By: Bears Butt


HEY!  It’s been a very long time since I last posted anything on my site!  Sorry folks, but things in my life can sometimes get very hectic.  Toss in a 3 week long cold (that is still hanging on), Christmas, New Years etc. etc. etc.  I know….No Excuse!

Let’s talk archery, or in my case, slinging arrows down range.  Last summer, down on the farm I was feeling pretty dang good about my shooting…Black Ring In…as I was calling it.  Well, something has happened to my shooting.  Maybe it’s the arrows, maybe it’s the bow, maybe it’s just me.  I think it is me.

Weasel and I signed up for a 10 week league back in November.  We shot 30 “counting” arrows each week and scored the shots.  3 shot ends, 5 ends, then move the target and shoot 5 more ends.  A total of 300 points possible after the 10 ends.  Well, I was feeling pretty good about my shooting going into the league but I was working on my form and trying to get rid of my “plucking” the string.  Plucking is something you don’t want to get into the habit of doing when you release the string.  But over the summer I had developed it so well, it was part of me.  Try and get rid of something that is part of you and you will see it is very hard to overcome.

From what I can gather, plucking causes the back of arrow to come off the bow and head in a left direction.  The string is actually being pulled away from your anchor point, or away from your face which causes the arrow to be drawn away as well and then when the string pushes the arrow down range it is starting out by pushing it to my left (right handed shooter).  Archers paradox takes over, which is usual, and wants the arrow to bend around the handle of the bow (riser), left to right and then straighten out and hit the bullseye down range…sure it does….With the back of the arrow (nock end) pushing the arrow to the left, it kicks the arrow out away from the riser, while at the same time the arrow is bending around the riser, which then causes the arrow to “fish tail” away from the bow and fly awkwardly toward the target.  Sometimes hitting where you desire, but most of the time not hitting anywhere near where you want it to hit.  In all cases, there is no consistency in my form and therefore no consistency in where my arrows will land down range.  Frustration sets in and almost causes me to throw the bow down and jump up and down….

So, I’ve been working on my release and think I’m almost there.  Occasionally I will still pluck the string and I know it when that happens.  Now let’s talk about an archer with something other than shooting on their mind.  What I have read and what I have experienced (shooting at targets at least), is that any distraction will cause you to “blow the shot”.   From a competitive stand point, and as an archers etiquette, when you are on the line shooting, you should not talk, even to yourself and you should honor the shooters around you by not stepping off the line when they are shooting.  You stand on the line and wait until they have finished their shot before stepping off the line.

Let’s toss in a scene that could actually happen:  I’m on the line shooting and am concentrating on my stance, form, target, anchor point, release, follow through….all these things are what is needed to be thought about, or at least become a normal part of your shooting in order to consistently hit where you want to hit.  If any one of these things is “off”, your arrow will not go where you want it to go.  I’m at full draw and I know my anchor is spot on, thumb is against my lower jaw, string firm against the end of my nose, the target is in full focus….The room erupts with laughter from others just coming into the range area…loud talking, cutting up etc….they have no idea what I’m doing….my mind is totally on what is happening behind me, suddenly I pluck the string and the arrow goes down range and hits the wood support holding up the bale….DAMN!

That can and does happen and the archer needs to be aware that if it means that much to you then perhaps you need to be in another venue when you shoot.  Don’t blame your surroundings for an arrant shot.  It’s all in YOUR head!  If that is all it takes to break your concentration, well, you need to work on that yourself.  Don’t blame the others.

Another scene:  I’ve had a rough day at the office but need to take tonight and go shoot my league score.  It’s my last chance for this week.  At the range I’ve got all my stuff in order and am through with my practice shots.  Time to score.  On the line, I have a quick thought go through my brain about my co-worker causing me extra work during the day.  My thoughts are totally on that when I release the string…arrow goes off from its mark…DAMN!  You have to let all other things get out of your head when you are shooting, especially when you are trying to do the best you can.  X’s are my norm, but 8’s are my score today.

So, let’s look at my league scores and try to figure out what was going on at the time I shot them.  A 10 week scoring sequence.  Wednesdays are out because of lessons being taught at the range.  So I have to shoot my scores any other night, 6 till 9,  except Wednesday and Sundays the hours are 11 till 2.

Week 1:  Score 120.  Well, not really very good when you consider 300 is possible.  But at least I was able to get most of the arrows into the scoring rings.

Week 2:  Score 114.  Hmm, I thought by practicing during the week I would get a higher score.

Week 3:  Score 120.  Better than last week, but still not as good as I know I can do.  Those damn zeros.  If I could just get rid of them.

Week 4:  Score 92!  Is that because of my cold.  Coughing, sniffling.  For sure my head was not into shooting this night.  I should have waited a couple more days.  Oh well.

Week 5:  Score 176!  Now THAT is more like it!  No zeros!  It’s all up hill from now on!

Practice rounds scored:  125 and 143…feeling good.

Week 6:  Score 123.  Those zeros are at it again.

Week 7:  Score 121.  I guess I might as well settle into the fact that I shoot in the 120’s.  I’m practicing a couple times a week and I think everything is going good, but then I shoot for score and this happens.

Week 8:  Score 154!  YES!  Only 2 zeros tonight!  I’ve got this!  Relaxed, no cares, life is good.

Practice rounds scored:  130 and 151.

Week 9: Score 151!  And in addition to a pretty good (for me) score, I still had 4 zeros!  One of my ends was an X, 9 and 7!  Maybe I have this game figured out!

Practice round scored: 140.

Week 10:  Score 114!  Bummer dude.

So, week 10, which just ended for me on Monday night, I was really trying to do good.  I suppose trying too hard.  Every shot was calculated.  Every shot was deliberate.  Every shot was total concentration on my part.  I wanted so much to do even better than my high of 176.  I did have one pluck during the evening, but the rest of the shots were clean releases and great follow through.  Why the arrows flew where they did is because I was trying too hard.  I thought about every shot.  I thought about my anchor, my stance, my form, my follow through.  I thought about everything.  I kept changing one of my arrows…I would “fire” it from being shot.  Then I would re-instate it because another arrow didn’t seem to want to hit a scoring ring.  I would hit an 8 ring with my first shot and then have two zeros that followed that.  Every zero caused me more mental panic, until I realized there was no way I could catch up with even a 150 score and so I just settled in for a score of under 100.  But even after I relaxed and accepted that fact, I still produced more zeros…all my zeros are now called “Bears Butt’s”.  I’m not sure how many zeros I had that night, but at least 7, I was too embarrassed to count them.  I think I only had two ends without at least one zero.

OK, enough of that.  I have to get my mind off of zeros.  What you think about expands…..That is something Wayne Dyer used to say all the time…What you think about expands.  So I need to think about high scores.  Thinking about high scores should expand into reality and I will shoot high scores.  But now let’s talk about “high scores”.

Weasel shoots pretty good.  Good enough to cause him to lose his mind and sign up for the International Vegas Shoot and spend a heap of money to compete against the best in the world at archery.  He shoots in the upper 280’s most of the time and it only takes a “hair” to make an arrow go from a 10 ring to a 9 ring.  His fat arrows have given him a few points too, going from a 9 into the 10 ring and even into the X ring because of that “hair”.  Well, a high score to him is a 290 plus.  Remember 300 is max and shooting 30 arrows, most of them have to score 10’s in order to get the score up near 290.  You can only have 10 arrows scoring a 9 to keep you at 290.  For him it is devastating to shoot a 270.

We have friends who have just gotten into archery, partly because of Weasel and my “fault”.  But they seem to be having fun and of course they are keeping score just to see how they are improving.  I over heard the other night where one of them shot a 170.  They were very pleased with that, and rightfully so!  I know that feeling!

Keeping score is a very good way to make sure you are improving, but more importantly than what the score is, is your own mental attitude toward what you are doing.  My long term goal is not to score a 300, which would be a miracle, but to tag a buck deer while using my recurve bow to do it.  And I’m confident I could do that today.  Sure, I have to work my way to a distance shorter than 20 yards, but I know I can do that too.  I have the confidence to do that, BUT, I owe it to the animal to be hitting my desired target, CONSISTENTLY, at farther distances.  I will be working my way out to 30 and probably 40 yards before the 2016 bow hunting season begins in August.  In the meantime, look for my scores to get better at the indoor range this Spring.  My average for this 10 week league ended up at 128.  I’ll take that.  And 128 is my starting point with my desired “high score” to be higher than that!

Bears Butt

January 13, 2016


Written on January 13th, 2016 , Archery stuff

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    Bones commented

    So when is the Vegas tourney?

    January 13, 2016 at 11:45 am
    Chuck commented

    Very good

    January 13, 2016 at 4:09 pm
    Beast commented

    Glad to see your still above ground! Missed seeing what BB has been up to.
    Its been nippy here in Woodruff.

    January 13, 2016 at 6:42 pm | Stories, Ramblings & Random Stuff From an Old Mountain Man is proudly powered by WordPress and the Theme Adventure by Eric Schwarz
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Just some of my old stories, new stories, and in general what is going on in my life.