On Sunday March 22nd, the Beaufort County Archery Club, near Washington, NC, held its second 3D shoot of 2015. The drive to the range from Hertford was, as usual, a picturesque trip through rural eastern North Carolina. River, my lab, who’d loaded herself into my Ford F-150 and made the trek with me. Once there, she made a few new friends and so did I.
On the warm-up range I began the game of finding others to shoot with on the course. I noticed a guy shooting alone and asked if he was waiting on a group. He didn’t have a group so we began putting together a quartet. Within a short time we’d added two others and our newly minted a band of four was on the challenging course.
Let me qualify what I mean by challenging. This was my second time at the Beaufort County Archery Club’s range and what I’ve learned is that they don’t shy away from yardage. The scores posted after the first shoot averaged 157. The Pro average was 189 and the bow hunter average was 160. (Twenty targets)
Our group held two shooters taking aim from the white stakes, 45 yards maximum, and two from the red stakes, 40 yards maximum. It seemed the white stake distance variance was usually on the long side. Shooting with pins and hoping for 12’s is a haul from 45 to 50 yards. But, long shots are so much fun and increase the challenge!
The event gathered a lot of archers. By stake 6, our group, Angelo, Carlson, John and I decided we’d cut over to the back side of the range and shoot targets 15 – 20 in hopes the congestion would thin when we returned for targets 7 – 14. The planned worked and we held a decent pace.
Our troop harmonized, quickly. It wasn’t long before there was good humor and friendly exchange of legends, accolades and advice. Despite the week’s prior rain we’ve had here on the east coast the range was high and dry for the most part. However, getting off the beaten path, for example in search of a rebellious arrow, would land a stray in mud, muck and swamp water within a matter of a few feet.
During the day I ran into Phillip and his son Hunter who I’d shot with at the Pitt County Wildlife Club last week. True to their form they were all smiles. Hunter was still finding humor in the prior week’s “turkey butt shot.”
Archers that put it on the line during 3D competition are as a rule good folks. Aside from having to be accurate with a bow they must be good at judging distance. All of them have good days and better days. Among them there seems to be an unstated understanding that a good shot or bad shot can be yours at any stake. As such, the people on 3D ranges are for the most part pleasant, humble, and generous. The crowd at the Beaufort County shoot today and the guys I shot with exemplified what is best about sport.