Shortly after celebrating my 12th year on this fine Earth, I started seriously shooting a bow. That came after years of flinging arrows out of my oldest brother’s hand-me-down Bear youth bow. When it became serious, my dad armed me with a brand-new PSE Spirit, the appropriate accoutrements and just enough wisdom to be dangerous.
I remember vividly having to get him to take me back to the bow shop to get a package of nocks after shooting well enough at 20 and 30 yards to break several. I’ve always felt like I could hold my own when it came to shooting arrows during the couple decades since.
Then came Union Grove! More specifically, then came the 30th Annual Bowhunters Jamboree held in Union Grove, N.C.
I knew the humility was coming well before I stepped foot on the course, which would mark my first time shooting in a 3-D competition with bow and string. Shooting alongside three good friends kept my embarrassment manageable, and actually shooting a sliver higher score overall in the two-day tournament than one of them reduced subsequent ridicule. That said, I was truly humbled. And I had a blast.
The biggest challenge for any of you that have not shot a tourney of its kind, is that you’re challenged to identify the distance between your shot location and a 3-D target … without a rangefinder … and without help from your shooting partners. That is more difficult than it sounds as I write this. The range of distance is apparently supposed to be between 20-40 yards.However, there is the ol’ +/- factor for those distances. I have no doubt one of the targets on the first course we shot was in excess of 45 yards (coincidentally, that target was one of my few 10-ring shots of the weekend – coming only after watching two of my shooting partners missing the target completely, which is a good sign that the distance “is further than it looks”).
In total, we shot 40 targets on the weekend. They were all unique, and the entire experience was fun. I will shoot more tourneys in the future. And I’m happy to report that I was able to improve by some 37 points on Day 2. My first accomplishment.
Equally important to making the trip enjoyable was sharing a camp with several of the active members from RackMasters Outdoors. What a great group of hunters! And their site is loaded with great topics and a full array of information from seasoned archers to help people out.Like all fun forums, it also has the right amount of ribbing going on! It’s free to join and worth the time to be active on the site. Go to www.wildcountryarchery.com to sign up. Make sure you introduce yourself when you get there!
I wanted to give a shout out to Bob Chavez for sporting one of the AHT stickers on his personal hunting machine. Bob’s ’99 Jeep Grand Cherokee just turned past 210,000 miles. As he notes: “Built right here in the USA!”
Bob has added a hefty 4-inch lift with “some 31.5-inch meat on those wheels.”
Thanks for representing Bob. And please give him a wave next time you pass him sporting his decal on the way to the stand!