In a Tight Spot

“Well, that was expensive,” my wife said to me as I walked in from archery practice.

She’d made the comment based on what I’d held up for her to see from a window while I was still outside. What she saw were broken arrows.

Robin Hood shots, where one arrow lands in the center of another arrow already in a target, are pricey.  I hope, when shooting multiple arrows into the same target not to shoot Robin Hoods.  It happens and arrows break.

I was already running low on the arrows I use for 3D.  I had eight when one busted on a good shot from 27 yards last week. The angle was the problem putting the arrow through the center and downward toward the metal post that holds up the target.  Naturally, the arrow intersected with the metal. Down to seven arrows.

Today was a nightmare.  At 38 yards the turkey seemed safe enough.  Two shots later and two more arrows gone.  When I heard it I couldn’t believe it.  Down to five arrows.

I moved on from the turkey to a mountain lion target and shot it at 41 yards then 38 yards.  Each time five arrows shot.  No problem with any arrows.

A deer was the next setup.  This is a fairly difficult downhill target so I wanted to start safely then increase the distance. Staring at 35 yards the first shot was a high ten.  The next shot, learning from the first error, was a 12.

This deer isn’t a tiny target.  Since I’d hit the 12 ring I figured to put one more arrow in that ring.  I made the shot pretty much exactly like the prior shot even though I was aiming for the arrow to land a bit to the left of the first.

The crack of two arrows become one tubular mess is a nasty noise.  It sounds like money being wasted.  Two Robin Hoods within minutes.  I was shooting with pins and a sight that does not have magnification. I thought, what are the odds?

Only one arrow ended up broken in the deer; unlike the two busted in the turkey.  But, it left me with only four arrows for 3D.  At the rate they’re getting broken I’ll be empty by the end of the week.

You might think to yourself “That’s what he gets for shooting more than one arrow at the same target.”  That is true – it is impossible to Robin Hood a single arrow, it always takes two arrows.

However, if you shoot often you, too have shot more than once at the same target with more than one arrow.  So, hold off on tossing stones.

My wife was right, this practice was expensive.  It also puts me in a jam when it comes to arrows for 3D practice and competition.

One solution is to switch to Super Senior in the ASA classes. I’d change bows and use the skinny arrows I shoot in field archery.  I’ve got 18 of them.

Of course, I could buy a dozen new arrows.  It isn’t so much the money, well it is the money.  I hate spending money of arrows. Another consideration isn’t qualifying, I can qualify in a week.  The worry is this Covid-19.

At the last 3D competition social distancing was more a philosophy rather than a practice.  At that event archers from those counties that enclose Atlanta came to play.  My instincts are telling me to skip 3D for 2020.  My compulsion to compete is telling me something else. This is a tight spot.

Give me a break

I am running low on arrows for 3D.  Today, I busted one on an excellent shot.  The shot was at a steep angle. It was a tough shot. The arrow cut the line on the lower twelve right where the line intersects with the center 10 ring.  The arrow, unfortunately, hit metal in the target because of the angle.  A good shot with some bad luck.  The tip mushroomed the carbon fiber shaft. There went $22.65.

The $22.65 is the price of one of the arrows.  A dozen completely built will run $272.68.  Add tax and the price tag is $289.04.  That ain’t cheap.

I’m thinking:  Shoot these nice arrows until they are all gone.  Next, shoot some old Bemens I’ve got laying around. Then, shoot up some carbon express arrows.  There are a total of 24 arrows in the mixed bag. Yep, that might buy me a couple more seasons of fun.

Finding a workable combination

During the last competitive event I shot the lowest recorded score against a vertical 3-spot, inner 10s, in my life.  The score was 28 points below the six weeks average going into the tournament.  Something was clearly amok.

Naturally, I blamed the bow, an Elite Victory X from 2018.  The bow received the blame because the arrows were landing in similar disarray to the patterns revealed when the bearing in the cams failed.  Months ago, that bow, the 37, was shipped back to Elite for analysis.  They uncovered that the bearing in the cams had failed.  Elite replaced the bearing, returned the bow and it shot fine, again. At least for awhile.

At the 2020 Georgia State Indoor National Championship I suspected that those replaced bearing had again, following around 10,000 shots, bit the dust.  Looking at the cams I could see tiny specks of silver that made me more suspicious. I vowed to never shoot that bow again.

To replace the Victory 37X I tried a 2014 Elite 35.  It didn’t shot a whole lot better.  The fellows at Ace Hardware’s Bow Pro shop took a look at the 35 and went to work straighten it out.  The problem is that with the Elite 35, while I gained 10 points over the Georgia State flop, I was still 18 points below my prior average for 18-meters.

I tried an even older, purchased in 2013 when I started archery, Mathews Conquest Apex 7.  The bow shoots great and is extremely smooth.  The feel, however, is dramatically different from the two Elites and my scores were no better.

Today, shooting all three things remain a mess.  The Elite 35 landed me an average of just 9 points per arrow.  (That is until I noticed a screw missing on the limb pocked. Amazingly, I found it on the ground.) The Mathews was 8.5 points per arrow and the Victory 9.5 points per arrow.

To achieve the 9.5 points per arrow I ended up flinging arrows too stiff for the poundage I shoot.  Using a bare shaft the arrow, an Easton 2318 that has been cut 3 inches and has a 180 grain tip, the shaft shoots to the right.  A bare shaft 2314, uncut, with 100 grain tip shot even further to the right – which is not what I’d expected.

Two days out from the USA Indoor Nationals I am considering just tossing my arrows toward the target.

Sports Equipment -Buying Speed or Points

You don’t need the best equipment to enjoy a sport.  If you enjoy riding a bike and fitness is a goal just about any bike will work.  You could buy a $150.00 bicycle at Wal-Mart and have a decent time riding.  But, if you decided you wanted to race that $150.00 bicycle you wouldn’t stand a chance even against athletes with less fitness.

Decades ago I trained and raced on a Litespeed bike.  It was not their top of the line.  That Litespeed Natchez landed me on plenty of podiums.  Then, my wife bought me a top end racing bike.  It was a bike that had been used by a pro (King of the Mountain winner) in the Tour de France.  The bike was over 3 pound lighter than my titanium Litespeed.  Riding it, especially climbing, felt like cheating.

Where I trained at the time was extremely hilly.  Climbs that had been tough became laughable.

Years after I stopped racing on the Velodrome I wanted to ride track again.  I bought a low-end track bike and had a blast racing it.  Then, I bought a used high-end bike from an ex-National Sprint champion.  I went from having fun to taking medals. In cycling, buying the right gear can buy speed.  Going from a road style bike to a time-trial style bike, which puts a rider in an aero position, can increase speed up to 3 mph for the same energy output.

Archery is no different.  Having the right equipment for a specific event can add points.  For example, if you compete using a hunting rig against athletes of similar skill who use long stabilizers, scopes, and longer axel-to-axel bows you’ll probably not come out ahead.  You’ll have fun; you’ll probably not win.  That’s fine if fun is all you’re after.  There may come a point when you decide you’d like to compete on equal footing.  That will mean making an investment on the equipment to help get up onto a podium.

Now, you can have the best gear and still finish near the bottom.  The gear isn’t going to make you an expert if you don’t practice.  If you do put in the hours the best equipment can help you gain points. (Buy the equipment after you’ve reached a point in your development where it will become a winning factor)

The best gear does come at a price.  From experience I know that when competing in 3D using a target style bow I score higher than with a hunting style bow at the same distances.  To transform my hunting style bow to a 3D target type requires an investment of over $1000.00.  That is a bit pricey.

Taking that same bow and preparing it for 3D competition in the hunter class (better stabilizers, light and weights) is less expensive coming in around $300.00.  As I considered what I’d do to “buy” some points in 3D I began to consider the return on that investment.

For the investment of $1000 I can compete in open classes and the ASA Super Senior class.  The $450 investment puts me the hunter class of men from their 20s to 50s.  There is no 60-year age bracket for ASA and no IBO, where there is a 60-year-old age bracket, in Georgia.

Even choosing the $450 option I’m am behind because lenses, which magnify a target, are legal in ASA hunting classes and that means more money. Lenses can be quite beneficial as we age.  (I didn’t price those while checking the costs)

Before I retired and had a hefty disposable income money wouldn’t be a concern. Living on a fixed income one needs to be a bit more frugal with cheddar.

More than likely I’ll not upgrade any of my equipment.  I may not compete in the top tournaments where had I made the investment I might have bought a few points.  At the top events a point or two does make the difference.  Paying the registration and travel expense to arrive at a major event with sub-par equipment isn’t a prudent way to burn cash.

The equipment I use isn’t the most expensive.  Most of it falls into the Litespeed Natchez category of gear.  Not the most expensive, in some cases not the best, but in all cases good enough to enjoy the sport of archery.

If you plan to compete against the best athletes there will be a point where the best gear you can buy (or get from a sponsor) will aid your performance.

That Sponsorship Game

At the moment I have no sport affiliations aside from my local club, Ace Apache.  Ace Apache is based at the Ace Hardware in Social Circle, Georgia.  Primarily, I see the club as a well-coached organization focused on the community youth.  There aren’t many adults wearing an Ace Apache logo kit during tournaments aside from the Ace Apache coaches and me.

The younger folks on the team are frequently donning a kit for competition displaying their sponsorship associations.  For example, Elite signs many of the younger archers and those athletes wear the Elite apparel during tournaments. Still, the Ace Apache logo uniform is frequently seen on the backs of as yet un-recruited youngsters.

In the past I played the sponsor or “ProStaff” game.  That game is a marketing program were adults festered about for discounts on gear.  If an adult is selected those quasi-sponsorships require (of me) quarterly reports, booth duty if that selected adult is competing at an event where a sponsor had a booth and devotion to their gear. Much of what a “ProStaff” placement offered sounds like fun. I was happy to agree until the benefit versus detriment became too one sided.

Last year I didn’t make an attempt to regain another year’s worth of discounts.  Only one company continued and continues to recruit me as a sponsored athlete.  Their offers were too egregious for me to accept.

The persistent potential sponsor is happy to sign me up if I promised to spend X amount of discounted dollars on their gear. There is a discount, but there is also a required dollar amount of which there is no way I’d spend my money. As such I am unaffiliated.

Another sponsor explains in their ‘contract’  I must use their equipment and that is to be the current year’s model.  I do use their gear.  But I’d have to buy their new gear even though I have their older, perfectly good, gear. There would be a discount.

In some cases it comes down to not what you know rather who you know.  Or, in the case of sponsorship, not altogether how well you perform as an athlete in archery but who is your contact within an organization.  I don’t know anyone of the insiders who might offer a helping hand.

A friend of mine that does have in inside connection with one of my ex-sponsors and did get a great deal from them.  The company, now one of his “sponsors”,  loaded him up with nearly $1000.00 (retail) worth of their goods. No purchase required. Sweet!

(You immediately think, “Well, he’s probably better at archery than you are.”  Nope.)

Needing some new archery stuff I’ve studied the cost – dang! Since I don’t know anyone on any inside who might help I suppose I’ll have to fester about for a discount.

The Goat is Home

My TRU Ball Goat release busted.  I called TRU Ball.  They gave me instructions for it to be returned so that they could repair it.  I shipped the Goat back regular (the less expensive method) mail.  Seven days later that Goat was back in my hand. That is hard to beat when it comes to customer service.

During the Goat’s absence I tried shooting an old True Fire thumb release.  The trigger on that release has no sensitivity adjustment.  This meant having to move my thumb to active the release.  That didn’t pan out.

Next I tried an old Scott Black Hole 3. It was just too cold. Sure, you might be a wizard at adjusting this type of release to make it more sensitive – not me. I’ve tried and given up. Every attempt at finding that perfect spot where the hinge releases, when I make the adjustment, is either too hot or too cold.   Next I used an old Scott Long Horn Pro Advantage release.  That was just right. The release setting set by a tech at Scott.

Even though I ‘mostly’ use back tension to active my Goat in the thumb trigger mode I am less comfortable with a pure back tension hinge.  When I make a mistake with a hinge style release it is a whopper. With a thumb activation I can be a little less careful.

Still, I enjoy shooting exclusively a hinge style release.  For years it was all I shot.  Then, a bow tech, who seemed knowledgeable, claimed thumb releases were the better approach.  It wasn’t as if he was trying to sell me a thumb release, the shop where he worked didn’t have any thumb releases in stock at the time.

I’d been using a Scott Black Hole 3 my wife had purchased me as a Christmas gift in 2014, a few weeks after I’d started playing around with archery.  A buddy of mine used a Black Hole 3 and it the total extent of my knowledge of hinge releases.

Because this buddy was a ex-pro (he made certain you became aware of his past and present glory) I thought he must be doing something better than me. So, when Brenda asked what I wanted for Christmas I told her a Scott Black Hole 3 release. With that request I exhausted my complete knowledge base of hinge releases.

Until that point I’d been using a finger trigger release.  I think it was a Scott Little Goose.  The Little Goose was a nice release.  I lost it when I sold a bow and the case it was in.  I’d forgotten to remove the Little Goose  from the case and it was gone forever.

On Christmas morning of 2014 I unwrapped my new hinge release then watched a YouTube on how to use it. Despite a bit of nervousness having heard all sorts of tooth breaking, lip busting, and nose bleeding horror stories of hinge style shooting I set out to master pure back tension.  The mastering remains unattained.

Thus far, I endure injury free using a back tension.  Nevertheless, I let the bow tech at the thumbless release shop convince me to use a thumb release over a hinge.  I found one at a different nearby archery shop.  It was the True Fire release.  They were too happy to accept my money.

Over time, it became clear that that choice, the True Fire, was excellent for hunting, less so for target shooting.  The sensitivity on the model I owned was simply too dull in that it required to great of a movement for me to activate.

Months into working with the True Fire, I was mentally stuck with a thumb.  Each time I worked to switch back to a hinge every poor form habit, which you can get away with using a thumb release, was so much a part of my shooting that the practice with pure hinge release was frustrating.

Luckily, another bow tech at another shop suggested I try the TRU Ball Goat.  I could set it to trigger the way I wanted.  It fit so that I could use, to some degree, back tension to activate the release.

Actually, a good archer can use the Goat with back tension with or without the thumb approach.  In my hands, well a hybrid approach is a fair description.  Sometimes I get the back tension, sometimes I thumb it, and sometimes is fire an arrow seemingly by magic. (The arrows is flying toward the target and I’m not yet ready)

Then, my Goat broke.  I pulled out the old True Fire. I gave up on the True Fire, after shooting a 533 out of 600, and eventually migrated to the Scott Longhorn Pro Advantage.

A few hundred arrows with the Scott release helped reestablish a better shooting form.  I really had to focus.  It was focus or miss.  After 500 arrows using the hinge or so I was shooting pretty good with it.  (No arrows were lost during the transition)

Just as I was getting comfortable with the Longhorn Pro my Goat came home.  The day it arrived I used it in a local league competition.

The league competition here is tough.  It came down to 2 ex-pros (both have only ever had jobs in archery), a kid that is ranked number 1 in the Nation for his age group (he never misses the 10 ring when it is the outer 10) some fellow I don’t know that seemed like a big shot.

I say he seemed like a big shot because he talked a lot about the shoot offs he competed in at Vegas and Lancaster. He was using some thumb style release.

I’m not  sure he could have shot a hinge release.  His chest was so puffed up he scapulas were practically fusing between ends.  He, too, didn’t miss any ten rings. And then me shooting the just returned Goat.

The Goat did just fine even if I was a bit off the mark.  I ended up with 2 nines for the evening but that was good enough to put me in the shoot off.  Oh, there’s money on the line at these local events and I wanted the money. During the evening I’d gotten the feel back for the Goat and felt there’d be no more nines.

Using the Goat I’d need to shoot against, Steve, an ex-pro cover boy.  By that, he I mean he was once a celebrity archer who his many sponsors used in their marketing material.

The final bit for the evening was the shoot off.  After 6 arrows, the amount used for this shoot off, Steve and I were tied.  It would come down to one final arrow, closest to the center wins.  My arrow was 50% in the center X and 50% out.  His was 75% in the center X and 25% out.  Steve won.

When it was over (for me), Big John, a USA Archery Level 4 Coach, commented that I’d shot well.  I hadn’t.  The league is only 30 arrows, not 60.  I should have been able to hit the larger 10 ring 30 times, I managed it only 28 times.

Maybe if I’d used the Scott Longhorn Pro I might have performed better and maybe not.  It seems I end up with about the same scores regardless of what release I’m holding. Sure the True Fire didn’t work out, but in the past, using that insensitive release I’ve scored well. Either way, I remain more comfortable with the Goat.

Comfort is good, laziness with form isn’t. It is easy to get lazy using a thumb.

My Goat Broke

A few days ago my TRU Ball Goat release malfunctioned.  The hinge seemed to lock in place and failed to release.  TRU Ball / Axcel will have the release in a day or so in order to make repairs and return it to me.  In the meantime, I’ve been shooting a Tru-Fire thumb release during practice.

Busted

After the Goat broke I first shifted to an old Scott Longhorn Pro Advantage release.  The rubber band that helps bring the hinge into the proper location to load an arrow busted after a few shots.  I jiggled and flipped the release until the hinge had aligned with the little half moon to make ready, but that soon became old.

The next release in the trial queue is a Scott Black Hole.  I skipped it and went to the Tru-Fire thumb.

The Tru-Fire thumb isn’t a bad release other than the model I own has no method to make the release hot or cold.  You can move the knob for the thumb position, but the sensitivity is set.

I use the thumb method to trigger the Goat.  But, I use back tension to activate the trigger.  I feel more comfortable not using exclusively a hinge style back tension even though I initially shot that way.  The Tru-Ball needs a rather significant depression on the thumb trigger to release as opposed to a whisper of movement, like with the Goat,  making the switch a real challenge.

The Tru-Fire release seems to be more of hunting tool versus a pure target release.  Even though I can practice with it the groups are obviously less tight.  Points-wise the difference (averaged over 3 days using the True Fire; 360 arrows scored after 12 arrows warm-up.  A total of 396 arrows shot after sighting on day 1) is 21 points lower than with the Goat against a vertical 3-spot at 18 meters.

Among the arrows shot using the Tru-Fire there were no scores less than 9 points.  But, hitting the center 10 at 18-meters has been a frustrating activity. I decided to look deeper into the problem.

I went back to my data collected over the years when I used the Tru-Fire prior to getting the Goat.  The larger data set showed that the points difference is only 12 points over 100s of recorded scores for both releases. Twelve points is a lot!

The Goat does work better for me.  I expect once it is returned it will one day malfunction, again.  There are a lot of parts and adjustment points on the release.  It isn’t unforeseeable it will fail.

This year I’m on track to shoot around 34,500 arrows in practice.  All my equipment is put to test over than many arrows.  This is a main reason I wish I had multiple bows set up exactly the same, an abundance of arrows,  and duplicate releases.

Clearly, I’ve got to reestablish the feel for the Tru-Fire while I wait for the Goat to be returned.  That is one option. The other option is to grab the old Scott Black Hole and see how that performs.

I Lost An Arrow

I’ve not lost an arrow during practice in a very long time. To me, losing an arrow is money down the drain. It was one of those things I didn’t see coming.

I’d been practicing at 80 yards. After 30 arrows I moved back to 90 yards.  That’s when it happened.

The range is bordered on either side by trees.  I keep their limbs trimmed to provide clearance for arrows.  The problem with trees and limbs is they continue to grow.

On the very first arrow at 90 yards I heard the slight snap as it intersected with a limb. I then thought I heard the arrow smack into the target.  When I walked up to pull the arrows there was one missing. Where is landed I may never know.  I searched to no avail.

Behind the target butts there’s a slight natural berm. It is covered with underbrush.  You probably couldn’t find a wallet in the ground cover there much less an arrow.  Still, I tried. The entire time I looked I was hoping not to find a rattlesnake or copperhead. Last year I shot an arrow at a rattlesnake there in the brush.  The snake twisted, squirmed, and slid deeper into the brush.  Then, there was silence. I didn’t verify the outcome deciding the arrow, which seemed to have passed through the snake was sacrificed.

I never found it. Money down the drain.

 

 

 

The Pro/Staff Sponsorship Facade

If you’ve read this website for long you may remember there was once a page for sponsors.  I took it down.  Before I removed it I politely said good-bye to those companies that had once supported me.  They were all good companies and I used their products.  But, overtime I became tired of their game. The products on this site, now, are mine.

The sponsorship game was essentially this:  I promoted their gear, I got a discount, I submitted quarterly updates, if the company had a booth at a tournament where I attended I was expected help at the booth, I’d only use the company’s gear, and I’d pay for the gear out of my pocket. There would be a discount on my purchase of 25% to 70% depending on the company.  To be fair one company never charged me for their products.  Nevertheless, I parted ways with them, too. Two of the companies were carry over sponsors form cycling and triathlon (those were the ones with the big discount and free goods.)

The whole archery deal felt off to me. Actually, the whole deal is a marketing program where those sports companies use amateur athletes to help promote their products.  I understand, I was in business most of my working life.

During that time of my life, before I retired, I did all sorts of business activities including product development, marketing, and was Vice President of Marketing.  I was also an Executive VP & Chief Medical Officer, and VP of Compliance and Regulatory Affairs.  I wore all sorts of hats.

I, too, ran marketing programs aimed at promoting my products.  One thing I always did was paid attention to the folks helping me with their expertise.  In my area the expertise wasn’t 100% an athletic skill it was mostly brain skills. Essentially, the academic/clinical environment was where my work and products were placed – for the most part.

There was a segment of my work that dealt with sports.  There I worked with professional and amateur athletes.  That work ranged from professional football players, track and field athletes (pro & am), triathletes, cyclist, runners, and event mountain climbers.  One of our key athletes was Jerry Rice who you may remember wearing a “Breathe Right” Nasal Strip.  Our segment of that market was medical but it was still cool to see Jerry Rice making amazing catches while wearing the “Breathe Right” Nasal Strip.  We even had a nearly life sized cardboard ‘standee’ of him in our boardroom.

With both venues, the brains and the brawn, one key function of our marketing department was to stay close to these thought leaders and athletes.  As a result we built a community or network of individuals that benefitted from our support and we benefitted from their support. The goal, of course, was to benefit people. I can honestly say we succeeded.  There are people alive today that might not be had it not been but for the work we all did.

Furthermore, that combined group had crossovers, brainy people can be athletes and athletes are smart, and those people worked together on projects.  It was a pulmonologist that inspired me to become a triathlete, Dr. Nick Hill a tremendous athlete. One of the toughest cyclists I ever trained with is an anesthesiologist, Dr. Chuck Law. Another close friend, a World Championship level cyclist, later became a toxicologist earning his degree from the Medical College of Georgia, Dr. Howard Taylor. These are just a few examples that come immediately to mind as I type this post.

Sometimes our company supported a project for the scientists or athletes and other times we did not.  Those times we didn’t provide support, financial or equipment, we did provide our help, if only to bounce ideas around, when it was needed even if the project held nothing for our benefit beyond the friendships we developed.  Years after retiring (We sold the company, I took my piece of the pie and called it quits.) that network still functions as a social group where ideas are exchanged.

The sponsorship or “Pro-Staff” arrangements I’ve been associated with thus far in archery have been extremely one sided.  There does not seem to be a commitment on the part of sport industry to create long-term associations with athletes beyond the young and the few. Personally, I could care less which bow a 17 year old is shooting.  Odds are that 17 year will be putting his or her bow down during their freshmen year of college.  A very few will continue with their advancement in the sport.

If you are fortunate enough and good enough that you are at a minimum getting free gear in return for donning that factory archery shirt good for you. If you paid for the shirt and get a 25% discount on products that has a  70% margin – well that’s your choice. If you see me wearing a company logo, you can bet that the arrangement has both benefit and detriment for both sides. That and I believe their gear helps me perform better.

Finding a bow for 3D

3D archery has pretty much fallen off the list for 2019.  At the beginning of the year I had high hopes for the 2019 3D season. Sadly, a few months into the year I no longer had a 3D bow.

I do have a bow.  But, that bow is configured for target archery. I tried shooting 3D with it using those skinny outdoor arrows and a lens.  It simply didn’t feel right to me.  In 3D I prefer using a hunting rig.

It wasn’t as if the skinny arrow arrangement barred me from shooting 3D.  In my mind it subtracts from the spirit of 3D, a discipline developed to simulate hunting.  I’d never hunt with a long stabilizer, scope and sight other than pins.

Of course, I could switch the bow over to a 3D rig and go back and forth with the gear arrangements before practices.  I’ve done it in the past.  But, it isn’t simple and if it isn’t simple it often times simply won’t get done.

I had two bows at the beginning of the year.  One was returned to the manufacturer in hopes they’d either resolve the problem or exchange the bow.  Since the bow was returned there’s been no reply.  Oh, I’ve checked on it. The response has been silence.

Then, I discovered an old bow that shoots.  It is an old Mathews Conquest Apex 7.  It was my first bow, purchased the year before it was discontinued.  I’d sold it.  The person that bought it wasn’t shooting it.  He told me I could “have it” when I asked to borrow it.

On the Friday before a local 3D competition I took the stripped bow to a local shot.  There they added a PEEP (one I had in a tackle box) and I’d already added a pin sight, it still had a D-loop on the string, and I attached a short front stabilizer. I also had an arrow rest; the one removed from the long ago returned malfunctioning bow, and it bow was ready to shoot.

Before leaving the shop the bow was paper tuned and tested.  It shot fine. During the afternoon I sighted the pins against known yardage so that the bow close to being ready to use in a tournament.

When I arrived at the local 3D shoot, Mathews Conquest Apex 7 in tow, the first words anyone spoke to me were from a PSE representative.  He asked, “What is that you’ve got in your hand?”  I explained the situation and he suggested I try on of his products.  I’ve already tried that bow.  It is nice. It doesn’t come for free.  The Apex 7 came for free.

Now, I am certain that over the years since this Apex 7 was developed there have been advances in bow technology.  I know marginal gains are available with advanced equipment.  Since I’ve not been shooting 3D, it doesn’t matter.  I was just looking to have some fun on a 3D range with the bow in my hand.

There’s always that awkward moment with I show up to shoot at a local 3D event.  I’m new here – still – by archery group standards.  As such, I have to do that milling about hoping to find a group with which to shoot.  I really hate that part and miss the group I shot with in North Carolina. Before every 3D event we get in touch with each other the night before to make our plans for the tournament.

My first attempt to connect with a group failed, as did my second. I got lucky and group of two invited me to join with them.  Having only shot about 30 arrows with the Mathews bow, where I was finding the pins and range intersections, I’d hoped to finish sighting the bow before I actually went to the range.  I got 6 shots and was off. The group that offered the invitation was ready and as the leader put it, “I’ve got things to do today.”  I appreciated her sentiment and invitation; beggars can’t be choosers.

Thanks for inviting me (Photo courtesy of Robbie Surface)

The windage was off a bit and the first target was wide to the right.  Wide enough to earn a 5.  No one complained as when I made my only adjustment.  A few cranks to the right and I’d do the best I could with the arrangement.

From target two until target eight there were no problems.  The old bow has minimal let off so I had to really be in the shot. That helped and I was shooting par. Target 8 was a trick.  A javelina sitting down a hill at 38 yards.  As a rule that isn’t too difficult.  But, today, I knew 38 yards was an in between two pins as best as I could guess.  I guessed a bit off and shot another 5 – a tad high just off the eight ring.  Beyond those two shots I ended up with all tens other than two 12s and two 8s finishing with a 190 in the senior hunter class.  (20 targets no bonus target)

It felt a little like a recurve. (Photo courtesy of Robbie Surface)

For the first time in years shooting a bow without a significant let off and shooting a bow for the first time of any merit I wasn’t too upset with the score.  Now that I’ve got this bow maybe I’ll be able to finish the 3D season with a few more competitions. One thing for certain, the arrows float off the bow and there’s little room for yardage error.