We’ve just returned from a 10-day road trip. During the excursion we stayed in Brevard, NC, Tignall, GA and Savannah, GA. Brevard was a true vacation and we enjoyed 5 days of adventures and festivities. Tignall was to celebrate the 4th of July with family, and we made an overnight jaunt to Savannah to see my mother. During all of this I didn’t get to practice as much as usual.
To compound the lack of practice the day before I left I changed sights on my bow. The pin sight I’d been using was fine, however, I wanted to change to a sight that was easily removed. I selected one the same company’s products only this sight slides on and off making it easy to switch to a scope.
Setting a new sight is a tedious process, at least for me. In Brevard I shot a bit on the block target I carried on vacation, but wasn’t yet on par with the pins. In Tignall I did more practice more adjustments and still wasn’t right where I wanted to be with the alignment.
Twenty yards was fine, twenty-five even better than before. Thirty yards was making me crazy. Thirty-five yards was only exacerbating my craziness. Forty was fine but 45 wasn’t so fine.
Today, the clicks and twists were beginning to make a bit more sense. The short shots, 20 to 30 yards were clicked in so I backed up. Thirty-five yards worked fine. But the better test would begin at 40 yards.
The first short at 40 yards was low to my right. The second was acceptable, as was 45 yards. Fifty yards felt great and my second shot at 55 was on the money.
Tomorrow, I’ll head back out to re-test my adjustments. Next, I’ve got to re-set my scope. These activities take time and I’d rather just shoot. But, it has to be done.
On April 16th I posted an article describing cheaters. For the most part I rarely notice cheating. Sometimes I do, but honestly it seldom concerns me. On July 5th, one of the archery-focused groups on Facebook where I’m a member went crazy regarding an alleged cheat.
When I have noticed or suspected liberal scoring I’ve sometimes confronted it on the range. Once, during an indoor shoot I knew a 10 was a 9 but in that case said nothing – even though it happened a few times. What I did was “suggest” the shooter get a new target. He’d shot out the center ring, which made accurate scoring impossible. Let me emphasize, “He’d shot out the center ring on all three targets.” Not a bad strategy if you can pull it off.
This is how I look at competition: If I am not hitting 10s or higher, in 3D, I am off. I’m off from time to time. But, those times are becoming less frequent. Indoor shooting if I hit a 7 I’m off, when shooting a 3-spot. If someone has to cheat to keep up, it is unlikely they’re someone that worries me. Actually, on the range no one worries me. Off the range I do keep up with how the guys I shoot against are performing.
Of those archers, no one cheats. Their scores are too good and everyone sees their shots. If you are not shooting in a competition where key archers are being closely watched, not for cheating but to admire their performance, then you are shooting for fun.
So, shoot for fun. If your attention is on a trophy, you’ve probably lost that award before you started. That said, the Gold Medalist shooter (rifle) in the 1976 Olympics had an attitude regarding the medal. Before he fired his first shot he knew the Gold Medal was his, so he shot relaxed, in his mind he’d already won, and consequently he walked away with the Gold. When you walk onto a range and you’re worried about winning the trophy or that someone allegedly cheated you out of a trophy, especially a local shoot, well you were never really in the competition.
I am running low on arrows. When I get this short on projectiles the pressure is on not to lose an arrow, break a nock, or lose fletching.
Losing an arrow doesn’t necessary mean missing a target and watching an arrow vanish. Of the dozen Black Eagle Challengers I bought about a month ago I have 5 I can shoot. Two were broken hitting something inside a target. The points jammed into the shaft and the arrows were trashed. One got lost in a tournament where I under shot a target. Goodbye Black Eagle – you’re free. Four have a combination of broken nocks and liberated fletching. That leaves me with 5 shootable arrows.
The little nock I use needed to be ordered and haven’t arrived. The dozen new Black Eagle arrows I ordered haven’t arrived. Five arrows are enough, but I like a cushion. I like a dozen on hand with unused in kept a tube kept cool and stored.
We’re heading to Brevard, NC, Tignal, GA and Savannah, GA. You can bet I’ll be shooting at all three stops. You can also bet I’ll not be making any “experimental” shots with only 5 arrows for a 10 day trip.
Being on vacation doesn’t preclude archery from the fun things to do while on vacation. For this leg of the trip, the Brevard – western NC – stay, I brought several toys with which to play including my archery ‘toys’. Even though I will not be able to compete in a tournament on this trip, I did get to shoot.
With me I brought my bow and the five arrows I own that can be currently used for shooting. I also brought a block target that can only be shot using the smaller sides. The large sides barely slow down an arrow.
In Brevard the canopy of leaves that surround the property we’ve rented makes judging yardage a new game. Ambient light is minimal and there isn’t level ground to be found. On the east coast of the state, my home, I shoot on level ground in very bright light toward shadows, or at brightly illuminated targets, or from shadow to shadow. In the woods here it is just dark or darker and hilly.
Having only 5 arrows and a small target, considering the light and hills, I was very conservative while practicing. I used one arrow only, shot for the middle of the target, and limited my distance to 40 yards.
The result was I didn’t lose or break the arrow. I got some decent practice in lighting to which I am unaccustomed and gave myself an hour* each day to get a feel for hilly terrain. One nice thing about a small target is that it’s easy to move around.(*I am on vacation, so I limited my practice time to an hour per day. )
The other toys that will be used on this trip, bikes, kayaks, and running gear have yet to make it into the game.
It has been really hot here in Hertford, North Carolina. Shooting paper targets, not in the woods, means no shade. The sun was so bright the pins on my sight began to blur. After awhile my bow actually becomes hot.
On Tuesday, about an hour of shooting 100°F temperature chased me into the forest to shoot foam. There I would find some shade, a lot of biting flies, ticks, and six targets.
It was getting late and I’d already practiced on these targets earlier in the day. Despite being saturated with insect repellent the black deer flies were eating me alive. Some days the bugs in the woods are worse than others. This was a bad day.
I made a plan to shot seven shots, not too close, and record each one. I’d also go as slow as and the insects feasting on me would allow. I like to shoot fast, but in tournaments it is never fast. I was plenty warmed up and this little exercise would give me an idea of what it would feel like during an extremely hot day during a 3D competition.
On the range there are 6 targets. Because the turkey can be shot on its sides and front I shot it twice, making the seven targets.
Here’s how it went:
Shot Number 1
Shot number 2
Shot Number 3
Shot Number 4
Shot Number 5
Shot number 6
Shot number 7
After the last shot, I grabbed my equipment and took my bug bitten self into the house for first aid and air conditioning. (IBO Scoring center ring 11)
During this season’s 3D circuit I have been focused on the IBO World Championship. Here in North Carolina the 3D archery format is ASA. This means there isn’t an equivalent IBO Pro Hunter Class. So, I’ve been shooting against archers with a bit more gear than I am using on my bow. My bow is equipped with a short stabilizer and fixed pins.
Over this few months I’ve had some good shots and made some dumb mistakes. The dumb mistake I repeated this weekend. The original error was a shot I knew I could hit. The target was a coyote, something I shoot often, that was 35 yards out. My 35-yard pin and my 45-yard pin are both yellow.
I lined my yellow pin up on the center of that coyote and let ‘err rip. My arrow cleared that coyote by at least four feet. Wrong yellow pin. Opps.
The second dumb mistake was a repeat of the first only this time on a mountain lion. I have a mountain lion on my practice range. I shoot it all the time. This particular shot was 34 yards. My red pin is set for 30 yards, my yellow for 35. I carefully lined up my top green pin (20 yards) and my second pin (the red) and shot the mountain lion for 25 yards. My arrow slid neatly under the target.
In both cases I was close on seeing the yardage. In both circumstances we were past the mid-point of the shoot and I was beginning to mentally drift. Both shots cost me points. Both were mental errors.
On average including the two misses my mean score per target is 9.85. Other archers (n=13) shooting at similar distance, the winners only, averaged 0.7 points per target more than me. The range for winners (top scores per tournament at the 45/50 yard max range) was 206 – 218.
This isn’t as bad as it sounds – I almost never shoot for the 12 rings. If I hit the 12 it is a lucky miss of the center 10. The center ring in IBO is an 11 and because my training is aimed at the IBO, their main 3D shoot of the year, I have been practicing for that tournament. It is also not as good as it sounds because I don’t know the number of times I might have scored an 11 versus a 10 under IBO rules.
After August I am putting my scope and long stabilizer back on my bow. Having one point to align with the target, so long as my yardage isn’t off, might end up paying higher dividends. Statistically, one point more would be great.
PGF Archery was on my list of places to go yesterday. I needed a new block target. My targets are really shot to pieces. They’ve been repacked and duct taped so many times it is amazing they ever stop an arrow.
When I got to PGF Archery I looked over the inventory and thought I might be in trouble. There were no big blocks. There were a few smaller blocks. Sadly, in my experience the small blocks only last weeks before the center has been shot out.
Bumper Williams , owner of PGF Archery, mentioned he had some 3D targets received in error. A local group had ordered 5 Rinehart targets. These targets were shipped and sold. Then, to his surprise, Rinehart repeated the order reshipping the five targets.
Bumper called to let Rinehart know of they’d made an error. Rather than pay the return shipping, Rinehart asked if perhaps Bumper might sell the targets at cost with an additional discount. That was the deal that crossed my path.
I picked up two of his 5 Rinehart’s, the bear and wolverine. This brings my total to six 3D targets. I am considering buying the remaining three even though only one of them, a hen turkey, is something I want. The other two are a baboon and a mosquito.
The bear and the wolverine will be on the range today.
The temperature was 100° F in the shade. There was no breeze coming off the Little River. Practice was a hot one in the Old South today.
My morning practice got derailed; it was down right cool at 8:00 am compared to 2:00 PM. I am having one of my out building renovated and needed to make a trip to Lowes to put up more material for the ceiling. During that trip there was a stop to pick up a bike, stop to drop a package off at UPS, a stop to buy carpet, stop to buy wine, and a stop to pick up a couple trophies I’d won and not yet collected.
I’d hoped to get in a couple of hours early and then shoot for an hour or so in the afternoon. Some days the plan doesn’t work. This was one of those days. Because I missed the morning session I spent 2 hours outside shooting at the peak of the heat.
To be honest the heat didn’t feel bad. Now that archery practice is done for the time being I’ll head out for a bike ride and see how 100°F feels while riding.
The thermometer on the porch read 99° F (37°C) when I shot this afternoon. It wasn’t much cooler in the morning because I’d gotten a late start – it warmed up fast today. It felt great. After so many years living in places like Cleveland, Baltimore and Pittsburgh this heat is finally starting to thaw my Georgian bones.
In fact, it was so hot my black Elite 35 bow was beginning to feel warm. I admit I broke a sweat. But, I got in two nice practice rounds.
In the morning practice was strictly shooting paper. The afternoon was reserved for dark 3D targets in odd lighting. The past few tournaments have been real challenges where light is concerned.
This time of year the foliage and angle of the sun can wreak havoc on pins and scopes. Last week, even though I frequently practice in difficult illumination, a few of the targets were practically all guess since I couldn’t make out rings with my binoculars. By the time I got in the woods today the sunlight was filtering though the leaves backlighting several of my targets.
Following the afternoon practice there was plenty of time to get in a bike ride. It had cooled by a degree so the temperature was just about perfect.
The short drive to compete on Saturday was great; the 2nd place was a disappointment. North Carolina has produced some great archers and you can’t expect too many wins shooting outside the 10 ring.
The course was tough with a lot of small targets in dark holes placed “way back out there.” The 20 targets took nearly four hours to shoot because of big groups during which the 94°F temperature along with high humidity was rough on a lot of people. I wasn’t one of them.
The temperature and humidity were fine for me. I simply blew a couple of shots I should have hit better which hurt at the end of the day. This next week I’ll be focusing on small dark targets in dark holes at 35+ yards.
When this was all said and done, it was great to see folks I’d missed for the past month.