Weight Lifting and Archery

This is not a post about which exercises are best for archery. It’s about a heavy day in the gym followed by trying to hit a decent shot afterwards.

It is important for people in sports lift weights.  All sports seem to gain a benefit from lifting.  It is also a good way to protect from the loss of muscle mass as we age.

Today was a long one in the gym.  It felt good and the YMCA where I lift in Elizabeth City was quieter than usual.  Taking advantage of a basically empty weight room I skipped swimming and spent extra time lifting.

Back home, after lunch and a break, it was time to pick up my bow for afternoon practice.  Not for the first time following a heavy workout I shot poorly.  Shooting around 100 arrows at a 3-spot I hit three 8s.  Hitting 10s was more frequent but the winner of the scores where the nines.

Compared to weights in the gym the Elite bow in my hand felt light.  Even so, there was a bit of a post workout tremble somewhat like a muscle vibration during many of the shots.

Tomorrow things will be better and  time in the gym pays off in many ways.

Practicing with an Archery Target Thief

 

img_5673The weather report indicated we’d have a windy weekend. Today, Saturday, proved the advance notice correct. Sunrise was nice and calm. The calm did not last.

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The river looked calm as we headed out for a run
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No Coco today

River and I enjoyed a run before archery. Coco, River’s Labrador friend from down the road didn’t join us this morning. Too bad for Coco, I’d brought extra treats to share. When they run together River comes home ready for a nap. Today, she wasn’t ready to nap and hung around me while I practiced.

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Running was less frantic without Coco

Preparing for archery I surveyed the conditions then considered making the drive into Elizabeth City to practice indoors at PGF Archery. The calm of dawn was gone and the river was covered with white caps. Being Saturday I couldn’t be sure who would be on the range in town. Saturday is often a team practice day for the JOAD groups. So I decided to stay home and deal with the wind.

My fall back to adverse conditions is to shoot from inside a shed. It is a last resort when there is simply too much wind. When I started practice, outside of the shed, it only took a few shots to realize that was not going to work.

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River intent on watching for that moment to begin her theft of targets.

River seemed calm while I focused on my target from inside the shed. She walked around and didn’t offer suggestions to play rather than work. Often we play ‘shoot three arrows – throw and stick.’ It didn’t take long until I discovered the reason for her silent prowling.

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Getting caught

There’s a trash bin in my shed where I deposit used targets. River had been sneaking to the bin, stealing the balled up targets then slipping outside to shred them. I caught her, well into her activity, with a mouth full of wadded up paper targets. Her response was, naturally, to run for it. For River, this was game time. For me, it was chasing time to retrieve bits of targets dancing away on the wind.

We Need T-Shirts in Archery

It was just a 5K. I run a lot of 5K races. This one was canceled last year because of a hurricane. Runners that had signed up were given entry to this year’s race at no charge – other than what we paid in 2015. They had my money, so I ran.

A 5K is fast. They hurt from start to finish. It’s not the same hurt as a marathon. What is nice is they are over in minutes not hours. You run, you hurt and you’re done.

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View near the start of the race

In most 5K races I finish high, I can hurt with the best of them. Because of my age group, in the 60 – 69 year segment, I rarely hang around for the $2.00 medal. It takes longer to wait on the medal than to run the race. They start handing out the awards for the younger age groups first. I checked the medals out after this race and didn’t pause as I passed them. Mardi Gras beads are more impressive. What I really wanted was the t-shirt. Oh yes, I got my thin neon yellow crappy t-shirt. Man, if it wasn’t for races I’d have very little to wear.

I’ve got stacks of race t-shirts. They don’t give t-shirts to archers, which I think is a rip -off. The fee to compete in an archery tournament is more expensive than a 5K yet there is no swag in archery.

I’ve gotten so many t-shirts I began having them made into quilts to give away. These days my family members remind me how happy they are with their t-shirt quilt and no they don’t really need another. Even my wife, Brenda, has tactfully pointed out we don’t need another, even though I’ve suggested we could always use another quilt in the winter,  Brenda has offered to share a quilt with my dog.  I declined her offer.

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The tide was pretty high under a bridge we ran over (I took this picture before the run)

Since most of the competitive events I’ve done thus far in 2016 have been archery I’ve sadly only collected 7 new t-shirts. All are really tacky looking. Heck, tacky t-shirts and willing sponsors are abundant for running and triathlon. Seems like archers could get in on the t-shirt give away.

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Another nice finish of a run

Where are the deer?

“I’ve never gone 7 days of hunting this property and not seen a single deer,” said Ray, my father-in-law. To be fair we’d seen a lot of deer moving on and off the property. The trail cameras show lots of deer. Neither of us has spotted a deer while bow hunting.

Early in the week there was sign that the deer where moving near the spots where blinds or tree stands are positioned. The past two days as I approached what we had considered good hunting real estate I had my doubts.

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Heading in

On each day was we approached the property for hunting we observed plenty of early afternoon deer. Since neither Ray nor I had seen anything while hunting we decided to stay as late as the legal limit allows. We’d considered that perhaps we’d been leaving a bit too early. This, even though we’d seen deer moving between 3:30 PM and 4:30 PM.

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Deer are most active in the early morning and around twilight. They bed down during the day. But, they do get up, stretch and move around during their less active times. Ray prefers, he’s nearly 90 years old, to get out into the woods around 4 PM. He says that the early morning hunts aren’t as appealing as they were a few years ago. So we hunt for those twilight deer. Last year, Ray got 7 deer and I took 2 while hunting in the afternoon.

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From my tree stand

So, on the third day of bow hunting season 2016, we remained in our concealed hunting spots as long as legally possible. Even though we stayed later, we still did not see any deer.

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On day four, out of curiosity, I got up early and headed out just to take a look. Not a single deer. I checked areas where tracks are often in abundance; there were only a few. What we have noticed is a lot of deer moving as we head onto the hunting property. They’re out there, they’ve just moved away for the moment. We’ll need to go scout around to see where they’ve gone.

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Some company to help pass the time

Deer Hunting – Bow Season 2016

It is bow season! We’ve seen there are a lot of deer in these woods! Every trail camera shows deer wandering about day and night. Heck, simply driving into and out of the woods to collect SIM cards the deer practically slow the ATVs due to their heavy foot traffic. Deer are so plentiful it seems to require the need of only an arrow with which to reach out and stab the creatures.

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The well-placed trail cameras photographed an abundance of doe and bucks with wide thick racks ranging from six to eight points. Deer are everywhere!

Any day in the woods is a good day. A few days before Ray, my father-in-law, and I took our bows and headed out to well scouted areas John, a friend and paramedic (always good to have one of those on a hunt), had taken a large doe with his crossbow. John shot the doe within an hour of entering his pop-up blind. This was going to be pick and choose hunting.

As I approached my tree stand I marveled over all the sign of deer. My stand was positioned against a pine tree facing a main wildlife thoroughfare. About a quarter of a mile from my tree stand while walking in several deer stood 30 yards away watching me. Oh man, this was going to be a great day on the woods.

Once on my stand I made certain I was secure. Then, I arranged my equipment, my Elite 35 Energy with a Toxic broad head tipped arrow readied, my range finder tied to the stand, binoculars out and at hand. From my backpack that was lashed to the tree I took my water bottle had had a drink. Next, I began scanning the woods for deer. While watching I used the range finder to mark distances where a shot might present itself.

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Within minutes, off to my left – noise. Big noise, lots of racket. Cautiously turning I began a detailed survey of the terrain. Nope, no deer only a pair of squirrels that appeared happily gamboling around on terra firma.

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These squirrels hung around near me for a solid thirty minutes. I eased back and began scanning, eyeballing, and listening for anything that might alert me to all the deer waiting in the shadows and brush.

The squirrels eventually moved off into the thicket. All was quiet for the next half an hour. Then out of the corner of my eye – movement. It was that silent movement. Stealthy cautious foraging off to the left. Moving like a Ninja I twisted in my tree stand. Yes, there it was again, more movement.

As I watched they crept closer and closer. Before long, there they were, twenty-six yards away directly in from of me – a raft of turkey.

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The turkey is a wary bird. Yet, these were so very close and in no hurry to move away. Shortly after their arrival the squirrels returned and began their quest for food aside their feathery friends. That mob of critters remained below me for an extended food rummage.

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As the light began to dim the cluster of animals, feathered and furred, slowly headed into more dense woods or up into trees. My thoughts, perhaps they are making room for larger mammals on my horizon. And there I remained with my thoughts until it was simply to late to sit in that tree any longer.

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I gathered my gear, packed it, attached packages and my bow to line and lowered it all to the ground. Then, making certain I was safe began my climb to red clay. Once off the ladder I collected my gear to begin my walk back. As I’d bent over to pick up my bow, thirty yards directly ahead, two doe gave me the eye and causally drifted away.

Trail Running, Riding for Turtles, and One Crazy Squirrel

River and I ran through the woods this morning. I prefer trail running to running on the road and both forms of outside running beat a treadmill. There are many short circuits into and out of forested areas near my home here in North Carolina. River does not mind running loops and there seems to be more interesting areas to stop and sniff in the woods. I make this observation based on River’s actions; I don’t have the nose for a similar experience.

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This picture was taken less than a quarter mile from my front door. It’s one of the trails we run.

When it comes to exercise, running is often not enough and I add other workouts, cycling being my favorite. Because I ran trails I decided to ride the roads for a couple of more hours before shooting.

Turtles on the road interrupt nearly all rides. When I see them I help them across even when I’m racing against the clock. Today, I was riding easy and there was time for photographs taken of the two turtles I assisted.

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Turtle number one

Turtles have long lives when cars do not squash them. In their world no automobile warnings exist and they simply can’t comprehend the impact of a tire.

I wouldn’t call their moderate pace across a road crazy. Turtles don’t grasp that their mobile home provides no protection to the weight of a vehicle. Squirrels on the other hand seemingly have a limited understanding of cars and make an attempt to get out of the way – too often an unsuccessful back and forth rally made in hope of confusing the four-wheeled beast barreling down upon them.

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Turtle number two

Given the limited awareness of danger squirrels have I was mystified by one of the grey fellows today. While shooting a squirrel decided to forage a few feet to the side of my target. Clearly, this squirrel recognized that I am not a 15-year-old boy. Otherwise, its life would have been in peril.

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You can see the squirrel on the side of the pine tree. It’s about 6 feet from my target on the left and twenty yards away from me.

One of those days

Shooting a 5-spot seems too easy when compared to a 3-spot. The X is a whole lot bigger. So, I figured I’d take a break from shooting a 3-spot, give my ego a boost and hit a couple of easy 300 scores. That didn’t happen.images-1

I have not looked at a 5-spot since January of this year. My last score was, not to brag, a 300. Then, I stepped away from 5-spots in order to prepared for the USA Indoor Nationals. Today, when I tacked up the blue and white target I was feeling good and looking forward to a decent score for a change.

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You know, when I lined up for few warm-up shots those blue and white rings, well they looked funny. It was weird to see them after a nearly eight-month absence. The warm-up shots were okay and I felt ready to shoot like a pro.

Man, that did not happen. The first 60 arrows I dropped 3 ending up with a 297, the next 60 shoots ended up scoring 296. After each less that great arrow I stopped to think about where I’d screwed-up. Then, I reset and got on with business.

Mostly, my off shots were associated with my anchor placement. It really wasn’t a total disaster. The practice is helping me find just the right place for my right hand.

 

Running with the Pack

Before I started archery practice today I ran and then rode one of my bikes. That, in the triathlete’s lingo is known as a ‘Brick.’ The run was a special one today. River and I were joined by Coco, as usual. Today was different, we were greeted by Cornbread.

Cornbread is the Old Dog here on the river. He’s a reddish mix of Labrador and golden retriever. He’s exact age is unknown to me. But, I think I heard he’s around eleven.

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These are truly great friends

Running with a pack of dogs is a treat. Each morning when we gather River and Coco go through a ritual. In that their tails are high, ears are perked, and heads cocked. Then, it is an all out sprint where they jump ditches, sometimes over and sometimes into, as they leap at one another and bump shoulders. They occasionally pause as if to take a breather, check each other for inadvertent damage, and then start the melee again. At times they try to include me where I seem to become a sort of home base. They aim at me, running full speed, and if I am amiss with my dodge I will hit the ground. They don’t jump on me; they try to run me over.

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Pure delight

It was on the way home that our small pack was met by Cornbread. Cornbread is no longer a frisky young dog. He did, however, puff up and give the girls a gallant trot. River and Coco seemed to understand he is a grand old dog. The immediately slowed their run, hovered around Cornbread and it appeared they gave him a slight bow of their heads. There was a reverence to the greeting.

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The girls and Cornbread

The girls, their attention waning, sprinted away and caught me on the final leg home. Once home both jumped into the Little River for a short swim before they got their snack, a Milkbone each.

Coco stayed with us a bit longer than usual. Perhaps hoping for another biscuit or maybe another swim. It’s always sad to watch her walk home alone. Maybe Cornbread came out and said hello again as she made her way back to her house.

There are few pleasures more enjoyable than running with dogs. During my cycling I checked on Coco, she was taking a nap in the shade of a tree. Cornbread, I guessed had gone inside to sleep it off. River stayed home while I was cycling, asleep under my desk where she’s relaxed since she was a puppy.

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River, ready for a nap