Friday, March 30, 2012

A break in the rain, archery & a trip to a sporting goods store

© 2012 Joshua Stark

March is surely going out like a lion, but yesterday and today we've had a slight precip. reprieve.  With the weather clearing, the kids and I were crazy outside all day long, preparing Mommy's garden bed (for her upcoming herb garden), training the boysenberry, pulling bolting bok choy, feeding the cabbage patch, cutting fence posts and birdwatching.  Today it's more of the same, but with a little less enthusiasm (I make the Hippo on the Lawn look like a Marvel superhero, so I'm a tad sore).

The big news for me is hunting, interestingly enough.  Turkey season opens tomorrow and my cousin has access to land.  Archery-only, and the rain has kept me out of practice, but the day before yesterday I took the old Versorger down and flung three arrows into a turkey-sized circle, so I'm happy.

Versorger is the name of my first-ever recurve bow.  I bought it about seven years ago, before doing any real research into recurves and longbows, partly because I was really itching to go to a stick-and-string (lose the training wheels, as they put it), and partly (about 90%) because my wife said, "Let's just buy it."  It didn't have a name back then, except "htg. 56"" scribbled on the limbs, and I had to do some real googling to discover that it is an AIM recurve.  I did know, from the salesman, that it was a 55 lb. bow, which means it takes approx. 55 lbs. of pressure to keep the bow drawn 28 inches, a typical draw length.  Since I'm built like a gibbon, this turned out to be a problem.

If you don't know much about archery or archery terms, let me introduce you to two:  "Stacking" and "pinch."  If your only exposure to archery is obsessively watching Ted Nugent, then go get help; also, you might think that the first term represents a good quality, ala "whack 'em and stack 'em", the profound, entirely original and eloquent phrase used by Msr. Nugent to summarize his hunting philosophy.   However, amongst archers "stacking" refers to the degree of difficulty in pulling the last few inches of the string to one's face.  On bows without training wheels, drawing the bow becomes progressively more difficult for each inch.  On high quality recurves and longbows, the last few inches feel as smooth as nearly every other inch, i.e. each inch of pull on the bow results in ~ two pounds of extra force.  On Versorger, the graph of my draw weight looks like a launching Polaris missile at the last two inches.  In my head, I get fooled every time:  I begin the draw, and it feels smooth, smooth, smooth, up to where the string dances in front of my nose.  Then, as I pull to anchor my hand to my face, I hear any number of tendons begin humming, popping, and relocating themselves to awkward and inappropriate places.  The bow starts dancing around in my hand, and my face takes on a Looney Toons appearance.  Instinctively, I jam my head forward, because that string just won't move. 

I could blame the bow, but part of it is my fault.  You see, even though I'm 5'11", my draw length is closer to thirty inches than twenty-eight, but the bow was built for the "typical" draw.

The other term, "pinch" is exactly what one might think it is: it is the angle of the string at your fingers at full draw.  Mine tries to fuse my fingers to the arrow, and has resulted in me shooting three fingers under (which I actually prefer anyway).

I've drawn bows that cost hundreds of dollars more, and I know why they do.  It's easy to see how spending good money up-front can save you hospital bills in the long run.

Why did the bow get the name Versorger, you ask?  Our last name is Stark, which is German for "strong" (like calling a tall guy "shorty"), and, upon my first kill with the bow (a beautiful little coast blacktail it instinctively hit right between the eyes even though I was aiming for the chest - a story for another day), I needed a word to show how it had provided for my family and gave me strength.  Google translated "versorger" as a German word meaning bringer or provider, and so Starke Versorger it was.  So what that I later learned the term means "caterer"?

So in conclusion I hunt with a recurve bow that may or may not take a finger with it one day and that has caused my right eyeball to permanently stick out about 1/4" further than my left.  But, it magically kills with head shots.

In my hunting enthusiasm earlier this week I took a trip to a "local" outdoor store to see if I might be missing any essential equipment.  I actually went to see if I could afford a Magnus turkey point.  I love Magnus broadheads, and I love the concept around these kinds of turkey heads, but they were sold out.  The other brand of this broadhead type went for forty dollars, which is laughable, so I left the archery department empty-handed, and probably for the best.

On my way out I passed - and drooled at - a ghillie suit.  I think I was a ghillie in a past life.  Alas, I can't justify that to myself, even, much less my wife.

I also walked through the clothing aisle, knowing full well that there are some nice, quality American-made hunting clothes on the market (like Pointer Brand jeans and Danner boots).  Just not in this market.  Or any brick-and-mortar establishment in California, for that matter.  No, this place had a number of the "cool" brands on hand, and for the same price as one can get American-made stuff. 

I was also hoping the store would have a corkboard up with hunting dogs for sale, but no luck there, either.  The check-out lady said that folks bring their dogs to the doors on weekends sometimes, but that didn't satisfy my insane dog craving.

Later today my cousin is coming over to sight in his bow, or rather tune his arrow-launching apparatus (his has all manner of technical gadgetry).  I'll have more on that, hopefully with pictures.


The Suburban Bushwacker said...

You're on fire mate that was hilarious

Really looking forward to your coverage of your cousin's arrow-launching apparatus.

Keep 'em coming

Hippo said...

I agree with SBW, this post was the shit (no, let's not start all that again!).

So it shoots between the eyes? I guess that makes you the Head Chef?

Josh said...

Thanks, fellas! It was fun to write.

I'll post about the turkey hunting trip (and practice) very soon, SBW. Hippo, I appreciate your humor, which is not necessarily a complement (somebody today told me that Facebook needs a "groan" button for my comments).