An Archery Story From Carl

I received an email from my friend, Carl who lives in Virginia.  He is also a neighbor here in North Carolina.  I asked for his permission to share this and he agreed.

David, I want to share an archery story.

My son Mike and I were going to hunt Thanksgiving morning in Suffolk (about 20 minutes from home).  I called Mike at 4:30 A.M. to let him know I was on my way to meet him and he then told me he wasn’t able to go.

Carl here in NC

Someone had gone through his truck the evening before or early morning and stolen his bow.  His bow which he loved  (Diamond Marquis)  #70 lb. left hand.  QAD rest, HHR single pin, Alpine archery quiver and Gold tip arrows, wrist release – all gone. As you know the accessories actually cost as much as the bow.  He was devastated.

We took his old #60 Parker, found an old rest, quickie quiver, and fixed sight; I had a few old arrows. He tied in a peep I had in my archery box.  He tried it out about 6:30 in his back yard at 20 yards on Thanksgiving evening.

We hunted on Friday and he killed a doe with it.  He doesn’t miss very often anyway. Crisis averted except he was still going to have to buy a new bow for his elk archery hunt to Colorado in August. Now back to the stolen bow.

Mike of course checked pawnshops etc. around the area and nothing showed up.  In the meantime he posted on face book about what happened and he had an outpouring of offers from friends and strangers to lend or give him a bow if he needed it.   In his word, he was humbled.

In the meantime I looked at craigslist time again just in case.

On January 2, l looked and to my surprise I saw a bow that looked like Mike’s.  It was left handed – (we could tell by the picture,-not a lot of those around) and it was listed as- Diamond Bow by bowtech.

We reported it to the police, nothing happened; it was still listed a week later.  I wrote an email to the police chief and within 24 hours the bow was recovered less the arrows and release.

The guy who had it lived less than a ½ mile away from Mike.  He wasn’t very bright either. The police just did a search of his phone number, got his address (he also had a police record for theft). Went to his home and said we are here for the bow. Mike just had to identify it.

A happy ending, other than having to buy a new bowstring.

(A late addition from Carl “….. a kind string maker in Maryland is making a new string at no charge.”)

Dealing with funky coastal weather

The weather has been, well typical of coastal North Carolina. One day freezing, the next warm, then rain, then back to freezing. In a few days, the prediction is clear and nearly 70. When is comes to practicing archery, there’s a lot of inside, outside, and at times running for cover.

Thankfully, we have an indoor range a short drive from where I live. In the mornings the range is typically empty. When I show up, I have it to myself. A bit boring, but the advantage is I have the range to myself.

Again, all to myself

When its real cold, I shoot from inside a shed and out toward my target. The shed has a gas heater and there’s a four-legged companion to encourage me. I’ve thought about bringing her, River, to the indoor range. River loves archery. But, she’d probably get banned.

River is constantly assessing my work

Over the winter I’ve been shooting a lot of spots. This is the time of year where there are a fair number of indoor tournaments that are within easy driving.  So, like many others, I shoot at dots and wait for 3D.

Today I learned of an indoor 3D tournament just up the road. I’ve shot there before and the lighting is not so great. Using a scope, for me, ends up being an activity that’s purely guesswork when it comes to aiming. So, I changed out my bow, set it up for hunting and decided to enter the bow hunter class. I can illuminate the pins and hopefully that will help.

A good reason for pin nocks. Busted this one checking my bow after I switched sights. But, saved an arrow or two.

Along the bow change, I headed out to the 3D range this morning and afternoon. It was apparent I hadn’t practiced 3D since December 15th. I’d have practiced more but, it started to rain and I had to sprint for cover. What can I say, it will be spring soon and I’ll be contending with mosquitos and ticks when I’m in the woods.

A Long Day

Some days at work are longer than others. Today was a long one. For me it meant an early meeting with a 5-spot. It was a short meeting only an hour. Then, my next two meetings were laps in the pool followed by weight lifting and it wasn’t even noon.

Noon meant a break for lunch. Brenda, my wife, who’d also been working out and I were by now starving. Yogurt with fruit and granola for breakfast does not last as long as bacon, eggs, grits, and biscuits. We stopped at Chick-Fil-A. We don’t do that often, but when we do I really enjoy their sandwich and cole slaw.

They’ve stopped making the cole slaw. I got lucky; the Chick-Fil-A in Elizabeth City still had some so I got it. They’d offered me something with kale in it. I laughed and offer them good luck with that.

Home, I took a 20-minute nap before starting my afternoon work. The afternoon began with more archery. This time shooting at known yardage out to 55 yards. That took about two hours and led to a run with my dog River. I’ve found if River doesn’t get in a run she wants to play in the house in the evening. Actually, any run less than 3 miles means I’m fair game for River all night.

The run led straight into a bike ride or a brick. When triathletes do a run/ride or ride/run in succession it’s called a brick. That’s pretty much how your legs feel, like bricks at some time during that activity.

You know, that’s not a bad day’s work and it sure beats sitting in an office.

Missing the Classic

For several months I’ve trained with a focus on the vertical 3-spot targeted at the Lancaster Classic. Once the event opened for registration, I signed up, nearly four months ago. After the hotels become available for booking, I secured my room. Everything was ready.

In the weeks prior to the tournament, I competed in the Carolina Classic, a warm-up for the Lancaster Classic. In that competition I shot below my average, but scored enough points to have me feeling pretty good regarding Lancaster. I was psyched and ready to roll. Then, life got in the way or to be more precise death.

For nearly three decades I had a friend that could have been the inspiration for those Bud Light commercials where the main beer drinking character is up for anything. Only in his case, my friend rarely drank beer. He did, on the other hand enjoy good Scotch. We, our wives included, had many adventures cycling, kayaking, and hiking. On two of the kayak adventures my friend hauled me out of tough binds that could have ended badly. He was a much better kayaker than me. Later, I would tell others about the white water mishaps while suggesting Larry was scheming to reduce his budget by lowering payroll – the unfortunate loss of an employee while kayaking. See, he and I worked together for a number of years.

When it came to running or swimming, Larry, my friend, was happy to watch. He and his wife Kathy frequently joined Brenda, my wife, on the sidelines of triathlons and marathons willing to cheer me on as I passed. Larry, an amateur photographer snapped dozens of race photos, which were always better than the event photographers’ pictures that sold online post-race. My favorite race photos are ones that he took.

When Brenda and I purchased our home in North Carolina we got one with plenty of room. Aside from our children and their families, we were thinking ahead toward the visits from Larry and Kathy and the escapades we’d enjoy.

Just before Larry retired, he was diagnosed with brain cancer, and an aggressive one to boot. Within a short time, Larry became another statistic. I was sad and a bit pissed off. Granted, it was selfish but his passing meant years of future quests with him wouldn’t happen. That angered me. Long before retiring we’d spoken about the living we’d do once we left the rat race. Those dreamed up adventures are still alive, but they have become solo campaigns. It is irrational but I’m still pissed about him dying. Sure, I can enjoy the memories, but it is unlikely I’ll find another person so willing to take audacious risks to live the dream.

Larry’s memorial service in Baltimore was scheduled for the 23rd of January, meaning I had to be in Baltimore on the 22nd as well. I tried to work out how to make the back and forth drive to Lancaster so that I could attend both. It was remotely possible, but really pushing travel time limits. I ended up selecting a more practical sense solution and bailed out of the Classic. (Yes, Lancaster returned the registration fee and the hotel was just as understanding.)

The archery tournament travel plan had been to arrive in Lancaster on Wednesday and leave on Sunday. There was a window where I could shoot and still make the memorial service – if everything ran perfectly. But, my focus wouldn’t be on archery. Overall, there was enough travel hassle to put this competition back into the future pile of events. In the meantime, a winter storm was on its way to Baltimore.

Larry loved the snow and cold. Once he took a 30-day kayaking trip into Alaska. If the temperature was below freezing with plenty of ice, snow and wind Larry had some plan that landed us outdoors. He introduced me to downhill skiing and cross-country skiing. To be honest, I don’t like either. Nevertheless, I’d be on the snow with him counting down to the time we’d head back indoors.

I tried to introduce him to water skiing and surfing. For perspective, Larry grew up in Utica, NY and I was raised on Tybee Island then Isle of Hope in Savannah, GA. There were plenty of middle ground activities we both enjoyed, but when it came to winter upstate NY snow fun versus Deep South summer heat activities we remained at opposing sides of the curve.

To be clear, I can deal with cold and snow. I’ve lived in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Baltimore. I’ve worked in Sweden during dark winters and spent time, of course in the winter, in Alberta, Canada. It’s been a decade since we left Pittsburgh and Cleveland (we had homes in both cities) and I’ve nearly thawed. Larry, however, would always trump my winter tales of woe by regaling his experiences in Buffalo, Rochester and Utica. Yea, buddy, you win and you can have it.

Taking him to Savannah one August, well the ‘Flip-Flop’ was on the other foot. For a while I thought he’d actually melt. I’ve never seen a man sweat that much just sitting. I was morbidly enjoying his pain – payback.


The snowstorm in the mid-Atlantic has resulted in the postponement of Larry’s memorial service. I’ve missed both Lancaster and Larry. Larry is probably laughing his butt off at me since once again I’ve been hammered by snow.

The Big Fish

You may have met this person, the Big Fish. The Big Fish floats among many types of groups. They can be found at work, in social clubs, at church, and even among your archery group.


What is a Big Fish? The Big Fish is one of the most important people in a small group or organization, who would have much less power and importance if they were part of a larger group or organization.


For the large part the Big Fish is a person than will work hard to contribute. That’s one way they’ve become the Big Fish. Sometimes, however, the Big Fish uses dark forces to achieve their local glory.

That’s a Big Fish whose actually small land often times does little. In fact, their Big Fish status is frequently self-proclaimed. They will often jump on a bandwagon or attach themselves to rising stars in hopes that some osmotic glory will soak through to them. If that fails, they’ll frequently become mortal enemies with whomever it was that failed to boost their status.

Should you find yourself the subject of the Big Fish’s vengeance, don’t worry about it. Perhaps, you’ve gotten a polite but clear barring from a local club or you’ve been slighted in some other fashion. If so, consider the advice of Groucho Marx, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”

I am not saying that you’ll frequently cross paths with the spiteful Big Fish. Most Big Fish achieved their status by being helpful and welcoming. They are often mentors and friends. That individual is often a bigger fish than they know.

What a Way to Go!

The odds of being killed by at meteorite are 1 in 250,000. Those odds should make you feel pretty certain you’re not going to be crushed by a falling celestial body. Strange things, however, happen and many of them seem to happen during archery practice.

While practicing on a 3D range in Maryland I made a nice center shot. That’s not to say it was my only center shot, I’ve hit others. What was different about this one is that as I pulled my arrow the tip and insert came out leaving a hollow opening at the end of the arrow. There was no digging the insert or tip out, both swallowed up in the foam of the faux pig.

Robin Hooded Insert

The next day I was back on the same range for more practice. The targets, 30 of them, hadn’t been moved from their prior position. At the pig, where on the previous day I’d shot an insert/tip swallowing pinwheel, I repeated the shot – smack in the center.

When I walked up to the motionless foam boar I found my arrow not only again hit the center, but I had Robin Hooded the hidden insert lost from the day before.

Somewhere I once read that a Robin Hood occurs 1 in every 10,000 shots. I have no idea if this is correct or how it was that whomever came up with the number made their assessment. But, I have learned the expensive way to do my best to avoid a Robin Hood.

Nevertheless, the lost center shot insert and tip, now stuck on the tip of my latter arrow, seemed unique and among those weird things that happen while practicing archery. Yesterday, another meteoric odd shot occurred.

While practicing 3D the target was lining up on was a coyote at 37 yards. When I aimed at the target I noticed a small limb of a bush extending somewhat within the potential path of my arrow. It was very little twig and I considered the odds of that twig deflecting my arrow to be really small. I ignored the limb and shot.

Coyote in the distance and the nicked limb.

The weather has been up and down here on the coast of North Carolina. One day the high temperature will be in the 40s the next in the 60s. Shooting that arrow outside it was on a warm day, in the 60s and sunny. Birds where chirping and insects were hopping, crawling and flying about enjoying the momentary relief from the cold.

In this warmth my arrow, in flight, hit the tiny branch and deflected. Granted the odds were low despite my instinct warning me there might be a chance, albeit small, that I would strike the twig. After the shot, I thought, I’d lost that arrow, it being buried under fallen leaves.

What I hadn’t noticed, on the tiny branch, there had been a little green tree frog. No doubt this little frog was siting on the branch, warming itself, and waiting to nab an insect or two was they flew past. What flew past was not a bug; it was a Black Eagle arrow. Lifting my arrow from the leaves, there it was, a green tree frog, impaled and killed.

What a way to go.

All I could do was stare and then remove the tiny amphibian from the arrow . What were the odds? This may be even more weird than the Robin Hooded insert. To be sure, I felt bad for the frog. It was only trying to enjoy a warm day among the recent  less pleasant ones.  Perhaps it was on the limb waiting for a fly or other insect to come within tongue reach.  Then,  smack – I suppose the odds were astronomical.

Bonking During Archery Practice

In past posts I have written about nutrition and archery. Granted, the sport isn’t equivalent to competing in an Ironman when it comes to the calories needed to shoot 60 arrows. But, today I bonked while practicing. It wasn’t fun.


(In endurance sports such as cycling and running, hitting the wall or the bonk describes a condition caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, which manifests itself by sudden fatigue and loss of energy. Milder instances can be remedied by brief rest and the ingestion of food or drinks containing carbohydrates. 1)

To be fair shooting wasn’t the only exercise on my morning training plan. I’ve got a fitness blueprint I’ve followed for completing a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike race, and a marathon. On top of that I have an archery-training plan.

Daily / weekly training plan

I’m not signed up to race another Ironman even though I  frequently think about doing another one. Still, I try to stay in shape in case the Ironman bug bites.   So, I train a lot and have equipment that allows me to run or ride indoors if the weather keeps me from going outside.

When I am forced to train indoors on my bike I watch DVDs of past Ironman events. It’s cool to watch the races and in particular the ones where I have competed. Even though I’m not planning another Ironman (at the moment) I work out as if there was one on the horizon.

This morning’s schedule called for a run lasting 1 hour and 45 minutes. There was a swim of one hour on the plan as well. My morning’s archery practice was a 3-spot shooting 60 arrows – practice for the USA Indoor Nationals and the NC State Indoor Championships, both on the calendar. I skipped the afternoon swim in preference to the football playoffs, but did my 3D work.

In the morning, after running, I felt good. I’d gotten out of bed at 0530, went outside with my dogs, and then prepared a breakfast amounting to about 450 calories. I didn’t start the run until around 0700. The run was a mix of roads and trails at a combined pace of about 9 miles per mile. Not fast due to a storm we’d had during the night leaving the trail portion of the run a muddy mess. Honestly, I don’t run a whole lot faster except during a 5K.

It wasn’t until around 0920 that I was set up to practice archery. Since breakfast I’d not taken on any additional calories. The storm that soaked the trails had also knocked out our electricity and dinner the night before meant a sandwich.

The total caloric intake on the powerless day had been about 2400. My output had been high considering two archery sessions, cycling, swimming and lifting weights. I’d been hoping for a larger dinner than pimento cheese on bread. Basically, I woke up hungry. In hindsight the 450 calories consumed for breakfast wasn’t enough.

The first 24 shots scored shots had all been Xs. Then, things began to waver a bit. I hit a 28 then a 26. I took it as a mental lapse. Ends 11-13, all 29 then it really hit me – bonk – , the 14th end was 22.

My sway had increased and I was starving. I’ve bonked during other sports and recognized the feeling. This isn’t the first time I’ve bonked will shooting. I’ve hit the wall during tournaments – I no longer run before an archery competition and I always carry food with me. Today, I had no food.


I could have walked in the house and eaten something or sucked down a gel. But, I didn’t. I decided to force myself though the final 6 ends. This would put me in a situation that might happen during a tournament and I wanted to see how I’d respond to the low energy. It wasn’t pretty, neither was it horrible.

I ended the 60 shots with a 583. While archery isn’t as aerobically demanding as endurance sports, nutrition is still important. This experience is a personal example of bonking while shooting. I do know better.


After practice, I headed the Garden Buffet Chinese Restaurant where I hurt myself eating.




Shooting from the Shed

Living out in the country has advantages. It is quiet, scenic, and I can play outside all day without disturbing neighbors. When it is too cold and windy to practice archery outdoors I’ve got a alternative, I shoot from a shed on my property.IMG_4505

It was cold and windy here today. I didn’t feel like driving into Elizabeth City to practice on an indoor range. It’s about a 40-minute trip one way to the range. Granted, it is nice that there is an indoor range so close, but there are days when driving anywhere isn’t fun.

At home I can stand in a shed and shoot. Because nobody lives near me I’m not worried about someone walking across my property and into the path of an arrow. Out here in the sticks we are very isolated.

First 5 shots of the day.

A plus is that I now have heat in this shed. I had this storage building renovated and now have heat, AC, carpeting, paneling, and it is insulated. It is a great workout room and not a bad place to stand inside against the cold. There are some unique advantages to living off the grid.

Warming up my bow and release.

Switching Up Plans a Little

Yesterday I switched training up a bit. One of those chores that sometimes mess up plans made the adjustments necessary. That chore was my forth attempt to get a couple of minor repairs completed on my Ford F-150. By minor I really mean minor. A map light replacement and door hand cable replacement.

The cable on the driver’s side door handle had broken and one of the overhead map lights had burnt out. Since the cable replacement meant a trip to the dealership I asked them to replace the light bulb.

They installed the cable wrong causing it to hang up on the window and broke the housing of the overhead lamp when they tried to remove the burnt bulb. Yesterday was another attempt for the dealership to, “Do their best.”

The errand meant no early run. Brenda met me when I dropped off my truck so we could head to the YMCA. There we did our workouts. It felt great to swim and lift weights.

Back home it was a long afternoon of archery practice. I’ve been doing a lot of work at 18-meters. Today, I practiced on a 5-spot, experimenting with my release. I felt good and moved using 5-yard increments out to 60 yards. It is real convenient having room for a range on my lawn.

River demanding a run


Because I’d missed my morning run, and River was a bit too full of energy, we ran just before sundown. Typically the last exercise of the day is cycling. River, however, needed the run more than I did so we headed out. Running at sundown versus sunrise was a pleasant and scenic switch.

Carolina Classic

The Carolina Classic, a new indoor tournament, was promoted as a Lancaster Classic warm-up. It was held in Elizabeth City, NC at the Cutting Edge’s indoor range on Saturday, January 9, 2016.

Store owner, Stephen in from of his shop and range.

The contest brought in enough archers to fill the two time slots, 9:00 AM shooters, and the noon bunch. Shooters from across North Carolina and Virginia competed. A team from Raleigh took the top two places and a Naval Officer earned the third place on the podium. The top three scores would have been competitive when compared to the 2015 Lancaster Classic Pro Men’s results.

Setting up targets for practice.

My score landed me in 9th place. That score, not a personal best was a personal best for competition. I’ve scored better in practice and my training average for 18-meter practice is 8 points higher than I’d shot in the Carolina Classic. I was still pleased since competition is not the same as shooting on home turf. In addition, my score was 19 points higher than the last event I’d shot, the EAC Tournament in Georgia.

An unexpected bonus was that when I arrived there was money waiting for me. I’d won tournament last summer and the event organizers hadn’t sent me the winnings. The prize money was waiting on me when I walked into the Elizabeth City range. It was unexpected, I’d completely forgotten about it. I’m glad someone remembered and sent it to me via the organizers of the Carolina Classic. Thanks.