A little off the theme of this blog, but many people have emailed me and asked how our archery has been going. So here is an update:
Early last year, Ben and I decided that Bow Hunting was not for us.
Besides the fact that the entire premise of Bow Hunting is to kill animals for sport (not all bow hunters think like this though), which I didn’t have too much of an issue with as long as the animals were feral, the main reason was that I did not get along with some of the more mature folk. You know the type. Set-in-their-ways, anti-environmentalist folk, who made it their mission to be rude to us by slagging off treehuggers and anyone wanting to preserve the planet such as myself.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I told these mature blokes that I was a greenie, and that I took offence to what they were saying about “my kind” (their words). A few other members piped up with the same concerns. However, with a shrug of their shoulders, they ignored me and kept on using the same words.
So, that was that. We left, never to go bow hunting again, as I didn’t want Ben exposed to that sort of attitude.
But the fact remained that we really did enjoy archery. The feel of the bow in your hand, with the anticipation of nocking the arrow just below the nocking point on the string. The anticipation of whether you will hit the target or not, or loosing an arrow. We had a yearning for the thrill of the fletching upon our fingers, and the bruises on our forearms!
|Ben using a Limited Compound Bow during practice.|
We looked around and found that not so far away there was an alternative. It was the type of archery that you see at the Olympics, with a round target with concentric circles. It can be either indoor, or outdoor, or field. We found an indoor range and paid for an hour to see if we could get back into the swing of things.
|Gavin using a Limited Compound bow during practice.|
Well after an hours practice with limited compound bows, we both agreed that we would give it another try. To our surprise, we could still hit the target.
|Ben under instruction from Irene|
So we signed up for an OzBow Archery Instruction Program, which consists of six 2 hour lessons. Our first lesson was last Saturday.
We had a ball. Ben chose to use a limited compound bow, and I preferred the Recurve bow (call me old school). I like the feel of the wooden bow in my hands, and it looks like a real bow. I did try the limited compound bow, but it just wasn’t for me. Just call me Genghis.
Anyway, the people were nice and friendly, as was our instructor, Irene. The youngest in the class was a lad of 8 years old, and I believe that I am the oldest, and there were men and women, boys and girls, all in the same class.
We learnt so much in the first hour that we got to shoot and score in the second hour of instruction. Ben and I proudly qualified for our 10 metre certificate during the first lesson. Ben scored 176, and I managed to post 188. We only needed a score of 150 to qualify at that distance! Chuffed to bits with our achievement, we are now looking forward to next weekends lesson.
|Ben and Jake at practice.|
Suffice to say that archery is one of the few sports that the entire family can participate in all at the same time. That is why I like it. I get to spend time with my son, and a bit of father-son competitive spirit.
Who knows? We may find a bow hunting club is more welcoming later on down the track. Until such time, we will continue with this form of archery.
Hi I live in the UK, where hunting with a bow or crossbow is illegal, despite the long history of bow use. I used to do re-enactment and use a wooden bow and assemble wooden shaft arrows,I absolutely loved it. I do hunt(with a catapult) and fish for food. I believe that killing for sport is completely unethical. I was veggie for 23 years and had “a moment” thinking about where my tofu came from and about all the “vermin” killed to protect our crops. So I started foraging shellfish and fishing and hunting the local rabbits in an attempt to live more bioregionally. I think (as an animist) if hunting or taking a life it is important to be respectful and do it with “reverence”.
Gavin Webber says
Hi Kester. I didn’t know that about bow hunting in the UK. Seems weird.
I agree about living more bioregionally, as we also try and source our food within a 100 mile radius.
An interesting post Gavin. I like the look of the wooden bow. A touch of the Robin Hood about it.
Gavin Webber says
Well, I have been known to be a merry man Jean!
Have you heard of the Society for Creative Anachronism? It’s a medieval re-enactment group, but includes archery as one of the activities. The members are fairly diverse politically and welcoming to newcomers. Might be worth a try for a more social archery environment.
Gavin Webber says
Thanks Karen, they sound like a jolly bunch of medieval folk. The closest group to me is over an hour away.
Might look into it if I want to take up the longbow.
There are also loads of re-enactment societies and specific historiacal archery based groups (like The Grey Goose Wing in the UK) out there. When I was re-enacting at Hastings one year we had Russians, French, and I believe some Australians. So they are out there and worth looking into.
It’s good to hear that you have found somewhere you can both enjoy your sport and spend time together without the “negative” attitudes. Congratulations on getting your certificate. Please keep us updated on how the lessons go. They sound like lots of fun.
Gavin Webber says
Hi Calidore, no problems. Will post archery updates via this blogs facebook page, and occasionally here on the blog.
I’m glad you were able to find an alternative way to continue enjoying the sport – father/kid time is important and rare these days. Speaking of kids, has Ben seen or heard of the Ranger’s Apprentice series – it’s written for his age group, by an Australian John Flanagan,and I thought of it because the young hero is an expert with a recurve bow. (It’s set in the Middle Ages, in a mythical land that looks a lot like the British Isles). There are a dozen books in the series, so if he likes it you’re set!
Gavin Webber says
Hi Dawn. Yes, you are right. It is hard to find something that we both enjoy that Ben doesn’t think is a chore (like cleaning out the chook house). We have our second lesson this afternoon.
Also, thanks so much for the book recommendation. I just downloaded it via the iBookstore for all the family to read!
Darren (Green Change) says
My girls have recently expressed interest in archery too, so we went along to the local Bowmen’s club. We found them a very friendly and welcoming bunch, luckily with none of the attitudes you encountered.
There were only a couple of women competing on the day we went, and they were keen to see young girls interested. They even offered to lend us bows until we can get our own.
I met a number of interesting characters there. One guy makes bows and arrows, another is a beekeeper, and another does leatherwork. The leatherworker tans hides, and is interested in using the skins of my meat rabbits, so I’m hoping I can learn a new skill there.
I’m with you, I prefer the recurve to the compound bow. That said, if it was about putting food on the table in a survival situation, a compound bow would be way more effective!
We’ll definitely be going back.
We also made some simple bows ourselves using PVC pipe – check out The Backyard Bowyer on YouTube. Living on an acre, we have plenty of space to practice in the yard, which the girls love.
Archery Range Texas says
This is the first time I am visiting your site and yes it is a very interesting one and I prefer indoor archery practice more. Keep sharing your archery experiences and bookmarked your site. Waiting for the next one.