Good day for shooting

This morning, another spectacular sunrise over the water, River, my Lab, and I took a short run before I practiced shooting a 3-spot. During the afternoon, I headed onto the 3-D range. Neither practice resulted in perfect scores, although there were more than a few decent shots.


Shooting paper at 20 yards is a great way to start the day. Actually, a run starts my training for the day that is followed by shooting. Mornings are best to shoot because the wind is usually least during that time.

Even though it’s December, the temperature reached into the low 70’s and before the day was out I was in short pants. My kind of winter.

The morning session wasn’t my best and I ended up with a 581, using the new USA Archery scoring system. I’m struggling to get the release point just right on my hinge release. Adjustment after adjustment still it seems either too light or too heavy.

A tough angle for a 10
You can image the glare on my scope. There’s a deer 47 yards away.

While shooting 3-D in the afternoon, I switched to a thumb release. I feel more comfortable with a thumb release, but my data is beginning to suggest I shoot a few points higher using a hinge style. The difference isn’t statistically significant, but statistical interactions aren’t necessarily indicative of finishing places.

3-D was pretty good despite I haven’t been spending as much time on that range as on indoors or aiming at paper targets. Because it was early afternoon and the sun was getting low a few shoots were very tough – it was hard to see the target. Nevertheless, it was a good practice. Ended up with a 206. (20 targets)

296 – UGH!

I practiced on a 5-spot this morning. The weather was a crisp fall 47°F. There was no wind; it was going to be perfect for a perfect practice. It didn’t turn out the way I’d imagined when I pinned up the target.

Most of my shots were good – there were four strays. Shooting a 300 is still not a given for me, but I am beginning to expect a 300 when shot a 5-spot. This morning, well what can I say, it happens.

Dang-it! X 4

I recorded each poor shot so I’ll know what I did wrong. There were no surprises with my errors, the same ones I am working to correct that I make too often.

This afternoon, I’ll see if I can’t improve on this morning’s performance. Until then, off the lift weights, run,  buy a Christmas tree, and put up more outdoor lights.

Shooting in a Fog

Rain and fog complicate outdoor archery practice. So far, this week that is about the extent of the weather we’ve had here on the coast in North Carolina.

The fog is beginning to lift

It rained off and on all day yesterday. During breaks in the precipitation I was able to work in a couple of practice sessions. Overnight, it has warmed considerably bringing with it fog. Fog isn’t really a problem when aiming at a spot 20 yards away.

We’re expecting more rain later this evening. So, I’ll shoot through the mist until the rain begins.

Back To A Routine

Seventeen days of competition and hunting can break a routine. It is good to have breaks. It is also nice to have a routine.

Back on home turf

For me that routine is a formal exercise program that meets competitive goals. Those 2015 goals meant a number of faster 5K wins. I only missed one win. Going long is fun, however during the past decade I’ve done a lot of long distance racing. This past year I wanted to practice going faster and over shorter distances. In itself, it was a break from routine.

The chase is on

I also have a formal archery-training program. That program is not as refined as my running, swimming or cycling. However, there are overlaps. Swimming, in particular, is an excellent way to maintain fitness and strengthen muscles used in archery.

C-Man Swim

Shooting remains at two or three sessions a day. Typically, I shoot twice a day. There are days where I practice for shorter time periods and adding a session accounting for the three session practice days. Recently, my focus has been exclusively aiming at paper. Form has been a key element as well as coming to some conclusion with my release. As yet, I still bounce back and forth attempting to judge which style release is best for me: the thumb style or a hinge style.


Yesterday, I shot entirely with a thumb, this morning exclusively the hinge. Still seems to be six of one, half a dozen of the other. In either case, and in general, being home means moving into my daily schedule of working on my performance.

Taking a Break from Hunting to Practice

Hunting, spending hours each day in the woods, eats into practice time. Getting two practice sessions per day wasn’t a top priority. Hunting was the top priority, at least for the moment. Actually, a couple of days, I didn’t go over to the range. Today was another matter.

River decided she’s come along to watch.

Eager to shoot and well stocked with venison, I took time to practice. Shooting dots is fun, but after a 100 or so shots I needed to mix it up. I started practice in the morning. I took a break for lunch and a short rest before headed back to the 20-yard Vegas style three spot.

The three spot had been a vertical three spot. To make the vertical targets fit on the blocks to which it was pinned I set one block on top of another. That failed on the first shot. The bottom arrow shot through the lower block. The block was less robust than it first appeared.

So, I cut one of the three vertical spots off, turned the other two sideways and tacked the freed spot above them making a Vegas style three spot. The for real excitement, I turned the makeshift target upside down.

I’ve worn a trail walking back and forth

When I was done for the day, the change in target perspective made no difference to my shooting performance, but it was kind of fun.

Ray’s tractor

Shooting the Little Dots

After running this morning I did a session of practice shooting a 3-spot. I finished with a frustrating 576. The afternoon was reserved for 3D.

The 3D practice was sans rangefinder. It went better than usual (208) so I kept shooting. Finally, the mosquitos chased me out of the woods, but I wanted a bit more practice.

Here’s the set-up for shooting a 5-spot using a pistol target

Shooting at another paper archery wasn’t ringing my bell. So, I grabbed a 5-spot pistol target. There are still five targets but four of them are really small. However, they sure to help break the monotony of shooting everyday paper.

After a couple of adjustment shots, thing went OK

Avoiding a Chicken Grease Release

Over the past few weeks I’ve been doing something I’ve needed to do since I started shooting. I’ve got a full time coach. He’s made a number of suggestions.  I listen and learn. One of his pointers was to relax the hand holding my release.

The shift in the way I hold my release wasn’t too difficult. I’d been gripping it with a lot of hand. Primarily, I was afraid of it slipping out. A friend of mine had this happen to him in a tournament. His support group, the Soggy Bottom 3D range group from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, blamed the mistake on improper wiping of his hands following a snack of fried chicken.

Sure, these guys are going to let a mistake go unnoticed.

Relaxing my release hand felt odd and definitely felt as if the release might do a chicken grease launch.  I’ll just have to be careful with finger foods while shooting.


A couple of fun exercises during archery practice

Morning practice is typically at some paper target. Early in the day the wind off the Little River isn’t as forceful as it is in the afternoon. During the afternoon I’ll move onto the 3D range where the woods offer some protection from the wind.

Shooting 3-spots and 5-spots can become monotonous. I shoot a variety of targets; most of them are designed for a rifle or pistol. My thought is that will keep me fresh and help prevent me from falling into the routine trap.


Today, I set up two exercises, one to shoot the center out of the target and the other, without out altering my sight (set at 20 yards) walk away from the target and see where the arrows landed.


I was a fun practice session. The lack of wind was a bonus.

Training, Training, and More Training

This morning I shot a Vegas style 3-spot. Mid-day I swam, lifted weights and ran. My afternoon 3D practice seemed like an endurance sport.

The 3-spot practice was 60 arrows with 6 for warm up. Shooting outside and dealing with some wind I ended up with a 594 and 22 Xs. Tomorrow I’ll practice indoors and see if I can improve that score. (20 yards.)

I drove to the YMCA in Elizabeth City to begin my next round of training. Remaining a bit sore from the race on Saturday I hoped the swim would work out some of my stiffness. Swimming was first up for this indoor session. Believe me, that first plunge into just about any pool will open your eyes.  Today was no exception.

In the lane next to me was an ex-collegiate swimmer. He’s faster than me. However, when we hit the wall together the next lap, at least in my mind, became e a race. I’d planned to limit my swim to a kilo, maybe a bit further if I felt good.  After doing intervals against a better swimmer I stuck to the 1 kilo plan.

We talked a bit before I left the pool. He was doing a 4 K workout. He shared with me he’d done some triathlons in the 80’s when they were getting popular. I never mention to strangers at a gym I’ve done a lot of triathlons. However, I have the tattoo (triathletes know which I mean) and that frequently inspires others to initiate a conversation regarding the matter of their former greatness.

It was hard not to rain on his parade but I was polite and remained silent.  I’ve found it’s best to be quiet when listening to someone regale their past accomplishments.

I left Aqua Man to finish is workout and headed to showers. For some reason this YMCA keeps the men’s locker room cold enough to store meat. It didn’t take long to hit a shower turned to full heat. I like to thaw before lifting weights.

Weight lifting proved that swimming a kilometer does not take soreness out of muscles. As a precaution, against damaging something of mine (like a back, arm, or leg), I reduced the normal amount of weight I lift on nearly every exercise. Then came the run.

David Clark, Ultra Runner, knocking out 100 miles on a treadmill (18 hour, 28 minutes)

I hate running on treadmills. I know a fellow, David Clark, who is an ultra distance runner. A few days ago he ran 100 miles on a treadmill in a little over 18 hours. Personally, and no offense David you are an amazing athlete, but that is a special kind of crazy. I ran 3 miles in under 30 minutes. I was ready to get off the treadmill at 0.5 miles. If I need to run long distances trails are the best and anywhere outside beats running on a treadmill.

Training inside is a necessity for all athletes. At some point every sport requires  specific or general indoor activity. The entire time I’m in a gym or at the pool I’m daydreaming about getting outside.   So, when I got home I was ready to get onto the 3D range.

1st shot of this practice. Cinnamon bear at 40 yards

On the range I shot 20 targets. Nine shots were 35 yards or greater (up to 50), eight were between 25 and 35 yards, and 3 were less than 25 yards. I was doing great until targets 17 and 18, a mosquito and mountain lion, respectively.

This deer at 40 yards was hard. I had no umbrella and the glare off of my scope was intense. It is impossible to hold an umbrella and shot at the same time.

The mosquito was at 20 yards and I scored a 5. The mountain lion was at 43 yards and I hit an eight. I was certainly running low on steam but hit 12’s on the last two animals, a pig and wolverine from 33 and 23 yards. I ended up with a 203 for the practice.

Yes, there a badger setting in those bushes.

Now, having written this and had a rest, I’ll head out for an easy active recovery bike ride.

I needed this 12.
And I’m done!

Done in by the Wind

Man, I am hurting today. The race yesterday left me with major delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS – yes that’s the real acronym). Getting out to shoot wasn’t easy. Next weekend will be harder. Friday night is an indoor 3D shoot, Saturday afternoon a 5K race, and Sunday morning another 5K.

The weather didn’t cooperate, either. The wind was kicking up white caps on the river and it was unseasonably cold. My practice plan for archery (you can bet I was taking a day off from running) was to take aim at a Vegas style 3-spot. When I stepped outside there was no hiding from the wind.

This was a fresh 3-spot. Yep, all over the place.

My ‘go to’ wind break is to stand behind a shed, which I did. My back was about two feet away from the shed and still the wind was pushing me from behind. Shooting at 20 yards wasn’t possible unless I moved my entire target five yards closer to the shed. After a muscle aching deliberation, I decided to shoot from 25-yards.

For 45 minutes what seemed to be a swirling gale bounced me about. Cold, frustrated, and sore I figured today was a rest day and retired to more Sunday football.