Brian had bought me my own bow in early spring of 2012. I had tried to pull back some of his own bows, but the lowest weight any of them went was still too heavy for me. I was so happy when he handed it to me when he got home and couldn’t wait to try it out. We went out on the back porch to shoot at targets he had already set up in the lawn. He showed me how to shoot by demonstrating himself with his own bow, then it was my turn.
I notched my arrow onto the string and into the rest, put the butt of my hand on the handle, clipped my release onto the string and drew back. Brian fixed my posture, making sure my arms were aligned right and that my left arm was a tad bent so the string wouldn’t hit my forearm when I released the arrow. “Now set your site on the top pin over the middle of the target. It’s ok if you can’t hold it there steady, control it by purposely moving it around the target, circling it until it’s almost as if you are completely steady on the target. Take a deep breath in, let it out and as you let it out squeeze the release. It should be a surprise when it goes off.” I did as he said and was within inches of the bulls-eye. It was the best feeling ever.
Time passed and Brian would bust on his friends saying how good of a shot I was, probably better than any of them. I knew part of him was joking around. I couldn’t get past 25 yards, my eyesight was too bad to aim on a small target beyond that, but on 25 yards I was spot on. I knew he was proud of me too. He’d brag to his Grampa and family, and it made me feel good that I was able to learn something so awesome from someone that I loved so much.
Practice is the key to success when it comes to shooting bow. I’d have better days than others too. Some days I couldn’t do more than two or three good groupings of shots. Other days I could shoot well over ten good groupings and not be tired at all. Bow is definitely a passion of mine now whether it’s a good or bad day.
Releasing that arrow is literally a way of releasing stress that’s built up over that day or that week. Doing something that powerful is such an intense feeling. When I started, a part of me thought maybe it would turn into actually bow hunting, but not too soon. I wanted to be confident in shooting enough times, with enough weight, at different angles to know I could make a kill shot on a deer.
Brian would work on me as much as he could to try to prepare me. He’d take me to His Way Archery in Jamestown to shoot on their inside course, and Brian would help me clean my bow afterwards. Seriously, this is getting corny, but anything hunting, even practicing archery, became some of the best times I’ve had with Brian.
I remember when I “Robinhooded” my first arrow. It’s frustrating because that’s an arrow completely ruined and they’re not cheap, but at the same time it takes a truly accurate shot and damn good group to stick one arrow with another. What made it all the more exciting though was that it was with a bow that I wasn’t even used to. Brian had let his cousin start using mine to practice with for hunting, and one of Brian’s friends who has the same draw length as me offered to let me borrow his bow to practice with since I was determined to bow hunt this year. Brian’s reaction to my accurate shot about a month later as he finally tried to take the one arrow out of the one it stuck was, “I still can’t believe you already Robinhooded an arrow. You know how long it took me to do that? Years. It took you only a year and a half.” I just humbly smiled before saying that I learned from the best. Shooting bow has definitely become something meaningful to me, a past time basically, and I never plan on stopping it.