Wind, Rain, Archery and Fake News

Hurricane Florence didn’t have much of an affect on Georgia. But, she did have enough of an influence on the weather to impact archers shooting at the Georgia Archery Association State (GAA) FITA Outdoor Championship.

Saturday started out pretty good weather-wise (Photo from the GAA FaceBook page)

It has been nine months since we moved back to Georgia. This is our home State and we’d made the move from our vacation home turned permanent residence in North Carolina.

The NC home was great. Off our front deck the distance to the bulkhead was just 18 yards. The bulkhead separated our property from Little River, which feeds into the Albemarle Sound. The views and water access were amazing. Our pier and dock led us at our boatlift 50 yards from shore. It was wonderful, except for the hurricanes.

Every year we’d have some storm spinning up our river. Most years there were multiple storms. Rarely, did we have a huge amount of damage. Always there was some damage and a general clean up. Sometimes there was a real post-storm mess. As with all storms we either rode them out or we headed to the hills. It depended on the category.

Don’t recall which storm this was, but early on the rain is moving sideways and waves are starting to roll in.

Florence didn’t do much to our old place in North Carolina. Of course, we sold it in May of this year so it wouldn’t have been our problem should there have been damage. Nevertheless, we loved that place and keep tabs on the storms that might intersect with our old home. We still have friends living on the Little River and we stay in touch.

What Florence gave to the Peach State was a rainy windy day for the second half of the Georgia State Outdoor Championship. For me, it meant I wouldn’t surpass my personal best score of the 1440 possible points that could be earned over two days shooting 144 arrows. Despite the second day’s wind and rain I exceeded my lowest score finishing 8 points below my average practice score. It wasn’t what I’d hoped for when the pre-storm weather forecast suggested warm clear days and 5 mph winds. That forecast didn’t hold.

The first day was rainless and the winds were around 7 to 10 mph – not bad. Day two of the weekend tournament brought rain and wind at 8 – 14 mph with gusts up to 22 mph.

Compared to what our Tarheel friends were going through the less than ideal conditions for archery was not very meaningful. It is a coastal North Carolina fact of life that hurricanes are going to happen and they’ll often bring real damage and suffering.

During one storm when we stayed to face it, a Category 1 Hurricane that have been downgraded to a Tropical Storm, I needed to head out during the storm to save boards on my dock and pier. The water had risen to near level with the dock and pier, about four to five feet higher than normal maximum. As the waves crashed into the boards they were eventually breaking lose. Trying to stave off a loss of boards I grabbed a battery operated drill a box of deck screws donned foul weather gear and went into the tempest hopefully to save parts of my pier and dock they seemed to be fighting to escape. Walking toward the pier I thought of Lt. Dan in the movie “Forrest Gump” during a hurricane yelling to Heaven, “You call this a storm?”

After a storm with the tide and water still elevated

On the pier and dock I played a wet version of Whack-a-Mole trying to drill boards back down or pulling them free to reduce the pressure on the structure. The winds were high, waves often crested over me when I knelt to secure a board, but I didn’t lose a single board or my drill, and only a few deck screws found their way to Davey Jones’ locker. The hat I’d been wearing didn’t make it back; sadly it was a favorite that been given to me by one of my daughters. (If both of you are reading this think Christmas 2018 for a replacement.)

During Hurriance Florence as I watched some weather guy rocking back and forth being punished by unyielding wind I thought about that dock and pier. I also wonder what the weekend weather would do for the Georgia Archery Associations tournament. Still watching the reporter and wondering  I pointed out to my wife, while seeing this poor fellow on the television reporting live, that he sure seemed to be having a tough time keeping his footing. It seemed a bit exaggerated.

Archers got some  wind while shooting in that GAA tournament over the weekend. The storm was certainly a point of conversation. The weather guy’s rocking and rolling in the wind was a hot topic. Many viewers of the weather reporting had reach the conclusion that the guy was faking it.

The reporter’s performance had been inadvertently spoiled by a couple of guys calmly and easily walking around behind him oblivious to the wind impacting the reporter.

The reporter says, “It’s like being in a war zone” describing his current situation. A few yards behind him those guys seem to be in another zone.

While he is on camera there is another tale-tell sign of the actual wind speed. It was being displayed live on the upper left of the television screen. The sustained wind was 29 mph and the maximum was 42 mph.

The reporter claims the wind is at 60 mph. He’s off by 31 mph. To be fair the gusts were hitting 42 mph.

Storms have hit many people over the years. When one comes along families have to worry, leave home and pray that everything turns out for the best. For some those prayers aren’t answered in a manner they’d hoped. For others everything turns out fine. For a few that stay put to ride it out the storm becomes their last ride. Amid the real news of the impact of such storms as Florence, there is no room for make believe.


Weatherman Fakes Hurricane Conditions, Watch The Guys Behind Him!


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.