A STICK AND A STRING: Making Progress

Oh archery, you are such a fickle sport.

I’ve been spending the last month or two just working on getting my stance to become second nature, seeing past the sight pin and focusing on the target (as this promotes MUCH better accuracy) and making sure my left arm is well out of the way of the string.

Little did I know, apparently I’m a bit double-jointed in my left elbow. This arm and its placement have been causing me continuous grief. For many of my shots, things are fine. But I must relax too much, or tense up too much, or something, because on that odd shot I’ll clip my arm with the string. And this does not please me.

So, folks: this is a particular work in progress.

But, other great leaps and bounds have been made! With my intention to at least try to hunt, I’m working on building the bow up to the legal 40-pound limit for draw weight. I’ve been advancing pound by pound over the last several weeks and am currently sitting at 35. I’m on the road to the tree stand!

Also, Aug. 17 saw my second archery tournament, again at Parkland Bowbenders, west of Edmonton. This was a 3D hunters’ shoot, where archers were allowed to bring their hunting set ups, rather than the many target bows that I saw at the first competition this summer. This was another incredible tournament, and none too easy. If I thought the first tournament was a good look into what hunting would be like, this tournament gave me an even greater look.

The turn out for this tournament was less than the first, but there were still a good 20-plus people in attendance. The course was two loops of 25 3D animal targets and the scoring was “kill or no kill,” meaning archers earned 10 points for a shot in the kill zone, -5 for a shot in the “wounded zone” anywhere else on the animal and a 0 for a miss. So, as in a true hunting scenario, it was better to miss the animal completely than simply wound it. And let me tell you, many of these targets were not easy – uphill shots, downhill shots, shots between trees growing very close together. There was a large target of an elk bedded down on a hillside. From the distance we were shooting, it didn’t look like an elk at all. It looked like you were shooting into a sandy hillside. I suppose, since it was a hunters shoot, these scenarios are commonplace for hunters and something I should get used to seeing and shooting at. It was a very informative tournament, to say the least, even though I didn’t score as well as I had been hoping I would.

On the morning of this tournament, I was able to sight in my bow for 30 and 40 yards, with the help of a few friends and some expert guidance. I have been spending most of my time shooting at the indoor lanes at Trophy Book Archery, in Spruce Grove, and their lanes only stretch out to 20 yards. It was definitely a sense of accomplishment, to shoot at these longer distances and be accurate. And I’m thankful we did get sighted in that morning, as most of the targets I shot at during the day were 30 yards and over.

Staying on the bandwagon of shooting further distances, I had the staff at Trophy Book install an additional pin in my sight, so I can adjust it to 50 yards next time I’m at a longer range. So, once that’s all done, I’ll be able to hunt at 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards.

I feel I’m progressing forward, which is always a great thing, and I’m learning different aspects of this sport every time I pick up my bow. I’m very excited for league nights at Trophy Book this winter, jumping back into tournaments in 2014 and getting into hunting.

Until next time!

Michaela Ludwig, Western Sportsman/Outdoor Edge assistant editor

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