Target Practice

When you live in the woods of the Finger Lakes region, you undoubtedly know when hunting season begins. Family and friends start to buzz about their favorite hunting spots and suddenly there are a few more boot marks along the trails than during the rest of the year. You also have people bidding for the commodity of any cabin or lodging you might have access to.

Now, I didn’t come from a terribly large hunting family – my dad and grandpa would go out a maybe a few times a season as I was growing up. The really active hunting came into play when the woodchucks were putting holes in the horse pasture. My neighbors and family friends from down the road would always start happy dancing once the air got crisp because that meant it was time to break out the neon orange and camouflaged fleece.

One of my good friends growing up came from a family who cleaned and processed deer in their garage. She was just as excited as her dad was about open season, and she had a collection of squirrel tails from her own hunting successes. They honestly freaked me out a little ­– my mom and I always said that we’d rather hunt with a camera. We were never really interested in becoming part of that scene, even if the venison recipes were something to look forward to.

However, I discovered that I absolutely love archery. Despite the hunting intrigue around me, it was actually while I was away at Girl Scout camp that I was first exposed to archery as a sport. Just a little, plastic twig of a bow and some straw bales were all we had, but there was something thrilling about actually hitting the spot I was aiming for.

My own bow reflects that simplicity. It’s nothing fancy, just a wooden longbow with a mix of arrows that I picked up around the time that I got it. There’s something very mind clearing about a good target practice. You get to be outside, your arms get stronger, and you learn how to control your breath. There’s also no running (yay!), however, there is plenty of walking around as you search for arrows that miss the target.

So, even if you aren’t interested in hunting season coming up, I find that there are still plenty of targets that stay nice and immobile. Whether you’re excited for actual hunting season, or are just looking for another reason to be outside in the cool air, a bow and few good, smooth arrows will do the trick!


Halie Solea 2013by Halie Solea

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