Toasty and a Hungry Bird

It’s 97°F, that’s hot. It was hot when I practiced this morning, not yet 97, but close. It’s going to still be hot when I shot again after I finish this post. Typically, I write these posts at night. Today, I’m typing a little earlier to share what happened during the morning practice.

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Started off shooting to the right of center

The target I’m shooting sits in a chair in a small dip. Without the chair the target can’t be seen once the distance reaches 43 yards. The ground isn’t level and there’s a hump that makes the target invisible when you start adding yardage if its not on the chair.

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This was a drill. I set my sight for the center. Then, walk back 5-6 yards and shoot. The low arrow is the mark when I’m off 5-6 yards. Then, I walk forward, not moving the sight. Finally, I pass the center shot and end up shooting high. Gives me some idea of what happens when I’m off a few yards.

There still isn’t a lot of variance in the topography. To make shots have more of a slope I stand on trailers used to haul tractors.

While standing on one of these flat bed trailers I heard a buzzing sound. I looked down and there was a humming bird searching the nocks on my arrows for nectar. I’ve seen some unusual things outside but that was a first. This little bird was putting its beak into the each nock on the hunt for sweetness. Sadly, it was disappointed and flew off.

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Without the chair this target is below the horizon.

Back to the heat:  Brenda just informed me it is 107 with the heat index. Yep, this afternoon is going to be toasty.

Practicing Long Shots in the Heat

Well, it is hot in Georgia. The past few days have been in the mid-90’s. Tomorrow we’ll be shooting outside in Madison and it promises to be a scorcher.

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The practice field here in Tignal

The start time for the competition on Saturday is 2:30 PM. After naptime, which is good and reaching peak thermal exposure.

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Zoomed photo of the target from 60 yards

On Saturday we’ll be shooting 72 arrows from 50 meters. I’ve been practicing here on a field. I can get a clear shot out to 80 yards. I limited practice to 70 yards and focused on 60 yards. It’s a little further than the distances for Saturday and the USA Outdoor Nationals. My hope is that by practicing a more difficult shot maybe 50 meters will feel easier.

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That might do

The other factor I’m practicing in is the weather. Both upcoming events will be hot and there is no doubt practice has been hot.

Putting 3D on a Back Burner for a Few Weeks

If off of 3D for a while.  Back to shooting dots.  Over the next few weeks I’ll do an outdoor tournament in Madison, Georgia before heading over to Decatur, Alabama for the USA Outdoor Nationals.

Brenda is coming with me on this trip.  We’re bringing River and Nixie.  All of us will be packed into our 21-foot long Minnie Winnebago.  It will be an adventure.

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On the road – again

Before I hit the road I needed new arrows.  I tried to get the “skinny” arrows similar to those the big boys shoot.  That didn’t quite pan out and I’ll be shooting my old standby Beman ICS Hunter arrows.

I had eight of them and bought another 1/2 dozen at Winks Sporting Goods in Princess Anne, Maryland.  CJ Wink, also changed the tips and vanes so the arrows ‘mostly’ match. Two were older and a different length so they were eliminated from my pile of arrows.

The concern is that these “fatter” arrows may have be a slight detriment over a longer distance outdoors.  Both of these upcoming outdoor competitions are at 50 meters.  But, I can only shoot what I have on hand.

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Well, that’s a pretty good start

Before I got on road, I gave the Beman’s a try.  Shooting all the arrows at the exact same point is risky.  Twelve should be fine.

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Do this twice in a row and there’s a good change one arrow gets busted.

 

Back in the woods getting a fix on yardage.

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3 shots and one busted nock

I have a range finder. It provides fair estimate of yardage. At times I regret ever using one. It’s probably better to never use the gadget and learn to make the yardage measurement accurately without electronic support.

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Well, that little ring is filled

Today, I didn’t use range finder. I think it can become a crutch. Using one all the time makes me feel less confident in my yardage assessment.

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This little critter is beginning to show up a lot in 3D
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B-B-Que

Not using a range finder was a bit more fun than when I use one in practice. To make certain I wouldn’t become tempted, just to take a peek, the range finder wasn’t on the practice field.

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I’d rather bust a nock than break a arrow
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Dime sized center shots are tough

You know, I think I shot better without the ranger finder.

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River pacing the distance for me. Sadly, I could not understand what she was trying to bark. Maybe she was barking, “It’s 47 yards” or “Give me a treat”

Re-tuning on 3D

 

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It was so humid I had dew forming on my arms

The past month or so archery has been focused on shooting known distances while preparing for and competing in the NFAA Sectional. There was one 3D tournament, with unknown distances,  I’d hoped to compete in during this interval, but it was canceled due to weather. So, this morning’s practice was in the woods working on yardage.

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A little bit tough
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Three positions from 37 to 48 yards

You know what they say; if you don’t use it you lose it. It wasn’t too bad judging yardage. I did, however, lose one arrow shooting at a mountain lion target 50 yards out.

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Looking back from the deer towards where I left my bow

Aside from that one shot the others were okay. Even so, I had yardage correct on that missed lion shot. Fifty yards is pretty long and the arch of my arrows is noticeable at that distance. I might have hit a low hanging limb when going for that mountain lion. All the other fifty yarders were on target.

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These were pretty tight at 50 yards

IMG_5187In these woods, there is an abundance of snakes. I practiced for three hours and forty-five minutes and didn’t see snakes today. Water moccasins are plentiful this year. As a result we’ve already shot eight if those aggressive vipers hanging around our dock, on the bulkhead and in these woods. When I go into that thicket I bring a little pistol in the event I walk up on a poisonous snake. I leave the harmless ones alone.

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This bug is a bugger to hit

Granted, I do have a bow and arrows with me. But, when it comes to a snake that could kill me I’ll take whatever advantage I can get. Plus, when I go to pull arrows, I may not have any more in my quiver or my bow might not be in my hand. I keep the revolver on my hip – just in case.

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You know there will be a turkey sitting out at 40 yards
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If it’s not a turkey at 40 yards it’s that bobcat at 35

What I wanted to do today was shoot the same target from around 20 yards to 50 yards. I shoot each faux-critter about eight times each at a variety of points near and far. I also changed the angles and positioned myself so that the targets weren’t all straight ahead. There are eleven foam animals on the range, which meant around 88 or so shots excluding my warm-up on a flat paper target.

This afternoon I’ll repeat this practice session and continue with this form of practice until Friday. On Friday I’ll be headed to Maryland for an IBO Qualifier.

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And this is why I like pin nocks with those posts. Another arrow saved.

Quick Trip to Georgia

We’re back in Georgia for a couple of days. Our oldest daughter invited us to join them to see Cirque de Soleil. We’ll be back in a couple of weeks. Between now and them I have two tournaments, one in North Carolina the other in Maryland.

Once we get back to Georgia I am looking forward to shooting in Madison, Georgia. Then it’s onto Decatur, Alabama for the USA Outdoor National Championship. So, with all the competitive events in the near future I’ve not skipped on practice.

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We have a field here that is devoted to storing trailers, tractors, and archery. That’s were I practiced this morning. I was shooting with a Mathews Apex 7 and pins rather than my Elite with a scope. The Elite is being re-strung in Elizabeth City, NC. I’ll have it back on Tuesday.

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I’d mentioned in an earlier post that I’ve not shot using pins in over a year. It feels a little weird aiming with pins. Nearly all my shots landed in the yellow and I almost opened up the center.

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Pins and no magnification certainly make seeing the X more of a challenge. Shooting out over 35 yards takes a slightly different “feel”. The effort is magnified since the Mathews bow feels very different from the Elite. But, I think the variance in the bows could be good practice.

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Desperate to Shoot

My Elite 35 is in the shop. The string needs to be replaced. 60X is one of my sponsors I use their strings. Because I have red bicycle handle bar tape on the grip of my bow, this time I requested a red and black string from 60X. It should look cool.

The shop where the sting is being replaced is moving. PGF Archery, owned by Bumper Williams has operated out of a shed on his property in Winfall, NC. Bumper has expanded his business and is relocating to a storefront in Elizabeth City, NC.

In fact, the property he’s rented for his expansion was the former location of the Cutting Edge Archery store. The Cutting Edge closed this week and PGF Archery is moving to that location.   In the meantime, my Elite is in transit with the rest of the goods from Bumpers shed.

Without the Elite I still had two options to shoot: a $78.00 recurve and my old Mathews Apex 7.

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I gave the recurve a few hours of time. It is amazing; I did not lose a single arrow. I tried to get a feel for shooting tradition style and had some success out to about 20 yards. I shot around 60 arrows with the recurve and all hit the target. A few even landed in the center. Nevertheless, I admit I had no idea what I was doing.

My second option was the Apex 7. I’d sold the bow last year and ended up getting it back. Since last year I’ve not shot with pins. I didn’t want to do the work on the scope in order to set it for the Mathews bow so I connected my old pin sight. (I removed the scope and stabilizers from the Elite while it’s being restrung)

It took awhile to acclimate to the 65% let off, the spongy wall, and pins. Eventually, I was shooting pretty well out to 50 yards – the bottom pin. Out of curiosity, I decided to shoot twenty 3D targets with my old friend.

The Mathews Apex 7 was my first bow. I’d bought is two years and 10 months ago from Shore Sportsmen in Easton, MD. It was nice to get reacquainted with it.

Since I was using pins, a bit cold to pins, I didn’t shoot any target farther away than 40 yards. Not having a scope makes a real difference. Being unaccustomed with the bow also took a toll. I ended up 6 down after a twenty target session with the Apex 7.

On Tuesday of next week my Elite 35 will be ready for me to retrieve. Even though I shot pretty well with the Apex 7, I’ll go into the next volley of tournaments with the Elite.

But, I still got to shoot even if the score was a bit disappointing

Tapering

This weekend there’s a two-day field archery tournament and a triathlon. I’m entered in both events. It’s going to be a stretch making both of them, but it’s worth a try.

With the triathlon in mind, I’m tapering a bit. The race is an Xterra sprint. That means a short swim, only 800 yards. The swim is followed by a 14 mile off road (mountain bike) ride and finishes with a 5K-trail run.

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The swim is, well just that a short swim. The distance is par for a sprint triathlon. The mountain biking and trail running are different for me.

I’ve done both and did pretty good in mountain bike racing and was okay as a trail runner. But, I’ve never done an off road triathlon. I’m looking forward to it.

It is going to be tight. The archery tournament is a two-day event. The finish time for the tournament is approximately 2 PM on Saturday. The triathlon, 45 minutes away from the archery tournament, starts at 4:30 PM. However, check-in ends at 4:00 PM. It’s very cool to be doing a race starting in the afternoon. Most start around 7:00 am or earlier. I hope I can pull it off.

Tapering for the race means little for a sprint. I still swam today and ran. But, not as far as usual. Short for the swim means I only swam 800 yards. I’m not a fast swimmer and it took about 14 minutes to go the distance. I also ran slower than usual simply enjoying an easy pace.

Archery was also a little easier. Yesterday I shot for about 5 hours. Today, I practiced only two and a half.

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60 yards was far enough today

I practiced for a while shooting at paper out to 60 yards. I went out to 80 yesterday. In order to get an 80-yard shot I moved my targets, used a 100-foot tape measure and reeled out 80 yards – marking at 30 yards, then 60 yards and finally 80 yards.

I ended up two doors down on my road and practiced shooting from one of my neighbor’s front yards. I shot across his property, the house between us onto the target in my driveway. There’s only two families here full time, including us, so it wasn’t a problem to shoot across the middle lawn where there’s a currently vacant house.

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River waiting for a toss

Today, 60 yards was enough. Since I’ve changed arrows for the field tournament and the USA Outdoor Nationals I am having a bit of a problem getting a yardage tape that aligns with the calibration on my sight. The yardage marks are good out to 35 yards, but beyond that everything is off by 2 to 3 yards.

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It’s getting thick in these woods

It was also a day for 3D practice. The range has gotten very thick with foliage. It will need to be trimmed this week. Parts of it were too wet for running shoes, which I was wearing at the time. We’ve had a lot of rain here over the past few days. Tomorrow, it will be rubber boots in order to keep my feet dry.

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River inspecting a coyote

River was a big help throughout practice. She seems to have learned a new trick. What she does is goes swimming. She then leaves the water and stand near me as I prepare a shot. Once I’m at full draw she shakes the water from her coat. Neat trick.

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Struck this branch with an arrow on the way to a bear. Couldn’t believe I still hit the target.

 

 

 

A “Hot” Dog, Turkey, and a Fish Eating Snake

River and I got out a little later than usual to run. It was already hot. It felt good to me, less good to River. Because it was hot I directed the run toward an area where River could go swimming if she wanted. She wanted to swim.

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River cooling off

It was a good day for a brick (a brick is a back to back run / ride for those of you that aren’t triathletes) and that was on my schedule. Back home I changed over to cycling and headed away on a bike. This day I took a mountain bike.

There are paths that lead into swamps about five miles from my home. The swamp is where I wanted to ride.

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Shortly after I left the road and hit the trail I scared up a turkey. The hen had been hiding in some brush. Along with her were six babies. I took a couple of pictures then left them alone.

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In the swampy area I noticed an unusual track – that of a human.   What on earth anyone would be doing way back on this trail barefoot is beyond me.

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When I got home Brenda wanted to go out on the boat. She has two friends visiting. They’re all three Yoga girls. One of our daughters, Candace, has been a yoga instructor for years. Brenda and her friends are yoga instructors.

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Ok, she’s showing off a bit

I know a lot of people enjoy yoga. I understand it is good for you. Brenda even talked me into trying it – twice. It didn’t stick. Anyway, Brenda wanted to take her friends out for a ride in the boat.

I’d just finished about 3 hours of cardio – running and riding. She found me asleep on the floor in one of my sheds. I suppose I’ll need to find a better hideout. But, Brenda got me up and moving so we could get out on the boat.

As I was gathering what I needed to take on the boat Brenda found me and asked me to get my shotgun to shoot a snake. She said, “There’s a moccasin eating a fish on the steps leading into the water.”

Sure enough, there was a massive water moccasin slowly mouthing a fish into its gut. The snake never stood a chance.

After that excitement we did get on the water for an hour or so. We headed back sooner than expected because the ladies were getting hungry.

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The remainder of the afternoon was devoted to archery. It was nearly 90 degrees when I started shooting. After an hour and a half I took a break to write this post. Once this is done, I’ll be heading back out to shoot some more.

Bye-Bye Bonnie

at201602A few days ago Tropical Depression Bonnie nearly crossed our path here in New Hope (near Hertford), North Carolina. The weather maps showed that the outer boundary of the depression hovering over the Outer Banks and just above the Albemarle Sound.

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I was curious – how accurate are those images being posted online by Wunderground and the National Hurricane Center? So, I walked out to the end of my dock and took a look for myself.

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Admittedly the data online was very accurate. We were just outside of the really foul weather by a few miles. That meant I could still get in some archery practice.

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Bonnie hung out off the coast here for a day or so then gathered stream and headed east into the Atlantic. I won’t miss her. Living here in the coast of North Carolina we’re going to get more than our fair share of hurricanes. Only Louisiana, Florida, and Texas get more hurricanes than we do in North Carolina. Georgia, my home state is number six among the top ten states for attracting ocean originating cyclones.

Even though Bonnie skirted past us, she provided parts of the state with a bit more wind and rain than we received. I mentioned to a friend, when the storms come we’ll get the Winnebago and leave. He asked, “Where will you go?” My answer, “To where the hurricane isn’t going.”

(To my good friend in New Orleans – Terry we’re one up on you.)