By: Bears Butt

Arrows-and-Missing-the-TargetWent to the field last night and joined Weasel and Squirrel for a little “long range” practice.  My goal….hit the “bunk”…..The bunk is the big block of compressed foam that the target gets put on to stop the arrow.  It measures about 4 ft. long and 2 1/2 ft. tall.  I did place a target on it just because I had one, but my goal, like I said was just to hit the bunk.  As you know, I only have a 30 pound bow in my hands and that is if I could pull it back to 28 inches, but I don’t….my shortness comes into play and I only have a 26 inch draw….that makes my bow about a 25 pound one.  This is all just fine.  I’m working my way up to a 50 pound bow and will be pulling about 45 pounds when I get there.  Until then, I’ll learn to shoot this little guy and compete with others in my class.

So, looking at the bunk from 60 yards away is almost a ridiculous thing to be doing and planning on hitting that little thing is mostly just a dream.  When I first tried shooting an arrow down to hit it, the arrow hit the ground about 15 feet in front of it and bounced off the ground and hit it firmly in the center!  Will that work at a formal event and count?  I’m not sure, but it would be better if I could reach the target without using the forces of the ground to assist me.

So, how high do I have to aim that little pencil projectile in order to reach the bunk?  I have no references down range except a sage bush growing on top of the hill behind the bunk.  If I draw back, put the point of the arrow even with the top of the sage bush but in line with the bunk, maybe that will be high enough.  And that is what I did….The release went well and the arrow headed straight toward the bunk….and then it hit the ground at least 10 feet in front of the bunk…firmly bounced kicking up dust and planted itself into the bunk!  As long as I have hard dirt in front of the bunk maybe I could learn to “bark” (shooting squirrels from trees by hitting the bark of the tree, knocking the squirrel out and not damaging its little body) my arrows into the 10 ring.  But remembering the 3D arena we shot in a few weeks ago, the dirt there is very soft and not conducive to barking arrows into 10 rings.  I have to learn to do this another way.

So, what can I reference to now?  The sage bush isn’t going to work, not high enough.  What about the top of the barn?  That would work as long as I’m shooting down on the farm, but not anywhere else.  There must be a way.  I know the archers of way past (think of Sir Butt), used to stand and shoot hundreds of arrows at their enemies and some how get them to hit the guys down range and they were a lot farther away than 60 yards.  Heavier poundage draw weights no doubt played a part in that but still the same problem I am having right now.

Here is something that came to mind last night.  I could tie one end of a string to my leg and the other to my bow hand.  Drawing the bow up and shooting until the arrow finally hit the bunk.  The string would be adjusted as I continued my testing and once the arrow hit the bunk I would tie it off firmly.  That would be my 60 yard string length.  While lifting the bow to the proper height, as soon as the string was tight, the angle would be right for that shot…let er rip!  What a plan!  Is that legal in a Formal Invitational competition?  Maybe, but I doubt it, and besides I sure would look professional out on the line with a string tied to my leg and hand.  There has to be a better way.

Instinct shooting!  Sure, for you who have shot a million arrows and know your bow perfectly.  Just like throwing a baseball.  Look at the target and shoot!  Perfect shots every time.

I am becoming more and more familiar with my bow and I like it a lot, but I’m not an instinct shooter yet.  I want to play in the upcoming Formal and when I do I would like a few of the arrows to hit the target.  I’ve got to figure this thing out.

Well, before the night was over I actually did hit the bunk and I was doing it quite regularly…all six arrows in a few of the ends I shot actually stuck in the bunk without the aid of the ground bounce I was soooooo getting used to.  What I found might just help you when you take up shooting arrows with a bow.  My draw would begin level, as if the target was just 20 yards ahead of me, anchoring like I have learned to do.  Then I would bend my body from the waist up, like leaning back while holding my form.  I would lean back until the knuckle of my middle finger on my bow hand was even with the center of the bunk.  Then I would move my eye to the arrow itself, making sure it was in alignment with the bunk.  Of course the view showed the arrow pointing up at the moon, but that was ok, the elevation was right because my knuckle said it was.  Once I was happy with the alignment, a quick double check of the knuckle and I would release my draw….the arrow would arc up and away and fall right into the bunk!  Well, it would if I continued to keep the arrow in alignment, which didn’t happen all the time, but enough times that I came away feeling pretty good about it.  So, there is my reference point for a 60 yard shot….middle finger knuckle….I’m not so sure of this to go to a tattoo parlor and have a 60 tattooed on it, but I’ll continue to work on my shooting using the knuckle as my reference and see if things hold true.

At the 50 yard linemy reference point fell somewhere between my index finger knuckle and the curvature between it and my middle finger knuckle.  We were hurrying with our shooting at this point as the sun was going down and so I didn’t come away with the same feeling of “surety” as I did from the 60 yard line.  More practice is in order.  The biggest thing that I came away with was the movement of my upper body while holding my form from a level position.  My feet stayed where they always are and I wasn’t just aiming the bow up.  My body moved back from my hips, everything else remained the same.  I’ll continue to use this method.

My next practice session will again begin at 60 yards, move to 50 and then 40…just like the Formal is done.  April 11 will come too quickly.

Bears Butt

March 29, 2015

Written on March 29th, 2015 , Archery stuff

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Just some of my old stories, new stories, and in general what is going on in my life.