I’d planned to start at 70 yards (not meters). Then work out to 70 meters. It was cool with the temperature around 51°F. That would have felt pretty good except for the wind. Morning practice was going to be a challenge.
It was windy. The wind was blowing steady at 12 mph with gusts up to 28 mph. I can shoot through that – I thought.
The problem was the gusts blew my target over twice. On the second crash, one of those gusts, which felt like more than 28 mph, I moved to a heavier target.
The heavier target is smaller and without the overhang clearance of the larger less wind adaptable target. I have lots of trees along the range lanes and some still need to be trimmed. So, I moved closer. It was still frustrating.
My light introductory level recurve arrows, Easton Vector 1000s, aren’t ideally suited for gusts of wind. Trying to time a steady wind with the intermittent gusts was good practice should I, or rather when I, find myself competing is such conditions. Before any major tournament I imagine I’ll need an arrow upgrade.
I got in 70 arrows before I had to move on. I’d lost some time setting up a blown over target twice so I didn’t get the 90-arrow practice completed. This afternoon the wind is forecast to drop to 6 mph. That should be a more humane practice.
When Hurricane Sally’s remnants passed over us there was a lot of rain. There was a pause in the rain around the usual time I go running every morning. Taking a chance, River and I, headed out to the trails.
The rain was only a slight drizzle as we left our yard, passing through a fence gate to start pacing through the woods. Our first path led to ponds of water that aren’t usually on the path. Back tracking we found a clear path and headed deeper into the woods.
Less than a mile in the drizzle was getting louder in the trees. Gambling we ran on. The gamble was a loss. Within minutes the rain was a torrent. We turned around and ran for home.
There was no point in sprinting we were going to get soaked no matter what we did. River did pick of the pace. She’d gallop ahead, pause to look back to make certain I was still behind her. Once we made eye contact she was off again.
As soon as we reached home the rain slacked up a bit. Nevertheless, both dog and man were drenched. Worse for wear were my tired old Nike shoes.
Those shoes had finally given up the ghost. They were 15 months old! The soles had been re-glued three times. The black rubber bottom heels were worn to the white foundation of the bottom rubber. But, man did they feel nice running trails – they were seriously broken in.
Slogging through puddles had been the last gasp of the amateur shoe repairs. Still, 15 months for Nike’s least expensive (or near about) shoes, at $50.00 a pair via Amazon, is a deal. Those shoes didn’t owe me a thing.
Rather than pull out the Elmer’s and try to bleed another few weeks from the shoes I guessed it was time to reorder. Coincidentally, my most recent issue of Runner’s World (RW) had arrived in the mail a few days prior to Sally’s arrival. On page 63 RW has an article meant to help me, “22 Best Shoes You Can Buy Right Now”.
Pictures of sleek sneakers are runners’ porn. There was a time I invested in really extravagant shoes thinking I’d shave a few minutes over a marathon or salvage a toenail. I don’t race beyond an occasional 5K so my elaborate spending isn’t necessary. In fact, it probably never was needed.
The average price of the 22 best shoes, as advertised in RW, is $140.68. Shamelessly, I have spent that and more on a single pair of running shoes. In fact, I have two pair of big money shoes still in their boxes. I don’t wear them; they are too expensive to waste for everyday training. I’ll save them for that day I might enter a race, again. (Even though I expect they won’t help me run any faster at this point. At least I can still look serious)
I’ve even got a pair of old track shoes. I raced wearing those in just one race years ago at the US Track & Field Masters Indoor National Championship. Now, they are just a relic from days gone by.
There’s no way I’m forking out $140.68 for shoes when my old $50.00 pair lasted 15 months. I went back to Amazon to reorder those same shoes.
It took a second to change that plan. Those $50.00 shoes are now $80.00. As a running shoe goes the $50.00 spent was okay. Certainly, the $50.00 shoes were not worth $80.00. The toe box was just a bit off, the rubber sole hard, and heel was sloppy. Fair for $50.00 but a rip off at $80.00.
Instead, I searched and found a pair of ASICS for $45.00. ASICS is a trainer that in the past I’ve used for 1000s of miles of running. I invested the $45.00; the new shoes should be here in a few days.
Years ago, well more than a decade, I was running in ASICS. A fellow I was working with on a project was one of their athletes. He’d won a Gold Medal in the Olympics and his ASICS shoes looked comfortable to me so I tried a pair. (Not his, I bought my own)
They were just fine. I ran wearing them for many years. (ASICS never did contact me with a contract.Do they sponsor archers?)
When I was running in high-level events I did pay a premium for shoes. Now a-days, I run a few miles each morning because I enjoy it. The old Nikes had about 1600 mile in them. That is a heck of lot more miles than I once got out of a pair of shoes running roads. Running roads I’d have been lucky to get 600 miles out of a decent pair of running shoes. Trails, at least mine that are mostly pine straw covered hard pack, have been generous to the life of my shoes.
I’ll date the $45.00 ASICS when they arrive and see whether they hold up as well as the $50.00 Nikes did.
The old Nikes will go to the trash, soon. I always takes me a few days to say goodbye to old friends that have supported me.
We live in the country. From my yard I can hear cows bellowing, coyotes howling, and smell chicken poop fertilizer when applied to fields nearby. Within 0.3 miles there’s a barn going up for horses with 11 acres for their pasture. At 0.8 miles there’s a cow pasture in addition to pre-existing pasture about 0.2 miles away. Throughout the day and night there are critters passing across our property.
The other day as I was walking ‘out back’ with my dogs we intersected with a roll of armadillo. There was a chase. The big dog, River, lost interest soon. The little dog, Nixie, a dachshund was in the fight for good. She’d separated one armadillo from the roll and was working to send the armored beast to its maker. That was a struggle requiring human intervention.
With the clearing of more farmland nearby many local non-human residents have migrated to our property hoping to set up camp. Wanting to see how active our land is becoming with these displaced animals I put out two trail cameras.
After only a few days this is who’d walked past to be photographed:
The range at today’s Georgia ASA State 3D Championship qualifier was awesome. On a scale of 1 to 5 where 5 is the most realistic set this one would have been a 5. Another bonus is the shoot was only 30 minutes from where I live. In fact, I’d had it on my calendar for months.
There was some doubt about going because of the Covid-10 problem. I went anyway and did my very best to social distance.
When I checked it I wore a mask and gloves. I signed in with my own pen. I had triple checked that the event hadn’t been canceled before I took the time and chance to compete. It remained, un-canceled, on the list of qualifiers at the ASA website the night before the event.
A number of qualifiers had already been canceled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. I wrote the ASA asking if a waiver for people wanting to compete in the State Championship might be warranted for 2020. I didn’t get a reply. So, it was this qualifier or more than likely I’d have to skip the 2020 ASA State Championship.
There are two other state qualifiers still available aside from today’s. Each has problems connected with attending. One means a long drive that goes through Atlanta to get to west Georgia the other a longer drive that means an overnight stay. No, the one remaining shoot for a qualification to compete at the State Championship was the one today.
In 2017 I won an IBO State 3D Championship. The IBO has an age group that more narrowly fits my age bracket. The following 2 years, competing in the Senior Hunter Division under ASA rules I’ve taken 2 third places finishes. Under the ASA rules I compete with archers of a broader age category. I compete against archers whose ages more closely match my adult children’s ages. I don’t really mind the only handicap I have is vision looking at dark targets in dark holes. As we age our eyes don’t pick up light as well.
The Covid-19 problem encouraged me switch my focus to 3D because those events are outside and more easily controlled for social distancing. Practices going into today’s event have been good. The actual competition went well, too. I ended up at 10.3 points per arrow. Not great and not bad. An average of 10.3 generally lands an archer in the Senior Hunter division in the top 4 or 5 spots and maybe higher at the State level. When I got home I took the distances, I’d written them down after each shot, and found that the average yardage was 33.2 yards.
Turns out it didn’t really matter. The tournament, I learned as I was leaving the event, was no longer an ASA qualifier. It was a tremendous let down. Thankfully, it was a short drive.
Occasionally, it is nice to switch up training schedules. Over the past week I’ve made some alterations in my training plans. So far, it seems like a nice change.
Prior to the change my training went like this: run/archery mornings, cycling/archery afternoons. Essentially this was it without the detail. Last week I changed to: Run/cycling morning, archery afternoons. Still without the details.
So far it has been fun. It is like doing 2/3 of a duathlon. That got me thinking about doing a duathlon. If I could find one that started at 0900 that was nearby I’d probably enter. I did find one that nearby that started at 0700. Transition and packet pick-up opened at 0500 on race day. Transition closed at 0630. Start of the race is at 0700.
Even a local event with these start times means getting out of bed at 0430 to prepare to race. I can do it; I’ve done it countless times. But, do I want to do it again?
One really nice thing about archery is the start times. Local events start during humane hours. It is one of my favorite things about archery. You can’t start too early for outdoor events because you can’t see the targets. A built in cushion for decent start times.
Over decades I did get up at those puke of dawn hours to race. I miss the racing; I do not miss the early mornings. Even training meant my typical wake up time of 0530 including the weekends.
I will say I do get out to run nearly every morning by 0800. Now with the added cycling that follows I won’t finish until 1030. For two and a half hours I admit it is really nice. Knock several hours off that 0800 run time and it becomes less appealing.
The afternoon archery exclusive is also nice. I can shoot without thinking about cycling. So far, a pretty nice switch.
When I practice 3D I try to make the shots realistic to what I might find on a range during a tournament. Some days I work long shots. By long shots I mean distances from 32 to 43 yards. The short 32 yards target is a coyote in a hill. There’s a tree that blocks me from increasing the range. Today, I tried to shoot at distances that seemed typical for the target as I might see it during an actual tournament. I didn’t finish well.
Prior to the tournament style practice I warmed up from 20 to 50 yards before heading to the first 3D target. A few days ago I started without a warm-up to practice for the time when I’ll not have a chance to get a feel for my bow before scoring. It happens.
The weather was ideal temperature wise but it was windy with gusts in the 20 mph range. I wish I could blame today’s results on the wind. I can’t. Once in the woods the foliage was enough to diminish the impact of wind.
It takes about an hour and an half to walk my range shooting targets once and moving on. The warm-up took nearly an hour. I shot 40 arrows during my warm-up. Warm-up felt good. I use a 5-spot on a bale and figure if the arrow is in the white it is probably a 10 on a foam animal.
Starting out on my first target a black bear at 30 yards was a 12. The next was a strutting turkey at 37 yards for a 10. Then a badger at 30 yards scoring an 8. I ended up with one 5 on a tiny backyard coyote from 21 yards. The final tally was a disappointing 185. We all know an average of 9.25 points per arrow will not land you in a top position.
The average distance only 29.8 yards, a factor mostly associated with the abundance of small targets I have on the range. That and I didn’t shoot further out than 40 yards.
The positive from this is I didn’t break any more arrows. (This practice used a bow hunter rig. Practice geared to ASA Senior Hunter, 40 yard max distance.)
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.
I am fortunate that I have a 3D range on my property. When ever I want I can head out to my woods and practice. Admittedly, my urge to shoot foam diminished in 2019 because it became too expensive to make the drives to many of the tournaments. But, it is truly refreshing to take a break from shooting dots and shoot foam.
When we lived in Maryland, when I’d just started shooting a bow (6 years, 4 months, and 11 days ago as I write), I could drive to a 3D tournament every weekend in less than 45 minutes each way. Heck, I could shoot in Delaware in not time flat. (In those States every 3D was an IBO 3D)
In North Carolina the longest ‘routine’ drive for me was an hour and there were often multiple events on any weekend during 3D season. Of course, if I wanted I could drive further to attend other 3D events and I often did make the longer trek. We lived on the coast and to head to city like Asheville you can plane on 5 1/2 hours of non-stop driving. We’re actually closer to Asheville now that we live in Georgia than we were while living in North Carolina by 2 1/2 hours.
North Carolina is a large state. NC ranks 28th among US states in size. Georgia is even larger at 24th. In Georgia there are plenty of tournaments if I am willing to extend my driving time.
If I’m going to a tournament that is 2 hours one way I’d rather take the camper and spend a night or two. What I do for a Saturday tournament is leave on Friday, set up camp then hike in the campground or State Park. On Saturday shoot then back to the campsite. I might cookout or go to an interesting local restaurant. Then pack up and head home on Sunday. It is fun but it ain’t free.
I know a lot of folks consider 4 hours of driving to shoot a 3D event is easy. I’ve done it myself. But, I’d rather not spend 4 hours on the road to shoot a 4 hour event. That’s the entire day gone for 20 shots (we’re all ASA here in Georgia for those IBO 30 target readers). No, if I’m driving 2 hours one way it needs to be a destination event where I can camp and do other activities for the effort.
Georgia may have other nearby 3D events I’ve not yet discovered that might reduce the travel. Too many times, so far in Georgia, I’ve hooked up the camper and made a weekend of attending a tournament. Yes, it is fun. It is also expensive.
Since I retired admittedly I’ve gotten a bit tighter with my purse than I was when I had a flowing disposable income. Every purchase I make I consider the cost and benefit far more closely than during pre-retirement. Studying my family’s life expectancies statistically I’ve got 3 to 4 decades left before I kick the bucket. So, rushing off to every potential cash burning archery tournament could in the long run hurt.
Having my own 3D range helps with the fun and costs nothing more than wear and tear on targets and range maintenance. Most of my targets were purchased before I retired and a number were hand me downs. Each year I fill the old targets with spray in foam and they’re good for another year.
Every once in a while I move them around the range to change my view of the target. I also change the shooting position to keep practice interesting.
For example, during the last practice I moved so that I needed to shoot a very clean shot to send an arrow between tightly grouped trees in order to reach the target. Another time I stood at such an odd angle that arrows either hit the mark, banked off a tree or buried themselves in leaves. To be sure these tough shots have cost me more than one arrow. On this day no arrows were sacrificed.
Some of the shots I create I doubt I would ever see; some do represent interesting shots I have seen. Whether or not 2020 becomes a total Covid-19 bust remains undetermined. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy shooting alone.
2020 competitive season compared to 2019 is loading up with an overall 5% drop in scoring at 50 meters. My 18 meter scores dropped 4.3%. My 5-spot average dropped 0.5% with a greater drop on the X count, 15%.
I have no idea why this is happening. But, it seemed a break might be in order.
By break I mean changing from shootings dots and popping some foam.
Last year, 3D was so frustrating and disappointing it slipped from my routine. The depressed 3D season had nothing to do with results. It was entirely a matter of being able to reach tournaments. This year the Covid-19 has decimated the spring competitive season. The way I’ve been shooting that is fine with me.
Rather than paying for competitive humiliation my shame remains on my range. So, switching over to 3D for a break wasn’t going to have me projecting sheepish grins towards fellow archers as they scored my 8s and 5s. Even a miss could remain hidden from everyone other that the guilty party.
Let me say right here how a couple of hours flinging arrows at faux animals while hiking through the woods can be refreshing. The back and forth hike over a worn trough to pull arrows out of dots can become mind numbing. Fresh uncomplaining faces of foam critters waiting to catch arrows are a nice break.
On top of it all I didn’t perform as poorly as I’d expected. I returned from the woods with the same number of arrows that were carried into the woods.
Pleasantly surprised I averaged 10.2 points per arrow. There were two bogies that screwed me up, an eight and a five. I shot 40 targets at an average of 31.1 yards using a bow hunter tight (short stabilizer and pins). My skewed collection of targets, more small ones, rabbit and bobcat sized, does reign in the distance.
I prefer using a hunting style rig shooting 3D. I’ve used a scope and long stabilizers for 3D and it isn’t as much fun for me. When I do that it feels like 3D field archery. I love field archery but it is nice to add another disciple to shooting using a hunting setup.
Today, 3D was a welcome break. I can’t image how many 3D events I’ll gather in my quiver in 2020. But, it is enjoyable to go out and play. (Sorry Levi, I beat you again today)
The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in our Georgia schools being closed. We live in an area that has an ample supply of kids. The surrounding kids continue to increase in number as many of the adults near us are breeders. There are quite a few farms and ranches in our rural mix and I suppose the adults are planning ahead regarding labor.
Our neighbors aren’t on top of us, but close enough to hear school-free children playing. Those nearby neighbors and the pile of kids that are grandchildren provide all sorts of insight into parenting. These whirling dirvishes, the children not the parents (although the applicability is situation dependent in association with the parents), range in age from 4 to 9. Here are a few of the vocalizations from adults trying to ride herd:
Stop it you’re going to get hurt
Stop running in the house
Put that down, it might bite you
Go get that dog
Stop hitting your brother
Leave your sister alone
Get down out of that tree before you fall
Yes, you look like a princess
Stop that or you can go outside and play
That cat is going to scratch the fire out of you
Stop that or get back inside this house
Where’s your brother
Give that back to your sister
Quit poking her in the eye
Get your fingers out of his face
Stop playing in that fire
Yes, that’s a tick – go get me the tweezers
Get that thing out of this house (your guess is as good as mine)
Don’t pick your nose
Don’t wipe boogers on your brother
Did you cut your hair?
Where are your clothes?
Don’t stand in that chair
Take that out of your mouth
Give him back his ball
Put that stick down
Don’t throw that at him anymore
Why are you crying?
No shooting in the face (Nerf gun)
Leave those chickens alone
Don’t pick at your food –eat it
Stop bothering the dog
Granddaddy, Mom is making me do school work
Who said you could do that?
That’s not a toy
What happened to your shirt?
Where are your shoes?
Well, clean that up
Move back from the swing before it hits you (disregarding the warning, a baby tooth lost during the following mishap)