Summer Arrows

summer arrows

Hurricane Arthur is passing offshore of us and it is pouring, pouring, pouring. I am reminiscing of how sweet last weekend was, when I was nestled amongst the gardens, feeling the sun, in my world, letting go of arrow after arrow.

On days like those, archery feels like meditation. I think it is the intense, and single focus on target and or shot sequence, that allows the mind to push everything else aside. I feel centered, and with every arrow, I’m letting go.

There aren’t that many things that I do that allow me that “in the zone” sort of experience. Does archery ever make you feel that way? Let me know, leave me a comment if it does.

 

Advertisements

2013 in review

Wishing all a great 2014!  – Charles Lopez

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 59,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 22 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Hunting – Year 2

The novice goes into the woods, year two.

The novice being me of course, year one had a lofty learning curve and the steep curve continues this second year.

In the beginning it often seems that the more you know the less you know. The important thing is to grasp enough of the blocky fundamentals to be effective… or lucky!

I had a lucky turkey last year, I wasn’t hunting and a turkey came to me, I still had to do my part but luck it was.

I also shot a doe, not lucky. That really was hunting, the result of scouting, a setup, and persistence.

Deer track

Prior to getting into hunting I envisioned hunting as stalking, while stalking is a method of hunting, I think that the majority of bowhunters in the northeast and possibly elsewhere rely on some sort of ambush, and a successful ambush takes knowledge of your quarry, scouting, setup and patience.

The patience part means waiting, and waiting is directly proportional to how good your information is. If you know deer pass a break in a fence every day at 5:30, then you can setup for that spot and that time, increasing your chances (think game cameras). If you don’t know that you may have to wait all day for a deer to appear and they may not, they may not show up all week and or all month. Having good info is key.

Scouting your quarry, turkeys scat and found feather.

Scouting your quarry, turkeys scat and found feather.

I hunt with a compound bow, although the rest of the year I shoot a recurve. Why  the compound?

Bowtech SWAT on my elevated practice platform, not the latest and greatest, but plenty of bow for the job.

Bowtech SWAT on my elevated practice platform, not the latest and greatest, but plenty of bow for the job.

I just feel that the size, added control of a bow with let off, speed and my comfort level makes the compound a good choice. I’m also a new hunter with plenty to learn, the greater challenge of using a recurve can wait till I’m a better hunter.

Which brings up practice. I shoot a recurve the rest of the year which means that when hunting season approaches, it is important that I get back on my compound horse and practice up. I don’t have any animal targets but I do have plenty of bag targets.

My 20 and 40 yard targets.

My 20 and 40 yard targets.

This year I started my practice at 20 yards to get all the mechanics back then quickly moved out to 40 yards. My thinking being that if I can hone 40 then 20 and 30 should come easier. Once I’m feeling confident I climb up on my roof and practice at 20, 30 and 40 to simulate shooting from a treestand.

Bag targets at 20, 40 and 30 yards, left to right.

Practicing from my roof to simulate treestand conditions, bag targets are set, left to right at 20, 40 and 30 yards.

Practice paying off, 40 yards from elevated position.

Practice paying off, 40 yards from elevated position.

I also tried running to the target and back to get my heart rate up and then shooting to simulate the increased heart rate and adrenalin boost you get when the game you’re hunting shows up.

That is indeed a special moment, when you practice even in challenging situations you are more aware of your form, your bowarm is firm, bowshoulder down, your grip is relaxed and you’re releasing with backtension. When “your” deer shows up, it may fill you with enough buck fever that you pay little to no attention to the shot sequence, form or anything else. The idea is to hone it through enough practice that muscle memory takes over and you make a good shot.

If I have the good fortune this year to draw on a deer I plan to try and focus on form and shot sequence as a way to stay calm. Of course, these things are easy to say, the action of the moment is a completely different thing, so it will remain to be seen.

This is where I’m at on my 2nd year. I’m learning new things, I don’t know what is useful yet, but, we’ll see what proves out over time.

Good luck to all who choose to hunt with a bow. May all your efforts pay off.

2013 NFAA Maine Indoor State Championship and 2012 – 2013 Maine Shooter of the year

I wanted to give a big shout out and a word of thanks to Tom and Jess Hartford for hosting the Maine State Indoor Championship this past weekend at their facility, Central Maine Archery. There was a lot of work to do and Tom and Jess stepped to the challenge. They in turn were helped by many volunteers from the archery community and of course by the driving force behind it all, the Maine Archery Association. Thanks to all for making it such a success!

Tom and Jess Hartford

Tom and Jess Hartford

I should also mention that Tom and Jess raffled of a new PSE compound bow and a year’s worth of free range time for a whole family. Nice.

There were shooting times Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the last shooters wrapping up on Sunday afternoon. There were some very exciting moments were I got to be a spectator and watch some outstanding archers compete head to head during tie break shoot outs for their class and some positively nail biting competition during the Triple Crown Finale.

I found myself really enjoying being a spectator during these events.

Jon Thompson and Levi Cyr battle for 1st place.

Jon Thompson and Levi Cyr battle for 1st place.

Callie Gallant and George Tarr during the shootout for the Triple Crown.

Callie Gallant and George Tarr during the shootout for the Triple Crown.

Callie Gallant and Joe Wilkin

Callie Gallant and Joe Wilkin shoot for 1st and 2nd place with Callie taking a nailbiting 1st.

Callie took first for the Triple Crown which was a money shoot earning herself some loot and bragging rights. I have to mention though that Joe Wilkin shot an outstanding round for the Triple Crown and also shot the State championship despite being on crutches and having to hobble around – that’s dedication!

1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners 2013 Maine Indoor State Championship

Winners for the 2013 Maine Indoor State Championship

2012-2013 Shooters of the Year

2012-2013 Shooters of the Year

As for me, I ended as Shooter of the Year in the barebow class which wasn’t terribly difficult seeing as I was the sole archer shooting the class and I came in first in the State Championship for barebow. I was far from my best though. Kudos to fellow barebow archer Dave Toner who took 2nd. Nice to have company.

They give you a bunch of neat stuff when you win, certificates, medals, patches, I even got a hat but the coolest by far is this belt buckle:

Shooter of the year buckleNext shoot is this Sunday at Lakeside Archery for the Traditional Classic, hope to see you there.

Archery at Bowdoinham’s Ice and Smelt Festival

My town has an annual event called the Ice and Smelt Festival, there are many events and contests some of which include the Parade of Smelts, a best beard competition, bonfire and luminaries.

Ice fishing shacks on the Cathance River, Bowdoinham

Ice fishing shacks on the Cathance River, Bowdoinham

The smelt festival is derived from the tradition of ice fishing in shacks on the Cathance river and Merrymeeting bay that are popular in our town. There is also an archery event, which is organized by long time archer Carol Dyer.

Sue Dyer watches as Susan Brown takes a shot at the "giant smelt"

Carol Dyer watches as local resident Susan Brown takes a shot at the “giant smelt”

Carol is an active member of Maine Traditional Archers and was generous in giving some of her time to organize and help many kids and adults alike give archery a go despite the cold, cold temps on Saturday.

lkfjlasfl;jk

Chris Edwards gives his son Caleb a hand.

P1020593

Caleb reigns triumphant over the festival smelt.

Many families and kids lined up to give archery a try.

Many families and kids lined up to give archery a try.

P1020597It was great to see an event like this in our small town, many thanks to Carol Dyer for braving the cold and lighting up kids eyes as they released their first arrows also thanks to the Merrymeeting Arts Center for the Smelt Festival!

Visit your local Archery Pro Shop – Guest entry

This was written by Steve Dunsmoor owner of Lakeside Archery in Yarmouth, Maine.

VISIT YOUR LOCAL ARCHERY PRO SHOP

101_0398At one point in time, before the internet, if you wanted to purchase new archery equipment you had to drive to your local Archery Pro Shop, physically pick out an item and talk to the person behind the counter or you had to mail order.  You remember……the OLD DAYS! You go in planning  to purchase an arrow rest or that sight you just can’t live without, but you can’t help yourself and before you know it you’re looking at lighted nocks and stabilizers, and don’t forget the manufacturer’s catalog for your favorite bow.  A trip to the local Archery Pro Shop was the equivalent of a child going to the toy/candy store.

Today many archers turn to the Internet to make their purchases because it is more convenient; just a few clicks of the mouse and UPS shows up with your pro_shopnew bow or accessories.  Yes, we can all agree that there is an element of shopping online that is very appealing.  People are busier today than ever before and with the added expense of gasoline and increased traffic, shopping online definitely has its advantages. But what are you missing?

Visiting the local Archery Pro Shop is the equivalent to stopping at the bar “Cheers”, where everybody eventually gets to know your name.  A quick shopping trip can quickly turn into a couple hours as you shoot the breeze, with the Archery Pro Shop employees and fellow customers.  As you walk around the Pro-Shop you can look, touch and feel all the latest equipment, bows, accessories and more.  That bow looks much nicer in person than it does on a website; I’m sure the Pro Shop owner will let you try it out.  WOW!!  Try that on the internet or at a box store; it feels much better when it is actually in your hands, as compared to trying to envision how it will feel from a photograph.

101_0401Perhaps you’re trying to modify, upgrade or repair your bow. You can bring your bow to the Archery Pro Shop and check out the repair options and see what components will work best.  Perhaps you’re looking for a new mechanical release and the Archery Pro Shop owner is nice enough to allow you to take one out of the package so you can try it out.  Working with your local Archery Pro Shop can take much of the guess work out of your purchase decisions.

Maybe something broke during your last league night or at a 3D shoot, a quick trip to the Archery Pro Shop can get the parts you need to fix your bow and get you back in the field for the rest of the week.  When it comes to my archery equipment, I tend to be on the picky side and will drive over an hour to the Archery Pro Shop that has the part and can do the repair rather than waiting.

imagesOne of the most important things that you can find at an Archery Pro Shop is knowledge. The people in Archery Pro Shops, in many cases do this fulltime.  As such they’re exposed to a lot of trouble- shooting for customers, as well as new products, and can be privy to many new solutions and techniques available.

The bottom line is that even if you shop online; don’t deprive yourself of the experience of patronizing your local Archery Pro Shop.  They will appreciate your business and you will Lesson 10find a plethora of knowledge there as well as the potential for making new friends and future archery buddies.  Archery Pro Shops offer a list of opportunities that just are not available anywhere else, including certified coaching and instruction.  Archery Pro Shop owners have more competition now than ever before and trust me when I say that they will be happy to see you in their store.

Steve Dunsmoor NAA/NFAA Level IV Coach     Owner: LAKESIDE ARCHERY

www.lakesidearchery.com    Email:lakesidearchery@gmail.com   Phone 207-829-6213

My Vampiric practice schedule and shooting at Central Maine Archery

With shorter days this time of year and balancing time between work, family, activities, etc. I’ve found myself having to squeeze in time for archery practice wherever I can.

I don’t always have the time to drive to the range and while I can tolerate the temperatures, I’ll practice at night, usually in the mornings and evenings before and after work. This nocturnal schedule has had me feeling somewhat vampiric, but hey if that’s what it takes… I can’t imagine I’m the first archer to rig a spotlight on their target.

There is the added benefit that aside from practice, the stars are often out and it can be a moment of calm in the busy lives many of us seem to lead.

The practice has been paying off and I’ve watched my scores rise at the weekly “Shooter of the year” competition put on by the Maine Archery Association. This is an indoor competition at 20 yards using NFAA blue face targets, it is a 300 round. I scored 214 – 6 x’s the first time, 227 – 8 x’s on my second shoot and yesterday on my 3rd shoot I scored a 244 – 4 x’s under the barebow division.

Archers on the line at Central Maine Archery

Yesterday’s shoot was held at Central Maine Archery, I’d never been there and found that they have an excellent range and a clean, well thought out facility. The shoot was well organized and the little interaction I had with the staff was good. My quick perusal of their shop revealed a good stock of bows and components, and I can personally vouch for their hot dogs, which were good!

Scoring

Although I was happy with my score, I did have a handful of right arrows, that scored me 1’s and 2’s. I think that they are the result of nervousness and not being fully aligned, settled in and locked into my back muscles before releasing.

Calling out scores

I did  much better on the 2nd half of the shoot than the first half, again I think I’m just calmer and more settled, all I know to do about it is to do more of it and get comfortable with the process. It’s interesting that all my 1’s and 2’s are in the first five ends.

Something to practice and figure out, later tonight of course…