Sunday was my first outdoor 3D shoot of the year. The Down East Archery Coalition began their 3D season a week or so ago. Last week I didn’t shot their 3D event because it was the weekend of the NC State Indoor Championship. I shoot indoors in Advance, NC.
Over the past few months my primary focus has been on indoor tournaments at 18-meters. All of in preparation for the National Championships next week. My bow is about as good as I am going to get it and I didn’t want to mess with adjusting the sight for 3D arrows. Still I wanted to shoot in the 3D tournament.
What I did was put pins and a short stabilizer on my old Mathews Apex 7, shot it for a few hours the day before, Saturday, and decided to compete in the Bowhunter division. The maximum yardage for that group is 40 yards.
With the pins, having been a quick assembly, things get a little dicey at 40 to 45 yards. Practicing yesterday my arrows were dropping a bit between 40 and 45 yards. What the heck, 40 was the maximum and I’d play it by ear once I got there.
When I arrived I met a friend, Angelo, and asked if I could shoot with him. Angelo said sure and that he had a buddy on the way. Our pre-shoot goal became getting on the range before it got crowded.
Mike, a traditional archer, also joined our group to make a quartet. Angelo’s earlier mentioned friend, sorry I forgot his name, had a problem with his bow and left the group after 3 targets in order to make what repairs he could at the range.
Because the event started at 10:00 AM I made certain to bring something to eat during the shooting. One thing for sure, a hungry archer isn’t necessarily an accurate archer. A 10:00 AM start time means skipping lunch. Breakfast at 06:30 then skipping lunch often leads to gastronomic rumblings or even down right revolt.
Around 11:00 AM I reached for my packed Cliff Bar snack. It wasn’t there. Despite being hungry, I shot pretty well. Not my best, but not bad. Since I was a bit cold to 3D I aimed primarily for 10’s. A few times I went for a 12 and had limited success. I hate missing a 12 by hitting low – 8s suck. Ten is your friend.
Despite having not shot the Apex 7 in a while it felt good. My rights and lefts were fine; my yardage was a bit problematic – again not horrible.
The Pitt County Wildlife Club, which hosted the shoot, seems extremely proud of their real estate and show it off. We had a fair share of long shots. Two of them crossed water making it a little more challenging on distance estimates.
The two most difficult shots were a coyote and the bonus. The coyote was facing the stake in a thick tight hole of foliage. The light was to our faces putting the target in complete darkness. It wasn’t a long shot, 23 yards, but there was no way to identify the center ring. To make matters worse it was a very narrow target with small rings. Our group, at that point down to three archers, did well walking away from the stake with a 12 and two 10s.
The second most difficult shot was the bonus shot. Even though the max distance for bowhunters is 40ish this target was behind a fallen tree out closer to 45ish. That bonus shot didn’t help me at all.
By getting on the range early we completed it in two and a half hours. The course is essentially a mile long out and back. The first 5 targets were in the open, long, with a couple targets on the edge of or over water. After that targets was sitting in dense forest. All in all a challenging course that is also one of the most scenic since it runs along the Neuse River.
While walking in the woods, Mark pointed out on the Pine Trees just how high the watermark was from Hurricane Matthew. The watermark, a distinct mud line, at 300 yards from the river was up around 7 feet. The Pitt County Club house remained closed due to the damage caused last October.
Completing the course, in good time, we turned in our score cards, then I got a hamburger. I was starving. It was the second best archery range burger I’ve eaten. The best remains those prepared by Clyde at Mid-Del Archery in Delaware.