Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Shooting practice

Last night I realised how very out of kilter my shooting muscles were, although towards the end the arrows were grouping nicely as releases stopped being snatched and long disused muscle regained its memory. Would have improved still more, but decades old plastic had become friable, and a minor component on my bow broke, cutting short practice by an hour.

The indoor range at the Fish and Game Protective Association clubhouse only has an eighty inch ceiling, which meant the upper limb of my bow kept catching as I shot, which didn't help. Ended up in a shooting posture slightly reminiscent of a half splitz to get enough headroom for my ageing 68" recurve. Most of the other guys were shooting compounds and short recurves, or weren't as tall, so didn't have the same issues. Nice to see fathers and sons (and daughters) learning the art together. Nothing formal or intense, just some general plinking and the pleasure of a shared past-time.

Over here the emphasis is on hunting rather than formal target shoots. The shots that tend to count are those that put meat in the freezer, rather than pin-hole golds, or repeating the same action perfectly a hundred times. Which rather reflects the driving source of the sport. Modern European archery derives from the practices necessary to support a skilled medieval army with its deadly ranks of longbowman capable of decimating massed cavalry charges. Canadian, and North American practice derives more from the need to fill the pot. It is the art derived from the solitary, the thoughtful and dedicated hunter, where the attitude and practice come more from fieldcraft rather than delivering volley after aimed volley.

Still, a nice bunch of people there, none of the preening gadget worship once regularly encountered in the British club scene. Also a refreshing lack of the sneering one upmanship that drove me away from the sport over a decade ago. Now you turn up to shoot, socialise, do a bit of instinct shooting, pass on what knowledge you have to newbies. No-one judging. No-one picking up on your every minor 'flaw' and making a big deal out of it to bolster their own flagging little ego. It's all far more relaxed. Rather like Canadians in general over here on the Island.

And by the same token, so am I.

Body is still three time zones out of kilter, but closing rapidly. Normal service will resume shortly. Until then, there will be a short interlude.

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