Learn To Hunt: Practice, Practice, Practice

They say that practice makes perfect but what you don’t hear very often is that practice makes zen. I find that this is true in a lot of things although with a lot of physical exercise the zen comes after the workout. Archery is a little more like yoga, the longer I shoot the more tired my muscles get but it just forces me to dig deeper and settle into the rhythm. It also doesn’t hurt that Ridgway is absolutely gorgeous and, more often than not, practice involves hanging out in view of Mt. Sneffles.

The first few times I went shooting, it was all about simply going through the process of putting on the release, notching an arrow, pulling it back, and looking through the peep sight. My accuracy improved in this period but I really just focused on having fun with it. (Also with not looking angry while aiming.  😉 ) I was happy with how light the Instigator is and I had fun shooting until Sprocket got restless about waiting for me. (PS tends to sit and watche me from the tailgate of the Jeep…)

The last few times I’ve been out, I’ve started to pay more attention to doing things the same each and every time. I’ve gotten stronger and am going to bump up my draw weight before I go out next time. I vary which point on the target I try to hit and my sessions are getting longer.

This comparison might sound a little weird but after playing softball for years, I’m finding archery practice to be a little like doing tee work. It’s all about quieting yourself, focusing on a specific piece of your practice that you want to improve and going through the repetitions to cement the muscle memory. That parallel continues right on down to needing to retrieve the arrows after each round. (Now if only I’d have thought to take my tee and net to such pretty places to practice).

My bow and accessories were provided by Cabela’s to 3Up Adventures for review as part of an ongoing series about learning to bow hunt. All opinions are mine and subject to change as I become more experienced at the sport.

 

Learn To Hunt: Hunters’ Education

This is the next post in a series about learning to hunt in partnership with Cabela’s. I’ve been fitted with a bow and have been practicing (more on that soon!). Since I really love learning about new things, I was really excited to take hunter’s education. Back in early May I took Hunter’s Ed and had a great experience.

In Colorado, everyone born after December 31, 1948 is required to have a hunter’s education card to purchase a hunting license. I vividly remember my cousins taking hunter’s education one summer while we were camping. Excited about hunting with their dad and other family members (including my dad) they dutifully studied their pamphlet textbook and excitededly hopped in the car to interrupt our camping adventures for that week’s class session. I was sort of jealous that they were getting to learn things over the summer so I studied over their shoulder but really never thought that I would take the class.

When it came time this spring for me to take hunter’s education, I opted to take an in-person class rather than taking it online with just one “field” day. I’m really glad that I chose to do this. For someone who has a family member or hunting mentor, it would probably be easier to just ake the class online but since I’m sort of launching into this venture independently, I figured that I would take all the personal interaction that I can get!

I think I was totally right about this decision. My course was taught at the Montrose Rod and Gun club by a Colorado Parks and Wildlife volunteer, Rick, who was assisted by his wife, Dawn, and a friend, Charles. I felt like I was a little bit out of place rocking a lot of neon Columbia gear in a sea of camo and khaki but I just rolled with it. I was also one of a very small number of adults taking the class (I’m sure most opt to take it online) but the kids were so much fun to be in class with! They were excited about learning everything were so ecstatic about getting to go hunting.

My absolute favorite part of the class was getting to handle the dummy guns. I’m pretty comfortable with a bolt action (thank you single-shot .22 time at the cabin! …man, I miss that gun…) but beyond that I haven’t had much experience. We passed the “guns” around demonstrating proper technique for assuring that the chamber was clear. This meant I had the chance to gain at least some familiarity with lever action, pump action, break action, shotguns, and semi-automatic rifles. I’ve always found it really stressful to shoot a new gun even though I love shooting because it’s a gun. This was a great environment to carefully and deliberately practice appropriate handing. Besides, I’m never going to forget learning that “a safety is a mechanical device that sometimes fails” and always treat a gun as if it’s ready to fire.

Taking the course in person made for a busy week but it was totally worth it. Just like each step in the journey, it got me excited about beginning this new hobby!

This post is part of an ongoing series in partnership with Cabela’s, however I paid for hunters education myself and all opinions are my own.

Learn To Hunt: Bow Fitting

I’m pleased to announce that 3Up Adventures is partnering with Cabela’s as I learn how to hunt! I’ve been wanting to get into archery for awhile now (more on that in a future post) and I’m really excited to get started with such excellent support!

Last week, my new bow, a Cabela’s Instigator by BOWTECH, arrived at my house along with a bunch of awesome accessories, a case, and a couple of targets. It was so hard to be patient all week as I waited to head up to the Grand Junction Cabela’s store to get everything on the bow adjusted and to have my arrows trimmed. Finally, the weekend rolled around and I was walking into the store!

The store manager, Debbie, met me at the front and walked me back to the archery area. She was super friendly and happy to have me in the store. She introduced me to Cody, the archery technician, chatted for a bit and then let Cody and I get down to business. We started by measuring my draw length. Draw length is theoretically a function of your wingspan but as it turned out, I needed a little bit of extra adjustment and we found that a 29″ draw worked well for me.

While making the adjustments to draw length and draw strength, Cody checked to make sure everything was straight and level after shipping. He also installed the stabilizer, a sight, and the wrist strap. At each step, he explained to me how I could make these adjustments on my own if I needed to.

After all the adjustments were done, it was time for me to finally be able to shoot my bow! Cody showed me how to notch the arrow so that the fletchings (the “wings” on the arrow) would pass through the bow cleanly. We made a few adjustments to my draw length, sighted it in, and made sure I was comfortable with shooting.

I don’t have a very relaxed Katniss Everdeen concentration face yet:

Finally, we cut all of my arrows and assembled most of them with field points. Cody explained that he always saves a quiver full of arrows so that he’s always prepared with straight and undamaged ones for hunting.

Thank you so much to both Cody and Debbie at the Grand Junction Cabela’s. I’m so excited to get started with target shooting and hunting preparations. I had only shot a bow a handful of times before so I was a little nervous but the whole process was really painless and a lot of fun. Just shooting that handful of times in the archery range was almost meditative. I can’t wait to take the bow outside and get some more practice in on my own!

The services and products in this post were provided to 3Up Adventures by Cabela’s however all opinions are my own.