Over the weekend I had the pleasure of shooting my first 3D Archery Match in a number of years. I didn’t do so great in terms of score but I had a wonderful time walking through the woods and shooting. Shortly after posting that writeup, I got a note from the Archery Director of Hamburg Fish & Game inviting me back for their 15 Target Thursday Night Shoot.

Normally, doing anything during the week is difficult. My wife goes to school at night and I take care of our daughter. When I make plans to go out during the week, they need to be child friendly. I was on the fence about bringing my daughter along, for a couple of reasons.

If you have children, or have spent any time around someone my daughter’s age, you know they have a very short attention span. I didn’t know if I could keep my daughter interested throughout the length of the course. We would be doing a fair bit of walking (for her) and I was afraid that she would lose interest halfway through.

My other concern was that my daughter would be disruptive to other shooters. Before I had a child of my own, I was one of those people that got annoyed by children carrying on loudly in adult settings. Even though my outlook has changed, I was worried that there might be an issue if my daughter got a bit too loud.

Before I made plans to go, I dropped a note on the Hamburg Fish & Game Facebook Page and mentioned that I wouldn’t be able to make the shoot unless I could bring my daughter along. The response I received was very reassuring and I was told to bring her along.

Kid Friendly

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Before heading out to Hamburg Fish & Game, I sat my daughter down and we had a talk. I asked her if she wanted to go to the archery range with me and she got excited and gave me a very enthusiastic YES!. I explained that we would be doing a lot of walking in the woods and there would be other people around shooting their bows. She would have to listen to me and stand where I told her to stand while I shot. She understood and agreed, so we got into the car and began the 25 minute drive.

After we arrived, I began getting my bow out of the car and my daughter was fascinated by the foam deer standing out in the field. We talked about how they were fake and then made our way to the registration area.

I couldn’t have been more impressed with how my daughter was treated. Everyone smiled and said hi. My daughter is very shy when she first meets people but it didn’t take long before she started warming up. The Match Director told my daughter to be on the lookout for a dragon in the woods, and he showed her a picture. My daughter smiled and treated it like a little treasure hunt.

Shooting The Course

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We got started and my daughter listened just like she said she would. She stood were I asked her to while I shot the first target then we retrieved the arrow. She was a little weirded out at first and had to touch the foam target to make sure it wasn’t a real deer than my arrow was sticking out of.

We wound our way through the woods from target to target. I couldn’t have asked for things to go any better. My daughter got excited every time she saw a deer (she didn’t care too much for the other targets) and kept telling me ‘we are hunting the deers together, Daddy’.

Before long we were finding the targets together and she was helping me pull my arrows. On more than one occasion she stood beside the target and asked to have her picture taken so that she could show Mommy, Mom-Mom, and Pop-Pop.

I wouldn’t have minded going back and shooting the course a second time but it was the perfect length for my three year old daughter. She walked the course without much trouble (I had to help her up a hill towards the end but besides that she did great).

Finishing Up

After I got my bow put away, we walked back over to registration to talk for a few minutes. By this time my daughter was opening up and talking with everyone. She talked about all the animals we saw, especially the dragon.

I learned about an indoor league starting in January which caters to child archers. Even though my daughter is a bit young (my thoughts – mostly that she may struggle to draw a small bow) she was invited to come shoot with them. Even though I was much older when my grandfather introduced me to Archery, I love the idea of my daughter giving it a try. If she enjoys it, fantastic. If not, I won’t force it and will just enjoy other hobbies with her.

Introducing My Daughter to Archery

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Back when my grandfather was introducing the grand-kids to archery, my cousin started coming along when she was old enough to hold a bow. When my grandfather passed away, all of his archery equipment was passed down to my father (minus his target bow, that was given to me). Among the equipment was my cousin’s little pink compound bow and arrows.

I don’t know how young my cousin was when she started but the bow is still in good shape. I think I’m going to get it from my father and see if I can’t get my daughter started earlier than originally thought. I’m sure the arrows will bounce out of the targets and I may need to help her draw the string back, but its worth a try.

I really can’t say enough about how impressed I am with Hamburg Fish & Game and how they support children. I’ve seen photos on their Facebook Page of Christmas Parties, Fish Rodeos, and other activities. Not only do I like what I’ve seen for me personally, I’m very happy with all of the activities my daughter can participate in as well.

I’ll be attending the next two Thursday Night 3D Archery Shoots as well as the final Sunday Shoot of the year in September. I need to find out a little more about what the club does in the ‘Off-Season’ but I’m very interested in joining. The only hard part will be finding a member to vouch for me, since I don’t really know anyone at the club or have friends that are members.

Video

Last week Stogie Review was kind enough to set me up with a BowFinger 2.0 Camera Mount for my bow. I set it up with one of my Kodak Playsport Cameras and shot some video of the course. Due to the nature of the camera (its an action cam meant for relatively close action) you can’t make out a whole lot before the shot. The vibration from the bow going off distorts the image considerably. The only time you can really see anything is when we walk up to the target.

The video is more about my daughter and I spending time at the archery range and less about actual shooting. In the future I may bring more of my equipment to get better footage of my shooting. The plan is to use the Bow Mounted Camera for filler footage. I’ll orient a second camera to capture my form and a third on the target.

It may seem like a big production just to capture a little archery video but I’ve got the post-production workflow down and it won’t be a big deal on my end.

Photos