Off Season Challenge

COLUMN-HEADSponsored by: Black Eagle Arrows & Grim Reaper Broadheads

By: Brian
Kightlinger

Living in Northwest Pennsylvania we have some brutal winters. As I write this the local weather is predicting that we break 200 inches of snow this year and set a new snowfall record. For those of us who love to hunt, the season is officially over and the deep snow makes it hard to get out and look for sheds. So what is there to do during this time of the year? You don’t have to search hard to find local archery clubs having 3 Spot Shoots and Indoor 3D archery shoots.

My wife and I had our house built about 8 years ago and after going back and forth between a two story and a ranch, my builder pulled me aside and gave me some very important information. He told me that if I allowed my wife to have a ranch he could make my basement big enough for me to shoot 20 plus yard, inside, all year. I told my wife she could have the ranch and it was a win for both of us.

Shooting in my basement allows me to practice on my archery form and keep my muscles in shape for archery season. I take advantage of the late evening, after my kids go to bed, to shoot a dozen arrows or more. Some nights I shoot 300 rounds and other nights I shoot some 3D targets. When I want some more room to shoot, I have many options on where I can go.

Locally, I have shops with Techno Hunts, archery clubs with spot leagues and a few great indoor 3D places to keep my skills sharp. I like having all of these options to entertain myself through the cold bitter winter. There are even some money shoots if I have the time. Personally, I feel it is important to practice year round.

Less than 5 miles away there is a shop that has a video screen league. I have shot in this league in the past and it is a lot of fun. If you are unfamiliar with a Techno Hunt, it is really a great time. The scenes are played on a big screen and you shoot blunt, magnetic tips on your arrows. When the arrow hits the screen it scores the hit. If you have a local place that offers this I highly recommend giving it a try. Take some buddies and have a blast.

There are many local archery clubs that have a weekly spot league. Some of these clubs have monthly money shoots. I have attended these events in the past and they are also fun. Shooting on a line with up to 20 other shooters, who are very close to you, makes focus and concentration a must. I feel shooting spots can really help you in many areas. When I go to shoot spots I still use my hunting set up and my Black Eagle Zombie Slayer Arrows. The range is only 20 yards and I like the practice of holding and aiming with my hunting rig over a spot set up. I have personally seen improvements in my form, focus and score.

Probably my favorite winter archery activity is indoor 3D archery. I love shooting 3D animal targets for the practice. The variety of animals to shoot is about endless. Just this winter, a local outfitter created an indoor 3D range. I took a drive out to see it and all I can say is it is awesome. The building is well lit, wide open and heated. I decided to sign up for the winter league and test my skills.

Waiting with anticipation for the 10 week league to start I decided to set up my Athens Ascent. I added some Dead Center Archery Products hunting stabilizers and made up a dozen Black Eagle Challenger Arrows. I tuned the bow in my basement and was excited with how well the combination shot/

The league is into the fourth week and I am pleased with how well my arrows are flying. Each week, as they move all the targets around, I am shooting better. I will say shooting at the small targets like the skunk, badger, and the darn turkeys makes me focus even more. I love seeing my BEA Challenger in the 11 ring. I hope to continue improving each week through the league.

As archers there are many opportunities through the year to help us practice our skills. I feel we owe it to ourselves and the animals we hunt to be able to execute the best shot possible. By getting involved in Techno Hunts, Spot leagues, or 3-D archery you can improve your muscle memory and sharpen the skills necessary. Find a shop or club near you and have some fun during the off season for you, your friends and family. You won’t regret it.

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