Needing Just 4% More for the Moment

The difference is 3 points.  That is over the past three months comparing 60 arrows shooting a 3-spot with a thumb versus a hinge release the slight advantage goes to the hinge still release.  The problem is the highest single score goes to the thumb and that score is 8 points higher than the highest using the hinge.

After 50 are so shots I’m down to a t-shirt to keep cool

It continues to be a frustrating activity searching for a few more points.  Percentage-wise both style releases are equal.  I am only looking for a 4% increase in my scores.  No, a 4% increase is not a perfect score.  I’d like to shoot a 600 every time, but that’s unrealistic for the moment.

Had to tack a target up to keep the sun out of my eyes

When I set a goal I try to make it achievable within the time frame I’ve established for reaching the goal.  In order to achieve the goal I practice a lot.  I measure then manage almost all shots.  For sure, there are days where I simply relax and shoot for fun.  But, most days it’s serious work.

Taking a break and jumping on the Computrainer for a little mind clearing

After this morning’s indoor practice I may have uncovered another small change I can make that may lead to another incremental gain in points. I’ll work on that for a awhile then practice and record some more.

Note: after making the changes things started off great for the first 30 arrows.  The second 30 were par. By then, I’d shot nearly 200 arrows.  I’ll rest tonight and start fresh in the morning.

Dumbness at the Gym

Some folks just don’t have any ‘gym’ sense. In fact, some are just stupid when it come to the equipment. Let me provide you an example of stupidity.

A group of three was working out together. It was a boy and two girls. Not a man and two women as that might imply they were adults. Their actions gave the impression they were little children at the gym playing on things.

Here’s the complaint: They were trying to do curls. They appeared to believe the entire gym was their’s and curling was an exercise done during their social mixer. All of their gear, water supplies, and energy bars were laid on and at the equipment surrounding them. It wasn’t just at the bench being used for curls, it included the bench next to them, the floor and the apparatus used for dips. Very bad behavior and rudeness.

Their bench is in the upper right of the photo. The apparatus for dips – notice the water bottle on the plate where one stands, and there’s the gym bag and water bottle on the floor. Out of this photo is another smaller gym bag where they kept their energy bars. Lord knows one needs extra calories for a 30 minute workout.

Needing the equipment they were using for their valet I stood next to it looking at their little campsite hoping they’d pick up on the hint. When that failed I picked their gear up and moved it. It seemed for a second the boy might say something. He didn’t.

Taking it Easy on the Water

So, I only practiced for a few hours today.  The morning was busted with a trip to the dentist.  The afternoon was cut short to spend time cruising the river in my Carolina Skiff. Some days it is nice to take it a bit easy.

Having a Carolina Skiff, with its minimal draw, makes exploring (or fishing) the smaller creeks near my home possible.

Days like this, in January, are hard to pass up.

Loads of Shooting and Wind

There were a lot of arrows flying around today.  Many of them indoors.  What I wanted to do was gather more data shooting a 3-spot at 18-meters.  Once again I’ve made some minor adjustments trying to find my optimal shooting form and equipment combination.

That exercise didn’t pan out because I ran out of time.  Initially, there was enough time for 66 arrows.  During these tests I have my bow previously sighted.  Then I shoot a standard 6 arrow warm-up, typically what I get in an indoor competition.  Next I shoot and score 60 arrows.

The test was going so poorly I made a decision to make further changes and start over.  That meant not enough time for another 60 arrows.

After the indoor flop I wanted to try again at home.  The problem back home was the wind.  To make the comparison of scores as fair as possible I enter data where the cirsumstances are most similar. So, I shot for form and practice but didn’t record data for statistical analysis.  There was simple too much wind.

The wind finally drove me into the woods and 3D.  The leaves are down and there was still a good amount of wind with which to contend.  In addition to wind, many of the trails leading to targets are under water.  When I left the range my legs covered with mud. Some of the water and mud might have been avoided, but where’s the fun in that?

Last year, I rarely practiced 3D beyond 50 yards.  Today, since it was really more about getting a feel for minor changes in my equipment and I’d found a spot more protected from wind I just kept backing up.

The first arrow, at 55-yards, was a bit to the right. I compensated and shoot the second. From 55-yards I only saw the one shadow and thought, “Oh, crap.” But, it turned out fine.

My final distance was 70 yards.  Nearly all the shots were taken on one target, the bear that offered a path where the wind was blocked by a large shed.

A 70 yard shot gets my adrenaline pumping.  A little off on any axis could lead to a lost arrow.  Since my arrow speed from my bow is only 272 fps (Estimate not measured. A friend did some calculation and came up with the approximate feet per second) when I shoot from 50+ yards there is ample time to see the arrow arch. It is a little scary when the arrow lifts and seems to be taking a flight that will sail it over and past the target.  Then, there’s the delay before hearing the arrow pop into the target. At 70 yards, that’s a long wait.   Happily, I returned from the 3D range with the same arrows with which I’d entered in addition to mud.

Hopefully, there will be less wind tomorrow. If not, I’ll need to move my 18-meter target around so that I can shoot from inside my shed out toward the target.

Switching Bows to Find Which Scores Best

Before this morning’s archery practice River and I headed out for a run. Lately, we’ve been cutting though woods before heading out onto the road. Once on the road we run a short loop then head back off road.

There’s been so much rain here we’ve cut the trails short. Many of the paths I’ve made for running are for the moment under water. Being under water is fine for River. It means, of course, I have to clean her off once we finish.

The run out of the way I continued on with my evaluation of bows and releases. In order to continue with that exercise I needed to remove the stabilizers and sight off of the Mathews Apex 7 and put then onto the Elite Energy 35. So, there is once again the sight tape chore.

I know which tape I used the last time I shot the Elite – the two bows require different tapes. But, it seems every time I switch bows there is a very slight variance on the calibration. It’s not a big deal when I set things up for a fixed know distance. For 3D, since I practice both, I try to keep things moving to adjust for those slight variances.

Trying to find the 40-yard calibration.

Changing the tape didn’t take too long. I knew approximately where to set the calibrations. Still, all the shots and confirmations ate up the morning. After lunch, I’ll begin the Elite tests to compare with the results from the Apex 7.

Letting the Numbers Decide – Maybe

Over the past two years I’ve kept data on the various targets I’ve practiced on or shot during competition. By January of 2014 I had been shooting a bow for four months. Initially, I didn’t keep the data.  Initially, I wasn’t certain I be shooting a bow for very long.  By most standards, I still have not been shooting a bow very long. Throughout this ongoing collecting of data,  3-spots remain dominate – I mean I have the most data on 3-spots. The past month I’ve shot twice in competitions where 5-spots were the target. Saturday was one of those days.

Going into Saturday’s event I was expecting to shoot a 300. I dropped seven. Four of the shots were simply off. Minutes before we shot my stablizers slipped and had to be tightened. The side bar was not exactly right and I shot a few arrows a little wide to the left, still 5’s, before recognizing the problem.

It took a few more scoring shots to find the problem and adjust. I shot one 4 while preparing to let down. I was shocked I hit the four. Another four came when someone’s arrow smacked into the back wall which was a surprise. The bang caused just me to twitch and that was all it took to release the hinge.

This and other 5-spots are recorded and entered into an Excel Spreadsheet.  I am working toward finding the right choices for me between a Mathews Apex 7 and Elite Energy 35 using a thumb versus hinge release. The data collected during this 5-spot tournament were, of course, entered.

Reviewing the data I can see my average score with the Elite is 298 versus 293 with the Apex 7. The data further reveals that the average thumb release score is 296 compared to 294 with the hinge.

Today I shot with the Apex 7 and a Scott Pro Advantage hinge. I ended up with a 293, average. The prior time I shot I used the Elite and a TruFire thumb release. Then I scored a 294, below average for the Elite. Both were in competitions.

Line graph of 5-spot scores from Jan 2015 through Jan 2017

Statistically (the math part only) there is not a significant interaction among the bow/release variances. But, in competitions where one point can separate 1st from 2nd place it means a lot.

I’ll keep on with the Mathews for a few weeks along with the hinge. I feel like that might be a better combination in the long run. But, I’ll be objective and let the numbers decide.


Over and Over, Again

“Amateurs practice till they get it right; professionals practice till they can’t get it wrong.”

I heard that somewhere along the line. Yesterday, was one of those days where practice was focused on specific targets and not getting it wrong. As such, I spent quite a long time shooting a bear. Shooting one 3D target for hours, gradually increasing the distance out to 55 yards takes some patience.

Before shots where taken at 55 yards, there had been plenty at 35, 40, 45 and even more at 50 yards. Ideally, getting it right would mean that all my shots hit in the small center ring where I had been aiming.

River taking a measure of my 40 yard results. A coyote waits in the background.

That wasn’t so hard at 35 and 40 yards. Beyond that distance, it got tougher. Actually, it never happened at 45, 50 or 55 yards. Nevertheless, it was a good practice and one I’ll repeat, over and over again.

It takes patience to shoot 55 yards, over and over again. Shoot 4 arrows, pull, repeat

The quote, well I did look it up. The best I could find is that George W. Loomis gets credit for the original version. He said it in a talk where he discussed the best way to teach students to spell. (1,2)

“It must be admitted that spelling is not taught successfully; indeed, the difficulty lies in the fact that it is seldom taught at all. Spelling lessons are assigned, studied, recited, but not taught. Much of the time spent in hearing children recite—guess till they get it right—should be spent in a definite teaching process, until they can not get it wrong.”

River spends some time working over a stick, she never gets it wrong.



2.) 1902 March 20, Michigan School Moderator (The Moderator), Editor Henry R. Pattengill, Volume 22, Spelling, (Footnote describes article: A talk to the critic teachers of the Central State Normal Training School by George W. Loomis, Superintendent), Quote Page 432, Column 1, Lansing, Michigan. (Google Books full view) link

Camo Apparel – the Other End of the Spectrum

Back on November 15 of 2015 I posted an article on wearing camo titled, “No Camo Here.” Essentially, the writing was pointing out where and where not camo sports apparel is appropriately worn for its intended purpose. It was and is my observation that camo gear was developed to assist the person adorning it to become hard to see or remain hidden. During the past decade or so, coinciding with the popular TV show, Duck Dynasty, camo clothing worn head to toe has become popular as everyday anywhere dress.

Wearing camo as daily garb is a choice. Truly, I don’t care what another person wears. Still, I have noticed and commented that camo gear worn (by others) while shopping at Walmart seemed out of place.

Of course, that type of clothing display is just a subset of all the types of apparel sets where people dress in order to make a statement. The camo wearing person may be saying, “Look at me, I am an outdoors person,” or some such statement.

The camo club is just one end of a spectrum. I had not given others groups much thought until reading the December / January 2017 issue of Garden and Gun magazine.

Garden is Gun’s editor is the son of a friend of mine. My friend, Bob, is a physician that lives, now retired, in Savannah, GA. Bob, without doubt, is a great physician. He is extremely smart, as physicians tend to be, and compassionate. Everyday we worked together was a pleasure.

I picked up an issue of Garden and Gun at the airport in Baltimore during a trip several years ago. When I recognized the editor was Bob’s son, I bought it. His son does an excellent job with the magazine and Brenda and I are subscribers. We give subscriptions as Christmas gifts to many of our friends and to my mother. Mama, who lives in Savannah, loves the magazine. She reads it from cover to cover.

In the issue at hand I noticed something – the clothing advertisements. Actually, the last issue sparked my interest. In that issue there was a shirt listed for sale at $2500.00. That’s a far cry from the purchase price of any camo shirt I’ve ever seen.

Throughout the current issue of Garden and Gun there are ads that promote seriously fancy dress. As opposite as the person sporting an all camo ensemble, the models in my issue of Garden and Gun, appear to be. This got me considering another point in the spectrum when it comes to clothing.

As far-fetched as I think wearing camo for public and social events is I find wearing ultra-expensive apparel equally bizarre. I further consider dysfunctional clothing a waste of money.

In one ad, the Southern magazine reveals a “Southern” man in white jeans. White jeans? Sure white jeans will cover your skin. But, you can’t do much in white jeans and keep that purchase clean. White jeans make little sense to me. Another ad displays a couple dressed for winter or fall weather. The male model isn’t wearing socks. Really, if you need a sweater and your lady friend needs a warm wrap well the two of you are dressed for cold or at least cool weather. Believe me, I am wearing socks if it’s that cold.

Finally, one of the most odd ads is of a woman in camo. In this case, the camo is appropriate – she’s shown in a hunting situation. It’s an ad for a gun maker. What’s so odd are many things. She probably weights 100 pounds and she has a deer head mounted on a backpack she is wearing. She’s holding the rifle, sold by the gun maker, in her right hand while leaning and gripping a mountain ledge with her left. My guess is the photo was snapped seconds before she lost her balance and fell over.

Personally, when it comes to apparel my outfit is generally t-shirts and jeans. Both are comfortable. When the situation demands, I’ll clean up and put on ‘fancy’ clothes’ – all purchased at a respectable discount. I’ll even put on my Target brand camo gear when hunting – only not 100% of the time. Sometimes, I’ll hunt in jeans and a T-shirt.

There is clearly a large spectrum of what it is people like to wear. It’s just when folks go to extremes that I notice.

That Sight Tape Chore

I don’t own printer. I have not shot my arrows through a chronometer. I’ve forgotten how much they weight. I do know my draw weight.

When changing from my Elite to my Mathews it meant changing my sight. There are nice programs and apps that allow entry of select data and a personalized yardage tape can be created, displayed and printed. If you have the supplies and information a small price can be paid and you too can have the computer generated personalized yardage tape. Having missed that boat, I selected a tape the only way I know – shoot, record, shoot, record and repeat.

It is a tedious process. Even though I reuse the tapes I’ve purchased, every time I change things around there is just a tab bit of difference. Naturally, the more obsessed with getting tape and sight graduations perfect the more shoots need to be taken and it gets even more frustrating. There’s a fine line between the shot being off and the tape being not exactly right. I ended up getting it close enough and will refine it as the days where on.

A Stranger Came to Watch

While I was alone practicing at PGF Archery and Outdoors’ indoor range I heard someone come through the door behind me. I kept listening while preparing for the final arrow of the three I was shooting. Who ever had entered was just standing inside while I continued.

That final shot and the second where both X’s. The first was a nine on the old ‘big’ ten ring just outside the center ring on a 3-spot. Anyone not knowing the scoring could have interpreted the three shots as “Bull’s-eye’s.” They weren’t, they were two tens and a nine.

When I fired the last shot of that end I turned to see who had entered the range. By the door stood a stranger. A short, 5’6”ish, slightly pudgy, man wearing blue collar work clothes and a baseball cap.

Looking at me he said, “I couldn’t have done that with a rifle.” Well, holding a rifle and making those shots isn’t as easy as using something to rest it on while firing, so I figured that was his reference. I had no comment to his statement and remained silent on the topic of his marksmanship.

Having nothing to add I nodded then turned to retrieve my three arrows. As I was turning he said, “I heard you were a professional so I wanted to come in and watch you shoot.” Hearing that I was glad I hadn’t shot an 8 to dash his optimism in seeing someone that can shoot a bow.

Not really knowing how to respond and since I’d already not responded to his initial statement I said, “Well, it is a lot of work.” He stared at me looking like he expected more information or perhaps a word or two of wisdom. Neither was coming to mind.

It took me a few second to decipher his look and add a brilliant rejoinder. “Yes, I practice a lot, four to six hours a day,” was all I could offer. He appeared steadfastly unsatisfied. I thought some more and added, “Then, there’s sponsors, you have to get those and that’s a lot of work.”

The last comment was the hook. He’d taken the verbal bait. The man at the door fishes professionally and was at the shop to talk with Bill. Bill runs the store several days a week and is a professional fisherman. The little stranger went off onto one-man row over sponsors. It was enough to conclude our conversation – he’d talked himself out.

The rest of the morning practice deteriorated in a hurry. I was glad the interested observer had departed. I ended up shooting about 100 arrows that included three eights and a seven. On those shots it felt like the release was grabbing the loop.

I’d been shooting using a thumb release and when I reached for my hinge discovered I’d left it a home. I still switch back and forth between the two style releases. Like I told the fellow that had come in to watch, it takes a lot of practice.

Or, maybe the conversation with the pro-angler had gotten my mind on fishing and my release was hooking the line. Who knows? What did happen though was that I before I left I priced a couple of new rods and reels.