I went into this shoot feeling really good. It didn’t last long. There is a lot so say about shooting uphill and downhill. Living on the coast nearly all my shots are on level or nearly level ground. Mountains and hills within mountains certainly add a new dimension to archery.
These archers that live in areas where they can practice on ranges with steep slopes have a practiced ability to find a foothold and stand steady were in their element. Some of these guys were like mountain goats the way they could hang on a steep incline. For me, I was mostly hoping, on many shots, not to slip down while taking aim.
There are two pro classes here: those shooting with a fixed pin hunting rig and those with long stabilizers and adjustable scopes. We shot on the same range; so all the stakes were either a max distance of 45 yards or 50 yards. The hunting rigs have a max distance of 45 yards.
On more than one occasion the group using the pro hunting setup ( 45 yard max) was placed further back than the pros using the ‘unlimited’ arrangement. This was seriously one difficult range and the IBO really setup challenging targets. More than once I’d get to a stake and need a minute or two to find the foam critter. Seriously, a brown turkey, partially exposed behind a log with a tree behind it, up a hill, surrounded by smaller trees, 36 yards away – that’s tough. (And for me an 8, off a bit to the right)
The group I shot with were all veteran pro archers. By that I mean none had been shooting less than 7 years with me as the exception. In fact, one of the scorekeeper’s IBO number was in the very low 8000s. Mine, I was the other scorekeeper, is over 91,000.
These guys shot better than me today. On the level or nearly level targets I definitely held my own. But, every target that required a major bend at the waist, well I was taken to school.
Despite their efforts to school me, the other guys had a day of managing tough shots. Our group had at least one very high score (probably in the top 3 at the end of the day) and even though there were 5 in our group we didn’t create a backup. I think the hike through the woods was so difficult that it was taking enough time to trek from stake to stake that crowding wasn’t a problem. Honestly, on some walks between stakes our group stopped and took a break.
It was a long hard day on the range. Looking for some redemption tomorrow.