As summer approaches many people are heading West for vacation. If you are going to camp or hike in the west this summer consider bringing your bow with you. There are plenty of opportunities to learn something new and it may keep you sane during the long days with your family.
The campsite range
Over the past two summers I lived out of a tent. Each morning I would place my target out among some brush and get a few rounds in. If you camp along four wheel drive tracks out in the country no one ever cares if you shoot your bow. The vast majority of people are not offended by someone shooting their bow as long as it is in a responsible direction.
Look up 3D courses
The past two summers I have lived in Buena Vista, Colorado. Between Salida and Buena Vista is a 3D course with 36 targets set-up. I used to hike through the sagebrush and shoot an arrow at each target in the evening. If you are headed west this summer take the time to see if there will be any 3D courses near where you will be staying. Also, many of these courses hold fundraisers at some point in the season (around July 4th in Buena Vista) where you can go shoot with other archers in the area. This is a great way to meet elk hunters in Colorado and pick up some hunting information. Also if you don’t have a vacation planned yet, rafting the Arkansas river in Colorado is a good excuse to go shoot that course.
Side of a highway
I am currently in Leavenworth, Washington for the summer so I have quite a few mountain hikes to check out. Last week I planned to take a hike after work. Before I left I threw my bow and target in my car because I thought if I ended up in an empty campground I could get a few shots in before it became dark outside. As I drove up the canyon I realized that there would be no empty campgrounds to shoot in, but I still wanted to shoot a bit before it got too dark. I ended up pulling over to the side of the road and nestling my target between some bushes on top of an old stump. I walked back and whenever I could find a window I would shoot at the target. This created odd distances and odd shot angles. I have a hard time mimicking this type of practice in my backyard. I think most of the time we add one variable, such as an odd distance or angle but we rarely shoot around a bush, at an angle, at an odd distance. Putting your target in an odd spot forces you to take shots that include multiple challenges. Bringing your bow and getting a practice routine like this in may make you realize your true effective range and what to work on before September comes.
Lastly a good reason to bring a bow on vacation is bow-fishing. Many times the best way to get a carp is by bow-fishing and you would be surprised how many areas in the country have a healthy carp population. If you end up in a new fishing area and can’t figure out how to catch the fish check out the spillway, dam, or bridge to turn your luck around.