As mentioned previously, Ben and I have taken up Archery/Bowhunting as our Father/Son sport. We have found that Ben is not your normal sporty type, and we don’t particularly encourage football any other sport for that matter. However, being the practical guy I am, I thought that this sport would be a good skill to learn as well as spending some man time with my son. Ben jumped at the chance to give it a go.
We are probationary members of Bacchus Marsh Bowmen Inc, which meet each month on the 1st Sunday. However before you even get to mix it up with the seasoned bowmen (and women), you have to do a 3 hour course. During this course you cover safety, safety, and how to shoot a bow and arrow, and the name of all the bits. Did you know that the feathers on the arrow are called fletches? Well I never did!
We are allowed to borrow the club’s equipment at each meet until such time we either decide to join the Australian Bowhunters Association or decide to get some of our own equipment. Here is Ben and I practising in the close practice range. The equipment can range from $150 to well over $1000 for all the kit. We have chosen to borrow the clubs gear until we figure out which type of bow we like best.
At the moment, both Ben and I are leaning towards the traditional Recurve bow, which the ancient Mongolian horde used as they swept across the steppes and invaded the European continent. We both believe that the traditional way is more skill full than the flash looking composite bows that have massive velocity.
|A member of the Mongol Horde 😉|
Anyway, fantasy aside, we finished our course and had our first meet on Sunday, and Dad (John) came along to see what it was like and to take the pictures. The course that you shoot on in is bushland, up and down gullies and the targets and distances vary in size from a small rabbit to a samba deer buck at different elevations. All the targets are cardboard, and mounted on wool bales filled with bubble wrap. There are 20 targets and you add up your score as you go along. Technically, I could have shot from half way (green marker) due to being on probation, however I chose to shoot from the red marker which all the others in my group shot from. It was difficult to say the least and I only scored 104. Ben on the other hand was in a separate group with his Grandpa in tow (next time I am insisting we stay together even though I asked to be paired with him on Sunday), shot from the closest marker (yellow) and scored 146! Great work by the lad.
We are both hooked and looking forward to the December meeting. Just a final note, we don’t intend at this stage to actually hunt animals, as that is quite advanced. In Australia, it is illegal to shoot native animals like Kangaroos, Emus, Wombats etc, however feral animals like goats, deer, rabbits, foxes, pigs and camels are fair game as they are all introduced species. Fines for killing a native animal are in the order of A$30,000 upwards. Killing our native species is just plain stupidity when so many are on the endangered species list.
Maybe as we grow in proficiency, will we take it to the next level. Time will tell, but bowhunting is a sustainable way to put food on the table in an energy descent scenario. You just have to live close to an area where feral animals live. Luckily we have rabbits galore living in the paddocks around our town.
Rabbit stew anyone?