In case you're not familiar with the genre, a "3D shoot" is where you shoot at foam animal-shaped targets which are set at unknown distances. This is in contrast to the "field archery" shoots we've been doing all summer at which flat paper targets are set at known distances. 3D archery is a booming thing but, honestly, I prefer field targets. 3D is suppose to sort of, kind of, simulate hunting conditions, but I really don't think it does. For one thing, most people carry chairs stuffed with cold drinks to sit on while waiting to shoot. It's common for people to use umbrellas to shade each other and block wind. I can't remember ever doing that during a hunting. The distances are unknown and the shots are frequently "challenging" with sharp uphill and downhill angles, often obscured by branches and such. In a real hunting situation, I'd probably pass on about 1/2 the shots we take in a 3D shoot and I'd be using my rangefinder on the rest. From 10-30 yards I can use my 20 (or 25 yard) sight pin, but 3D shots are commonly 35-45 yards and I just can't guesstimate that distance accurately, I know that, and thus when hunting, I'll use my rangefinder or pass on the shot.
3D advocates are often critical of field shoots and we actually had some discussion about this in my group, one of the guys being a field shooter like me and the others being 3D-only guys. The 3D guys said "what's the point of shooting more than one shot? You only get one one shot when hunting!". True (usually), but again, while hunting, I know my limits and I'm not going to the take the shot if they exceed my limits. 3D targets score 12-10-8 and then you get 5 for hitting the body. In my opinion, a 5 ought not to score- that's a "wound"! In fact, there's a seldom used variation of 3D scoring that scores the "wound" as "-5". With that scoring, there's some incentive to pass on a shot instead of scoring a "wound". Another thing about 3D is that you can never be sure just how good you're shooting, since the distance is unknown. If you miss, did you miss because you blew the shot or because you misjudged the yardage? At least 1/2 the "game" in 3D is judging the distance in the first place. In hunting, you often have to make a split-second estimation and shoot, but in 3D, shooters glass the target, stare at it for awhile trying to estimate the distance, glass some more, shrug their shoulders, glass some more, etc. That's not hunting.
|A foam 3D target|
In spite of my complaining, I like to shoot my bow and 3D is one of the games we do, so we were off to the shoot, our first 3D shoot of the year, and looking forward to it. We arrived at the Agua Piedra campground, got set up, and then discovered that our neighbors a few campsites away had Screaming Kids On Bicycles and were the kind of campers who feel the need to bring boom boxes and noise with them from the city. I guess you have to take what you get, so after setting up camp, Derek and I walked down to the stream to do a little fishing. Stream fishing is a lot tougher than the lake thing we usually do, and we ended the day fishless. We hit the sack tired, wet, and sweaty. The shoot was to be on a ski slope and during the night I had a dream that I had a heart-attack at the top of the slope and died. I obviously didn't sleep very well after that, but I took some deep breaths and morning found us at the shoot, ready to go.
|First camp at Aqua Piedra campground|
A heart attack was certainly a possibility as we hiked up the slope, down it, up it again, and down it again, in the breezeless, 90 deg weather but I just took it easy, drank a lot of water, and actually felt fine, except that my feet hurt. We started at 9 am, shot 25 targets (and there's another thing... in a Field round, I'll shoot 28 targets for 4 arrows each = 112 arrows. Here... just 25 arrows), and finished around 2 pm. I probably don't like 3D because I stink at range estimation and in my group of 6, I was running dead last. I made some good shots, but too many bad ones ("5"'s). Derek shot pretty good from the Cub stakes. We were both glad when it was over, ate a couple of dramatically over-priced resort burgers, and looked forward to fishing.
|Derek giving advice|
|Derek shooting at turkey|
|Everyone shot a little low on this one|
Luk 11:11 NKJV If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?
After releasing the snake, I cooked Derek's fish, took 3 Ibuprofen and hit the sack, tired, sore, sweaty, and sticky. It rained that night, forcing me to close the truck camper windows and turning my little space into a sauna. The next morning, Derek and I talked it over and decided to skip the second day of shooting and move camp to Coyote Creek State Park where there was beaver dam fishing and- praise the Lord!!!- showers! So, move we did, after stopping in Mora for some gas, coffee, and a Allsup's chimichanga.
|Sunday morning in Mora|
Coyote Creek was pretty full of campers but many were leaving and we found a great primitive site, set up our simple camp, and went fishing. It took a little while to find the lay of the land, but once we did, we quickly caught 5 fish. A storm was moving in and so we took a break from fishing. I headed straight for the showers, only to find that the park people were just getting ready to clean the bathrooms. The cleaning lady said "half an hour" and I said "I'll sit right here and wait". I must've looked pretty beat, 'cause then she, God bless her heart!!!, said "I'll do the ladies' room first and you can use the men's shower while I do that". It wasn't the best shower I've ever had but it sure might've been one of the most appreciated and I sure felt better afterward.
|Coyote Creek campground|
|Beaver pond fishing|
Storm over Mora Valley:
Then it was back to fishing in between storms and finishing up our limit. Back at camp, we cooked up 2 fish for supper, cleaned up, and then the real storm started moving in. I thought, "you know... it's only 6 pm and we're going to spend the rest of the night huddled in the truck or under our tent. Home is just over 3 h away." I broached the idea of heading home to Derek, he agreed, and we packed up in lightning speed and hit the road. We had enough daylight to take the scenic route home thru Black Lake, Angel Fire, Eagle Nest, and Cimarron. The storm sprinkled on us, but visibility and driving were great. In Cimarron, we stopped at the Cree-Mee Drive In for some killer smmooooothhhh ice cream cones. The place was packed with Boy Scouts on their way to/from Philmont Scout Ranch.
|The end of the rainbow in Eagle Nest|
Leaving Cimarron, there was a huge storm front out on the Eastern plains and we finished the drive home in sporadic rain, listening to a mix of Sharon Shannon and Natalie MacMaster. We pulled in just before 10 pm and the last song to play, as we approached our little house, was "David's Jig". I liked that. I'd like to think that David was with us in spirit. We sure miss him.
Here we are Monday morning. Georgia was off to Amarillo at 5:30 am for her first cancer treatment follow-up so I got up to see her off. I'm looking at the results of over 1" of rain (and still sprinkling), I've finished my 2nd cup of coffee, and Derek just heated the last of our camping Pop-Tarts for breakfast. Until our next trip, it's over and out!