Tod's Blog

Adventures with family & friends and other things I'm passionate about…

Archive for July, 2013

Birth of a Bowhunter

Posted by todblog on July 24, 2013

July 22, 2013

Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife has a great deal for today’s youth. It’s the Mentored Youth Hunter Program where kids from 9 to 14 can register for free to try out hunting with a mentor (licensed adult) and the youth gets to harvest the adult’s animal for them. This lets the youth “test drive” hunting before they commit to taking the hunter education class and begin buying their own hunting license. With year-round sports activities, this is a big deal for busy families and kids.

This past turkey season my daughter Jessica told me she wasn’t interested in hunting, “I’m just not into hunting Dad” and declined to go hunt turkeys with me as a mentored youth. I wasn’t sure if it was the loud bang and recoil of a 20 gauge shotgun that had her scared or if she really didn’t care to hunt. I couldn’t see the knife but, it sure felt like one was sticking in my heart with a twisting motion…I was secretly saddened by her decision but, I wasn’t going to push the issue. However, I couldn’t stop thinking about it… Hmmm let’s see, she likes to eat venison, elk, goose, grouse, ducks, bear, etc. it can’t be that she doesn’t like game. She shoots a .22 rifle and handgun well but, the 20 gauge shotgun loaded with a dove & quail shell sure startled her last year. That had to be it.

Jessica had a good knack for shooting a bow in the backyard with me and I asked her if she would be interested in shooting at 3D targets on a field course this summer. She replied, “I think that would be fun to do.” I thought this would be a great family activity that we could do and travel to tournaments around the state during the summer and have fun shooting 3D targets on a field course.

We went to Waldron’s Outdoor Sports in Roseburg, and bought a nice entry level bow and arrows for Jessica. She got some great shooting tips from John Raines the archery pro in the shop and we were on our way.

After work, I’d get home and we would shoot together in the yard and practice shooting at various distances. Jessica was picking it up very nicely and doing well for a new shooter. Every so often, a deer or two would make their way into our backyard to nibble on the apple trees when we were target practicing. Jessy would ask me if her bow was strong enough to take a deer. I told her she’d have to get stronger to pull a heavier bow and use hunting arrows and if she wanted to she could fill my deer tag this fall. She said she would like to do that. I put on my best poker face, but inside I was doing back flips and beaming!

Our next step, we got online and found a 3D shoot in Butte Falls at Beekman Ridge Archery Range. It was a state championship tournament, 2 day shoot with 40 targets per day and Jessy wanted to go, so we made plans to attend and camp on site with our tent trailer. We invited some other bow shooting friends to come along and camp out with us and we soon had the makings of a nice weekend family retreat.

We pulled into the archery range at Butte Falls late Friday afternoon and got our tent trailer set up, registered as guest shooters (non-competitive) and got some range time in. The venue was gorgeous with ponderosa pine and oak trees covering the slopes and grassy meadows below. The staff and participants were all super friendly. I had a good feeling that we picked a good place to start Jessy down the bowhunting road.

Saturday morning we all assembled at the registration booth to hear the rules and get group assignments. Groups of shooters scattered around the field course to start the tournament at one of the 40 targets. We had a nice group of youngsters (4 girls & 1 boy) and they were all there to have fun. Since I asked to be assigned to shoot with Jessy, I was the only adult shooter who always got to shoot first at each target with all those young eyes watching my every move. NO PRESSURE AT ALL.

By the end of the weekend, we discovered just how much we had enjoyed ourselves and we both learned a lot that weekend too. Jessy learned: 1) 3D shoots are really fun, 2) there are other girls who share the same interest; 3) girls are good shots; and 4) they are getting into hunting too.  For me, I learned humility from young kids that are good shooters (I actually got schooled on several targets) and most important, should I ever need to shoot one, I learned where to place my arrow on a velociraptor if I need to take one out!

Practicing at home on the range

Practicing at home on the range


Shooting with our friends Tom and Jason Younker

Shooting with our friends Tom and Jason Younker

First target- sitting shot at a tom turkey through a cabin window

First target- sitting shot at a tom turkey through a cabin window


Shooter’s eye-view of the turkey


Shooting at a mini polar bear

Shooting at a mini polar bear


Time to score the arrows

Shooting through a hollow log... what a mind game.

Shooting through a hollow log… quite the mind game.

How far do you think it is?

How far do you think it is? Distance estimation is key.

Long shot at a lion

Long shot at a lion

Shooting at a very vicious velociraptor!

Shooting at a very vicious velociraptor’s vitals!


Cheetah between the trees

Butte Falls, a refreshing place to cool off after a hot day on the range.


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