Shooting in Brevard

Being on vacation doesn’t preclude archery from the fun things to do while on vacation. For this leg of the trip, the Brevard – western NC – stay, I brought several toys with which to play including my archery ‘toys’.  Even though I will not be able to compete in a tournament on this trip, I did get to shoot.

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Brevard is known for its waterfalls

With me I brought my bow and the five arrows I own that can be currently used for shooting. I also brought a block target that can only be shot using the smaller sides. The large sides barely slow down an arrow.

In Brevard the canopy of leaves that surround the property we’ve rented makes judging yardage a new game. Ambient light is minimal and there isn’t level ground to be found. On the east coast of the state, my home,  I shoot on level ground in very bright light toward shadows, or at brightly illuminated targets, or from shadow to shadow. In the woods here it is just dark or darker and hilly.

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Miss a target in this jungle and forget about finding the arrow

Having only 5 arrows and a small target, considering the light and hills, I was very conservative while practicing. I used one arrow only, shot for the middle of the target, and limited my distance to 40 yards.

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At 35 yards, this is a tough shot at a small target. Miss and goodbye arrow. (The target is in the center of this picture)

The result was I didn’t lose or break the arrow. I got some decent practice in lighting to which I am unaccustomed and gave myself an hour* each day to get a feel for hilly terrain. One nice thing about a small target is that it’s easy to move around.(*I am on vacation, so I limited my practice time to an hour per day. )

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Here’s a closer look at the target and what’s behind it.

The other toys that will be used on this trip, bikes, kayaks, and running gear have yet to make it into the game.

Vacation

We’re really enjoying our vacation in Brevard, NC.  The land is so different from the eastern shore on North Carolina.  The temperature is significantly cooler here in the mountains.  Nice, but I prefer the coast over waterfalls.

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A nice change of scenery

Seven Hot Shots

It has been really hot here in Hertford, North Carolina. Shooting paper targets, not in the woods, means no shade. The sun was so bright the pins on my sight  began to blur. After awhile my bow actually becomes hot.

On Tuesday, about an hour of shooting 100°F temperature chased me into the forest to shoot foam. There I would find some shade, a lot of biting flies, ticks, and six targets.

It was getting late and I’d already practiced on these targets earlier in the day. Despite being saturated with insect repellent the black deer flies were eating me alive. Some days the bugs in the woods are worse than others. This was a bad day.

I made a plan to shot seven shots, not too close, and record each one. I’d also go as slow as and the insects feasting on me would allow. I like to shoot fast, but in tournaments it is never fast.   I was plenty warmed up and this little exercise would give me an idea of what it would feel like during an extremely hot day during a 3D competition.

On the range there are 6 targets. Because the turkey can be shot on its sides and front I shot it twice, making the seven targets.

Here’s how it went:

Shot Number 1

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My little friend the coyote at 28 yards
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He’s rather shot to pieces, but that is a solid 10 or maybe a low 11. Hard to say – there’s not much of his center left.

Shot number 2

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First shot at the turkey target at 32 yards
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That is on the right side of the center ring

Shot Number 3

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The deer is just visible at 43 yards
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Yep, that will work every time

Shot Number 4

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Back to the turkey for a side shot at 34 yards
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Smack

Shot Number 5

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The cinnamon bear is in the center at 38 yards
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11 O’clock 11

Shot number 6

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Wolverine at 30 yards
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Go tell Mama – that’s an 11

Shot number 7

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Mountain lion at 48 yards
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On a roll today

After the last shot, I grabbed my equipment and took my bug bitten self into the house for first aid and air conditioning. (IBO Scoring center ring 11)

Mental Errors

During this season’s 3D circuit I have been focused on the IBO World Championship. Here in North Carolina the 3D archery format is ASA. This means there isn’t an equivalent IBO Pro Hunter Class. So, I’ve been shooting against archers with a bit more gear than I am using on my bow. My bow is equipped with a short stabilizer and fixed pins.

Over this few months I’ve had some good shots and made some dumb mistakes. The dumb mistake I repeated this weekend. The original error was a shot I knew I could hit. The target was a coyote, something I shoot often, that was 35 yards out. My 35-yard pin and my 45-yard pin are both yellow.

I lined my yellow pin up on the center of that coyote and let ‘err rip. My arrow cleared that coyote by at least four feet. Wrong yellow pin. Opps.

The second dumb mistake was a repeat of the first only this time on a mountain lion. I have a mountain lion on my practice range. I shoot it all the time. This particular shot was 34 yards. My red pin is set for 30 yards, my yellow for 35. I carefully lined up my top green pin (20 yards) and my second pin (the red) and shot the mountain lion for 25 yards. My arrow slid neatly under the target.

In both cases I was close on seeing the yardage. In both circumstances we were past the mid-point of the shoot and I was beginning to mentally drift. Both shots cost me points. Both were mental errors.

On average including the two misses my mean score per target is 9.85. Other archers (n=13) shooting at similar distance, the winners only, averaged 0.7 points per target more than me. The range for winners (top scores per tournament at the 45/50 yard max range) was 206 – 218.

This isn’t as bad as it sounds – I almost never shoot for the 12 rings. If I hit the 12 it is a lucky miss of the center 10. The center ring in IBO is an 11 and because my training is aimed at the IBO, their main 3D shoot of the year, I have been practicing for that tournament. It is also not as good as it sounds because I don’t know the number of times I might have scored an 11 versus a 10 under IBO rules.

After August I am putting my scope and long stabilizer back on my bow. Having one point to align with the target, so long as my yardage isn’t off, might end up paying higher dividends. Statistically, one point more would be great.

Stinking up the range

When Brenda and I were first married she did my laundry. That lasted about 5 years when I offered to wash my own dirty clothes. The offer wasn’t because I am such a nice guy and wanted to do my part of the domestic chores; she kept losing my socks.   In the thirty years since, when I’ve washed and dried my clothes I’ve never lost a sock. However, there are other laundry matters where I have failed. One of my washing and drying short falls became apparent this past weekend shooting at the Lenoir County Archers ASA Qualifying 3D competition.

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Even though we got on the course early, it was already backed up

I have a simple policy regarding laundry. Essentially, if it fits in the washer the requirements for a load of clothes is complete. I do not raise any issue of prejudice based on color. Dark and light apparel are washed together. All receive the same treatment, cold water only, detergent nearest to reach, and never any bleach. For 30 years, this approach has served me with only an occasionally noticeable flaw. That flaw is I sometimes forget I’ve put clothes in the washer.

For example, on Thursday I may discover my clothes are in the washer. Then, I can’t remember for certain when I washed them. They get a sniff test and if the wad of nearly dry clothes doesn’t smell sour, they’re probably good for the dryer. Even a minor sour smell can be fluffed out by a dryer.

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We had some good shots, 2 twelves and 2 tens on this one.

In fact, the dryer has salvaged many loads of slightly off sniff clothes. When the drying is done the smell is most of the time barely noticeable. In the winter months any lingering foul aroma is not a serious problem. In the hot humid summer days of the South, perspiration is a catalyst for throwing off the dryer embedded stench. That was exactly my problem yesterday.

The t-shirt I’d worn for shoot was one that had sat in the washer for an amount of time that was hard to determine. However, it passed, just by a small margin, the sniff test and was dried along with all the other contents from the washer. After drying, all the clothes, t-shirt included, seemed okay, again by a slight margin.

The problem on the range became noticeable after only 3 targets. It was very hot and humid day. I was sweating like the pig that knows it’s dinner. At the third stake I began to notice the earlier olfactory mistake in judgment.

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There is a standing black bear at the end of this lane. We faced some long shots on this range. I guessed this at 47 yards for a 10.
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Finally on the road to home

Had I been alone I wouldn’t have been too concerned. But, people surrounded me. When saying hello and shaking hands I’d lean into the hand extension stretching my arm and keeping my shirt and reek as far back from the unsuspecting nose distal to the approaching hand. While waiting for a stake to clear I’d keep my distance from the other people in my group.

By the time we reached the mid-point of the range the fog around me was so thick I considered leaving for the sake of the others. Now, no one said a word. Heck, no one else may have noticed. To be fair someone in a nearby group, it was crowded on the range and there was little to no wind, had what appeared to be a nonstop gastrointestinal disruption that at times was audible. In that matter, it wasn’t my concern and my funk seemed the more offensive.

Despite the concern over my aromatic malfeasance I did find moments to enjoy the course – one of the most challenging I’d shot. Even though I’d previously qualified for the ASA State Championships wanted to try for a different division. I don’t know the results, yet, as soon as we shot the final target I turned in my scorecard and high tailed it home for another shower and change of clothes.

Two New Targets

PGF Archery was on my list of places to go yesterday. I needed a new block target. My targets are really shot to pieces. They’ve been repacked and duct taped so many times it is amazing they ever stop an arrow.

When I got to PGF Archery I looked over the inventory and thought I might be in trouble. There were no big blocks. There were a few smaller blocks. Sadly, in my experience the small blocks only last weeks before the center has been shot out.

Bumper Williams , owner of PGF Archery, mentioned he had some 3D targets received in error. A local group had ordered 5 Rinehart targets. These targets were shipped and sold. Then, to his surprise, Rinehart repeated the order reshipping the five targets.

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Bumper called to let Rinehart know of they’d made an error. Rather than pay the return shipping, Rinehart asked if perhaps Bumper might sell the targets at cost with an additional discount. That was the deal that crossed my path.

I picked up two of his 5 Rinehart’s, the bear and wolverine. This brings my total to six 3D targets. I am considering buying the remaining three even though only one of them, a hen turkey, is something I want. The other two are a baboon and a mosquito.

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Couldn’t wait to test the bear so I leaned it up against my pile of blocks and bags in the driveway

The bear and the wolverine will be on the range today.

 

A Great Day to Play Outside

Yesterday the outside temperature was practically chilly compared to the previous days, the high was only 86° F. It was a great day to play outside.

Like most days it started with a run followed by shooting holes in paper. A couple of hours of practice out to 60 yards were all the time I’d planned for the morning.   For this practice I had a 3-spot pinned to my pile of worn out bag and block targets. I shot two arrows per target at 5-yard increments from 20 to 60 yards. If I shot any distance uncomfortably, I repeated the distance. Then, it was time to take a break.

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There’s a coyote 43 yards away

Following lunch (and a nap) I headed out for a few hours of shooting foam. The shadows were perfect – they created all sorts of illusions and made judging distance a fun challenge.

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This turkey is in shadows at 32 yards
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Seriously, there’s a deer down yonder
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Finally, out on the water

There was plenty of daylight left meaning ample time for a decent bike ride. The wind had picked up but that didn’t prevent a short couple of miles on the Little River in a 10 ft. kayak. The slight chop (about 1 foot waves) made for a bouncy ride in the small boat. My 17 ft. kayak would have sliced through the waves; the shorter boat was rocking and rolling.

Overall, yesterday was a great day to be outside. And, I didn’t lose a single arrow. or fall out of my boat.

Hot Time in the Old South

The temperature was 100° F in the shade. There was no breeze coming off the Little River. Practice was a hot one in the Old South today.

My morning practice got derailed; it was down right cool at 8:00 am compared to 2:00 PM. I am having one of my out building renovated and needed to make a trip to Lowes to put up more material for the ceiling. During that trip there was a stop to pick up a bike, stop to drop a package off at UPS, a stop to buy carpet, stop to buy wine, and a stop to pick up a couple trophies I’d won and not yet collected.

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The 2nd and 3rd place trophies I picked up today.

I’d hoped to get in a couple of hours early and then shoot for an hour or so in the afternoon. Some days the plan doesn’t work. This was one of those days. Because I missed the morning session I spent 2 hours outside shooting at the peak of the heat.

To be honest the heat didn’t feel bad. Now that archery practice is done for the time being I’ll head out for a bike ride and see how 100°F feels while riding.

Another Toasty Day in NC

The thermometer on the porch read 99° F (37°C) when I shot this afternoon. It wasn’t much cooler in the morning because I’d gotten a late start – it warmed up fast today. It felt great. After so many years living in places like Cleveland, Baltimore and Pittsburgh this heat is finally starting to thaw my Georgian bones.

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There is a turkey in that dark hole 30 yards away

In fact, it was so hot my black Elite 35 bow was beginning to feel warm. I admit I broke a sweat. But, I got in two nice practice rounds.

In the morning practice was strictly shooting paper. The afternoon was reserved for dark 3D targets in odd lighting. The past few tournaments have been real challenges where light is concerned.

This time of year the foliage and angle of the sun can wreak havoc on pins and scopes. Last week, even though I frequently practice in difficult illumination, a few of the targets were practically all guess since I couldn’t make out rings with my binoculars. By the time I got in the woods today the sunlight was filtering though the leaves backlighting several of my targets.

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This is how I like to hit ’em.

Following the afternoon practice there was plenty of time to get in a bike ride. It had cooled by a degree so the temperature was just about perfect.

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Cycling country roads in New Hope, NC

Hot days in Elizabeth City

The short drive to compete on Saturday was great; the 2nd place was a disappointment. North Carolina has produced some great archers and you can’t expect too many wins shooting outside the 10 ring.

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A scenic hike up to registration

The course was tough with a lot of small targets in dark holes placed “way back out there.” The 20 targets took nearly four hours to shoot because of big groups during which the 94°F temperature along with high humidity was rough on a lot of people. I wasn’t one of them.

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Brandon’s arrow sliced this tree and he still got a 8.

The temperature and humidity were fine for me. I simply blew a couple of shots I should have hit better which hurt at the end of the day. This next week I’ll be focusing on small dark targets in dark holes at 35+ yards.

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This little critter (I walked closer to take this picture after we pulled our arrows) was at 38 yards. It wasn’t the longest shot on the smallest target, in the darkest spot.

When this was all said and done,  it was great to see folks I’d missed for the past month.