Setting up the Axcel Achieve CX

During indoor competition I’ve used the Axcel Achieve CX for the past year. It is pretty simple to use when there is only one distance to shoot. For 3D tournaments, things become a bit more complex – at least for me.  With a 4X magnification on the sight it seemed likely that if I could use it properly it would be better than pins alone – this came home to me during the last two 3D tournaments.

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Axcel Achieve CX

In Georgia, I shot in the Open class with pins. Only once (or twice) did I seriously misjudge the distance. You can’t misjudge by 5 (or more) yards and expect to do well.

In Georgia, the others, in the Open Class, all had adjustable sights and magnification. The longest shot was only 47 yards and I hit it well. Nevertheless, there were many targets beyond 35 yards where magnification might have helped.

The next tournament was an indoor 3D competition where, in the bow hunter class, archers were prohibited the use of binoculars. The furthest foam animal was only out 34 yards, but the lighting led me to believe a 4X magnification would have helped.

The Axcel CX sight is fairly easy to set. First, take a couple of reference shots then match a yardage tape to the graduated scale on the sight. For this exercise I took numerous shots from 20 to 60 yards in 5-yard increments. (I have that kind of time.)

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Sight side with the graduated elevation scale

Next, choose the yardage tape that most matches the graduated scale values. My bow is slow (50 lbs, 26 inch draw – you can see the arch on my shots with ease) so the corresponding tape was the largest in the adhesive backed yardage scales included with the sight. It was a relief that the yardage on the tape matched so well with the graduations on the sight for all tested increments.

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Sight side with the corresponding yardage tape applied.

In practice using  the Axcel sight and 4X magnification has been fun. My pins are best at distances of 50 yards and less (really best at 35 or at least that is where I am best). Beyond 50 yards, with pins, it is as much instinct as skill because the center ring is impossible to visualize. (One reason we archers have the best ‘working memory’ around). While an eight or ten hit on an animal will kill it, those scores won’t win tournaments (especially when summed with the 5 that occasionally pops up).

The past few days practicing with the Axcel CX and 4X magnification were rather cool. The additional confidence, at known yardage, and clearly seeing the center of the target is a treat. I am looking forward to giving the rig a try in my next tournament.

Where there is a will, there is a way.

There was another short break in the rain here on the river. The ground is soaked and the wind continues to whip white caps across the water. It has warmed up to 35°F. There was a way to shoot!

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(IMG_2862 is a short clip of the rain – it might play if you click it)

We have two storage sheds on our property. Both are at the limit on capacity housing some of the furniture and other items moved into them for the on-going renovations underway on our home. Adjusting the contents of one of these sheds I’d be able to stand inside it and shoot out.

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The target was, from the cleared area of the shed, a modest 25 yards away. The benefit of the shed was being able to stand shielded from the wind and blowing mist.

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This wasn’t my opinion of the best practice range, but not bad considering the weather. Where there is a will there is a way.

 

Rainy night in Georgia

It has rained a lot here in Georgia. Rain is better than snow. You don’t see snow when the temperature is in the 50’s and 60’s. I spent last winter in the cold and snow. To Brenda I said, “This is the last winter I spend up north.” In my opinion, North Carolina is too cold. So, we’re hanging out in Georgia. Ray Charles’ cover song, “Rainy Night in Georgia” has frequently been on my mind.

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Shooting on the deck

Shooting in the rain is a mess. Still, I needed to shoot if for nothing more than to work on form. We have a pretty long deck here is I set up a new target at on end of the deck and shot from the other. The new target was a Christmas gift from my daughter, Heather.

My top pin is set to 20 yards; on the top deck I have only about 15 yards of cover. The close shots will help on those small short distance 3D varmints I come across from time to time.

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The rain finally eased up and I was able to head to my makeshift range. It was muddy and warm on the range. It certainly beats cold and snow.

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