Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bow Meets Girl Meets BowAmerica

Yes, that's snow and yes, I was freezing
Much thanks to BowAmerica for selecting this article to print in this brand new magazine! Whee! I am officially published! 

I am a target huntress. Not to be confused with those awesome women that are compelled to sit chilly in a tree or hike deep into the backcountry for their elk or deer.  I hunt paper x’s year round, usually 4-5 days a week in the summer with a recurve and occasionally I break out my compound just for fun. I also have been known to enjoy shooting in the pouring rain in our backyard in upstate NY.

Growing up in rural central Michigan as a kid in the camo culture, I fooled around with my Bear bow, but set it down to obsessively ride horses until I went off to college. The bug didn’t bite until I was in my thirties. Then it bit. Hard. My dad and I made the trek up to Jay’s in Clare on Christmas Eve to select my starter bow and a good sized compound target.  Somehow after the first season, I just never stopped. Would go out after work in the backyard and shoot arrows until it got too dark to see where they went. It takes your total concentration, lets you relax and when you are in the zone, you aren't really thinking about anything but aiming. 

Lots of girls get into this with a boyfriend who 3-Ds on the weekends and end up giving their SO a run for their money. Loving that archery companies are beginning to realize that the ladies are just as serious about this sport and making daintier, though no less rugged, bows for us girls with girly names like the Stiletto.  Just a few years ago, there was not so much to choose from. You either got a youth bow or a hand me down that didn’t fit so well. My release had to be cut way down, my pocket quiver made for me for smaller girl pockets. My sister has recently been converted into the archery clan and is the proud owner of her very own hunting set up. Plus, she looks great in head-to-toe camo and war paint.

The Lil' Ball o' Sass
Switching from compound where I was comfortable as a consistent 295+ shooter, to the recurve system developed by the current USA Archery Head Coach was, and continues to be, a huge challenge. Using a finger tab for the very first time, I couldn’t get my fingers to let go. Unlearning muscle memory that has served you well and replacing it with something that is not necessarily immediately as successful can be like banging your head against the wall. And getting lower scores sucks when you are used to hitting 9 out of 10 X’s.  I have been really fortunate to find super patient people to work with that put up with my occasional sassypants.  When I get really frustrated, the compound comes out of retirement and reminds me why I started down this road.  This is also a much more physical version of archery. In the summer I was shooting well over 100 arrows a session, 4-5 days week. You sweat and you get muscle sore and you get sick of the songs on your iPod.  Check out YouTube for World Archery, there is a reason the recurve people look fitter. It’s ‘cause they have to be.

One of the great things about archery is the people that we have meet along the way.  Both my husband and I have received an amazing amount of help, information and support from a quite a few folks since we started doing this. Need to borrow a set of arrows, a clicker, try a new quiver?  Someone has one in their case that’s not being used.  Here, just use it for a while.  I swapped my Hoyt Pro-Elite, code name Cricket, for an Olympic recurve system a little over a year ago and have met even more cool and interesting people. This sport seems to recruit similar-minded people. Lots of engineer-types, creatives, and control freaks determined to perfect their aim.  As a whole we are highly competitive, but surprisingly supportive of each other.  A lot of other sports can’t say that. Another thing most sports can’t say, you can spend a day on the same bale with an elite archer, chatting and watching up close what they do. When is the last time you spent an hour in the batting cage with Derek Jeter? Yeah, I thought so.

And now a quick word about hunting. I am not opposed to the responsible hunting of anything you plan on putting in the freezer. I’ve dabbled a bit with hunting wiley Michigan turkeys but am not a hard-core hunter. You can read about it in a back post of Bow Meets Girl, my online rambling of my relearning to shoot. 

“In life, you only hit what you aim at,” Ralph Waldo Emerson
So put ‘em in the middle.


stephchows said...

LOVED!! Great story and congrats for being published!!!

Amanda MacDonald said...

Thanks, Steph! Let me know when we are shooting!! :)

WOODCHUCK67 said...

Amanda, this is a really wonderful piece, and you had me smiling the whole time I was reading. Congratulations on being published! That is a huge deal, and I'm excited for you.



Amanda MacDonald said...

Aw, thanks Grant. Glad you enjoyed the post, too. :)