The New Park

When we moved here to Good Hope, Georgia a challenge we had was to convert an over grown forest into a Park-like recreation area. It is slowly coming along.

This javelina can be shot from a maximum of 45 yards. I may move him out to 50
One of two old roads that were easily uncovered

Two of the major elements included a 3D range and a target range. The 3D range has evolved and only two more foam-animals need a home. Well, one, a boar, is up as of yesterday. But, I’ve only cleared a lane to shoot the critter. The approach for pulling arrows is going to come from another approach. This way the natural ground between archer and target is undisturbed.

I had a deer up but moved it to make room for 55 – 70 yards. The deer was in the way. The deer will need to have just the right position.

The other of two easily reclaimed roads. Six weeks ago you couldn’t move off this path was so thick with underbrush. The targets, 50-meters from my bow, can be shot from 70 yards. There’s another 20 yards to spare behind the target

Another nice element to the park is a running trail. River, my lab, runs with me. Running in a neighborhood, on public paths, or on sidewalks means she must be on a lease. We now have a trail run behind out house that is about a mile per loop. River can run untethered. A bonus is that I don’t need to worry with poop clean up.

I cleaned up some of the limbs you see here today. Nobody wants a poke in the eye

Today, I started mulching some of the primary paths in the park. That is going to be a chore. I am also considering planting an apple tree to go with the five peach trees we’ve planted. (The peach trees are gifts from my father-in-law.)

River considering the fork in the road

The new park is already great for hikes. Brenda and our two dogs often do a “walk-around” in the park after dinner. Both dogs are free to run in our park. I’ll probably put a picnic table somewhere in the middle of the park.

No, I don’t shoot this target from this angle. But,the lane can be used by rotating the bear to get a new perspective

It is a lot of work. But, being out in our woods is worth the effort.

Maryland State 3D Championship and IBO World Qualifier

winks1Saturday and Sunday the Maryland IBO State Championship and IBO World Qualifier was held in Princess Anne, Maryland. Wink’s Sporting Goods was the host.

It would be my final chance to shoot a qualifier for 2016. There were qualifiers earlier in the year. Circumstances required those earlier events to be skipped in deference to this later qualifier. As it ended up, I was down to this 3D shoot to qualify.

The drive to Princess Anne, Maryland from Hertford, North Carolina is about three and a half hours. The IBO World Championship is being held this year in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania. The dates are blocked on my calendar. If I wanted to shoot Seven Springs I needed to make that drive to Princess Anne.

I’ve got that Winnebago and considered taking it Maryland on Friday. I could camp the night before then shoot on Saturday. Working through that idea I decided to drop it. The revised plan was to get up at 4:00 AM on Saturday and make the drive to CJ Winks.

Live and learn. Should I head back north to the Eastern Shore of Maryland for a tournament, I’ll take the camper. There wasn’t any problem with traffic. The issue was fatigue. I arrived tired and sleepy. Some folks are early risers. I rise earlier than some, but not as early as others. Getting up before 5:30 AM sucks.

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This photo was taken from my stake. The archer, look closely, is mid-point for my shot.

Before I got onto the range I drank a Red Bull. It kicked in after 10 or so targets. Good thing it did or I might’ve been hunting arrows. One thing for certain at the CJ Winks range, they aren’t ashamed to use their real estate.

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Lighting created some cool looking targets

The maximum distance I’d expected to aim from was 45 yards. My legs are fairly well calibrated – six paces equals five yards. Understandably, the 45 yards is +/- a few yards. By my calibrated pacing measurement of a few  shots approached 50 yards.

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Lots a dark shots

To be clear, I am perfectly fine with a 50-yard shot. In fact, I enjoy them and scored well on the longer shots. I hosed myself on a few between 35 and 38 yards. (Mental breakdown and gave away points)

The range is also tight and dark. This added to the challenging experience. Twice my arrows just nicked something as it coursed towards a target. The two shots ended up 10’s so they ended well.

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I’ll take an X on a coyote any day – even better when it’s a long shot

Overall, it was a challenging and enjoyable 3D range. I liked the long shots. I ended up averaging 0.6 points lower per target for the year. It was apparent I’ve not been shooting 3D in over six weeks. But, I shot fair even if a tad below my average and got done what I needed to make to the IBO World’s in Seven Springs.

Tinkering with gear

Some folks seem to really enjoy tinkering with gear. Any sort of gear works for the tinkerer. Some people tinker with fishing gear, others with guns, some with cars, still more with archery equipment.

When I was a child my buddies tinkered with the standard items I listed above. Not me. On the first Christmas that I can remember making a gift request I asked for a microscope. I got it along with a few pre-made slides, blank slides and a chemistry set.

Those gifts were my first steps toward a career in medicine that lasted 43 years. Granted, along that path I enjoyed sports, which included fishing, hunting, cycling, running and swimming. But, I never tinkered with the gear used in those sports.

Two years ago I took up archery. To my dismay, it required I tinker. Primarily, I am obligated to fiddle around with my scope and sight. To be very honest, I do not enjoy messing with either.

Unlike my run this morning, where I gathered my gear – shoes, shorts, t-shirt. hat and pace dog  – today’s archery practice was a tedious process. That tedium brought on because I  switched my gear from a hunter class rig to that with a sight/scope and long stabilizers. To compound the effort of sighting I’d purchased a new bow since I last used my sight and scope.

The twenty-yard mark for the new bow was where the taped mark for the 40-yard graduation was from the old bow (not even close). That meant the process of calibrating two marks and matching the yardage tape had to be repeated. Plus, the windage had to be adjusted to find the center.

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The 3rd target meant I could stop tinkering for the day.

Personally, I prefer to shoot. Sadly, the tinkering had to be completed in order to shoot with accuracy. Today, I tinkered for 2 hours adjusting the sight and scope. It was a tad frustrating; later I’ll go ride a bike (without any tinkering required) to burn off some steam.

The world needs people that tinker with gear. Happily for me, it also needed people in the medical field during my working days. If I’d needed to earn a living tinkering I expect I’d have starved.

Some Days It Rains

Living on the coast of North Carolina, we can expect a lot of rain. As a result, the woods are thick with foliage this time of the year. That means that targets are dark and judging yardage becomes a little bit more of a challenge for me.

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Mist with on again and off again rain

That in mind I set up to practice this morning during a slight drizzle and mist. There will be tournaments where it rains and I think it is good to practice in conditions that at some point will occur. Also, from here to the fall, the woods are going to be dark.

There are only four 3D targets on my home range. In order to get 20 shots I shoot each 5 times from different positions and distances. This isn’t an exact replica of a competitive 3D range during a tournament, but it is what I have for practice.

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Paper at 35 yards

Prior to moving into the woods I shot at a rifle 5 spot from 20 – 55 yards at 5-yard increments. There were no perfect ends during my warm-up, however the shots were pretty good considering the conditions.

I’ve been rained on a lot when competing outside of archery. My former cycling coach, a Belgian, showed us no mercy when it came to the weather. In more than one race that wet training paid dividends. Last year during an archery tournament the rain soaked everyone. None of us has any control over the weather and barring the most extreme conditions competitions go on.

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My first shot on this turkey was from 45 yards, I hit an 8

Taking a lesson from my training in other sports I practice archery year round, outside, in all sorts of conditions. Hopefully, like during my cycling, running, and triathlon, it will give me an edge when the need arises. I do use some common sense, and won’t go out in a storm.