You need more archery in your life.
Seriously. It’s awesome.
Yesterday, Baby Chips and I grabbed her Little Banchee Junior Compound Bow and a handful of arrows to set out for the archery range. I didn’t know what to expect because neither of us had been to a public archery range before it was time she took that bow for a spin. I had a horseshoe pit at my house growing up, so the wooden backboard conveniently doubled as the archery target backing for my own archery adventures. Now that I think about it, I must have dulled or broken a dozen arrows on that damn metal, horseshoe spike.
The Black Mountain Bowmen Archery Club and Range in San Jose is actually quite large, maintained by a local nonprofit and volunteers, free for the public. That’s some community service I can get behind! Next to the parking lot is the BBQ area and the Practice Range. Up the hill, past the range, is “the field course.” There are a series of 28 targets, laid out in a row, from a central path. It’s an archery hunting ground.
The practice range had bales of hay positioned at specific distances from the firing line, ranging from 30 feet to 70 feet up a hill, with targets. After a quick glance through the rules, most importantly wait for everyone to finish before giving the “Clear!” sign and retrieving your arrows. It was near the end of the day, so it was just the two of us for a while, but a few small groups came and went on their way up the hill to the course.
She’s left handed. I’m right handed. It may be an “ambidextrous” compound bow (the salesman assured her), but it’s currently only strung for one way: right handed. It can be unstrung for a left hander, but unfortunately we couldn’t hand it off and both shoot with our dominant hand. So she switched to her right hand (not because I wasn’t willing to switch, I just didn’t know how to restring it quickly!) and we were off to the range!
Honestly, shooting a compound bow may be harder than you remember. It takes a little while for you to get back into stride with it all, matching the sight, the whole nine. Catching glimpses of the seasoned archers (they were the ones with the arrow holsters and crazy looking bows), it was obvious the disadvantage we were at using the Junior sized bow. No power, no distance, no accuracy. But in the end, it really didn’t matter. We were having a great time taking turns shooting arrows at hay. Shot after shot, smile and smile, we helped and critiqued each other’s archery form, both blissfully unaware of what we were actually talking about.
We’re going to go back there again soon, but next time I’ll have my own bow and arrows. And if we’re ready, we’ll push on, like two hunters in the forest, trying to stay alive and test our skills on the archery course.
Because we’re badass like that.