I’d been upstairs at my desk working out a plan. The plan completed I headed downstairs. My wife, Brenda, was sitting on a couch in our sunroom trying to watch a recording of “48 Hours” as I passed through on my way outside. “I made a game, I’ll be out back shooting if you need me,” I explained. Brenda, remote control in hand aimed at the television responded with a bored, “Okay.”
Brenda and I are in our mid-60’s. We’re not interested in testing our immune systems against the Covid-19 even though I suspect we’ve already done so and passed. We don’t know for sure if we’ve had the virus and getting a test to discover whether or not we’re loaded with the proper antibodies remains undone. So, we social distance and find ways to break the boredom.
The social distancing is more of a burden for Brenda than it is for me. Many of the sport activities I enjoy, over the years, have become exercises I can do alone. Brenda, on the other hand, teaches yoga. Her yoga studio is closed and she’s less inclined to practice yoga solo than I am to run, ride, and shoot without company.
The created game I’d made was simple: Twenty 3D targets, no warm up, score and review.
You might think,’why not take a warm-up?’ Well, most of the time I do warm-up. Prior to a tournament or scoring practices, I’ll shoot a dozen or so arrows at various known distances to verify my sightings for the lighting and loosen up my arms and shoulders. However, there have been tournaments where a warm-up might not have been possible for one reason or another. Not having a warm-up is one of the situations you can plan for and practice for when it does occur.
I ended up with a score of 202. The average per arrow was 10.1 points. An average of 10.1 might sound good, but to win at many tournaments in the Senior Hunter division 10.4 is a minimum required for a top 3 finish. There are times when 10.8 points per arrow average is needed to be in one of the top positions.
Senior hunter division, for anyone who does not know, means short stabilizer and pins used for sighting. You shoot a ‘hunting’ style bow setup. The maximum distance, for ASA, is 40 yards. The IBO counterpart is 35 yards.
You can see on the score paper photo two dots next to ‘Deer Old’ and ‘Med Boar.’ On those shots, a 12 and a 10, respectively, the dots represent absolutely lucky shots. The arrows could have just as easily have been a miss. With both, the shot went off at a point where I’d lost my focus. I had been holding for the release and my mind sort of went blank. Not that good kind of alpha one brainwave pattern blank, the bad kind of mental blackout.
The ‘C’ next to the last target means 12 points for a center ring. The last target is such a small coyote that, prior to scoring, made the determination to go with a center 12.
Reviewing the targets you might notice how I’ve tried to make them interesting. Many of them are surrounded by trees that create a higher degree of difficulty. Still, there are enough of the long open shots to match up with what we see during competition. There’s also an abundance of small targets. The population of small targets is purely the result of target pricing.
I need to shoot a few of the targets more than once to get 20 shots. On those I take a different angle so I’m not simply repeating the prior shot. I only have 16 3D targets. I have space for four more. Perhaps, those potential new targets will appear after my US Economic Stimulus money arrives.
Keeping the average distance and average score per arrow up, in both instances, is tough with the abundance of small targets on the range. In this case the average distance was 31.25 yards. Shooting small targets, like mosquitoes, badgers and rabbits, at long yardages is unrealistic. First, I’ll probably never see them in a major event and second I’m running short on 3D arrows. I only have 8 remaining functional 3D arrows. No point in taking a chance on wasting an arrow.
The javelina is small and it was set at a distance of 32 yards for this game. I will shoot the javelina out to 40 yards a lot. That little target seems to be a favorite used to show off real estate. A couple of years ago I did see the badger at 40 yards over in North Carolina. I’ve not seen the badger since. The javelina, on the other hand, will pop-up at maximum range, secured on a log, in some dark hole, there to embarrass you every weekend.
I haven’t bought any new 3D arrows in three years. Over the course of 36 months I’ve lost a few and broken more. This past week I lost the tips out of four arrows, left behind when I pulled the arrow free of foam. I had two tips in my shed among surplus archery parts and those have been loaded. There are two more arrows without a tip. Getting a couple of tips will bring me to 10 useable arrows.
In 3D you only need one arrow most of the time. Occasionally, you will lose a tip, get your arrow broken by another archer, and rarely fire off a miss then bye bye arrow. The biggest problem in creating this dwindling pool of 3D arrows is, during practice, shooting more than one arrow at the same spot. You do lose a lot of nocks that way as well as the intermittent Robin Hood which might cost you two arrows. Three years ago I had 24 3D arrows. Time to bite the nock and buy some more regardless of economic stimulus relief.
Granted, this was fun even if it isn’t as much fun as shooting with other folks. But, it beats the heck out of trying to find something on TV to watch.