An archer’s day

Today I was able to concentrate on archery. The morning was devoted to target practice, in the afternoon it was hunting.

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Target at 20 yards

In order to practice outside I needed to set up a range. Using a tape measure I marked distances from 20 to 50 yards in 5-yard increments. The Block that I tacked a paper target was positioned onto a plastic chair. The chair was then wedged in the ground before a dirt mound backstop – just in case.

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Old fire wood marks the yardage
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Target at 50 yards

River, my dog, enjoys watching me shoot. On this day her attitude was exclusively play therefore she had to sit in the truck. She whined the entire time. After an hour of shooting and listening to River complain we headed home for lunch.

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River – not happy

Following a feast of Christmas leftovers Ray, my father-in-law, and I headed to the woods. We loaded the Polaris Ranger and hauled it away for the hunt. We’d stay out until dusk, the time our trail cams suggested we’d have luck. We’d each pre-selected an area to hunt. It had been raining and the ground, much of it is red clay, was filled with tracks. We could see recent passing of deer, pigs, coyote, raccoons and turkey. We were optimistic.

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Dropping Ray off at his site I drove the Ranger to the area I’d chosen. It was clear a lot of deer had recently been here.

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Sure beats four walls

It was too dark to shoot at 5:30PM. I’d neither seen or heard anything. The woods were quiet. The woods were also spectacular, cool, calming, and peaceful. Even though neither Ray nor I had seen anything we both enjoyed the afternoon.

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Riding in style

Being able to shoot and hunt is a great pleasure. Practice makes for better hunting when a shot is presented. Even when there isn’t a shot – an afternoon in the woods beats an afternoon at the office.

Measurement and monitoring

Part of my adventure with archery is recording the events, tournaments, training, science, and personalities I meet along the way. Brenda, my wife, she suggested I publish them on the web. The result of her advice has been this website.

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Fred Bear understood measurement and monitoring. It was part of his company’s research, engineering and quality control.

“If it is not measured, it is not monitored,” is often attributed to Peter Drucker. In fact, the first record of this observation is by William Thomson, the Scottish physicist also known as Lord Kelvin. Writing and creating frequent posts for this website takes hours almost everyday, some days less time than others. GoDaddy and others measure the work I do here.1 They measure and I monitor. There is little point in making this public if no one is interested. So, I monitor and review the data.

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Alexa2 ranks this website 9,055,298 in the world according to the frequency of visits. Being number 9.055 million, at first, doesn’t seem so great. However, Internetlivestats’ data indicates there are 1,155,205,776 websites and growing (yes that is ‘billion’).3 Those numbers begin to sound interesting. But, it must be taken into account that 75% of websites aren’t active. That leaves 288,926,444 (25%) of websites as active. This means Puttingitontheline is in the top 3.1% of the world’s most read websites. (The big sites include: Google, Facebook, Youtube, Amazon)

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I look forward to 2015. It will be my first year shooting as a professional. On this journey I’ll continue to record and publish the adventure. There will be new discoveries, new science, more characters and escapades. I appreciate the support each of you has given me by reading. I enjoy your comments. I love that this project is global and so many of you relate on many levels. Thanks.

Reference:

  • https://www.godaddy.com
  • http://www.internetlivestats.com/total-number-of-websites/
  • Users in Alexa’s global data panel base Alexa’s Traffic Ranks on the traffic data provided over a rolling 3-month period. A site’s ranking is based on a combined measure of Unique Visitors and Pageviews. The number of unique Alexa users who visit a site on a given day determines unique Visitors. Pageviews are the total number of Alexa user URL requests for a site. However, multiple requests for the same URL on the same day by the same user are counted as a single Pageview. The site with the highest combination of unique visitors and pageviews is ranked #1. Additionally, Alexa employs data normalization to correct for biases that may occur in their data.

Lesson with Coach Sean

The rain finally eased up. It will be back, soon. Prior to the break in the rain our daughter, Heather and our grandson, Sean, drove over from Winder. We’ll be at their house for Christmas along with our son-in-law, Bill. Bill didn’t make the trip; he was occupied preparing for Santa Claus’ visit tomorrow. This meant I’d be getting a much-needed lesson in archery from Sean.

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Coach Sean suggesting I take a break from writing and shoot my bow

Sean, four years old, is an expert in many areas. Archery is one of his specialties. He recommended we go outside and shoot. A serious shooter, his equipment includes a bow with suction cup arrows that sticks to the wall. His other bow drives an arrow that, “If you shoot it hard enough it whistles,” according to the pint sized Robin Hood.

As Sean tells it, neither of his parents mind when he shoots at the walls. While I questioned the accuracy of his claim he remained firm in his position.

My last lesson with Sean was several months ago. To be accurate, my last lesson in archery. Since that lesson he has coached my running. A master coach in track his commands to, “Speed it, Granddaddy, speed it!” were relentless during that session. That exercise took place the night before a competition in Savannah, GA. My effort to comply, albeit fun at the time, left me a surprisingly sore on race day.

Today, Sean was available to provide his insight into archery. According to Sean shooting an arrow is a matter of, “Pulling it back, then letting it go.”

Our lesson, during the short cessation of rain, took place in the driveway. Sean selected a 3-spot from the collection of targets arranged on a golf cart. Getting to the golf cart is a challenge. The cart is crammed into a two-car garage that houses the cart, a Bad Boy Buggy, a Polaris Ranger, a John Deer Trail Boss, and a Polaris Magnum 325. There is little room to maneuver to reach the golf cart. Sean darted between and around the ATV’s with little effort in his retrieval of a paper target.

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The garage, a warehouse of ATVs

Using a plastic chair (a style we buy to put into hunting blinds) he instructed me to attach the 3-spot to a Block Black crossbow target. Following his approval of the target placement we backed-up to 20 yards for the action.

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Receiving instruction on my arrows

Sean described the best manner in which to hold my bow. The he provided a demonstration of arm placement where he modeled an exact archer’s form.

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Lecture on arrow placement

As I prepared to shoot, Sean standing behind me, being keen on safety, he loudly announced, “Fire in the hole” as I took aim. His demands to “Fire” were as vigorous as his pronouncement to encourage more speed from me during running sprints.

Coach finally decided I’d shot enough for one practice and that he needed to play with our dogs. With that, archery was finished for the moment and Sean’s laps through the family room, kitchen and dining room, while being chased by a dog were underway. Thankfully, the rain had re-started and I wasn’t required to do wind sprints.

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Sean and Nixie in a blur of speed

P.S.: During the above activities Brenda, my wife, and Heather, our daughter and Sean’s mother were making a quick trip to the grocery. Sean elected to stay behind with his Granddaddy, me, and Great Granddaddy, Ray.  The photo below is what happens with Mama and Grandmama return from shopping.

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No running in the house

 

Rain, rain, rain…..

A little rain isn’t bad, hard rain for days isn’t the optimal weather for hunting. The land here in Georgia has a lot of red clay. This red clay, when soaked after days of rain is a mess. Four-wheel trucks get stuck and ATVs bog down in the crimson mire. So, we’ve been stuck indoors. (click the video to get an idea of the rain)

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The rain is going to last for several more days. We’re here for another twelve days. As soon as the rain eases and some of the water runs off we’ll be headed back into the woods.

Until then, I’ll set up a target on the covered deck and practice shooting at 20 yards.

Another good day of eating, shooting, football and running.

We drove into Washington, Georgia for lunch today. In the afternoon, it was time to practice, watch football and run.

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One of the many fine old Southern homes in Washington

The Talk of the Town Café, in Washington, is one of our local favorites; they serve gourmet “sammiches”, burgers, soups, salads and more for lunch. They also have specialty coffees, wine and great desserts. Today, we piled in for the Sunday buffet, which is a feast of great Southern food. Sadly, one plate is all I can handle. I expect I am one of the few people that eat the buffet and the café makes money.

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Talk of the Town Cafe

When we returned to Tignall I napped through the first quarter of the Falcons versus the Saints.   Too bad the Falcons haven’t played they way they did today all year. If they had there’d likely be a lot of happier Atlanta fans.

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Since we’re hunting tomorrow I sighted and practiced with my Mathews ZXT. Man, that is one nice short bow. I am temped to use it in the 3D tournament on Jan 4th.

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I finished the day’s activities running with River. We headed down a dirt road then turned onto trails that led into the woods. As it got dark sooner (today being the shortest day of the year) we left the woods while we could safely run out.

Another good day of eating, shooting, football and running. Not bad, not bad at all.

In Georgia to: hunt, run, bike, kayak, and shoot 3D

Brenda and I made it to Tignall, GA. With us we brought two mountain bikes – we both ride and the land we hunt, 679 acres, has great trails for bikes. I brought two bows, my Mathews Apex 7 and Mathews ZXT, one for a tournament and one for hunting. Our two dogs, River and Nixie, of course made the trip.

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“Are we there, yet?”

Upon arrival, I unpacked, while Brenda helped her dad, Ray, prepare an early dinner. It was too late to shoot, and dark, so after dinner River and I headed out for a run.

Here the terrain is rolling hills. We’d not gone 100 yards when River tore out after deer. The deer are everywhere, here. But, my hunt objective is wild pigs. The pigs that run wild here are abundant. What I am hoping to get is a couple of small gilts, which I think are best for eating.

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Trail cam from October

The after dinner run felt great after being stuck in the truck for eight hours. A bonus was that it was not cold. A friend, Chris back in Maryland, who is an archer and runner had posted that the temperature was 28° F. It was 52°F when I ran this evening.

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We’re here for the next few weeks. I am looking forward to hunting, running, cycling and kayaking. The trip will be topped off spending Christmas with our oldest daughter and her family in Winder. Then off to Social Circle, Georgia for the Buckeye 3D tournament.

Shooting, eating, and worn out dogs

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Warmed up and ready to shoot

We’re headed to Georgia in a few hours. Our last day in North Carolina until January 6th was a good one. We spent it shooting, eating and playing with dogs.

The day started with archery. Norman Mitchell and I met at the Soul Hunters indoor 3D range to practice. While there Woody popped in to shoot and check on a venison meal he was cooking in the oven on the side of the range. Cliff also came by to do some work, eat and talk.

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Norman, also ready to shoot.

This range is harder than it looks. From the line where we shoot the maximum distance is around 34 yards. The distance isn’t the issue; it is the size and angle of the targets. Some of these little critters have mighty small X’s. The subdued lighting makes finding the X difficult.

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One cool indoor range

Because I had to get back home to finish packing, for the trip to Georgia, I missed Woody’s stew. All I had time for was a sniff and a picture.

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Woody’s stew

Back at the house, I packed the truck while tossing sticks and footballs for the dogs. Not the most efficient way to pack, but fun and both dogs agreed with this inefficient packing method.

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Two tried dogs

 

The house in NC remains a construction zone so getting to Georgia has been a trip we looked forward to making. With the renovations we’ve been without a fully functional kitchen. Brenda and I got lucky when sympathetic friends; Jimmy and Amy, invited us over for dinner.

The meal was excellent – a dish that in fact had been one of my mother’s frequently prepared meals and my brother’s favorite. It was the perfect way to end a day in the country.

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Amy and Brenda

 

Renovations, shooting and running

Renovations of our property in New Hope, NC (Hertford) are coming along.  I’d like it finished so we can get on with our permanent move here and begin to have a bit more of a routine.  We don’t always get what we want and life at the moment is anything other than routine.

That doesn’t mean training is tossed.  One of the many nice things about living in NC is that I can walk out my back door and shoot.   I can also head out for a run and not be bothered by traffic or being leased to my dog, River.

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Busted arrows making good marking distances on the right of the photo

Today’s archery practice started by measuring, using a tape measure, distances in five-yard increments beginning at 20 yards and ending at 50 yards.  My pins for 45 and 50 yards are not exactly how I’d like them.  Basically, that means for 45 yards place the bottom pin just above the X and for 50 yards – guess.

At around 3:00 PM I decided to head out early for a run. In part because the weather was nice and I’d enjoy running in the daylight compared to the dusk or dawn runs I’ve been doing.  And, in part because the tolerance for adjusting my pins had reached a maximum level of patience and control. River, naturally, was up for the run and we left River Cove Lane and headed toward New Hope Road.

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During the run we encountered a school bus so River had to wear her leash until the coast was clear.  Other than that one bus, there wasn’t another vehicle of any sort to molest our run.

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With the house a construction site being outside is the best way to spend the day.  Shooting and running are well-suited pursuits for North Carolina.  I’d hoped to get in a bike ride, alas, I have no idea where my cycling shoes and helmet are packed.

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Great place to run

 

Back in New Hope, NC

We’re back in NC and our home remains a construction zone. The only sink that works is a mud sink in laundry room. Water is working for one tub so we can wash and drinking water is available from the refrigerator.

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We brought our outdoor furniture in to have a place to sit.

This project is supposed to last 6 weeks. It could conceivably finish on time or very close. There will be no room left untouched.

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My office: new paint, new blinds, new carpet, and customized closet.

The highlight the return to NC has been seeing Norman Mitchell. Hopefully we’ll get to shoot a bit on Thursday. Today’s 67°F temperature was quite nice. Shooting outside in December while wearing a short sleeve shirt of pretty good.

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Norman shooting on an indoor 3D range

Last Race of 2014

On December 7th I competed in my final archery competition of 2014. A week later I ran in my last race of 2014. Both ended on high notes despite the low temperatures.

On Saturday December 13, 2014, race day in Stevensville, Maryland the wind was blowing and the temperature was a brisk 35°F. When I arrived at the race I was pleased to find registration was next a stadium parking lot. It would be a short walk to sign-in and to the starting line.

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Runners at the pre-registered sign in window

The race officials were using the stadium ticket counter to check-in runners. They were offering hot chocolate to everyone; I declined not wanting the beverage sloshing around in my gut during the run.

There were two distance races a 5K and a 10K. I’d signed up for the 5K. After signing in, I headed back to my truck and its heater. It was too cold for me to stand around until the gun sounded.

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Back in the truck, hydrating and staying warm

Sitting in my truck I noticed the past seven days had left it a mess. It was filled with sports gear. In the front sat my gear for running and in the back a bow, arrows, paper targets and other equipment used in archery. It would have to be uncluttered after the race.

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Panorama of a mess

As the gun time neared runners began emerging from the warmth of their vehicles. A local IMG_2642coach offered a brief warm-up session to the contenders as they approached the start line. The event was close to Christmas and many participates wore costumes. One of my favorites was a youngster, there with his parents, dressed as an elf.

Despite the warm-up session, I was not warm. On the starting line, the 10K runners lined up in front of the 5K runners. When the gun sounded I was all too happy to get moving – it was run, freeze, or get back in the truck.

I’d under dressed so I decided to go as fast as possible my motivation the warm cab of my truck. This paid off and as I passed through some of the 10K runners. I hit the 5K turn around and headed home for a 1st place finish (my age group, 13th overall).

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Chasing the faster runners

First place prize was a Christmas stocking filled with goodies. In addition to the race t-shirt, which I received when I signed in, the stocking had another t-shirt. It also held a nice pair of athletic socks, a scented candle, mint candies, a discount coaching coupon, and a very nice beer mug.

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Loot from my win

Rolling into winter, from November, I’d competed in three races taking a 3rd, a 2nd and finally a 1st place finish, respectively. These races matched my archery tournament finishes, the last three aligned exactly with the races. A great way to finish the final six weeks of the sports season.