). On the front side of the range the trees and bushes are tighter and the wind had less of an impact. The back half was another matter.

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The back half of the course is more open and distances to the target were longer. On several shots just before releasing the arrow more than one archer smartly let down when hit by a gust of wind.

As has become my practice, I showed up solo and hoped to connect with a group that had room for another shooter. This method of “free-ranging” has always led me to a group of friendly competitive shooters. This tournament was no different.IMG_2622 2

A party consisting of granddad, dads, a son and grandson invited me to shot along with them. They’d been on the range the day before and helped set up the targets. The youngest was very pleased with having set up a foam pig so that its X was on its rear end. He was particularly proud of his ingenuity.

When the shoot was over I hadn’t scored a personal best (although it was a PR for this range) but I had shot my coldest tournament thus far. At the clubhouse I turned in my scorecard and thawed out. A number of people asked if River, my dog was with me – today she wasn’t; I felt it would be too cold to leave her in the truck. In the clubhouse chili was the meal being served. I declined the food so I could have lunch with Brenda, my wife, when I got home.

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Archers mingling and reviewing scores as they are posted

It was another fun shoot with the Mid-Del Archers. Their Christmas party is coming up no December 21st. Sadly, I’ll miss that since I’ll be in Georgia to hunt and compete. But, Mid-Del remains one of my favorite places to shoot.

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Racing rain

The plan called for shooting at longer distances. That meant, since we’re in Maryland, driving to Tuckahoe State Park and using the Tuckahoe Bowmen’s range. Because it looked like rain, this plan was good. The parking is close to the range and making a run for it wouldn’t be a futile effort. Like many plans these fell apart.

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“You, bow boy, you – go away”

The gate was closed and locked at the range. Walking in isn’t too bad, unless it starts to pour down rain where after walking out would be bad. There is a covered clubhouse on the range and that is an option for staying dry. Not a bad option for a short rain. The weather forecast predicted an all day rain was on the horizon.

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Cover in the event of foul weather

Schrader’s Outdoors, and their 3D range, is 7.4 miles from Tuckahoe. The loop to the furthest point on the course from the parking lot at Schrader’s is about a mile. The plan changed.

The new plan was to shoot 3D from the hunter class stake and then the open class stake on each target, keep moving from stake to stake, get in as many targets as possible before it rained. There would be no score keeping or range verifications. This would be sprint 3D shooting.

A light misty rain began while heading into the woods. Once under the trees the mist wasn’t even noticed. For a while this worked out nicely. At around stake 15 the rain droplets got heavier and for a few minutes it seemed like this was the beginning of the forecasted rainfall when it stopped.

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Shoot twice and move was today’s order of business.

At stake 20, only 10 to go, there was no mist, no rain, only that guttural feeling – here it comes. More than once I’ve ignored my instances and never to the better. I picked up my pace and headed back to the truck.

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It was one of those times I was glad to have listened to internal reason. I’d made back with no time to spare. My third rain day this week and still fairly dry.

Outside in the cold

Shooting indoors is a blast. Indoor shooting is very controlled compared to 3D shooting so it is possible to manage foot placement up to exact head placement. In 3D the ground is not always level and requires adjustments. The weather is another factor archers must deal with when practicing outside.

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Winter day in Maryland

Because it is winter and has been rainy the climate drove me inside for a week. (I can take the cold or I can take the wet, but I can’t take the cold and wet. Been there and done that often enough.) Finally getting a day to shoot outside I headed to Schraders’ 3D range in Henderson, Maryland to practice.

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Schraders Outdoors in Henderson, MD

When I practice I shoot from two stakes – the bow hunter distance then the open class distance. There are 30 targets allowing for a decent training session. Since I’d not been outside in awhile I warmed up at 20, 30, and 40 yards. I’d been shooting at 20 yards on indoor ranges so my pin and eyes worked well at that distance.

At 30 yards, Schraders has a bag with four sets of lungs and hearts. There are two horizontal lines running across the middle of the bag dividing the top and bottom set of organs.

For my first shot I aimed for the top horizontal line in the middle and hit it. I then aimed for a spot on the lower horizontal line and got that, too. Finally, I shot at the small heart on the upper left of the bag and got that as well. Moving to 40 yards my results weren’t so good. It was windy so I blamed the wind and moved into the woods where the wind battle would be, hopefully, diminished.IMG_2603

Schraders has set up some difficult targets. There’s this deer that sits at 44 yards from the open class stake. For both stakes, bow hunter class and open, the animal can only be hit by shooting between trees. My first shot at the shorter distance landed a 10. In fact, by this target I’d only shot 10’s and 11’s (IBO scoring).

When I backed up to shoot from 44 I found my feet, worked through my pre-shot sequence, laid the pin on the inner circle, and shot. The release felt great and my follow through felt just right. My arrow ended up gone forever hidden under a layer of fallen leaves. I suppose my 40-yard warm up poor shooting had nothing to do with the wind.

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Look closely, between the trees on the left and you can just see this deer

There’s also this turkey that can be a burden. The headless bird is out 30 yard for both stakes. It is also set so that the circles on the foam are cocked to the side and turned away from the stake. Thus, a side angle shot is the best hope for a good score in the critter.

There is not much room for error. Because of the angle, aiming for the X means that a slight error to the right and the arrow is lost. One of my arrows was already lost so I thought, “What the heck – I am going for it!” In this case, my aim and perhaps luck held true and amazingly, I smacked that turkey just right.

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An X on this headless tough angled turkey

On the range there is another hard to judge animal. Apparently, it is hard for me and easy for others. The 10 and center circles are completely shot to pieces. There is a ridge between the stake and this small coyote. The canine is either 26 yards out or 32 yards out or somewhere in between.

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This worn out coyote is easy prey for most

The dog-like pest is set so that the sweet spot is turned away from the stake. It should be an easy shot and for many it must be easy. But, this dang dog gives me fits and 8s. The animal is so shot up it might be giving me a 10 every now and then (it would be hard to see), but for today it forced a clear 8 out of me.

The challenges of 3D shooting are different from shooting indoors. Both forms of archery are good. Some archers pick one style and stick with it as their sole entrée. There of others that shoot both disciplines.   For now, I fall into the mixed target group and enjoy both styles of shooting.

Back in the attic

On Tuesday it rained. The weather was going to run me inside to shoot. Driving to Cypress Creek Archery in Millington, Maryland to use their indoor range is a haul from Easton, Maryland. The next option is The Shore Sportsman in Easton.

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Shore Sportsman

The Shore Sportsman in Easton carries a complete line of outdoor, fishing and hunting gear. They also have a one-lane archery range in their attic. The range’s primary use is to provide initial sight adjustments on new bows. They also rent it for practice.

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Over the years I’ve done enough business with Shore Sportsman that they allow me free use of the range. The attic range is quiet and really allows an archer to focus on form. It is a bit short at 18 yards, nevertheless it is an ideal spot to get out of the rain and concentrate on fine adjustments.

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Practiced with a short stabilizer on this day.

An hour or two in the attic is a great way to spend a cold wet afternoon in Maryland.

Thanksgiving with the Lain’s

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Two of my three grandchildren enjoying Disney songs.

Thanksgiving in American is a major holiday. For my non-American friends as well as those in the US who might be interested here is a bit about Thanksgiving.

Most people associate Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims. When I asked my friends and family many thought that Native Americans invited the Pilgrims (those British separatist settlers) to a feast. In fact, the Pilgrims had invited Native Americans to attend a feast, religious in nature, as a celebration of thankfulness for a good harvest. This occurred in 1621at the Plymouth Colony in what today is Massachusetts.

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Good food follows days of preparation (At out home in Easton, MD)

The earliest recorded thanksgiving services in a territory currently belonging to the United States were conducted by Spaniards in the 16th century and were routine in what became the Commonwealth of Virginia as early as 1607.

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Hiking with my youngest daughter, Candace, her husband, Jason, and their two children, Cordelia and Merric

The first US President to proclaim Thanksgiving Day was George Washington. He set the date for October 3, 1789 to celebrate. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day, to be celebrated on the final Thursday in November 1863. We Americans continue to celebrate this day every November.

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Scene at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, near Seward, Maryland

Part of this festivity involves a large meal with family and friends. Some of us enjoy sports on television like football, which follow the televised Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in NYC. Others run in Turkey Trot races, typically a 5K or 10K. We also volunteer at food centers to help the less fortunate enjoy a nice meal. And many of us go hunting.

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US Capitol building in Washington, DC

It is an important holiday in America. We spent this one with our youngest daughter, Candace, her husband, Jason, and their two children, Cordelia and Merric. The holiday was a mini-vacation with a number of adventures hiking in the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and visiting Washington, DC.

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Cordelia and Merric were not pleased to see litter. Their mom placed it in the trash.

If you are reading this and you are not an American, you may have a similar holiday your country. If you do then you understand a day of thankful celebration. If not, I hope this very brief explanation helps.

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Enjoying the Smithsonian

Reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving