Torn between watching football on Sunday afternoon or going hunting earlier than we’d planned we chose hunting. There would be plenty of football during the evening and at night. Brenda, Ray and I planned to get a full afternoon of hunting and hoped for deer and a pig. We got neither.
Brenda and I shared a tree stand. There were animals surrounding us. They got louder and closer as the sun began to set. None, however, would move out of the thickets. Ray, in a stand some distance away had the same results. Perhaps, we’ll have better luck tomorrow. Not that we’ve drawn a total blank, we’ve gotten two deer over four days.
The EAC 1st Annual Star FITA Indoor was on Saturday November 8th in Madison, GA. Archers came from Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia to compete. The competition was held the Morgan County Elementary School Gym.
During my last hunting trip to Georgia, a few weeks ago, I discovered the event while searching for a shoot on the Internet. We would be returning to Georgia for more hunting and to attend Grandparent’s Day at my grandson’s school in Athens. I signed up for the event.
On the day of the tournament I arrived early so I could watch the morning shooters, sign in before the crowd and get some lunch. There was a 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM start time for shooters.
The two sessions had archers shooting at 60 cm or 40 cm faced targets. There were up to four targets per backstop. These backstops are large. I hoped I’d be assigned one of the lower targets. I got an upper target.
The foursome I shot with was from Georgia, North Carolina, and Alabama. Mike, from Alabama is tall. He must have been 6 feet 8 inches. He got an upper target and was pleased with the arrangement. I am a foot shorter than Mike, I was not so pleased.
My displeasure wasn’t the placement of the target; the problem was I could just reach the top arrow. Even on tiptoes I could barely grab the arrow. All of them were high and they were a struggle to remove. Following each end there was an awkward moment or two where I couldn’t pull the arrows with any finesse. Mike helped a lot which eased my suffering and kept us moving along.
Aside from those end following struggles the tournament ran well and ran fast. The judges focused on delivering shoot specific rules and information and didn’t use their positions to make small talk or try to entertain. Sixty arrows with a full house isn’t a sprint and needless monologues can make a long day. Everyone appreciated the judges’ professionalism.
I ended up shooting 21 points lower than my average scores since March. Still, I walked away with a 3rd place in the Masters division. But, the main highlight was that my cousin, Neil, drove over from Conyers, GA to watch.
The last time we’d seen each other we were in our teens. During the tournament I noticed him in the bleachers. I kept looking at him thinking, “Who is that guy?” At the break he walked over and asked, “How are you shooting?” I told him, “Well, I’m not hitting the lights or bouncing arrows off the floor, so pretty good.” He then asked, “Do you know who you’re talking to?” I guessed his brother, Payson.
After the tournament we had dinner together. There was not nearly enough time to catch up – 45 years covers a lot of ground. Neil’s a bit underweight at the moment (50 pounds). He’s had a tough time with a serious surgery but is on the mend. It was an unexpected treat and I really appreciated his effort. What a great day.
This Friday, we got back from Athens, GA too late to rush out and hunt. Tomorrow I’ll be competing in Madison, GA so hunting isn’t going to happen on Saturday. Sunday there will be hunting until football starts. On Monday, we’ll be back in the woods, again.
In Athens we attended Grandparent’s Day at Athens Academy. There one of our grandsons, Sean (my occasional archery and fitness coach) attends school. Sean is four and already an expert on many topics.
Athens Academy was very impressive. Visiting the campus almost made me want to go back to school. Following the program Brenda and I ate lunch then headed back to Tignall. Once I’d prepared my gear for tomorrow tournament it was too late to head out to hunt.
We’ll definitely hunt on Sunday – at least until football begins. From out previous hunts we’ve loaded up enough venison to feed us though several months. What I want is pork. A couple of smaller pigs will do the trick.
I know where the pigs are hanging out. Pigs are migratory. Once they eat all they can in one area they move to the next. Scouting I found fresh spots where they’d been rooting and rubbing trees. We have a tree stand ready and that is were I’ll be on Sunday. As a fall back Monday is on deck.
When we took the deer to be processed we learned that bucks are running between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM. We’d entered the woods at 2:30 PM. We didn’t see any bucks but I did get another doe.
“We need to reduce the doe population on the land” here in Tignall, Ray, my father-in-law, exclaims. There are a lot of does posing on the trail cameras. The pigs seem to be a bigger problem and we both agree that population needs to be reduced. On Sunday, I intend to hunt an area where I know there will be pigs.
As far a deer go I have two, which is probably enough until next year. I’ve not really focused on pigs this fall. I’ve gone out twice, half-heartedly, to shoot a pig. Those attempts left me empty handed. The smaller wild pigs taste good and barbecue pork, domestic or wild, is fine with me.
The pig hunt must wait until Sunday. Tomorrow and Saturday I am out of the woods. Ray is headed back to hunt. He’s inspired by the buck report we’d gotten from the deer processors. While we were dropping off my doe a group was gathered around a 187 lb. buck one of them had shot. After seeing that deer there is no keeping the 87 year old out of the woods.
Today was windy day with a light rain that didn’t last long. The wind blew until 5:30 PM. For hours all I’d seen was one turkey and one deer. That deer too was a doe. She was too far off for a shot. The doe I ended up shooting wasn’t her; mine was smaller.
Even though she was smaller, she was still big enough. Ray and I had to work together to load her onto the Polaris Ranger. As we were loading the deer Ray tripped and fell. Now, Ray is no spring chicken. He is 88 in a few months. Nevertheless, his face plant while hanging onto a deer had us both cracking up. He was talking, walking while holding the deer’s rear legs, then ‘flop’ he was on his face in the dirt. I am pretty sure he didn’t stop talking until there was dirt in his mouth.
When Brenda, my wife, heard the story of her dad’s fall (we’d incorrectly thought she’d enjoy the tale) she gave me that ‘look’ and asked if I helped Ray up. I had to be honest and said, “No.” Ray added, “He couldn’t help me up. He was laughing too hard.” Which didn’t improve my standing with Brenda. In defense I pointed out, “Well, he started laughing first.” Then, both Ray and I remained silent, hoping for the best. The reward for keeping silent was her stern look at Ray and this jab, “You’re going to be sore tomorrow!” Neither Ray nor I offered further protest.
Tomorrow, Brenda and I are off to Athens to attend one of our grandson’s school activities for grandparents. Ray will be back in the woods. He’ll probably get a nice deer and have stories of wild adventure. I’ll share how I sat in a medal folding chair and listened to school officials beg for donations or a place of high value in my will.
Yesterday, we scouted the property for signs of deer and pigs. We removed the SIM cards from trail cameras for further evaluation. Then we returned home to sight bows and plan.
We’ll haul a Polaris Ranger behind Ray’s truck this afternoon. The area we hunt is 679 acres and the Polaris saves time hiking. It is also handy carrying out animals.
We’ve identified areas most likely where deer will emerge near sunset. In the meantime, I sighted my hunting bow, a Mathews ZXT, and practiced a bit with my Apex 7 for the tournament on Saturday.
Hopefully, we’ll have some profit from our efforts this afternoon. If not, there is only Sunday left to hunt. Friday we’re obligated to attend “Grandparents’ Day” at Athens Academy which might not get us back in time to hunt in the afternoon. On Saturday I’ll be shooting in Madison, GA.
This leaves Sunday for the last full day of hunting. We head back to NC on Monday were there is another tournament.
On November 1st, I ran in the 5th Annual Darleen’s Flamingo 5K. The run is a charity event with proceeds and donations benefitting the Shepard Cancer Foundation. It is held in honor of Darleen Smith. It was a unique experience among 5K runs.
Darleen fought a hard battle against Breast Cancer and lived by her favorite slogan, “Make Your Own Party”. The run took place in the waterfront community of Smithton, NC.
The event was a scenic drive from my home that took nearly two hours to complete. As I approached the race I recognized I was getting close because signs and Pink Flamingos were posted on roads and in yards. Nearing registration I was directed to a parking area some distance away. The weather was windy, wet and cold. I wasn’t looking forward to a hike or jog back and forth to my car to get ready for the run.
Pulling into the parking area I was saw dozens of ATVs. This caravan of ATVs was on hand to shuttle people back and forth to their cars. And, the caravan was in full operation.
I was amazed at the turn out for this 5K. It seemed the entire community showed up in support of Darleen’s Flamingo. Her motto, “Make you own party” appeared to have been adapted en masse. The start / finish line were in the community which had the atmosphere of a block party.
The race started without delay and the wind did its best to remain forcefully in our faces. I drafted two ‘big’ guys; they looked like high school football players until there was a tail wind. The tail wind, short lived, was enough to help me gain a lead over the ‘big’ guys and I maintained it until the finish where I placed third in my age group.
After many races there is food for the runners. Food often means a bottle of water and perhaps a piece of fruit or cold bagel. Darleen’s Flamingo did it differently – they served breakfast. (The race started at 5 PM)
This wasn’t a half-hearted Hampton Inn breakfast. They served: grits, eggs, cheese biscuits, pancakes, bacon, sausage, a variety of desserts and fruit. It was incredible. I am going back next year if for nothing else the food!
It seemed hundreds of people turned out for this block party charity event. Each, in their way, “Put it on the Line” for a good cause. Darleen’s Flamingo stands out as one of the coolest 5Ks I’ve ever run.
Many of you are in the woods hunting. For me, I’ll be there next week. For now, I am preparing for a race in Belhaven, NC and an archery tournament in Madison, GA.
We leave to hunt in Georgia on Tuesday. I’ve sorted my arrows for hunting and those for targets. In both cases, I am getting low. For a tournament I need matching arrows, I have five. I’ll only need three. I’ve been too busy to get new arrows or have the fletching repaired on five others. Those five sit four sit feet away in an embarrassed state of fletch. These ten are the remains of my most recent dozen. Of that dozen two were lost to a Robin Hood.
Typically when I practice, I aim at paper targets with multiple faces. The most for one target is a 5-spot. Because I want to get more shots in, I frequently shoot 2 arrows per X. Occasionally, this leads to torn fletching and the infrequent Robin Hood.
This morning I selected the five functional arrows, checked them closely for any cracks, numbered them, and wrote my name on each shaft – a rule that some indoor tournaments enforce. Then, I took to my range to double check their flight patterns.
On the first shot, my arrow sailed in to the woods. It was way high. I’d been shooting at 60 yards yesterday and forgotten to raise my sight. Luckily, I found the undamaged arrow, a small miracle in the underbrush. The Georgia tournament is 18 meters, as was the target I’d just missed; I raised my sight to the appropriate level and continued to practice.
Here on Little River we get a lot of wind. As I practiced the breeze picked up and was getting worse. By the afternoon, weathermen and weather women have forecasted gusts to 50 mph and rain. Such conditions aren’t ideal for archery or a running race. However, they are ideal for the weather forecasters who excitedly pronounce a localized climatic apocalypse for the afternoon.
I am, of course, running in a race at 5 PM. According to my bubbly weather woman, if I “risk” going outside, there is “concern” upon which she “urges caution” so that I am not blown away.
I checked with the race officials and they are having the run rain or shine. This is going to be an interesting afternoon.
I reviewed October’s stats for Puttingitontheline from GoDaddy.com. During the month of October there were just under 10,000 visitors who read over 16,000 pages. Since I started writing about this adventure in archery, 8 months ago, this site has had 50,000 visits, nearly 90,000 pages read and almost 750,000 hits. Really, very cool.
One of the tournament officials sent me an update on the rules for an indoor competition being held in Georgia. There are so many rules and so many archery governances it is hard to keep it straight. In fact, I hadn’t yet reviewed the rules for the upcoming event. When the correction came my way it got me thinking.
When I worked in health care Dr. Speir (retired – Professor Emeritus), the head of the Section for Chest Diseases, at the Medical College of Georgia taught me a set of rules I’ve never forgotten. These are the Cardinal Rules of Critical Care:
The Air Goes in and Out
The Blood Goes Round and Round
Oxygen is Good
That set of rules has been part of many of my medical lectures given work wide for over a quarter of a century. These rules, wherein the violation of just one is serious, led me to create other rule sets for different situations.
For Triathlons I have a set of rules. These came about when I was asked what I try to do during a triathlon. The question gave me pause. There is a lot I do in preparation for a triathlon. During the event I am on autopilot, enjoying myself trying not to think too much.
The triathlon question got me considering what is most important for the race and I answered:
Get out of the water under my own power
Don’t crash on my bike
Don’t come in last on the run
The archery tournament email regarding a rule update leant me to ponder three rules I think are applicable for indoor tournaments:
Don’t shoot the ceiling
Don’t bounce an arrow off the floor
Shoot my own target.
These archery rules are simple. They are a bit “relaxed” but I think “relaxed” is a good frame of mind for an archery tournament. Besides, it is supposed to be fun.