Shooting Back to Back Indoor 18-Meter and Indoor 3D

In the past, I’ve done multiple sporting events over a single weekend. For example, I’ve raced a 5K and 10K, then after each competed in a 3D archery tournament. The 5K was a quick short run and there was no “DOMS”, delayed onset muscle soreness. The 10K was another matter. The race was a trail run, hilly, and left me with some minor DOMS. The next day, the 3D range was not flat. I can say, having sore legs and climbing around on a hilly 3D course wasn’t hard, but definitely not my easiest day on a range. I’ve even raced in cycling time-trials, racing against the clock, then the next day going out for an archery tournament.

In archery, I have shot back-to-back days at tournaments a few times. In all of those, I was a bit behind on the first day and pulled up a bit on the second. Those events encompassed, indoor, field and 3D style events. Until recently, one combination I hadn’t done was indoor and 3D on the same day.

When that opportunity presented itself I jumped on it. The first was an indoor 18-meter 3-spot shoot, followed by an indoor 3D shoot.

Both events were fun. Here’s what I learned – bring more to eat. I ran low on gas during the second tournament. It didn’t sink me but I wasn’t a long way from ‘Bonking.”

I’ve bonked in triathlons and cycling training. It’s not a good feeling. Archery isn’t as physically demanding as those other two sports, but mentally an archer needs calories. On this double tournament day, I had miscalculated how long it would take and was low on my caloric intake. I’ll be more careful next time.

In the long run it didn’t matter all that much as I ended the day with two first places. But, I’ll be more careful on the food I bring from here moving forward.

A Little Winter Fun

Years ago I spent a lot of winters working outside the US in some cold places. In the US I lived in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, it’s cold during winters there. Outside the US winters in France and Sweden were seriously cold. Here in New Hope, North Carolina it is cold today. Not Swedish cold, but cold enough.

In addition to the cold we have a little ice and snow. By Cleveland or Pittsburgh standards, what we have here in New Hope is a light un-newsworthy event. But, here in the South it is newsworthy. In fact, I expect much of the South impacted by this cold snap to make the news for the next few days. After a few days, the temperature for us will be back in the upper 50’s and low 60’s.

Winter and snow in France is bad. Winter in Sweden is a totally difference form of life. On the coast of North Carolina it is simply a bit of cold weather fun where a nice hike around the 3D range beats sitting indoors.

Third Annual Trip to Wildcat.

Three years ago, while in Savannah, GA, I discovered Wildcat Archery in nearby Pooler, GA. Naturally I visited the shop where they informed me there would be an indoor league competition during my stay in Savannah. An archery novice I had never shot in a competitive situation. It seemed like it would be fun so I joined the event.

Wildcat Archery in Pooler, GA

In that – for me inaugural – tournament the targets were paper screened with animals. I recall being nervous, I didn’t even know how to score. After the shooting was completed I was quietly happy to have not missed an entire paper animal.

A year later, another trip to Savannah, and again on the path to Pooler to practice at the Wildcat indoor range. Their range is small and can handle a line of about 6 archers. But, it’s well illuminated and their backstops are nice. It’s an ideal range for practice.

December 2016 now in my third year of shooting ( actually three years, three months, and 4 days) I found myself back in Savannah. I also learned Wildcat Archery’s 5-spot league was having their final night of competition during my hometown visit. Pooler was again on my itinerary.

I like 5-spots because shooting a 300 seems somewhat possible. Hitting a 60X 300 is a  challenge, but a whole bunch easier than getting a 60X 600 against a 3-spot using the smallest ring as the ten (the USA Archery scoring method.) That 60X/600 remains elusive to me for now.

My practice of late has been exclusively shooting a 3-spot. This in preparation for the USA Archery Indoor Nationals. I expected to shoot well at the Wildcat Archery’s event.

The Wildcat’s final league shoot was scheduled to start at 7 PM. I’d planned to leave from Windsor Forest in Savannah a little before 6 PM. The 18-mile drive should take around 30 minutes according to Mapquest and my Garmin GPS.

Inside Wildcat Archery

Since moving from Savannah in the 80’s a lot has changed. I’m rarely there and retain my Old Savannah traffic memory.  I’ve been stuck in a lot of nasty traffic in cities like: London, Boston, Atlanta, Paris, Singapore and New York. Those cities stand out as miserable places to drive. Of smaller cities Norfolk, Virgina takes the bad traffic prize.

I’d allowed an hour and 10 minutes for the Wildcat drive.  It seemed ample time to make an 18-mile journey leaving plenty room to pay the $10.00 registration fee and take some warm up shots.

The plan to arrive early was a flop.  Traffic was shockingly bad – not how I’d remembered Savannah.  The trip to Pooler felt more like a drive in Norfolk.  Still, I arrived it in time to pay my ten bucks and have a few practice shots before our five shot official practice prior to scoring.

When it was all over I didn’t shoot a 300.  I was seriously disappointed.  I’d let an off centered target get the best of me as we began.  After a few frustrating shots, I figured, ‘oh well, I’m a bit off line’ and ended up with a 296.  I’ll wait to see what it is that will draw me back to Wildcat Archery in Pooler in 2017.

No Gains to Be Found in the Release

PGF Outdoors in Elizabeth City has a league competition underway. There are a number of really good archers shooting. Several have attended USA Archery Indoor Nationals and many are upper level 3D shooters. One travels the country competing – and she’s the youngest among the top archers.


I’ve been shooting in those league events. There will be eight contests before the conclusion and were at number four in the series. The target is a Vegas 3-spot, 30 arrows and they are scoring the outer 10 ring as a 10 and in inner as a 10X. With that larger 10 ring I would hope to have been shooting 300 every time.

Because the range is small (still a nice size for an archery shop) archers can compete on Thursday night or Saturday morning

I shot my best score the first night. That time I used a thumb release. All other times I have used a hinge release. My average has been 287 with last night’s low of 285 and the thumb release night earning a score of 289. It has been somewhat frustrating. I feel I should be shooting no less than 296 with by now at least one 300. But, it just isn’t happening.

It’s not like my arrows are all over the place. The groups are tight even though last night I hit one 8.

A recent article in Live Science investigators pointed out something all elite swimmers already know – they go faster with their fingers slightly apart. The increase in speed is very little, however, when hundredths or thousandths of a second separates these athletes every little marginal gain counts. I’ve written about marginal gains and where they might be found in archery.

When it comes to swim fast is good – coming out of the water under your own power is Rule Number 1.

By marginal gains I mean those small measures of improving an element of performance that when added together mount up to important differences. I’ve also mentioned that I am looking for a 4% gain in the past in order to reach an elite competitive status. That 4% had been 6%, then 5%, and 4%. I don’t attribute much of the 2% gain to practice. The gain came too fast for athletic improvement. I feel that small amount came from a change in stabilizers and addition weight.

Equipment can account for margin gains. The stabilizer improvements attest to the value of equipment to some degree. It still takes practice to get the most out of equipment and I practice a lot.


In an experiment to learn whether the thumb release is an approach to gain a percentage I shot all morning going back and forth with a thumb versus hinge. Absolutely no difference over 120 arrows. Exact number of 10s and 9s every time. At the end of all scoring exactly 4% off the mark. But, I am fairly sure there are no more gains to be found from the release products I own.

You’re Touching Me, You’re Touching Me

I’ve done a lot of sports competitions. They’ve ranged from full contact sports like football and karate to less physically impactful sports like archery. Even cycling is a contact sport where bumping shoulders and elbows while sprinting is normal. Sometimes you crash in cycling – I have the scars to testify- and that is full contact. In triathlon during the swim you can bet, you will be hit, pulled, clawed, and kicked. Many sports include physical contact. Not so much in archery.

I am in that mass of swimmers – there was contact during the swim

At smaller indoor tournaments space can be at a premium. Occasionally, there can even be unforeseen obstacles that reduce lane size. This is simply not a problem to worry over, if it happens it happens. Or so I thought.

A touch during a bike ride can hurt

At a recent indoor competition a problem occurred while I was standing at the left side of my lane. The archer next to me, in a lane beside an unforeseen obstacle, found he had slightly reduced real estate. Therefore, he needed to position himself at the extreme right of his lane. I needed to stand at the extreme left of my box because the target, set by the range keepers, was not centered. Even when I was due left, I was shooting at an angle. Nothing that I was going to cry about and nothing I couldn’t handle. As you can envision, the two of us were closer than usual.

To avoid being touched during a run simply run faster than everyone else.

The atypical box arrangement meant, that on occasion, when my bow was down, its side stabilizer touched archer’s, in the next lane, puffy fanny gear pack. Well, it wasn’t exactly a fanny pack; it was a large bag puffed out holding stuff. Many of us have smaller ones on our quiver belts.  The one in question seemed to be the gallon sized edition. It happens that my side stabilizer doesn’t extend with much of an angle.  It runs nearly parallel with my bow pretty much the exact opposite direction of the front stabilizer.

There can be a lot of archers on a line. It will be tight. You might get touched – be prepared to deal with it

I never felt my side stabilizer touch the fellow’s puffy pouch. It didn’t matter, he made certain I knew. Of course, I did everything possible to not touch the fellow. With my best effort, while not shooting, my side stabilizer touched the archer’s large waist purse more than once. He made it clear he did not want to be touched.

Proposing, after pointing out he was shooting from a size reduced box, if he slid his waist purse around an inch there would likely be no further contact. His waist purse, I implied, seemed to be extending beyond his invisible vertical box limit into my lane. He was not inclined to slide the offending purse off his front hip.

After a while I was reminded by another archer that some folks are whiners. The sad and sometimes touched archer, his stress exhausted, stopped whining and began to imply that I didn’t need to worry about a potential future touch. I supposed he realized that much of the fault was generated by his need to adorn large archery attire. Long before this decree of box freedom, I had stopped paying attention to him.

Without reservation none of his shots were in anyway affected by a foreign stabilizer brushing past his front facing fanny pack. On every shot, prior to loading an arrow, I leaned back to ensure there was ample distance between the two of us.

Archery is not a contract sport. In other athletics, where contact is the norm,  I’ve been injured severely enough to require hospitalizations and surgeries. Contact with another athlete has never caused me mental stress even though at times has resulted in physical discomfort.

Justifiably, archery is a mental sport. Part of an archer’s mental conditioning should include preparation under less than optimal shooting circumstances. Otherwise, how is a mentally squishier competitor going to deal with it?

Needed 3D and a New Bird

Training for 18-meters is fun. Shooting in the woods is, well, more fun – at least for me.  Lately, though the focus of training has been 18-meters. My primary bow, an Elite 35 Energy, is set-up for indoors. To shoot 3D I have to make all sorts of adjustments, twists and turns. Then, the reverse is needed to go back to 18-meters.

I admit, I frequently make the adjustments twice a day. It doesn’t take long, about 20 minutes to get everything sorted. It can make a person envious of folks that have multiple bows.

Actually, I have two bows. Aside from my Elite I have my original bow a Mathews Apex 7. Today, after a couple of hours at an indoor range, I decided to grab that Mathews and set it up for 3D.

I shot my less expensive arrows in case I was all over the place

Once home from indoor practice – wait. Indoor practice was more than shooting for two hours. It started with swimming followed by weight lifting, which added another 90 minutes to training. After that, at home, I added a short stabilizer to the Apex 7 and a pin sight.

3D practice with River includes “throw the stick”

It took a short while to get my pins relatively set before impatience pulled me into the woods. The pins were on at 20 yards and 40 yards. Outside of that is was guesswork.

The yellow pin looked like a choice selection for 35 yards (the old bird)

A bonus was a new turkey. I’d ordered it at PGF Archery in Elizabeth City where I practiced earlier in the day. Weeks ago I cleared a spot for a new target and the turkey was within my budget. This bird is set so that to retrieve arrows the approach is from behind. That allows from a more nature landscape between a stake and the target.

The new bird on the range

Being in the woods, even with a ‘nearly’ set bow and sight, was a nice break to the back and forth walking done when training at 18-meters.

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.

The river looked calm as we headed out for a run
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.


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.

Some company to help pass the time