Friday, August 24, 2012

TOBP: D-Day (Deer Day)

 The previous entry in The Old Bow Project was an account of my last scouting trip where I found a place to hunt and saw a legal buck, all of which gave me encouragement and spurred me on to get ready for opening day 2012. Life experience has proved that no matter when I begin preparation for an anticipated event with a specific date in time, when the date comes I wished I had more time, August 18 2012 was no exception. My biggest concern was arrow groups. What I mean by arrow groups is how close together a dozen arrows are, when shot from a specific yardage. I mentioned in one of my earlier articles that dad used a pie plate or a paper plate as a reference point. I think the reason he used this as a gauge is because the vital organs of a deer fit in about the same area.

For example, the goal is to fire 5 groups of 12 arrows at twenty yards and place them all within the size of a paper plate. However that rarely happens, at least to an average archer like me. If I have 10 out of 12 arrows in the first three groups and say 6 out of 12 arrows in the last two groups I am very happy and would consider myself ready to hunt. By practicing in this manner it is easy to gauge if you are ready to hunt. There are many other factors that you have no control over in the field, so it is important to gain as much control as possible; accuracy in practice sessions is the one thing you can control about bow hunting.

This is where my anxiety entered. One week before opening day, my group accuracy was less than forty percent, and many of the arrows that missed were way off target. I thought I narrowed down the problem to my release. I worked very carefully on a smooth release with no jerking motions, and then I started having problems with left and right. I worked on narrowing the size of my groups until the day before it was time to leave. I could not get my groups to where I felt comfortable hunting with the bow. The day I was supposed to leave I was faced with a decision, hunt with the old bow or not. I stared at the old bow long and hard, wanting to hunt with it, but in the end common sense won out and I chose not to hunt with it. Fortunately while I had been preparing to hunt with the recurve, I had also been shooting my compound bow. My accuracy with it is better than eighty percent, with no arrows missing much more than a few inches.

I agonized over not hunting with dads recurve, since the whole reason for the TOBP was to remember dad by using his bow. In the end I think my decision to not use his bow would make him happy mainly because of the risk of wounding an animal and not being able to find it. This happens much more than it should, and it is one of the things I remember dad talking about frequently. He taught all of us boys to take responsibility for our actions and not hunting with his bow this year is one way of doing just that. Not using the bow this year also opens up the opportunity for next year and TOBP 2. I did go hunting and had a great time. In a few days I will gather some pictures together and write down some of the things that happened.

Until then God bless and thanks for coming by.


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