ADVENTURE STARTS HERE!
As like most of you, I tune up my bow about 2 weeks before deer season and ,make sure I am ready to go. I shoot with fieldtips then switch over to my broad heads, rip off a couple shots and hit the field. However there are many people that stay involved in archery throughout the year.
In April of this year, I was at the Big Buck and Bull Sportsman show in Tilbury, ON and one of the members of the local archery club approached me about possibly shooting in a 3D tournament. He advised that they need a female to complete the team. I kind of shrugged him off as I was not a tournament shooter at all. Time went by and the same member made a surprise visit to my house asking if I was still interested as the tournament was not very far away. He advised that each team MUST have a female shooter and that they really wanted to enter the tournament. I agreed to help them out and shoot the coarse.
The following week and a half I had lots of work to do. My arrows still had broadheads on them everything needed to be tuned up. I shot as much as I could, being a mom and having kids involved in sports can put a damper on any free time. However I did not want to make the team look bad and needed to practice so I could carry my own weight.
The day came and I shot the tournament with 2 total strangers. Both of them were very friendly and excellent shots. We laughed and joked all day as I heard many stories about different adventures the guys had been on over the years . The one guy mentioned that there would be an Ontario 3D Championship held in our area and he thought I may be interested in shooting it. I advised him that I was only shooting this tournament to help out a friend. He advised that it may never be in our territory again and that if I continue to shoot well at the next leg of this tournament that I actually may have a chance at the Ontario Gold Metal for my division. I shrugged him off because as like many of you, there are only so many things my pocket book can afford to do.
The next leg of the tournament I had to shoot with a different group. Here again I met new people and heard new stories. A great group of outdoorsmen at the tournament. This time I was shooting with one fella that was very archery savy. He was shooting the X on most all his shots. While shooting with him, he mentioned this Ontario 3D Championship and asked if I would be shooting it. Again my reply was that I was only shooting the tournament because of a friend and would most likely not be going.
Overall my team ended up in 3rd place but I could not stop thinking about why these guys keep asking if I was going to shoot the Ontario 3D Championship. Was I really good enough to shoot a tournament of this caliber? All of Ontario’s BEST Archers with expensive equipment and this little hometown girl with her hunting gear. I did a little homework to see what would be involved. Google brought me to a website that showed the previous years results and the rules that I would need to follow.
The pondering in my head led to sharing my experience with some friends. It wasn’t long and I was signed up for the Ontario 3D Championship. I had less than two weeks to get ready. I shot everyday. My arm hurt from shooting so much, but I needed to make sure I had my groups as tight as could be. I would be shooting anything from 3 yards to 50 yards and needed to make sure I knew how to shoot this. I did not have a 50 yard pin on my bow but I soon figured out how to make that shot.
The day finally came and the body aches could only be subsided with the Extra Strength Tylenol that I stuffed in my pockets. I was nervous as I waited in line for my scorecard. I shot 2 practice arrows and seemed to be on target. After quick discussion with the new friends that I made, I discovered that I would only need to shoot to 40 yards in my category. This pleased me. I knew up to 40 yards I would be ok, now all I have to do is judge the yardage correctly.
I started off to a very rocky start. The nerves were getting the best of me. I went home exhausted from the day and very displeased with my performance. I told my husband that it may have been way out of my league to shoot a competition of this calibur. He made me feel better and treated me to dinner up town. I prepped all my gear for morning and had to scrimmage around for more arrows. The 7 I originally brought were not in as nice of shape anymore and missing a couple. I marked the best of the bunch and hoped they would be ok.
The next morning, I had a new perspective. I will just go, shoot and have fun. Before leaving home, I shot a couple of the new arrows to assure the flight was accurate. Again my peep sight rubber tubing broke. Frustrated, I fixed it but I did not have time to shoot a practice arrow after. I hurried off to the shoot. A long line of archers taking their turn at the registration table to view yesterdays scores. I waited. One friend asked if I wanted him to tell me how I made out yesterday. I was not sure I wanted the news. I waited in line. Finally my turn to look at the results for day 1, I was in the lead. How could this be, I asked myself in disbelief?
We were assigned our new group and all headed to our starting target. The guys I was with today were very intellectual. One a chemist and the other a Marine Controller. The first couple targets my shooting was off. I was not in the zone. The next couple shots were at close range and my 20 yrd pin seem to be shooting low. I wondered if my peep sight changed the 20 yd pin to now shooting differently. I started to accommodate the difference. I started shooting well. I payed attention to others while they shot, I focused on the animal and compared the previous target to the next. I was in the ZONE! I laughed with other groups and only lost one arrow all day. I felt great! Will todays results be enough to keep me on top?
I returned to registration and felt the relief as the day was now over. I quickly gathered my belongings and headed home to get the family. A well deserved Cold beer, accompanied by my family we waited for the results. They started with the youth divisions. seemed to be on the edge of my seat. Then they announced the Female HUNTER Division. 3rd place with the bronze, then 2nd place with the silver, then finally there it was – DANIELLE RUSSELL in first place with the GOLD METAL!
Energized with joy I proudly went up to the Winners Circle and had the Gold metal placed around my neck. Two weeks ago I didn’t know this competition existed and today I was wearing it proudly. My daily practice paid off and the ached and pains over the last two weeks seemed to subside as a sense of euphoria took over. My friends all believed in me and gave me the push I needed to make this a reality.
Now to let the dust settle back on my ‘ol Martin Cheetah until the next time……Happy Hunting!!
The frost glistened thru the fresh dusting of snow and I sat and watched the last sunrise of 2013. The incredible season we had together in the woods, creeks and marshes is over for another year.
The harvest list has one last evening to be written on and folded away and I can guess that many shotguns need a thorough cleaning. As most of you are aware, it is that time of year that Whitetail and Waterfowl season comes to an end here in Southern Ontario.
At my house this means, the boot dryer does not have to be in the living room and the muddy Muck boots can be cleaned and put to the back of the closet. The wet gloves wont dirty up my dryer and the 9 pm suppers are over. I wont have to purchase hot hands in Bulk at Canadian Tire and I can finally sleep in on Saturday mornings. The feathers can be swept up on the garage floor and the layer of dust can be cleared away from the neglected items on the wall. Organization can begin.
Would I trade any of it, not a chance. The times had in the blind or treestand with friends and family or alone with nature are not replicable. Everything from the sun peering thru the thick trees to the gallop of two young fawns prancing thru the tall alphalfa. You cannot see these things from the couch.
What was my favorite part of this season?
That is such a tough question, most of you know that I love my time in a tree, awaiting the presence of the big buck and watching the does frolic through the grasses. The countless sightings of deer at a distance, learning their behavour and abilities, especially their sense of smell. Watching their anlters glisten in the sunlight and the little spikes get puffed up with pride. The does that appeared out of no where and in three leaps were gone again. The phase of the rut that the decoy worked and the phase that the grunt call sent them miles away. The chances that could have been and the ones that did connect. To all that did connect, be proud and hold you head high. The freezer is full.
Maybe my favorite part was the waterfowl season we had this year. We were fortunate to hunt Rondeau Bay, Holiday Beach and Michell’s Bay along with other wetlands and fields. The birds sometimes worked like they were on a string and other days the winds wouldn’t let them drop in. We played in the muck, water and snow and had a blast. We hit, we missed, we laughed. With painted faces we hid in the best cover available. The dog made some great retrieves and also gained some weight from the generosity of the other hunters sharing their keilbasa. The flocks grew to be magnificent as the cold weather came and the multiple sunrises and sunsets were even better as thousands of Canada Geese filled them .
Until next time.....put my feet up and chill out.....ohhh wait....it's almost snowmobile season.
December 2013 ©
As life takes many twists and turns, we dream new goals. Sometimes our goals are lofty aspirations and sometimes they are simply tasks that need to be achieved in order to function better in our day to day lives. As kids we dream about doing something amazing, about having grand adventures. We seized every day as our own and made the most of it. Sure, you have more responsibility now than when you were a kid, but you also have far more capability. The things you once could only dream of are now within your reach; why not take hold of them? Well let me tell you about a woman that did just that. All throughout life, her husband and family hunted the woods in search of the next big buck or the next flock of geese to harvest. She always welcomed them with open arms and was eager to hear about their adventures. One autumn she was at their cottage in the heart of Muskoka country and she thought she would try her chance at calling in a moose. She sat on the porch and made sounds that to some were much like moans of agony rather than the challenge of a Bull moose. Time passed by and to her surprise a Bull moose appeared and paced back and forth awaiting the appearance of the mysterious confrontation. At that moment, a new passion became instilled inside her. She realized that she could join her team in the woods and view this excitement first hand. The combined anticipation and persistance drove her to establishing a dream of harvesting a moose of her own.
The plan was made and she entered her own tag in the moose draw for the following year. Her husband found a nice site close to the cottage for her tree stand and they set up a trail camera to see what wildlife was travelling through the natural funnel towards the marsh. She shopped for a smaller compact firearm and chose a 30.30 lever action. She became very comfortable and extremely accurate with it. During each visit north, they would check the camera and her excitement built. She always joked about just staying in the warmth of the cabin and harvesting one from the porch. The autumn leaves were no longer in vibrant reds and yellows hanging high in the trees but now the majority lay resting on the forest floor. The time has come. Trucks were loaded with ATV’s and gear and headed north for the yearly moose hunt. Enthusiasm filled the cottage and opening day was only hours away. The morning was wet as everyone went to their post. The long sit in the cold may have detered most. Lots of signs in the woods but no harvests. By day three, the once eager woman was not feeling up to going out in the cold woods. Had she lost that zeal that the bitter cold can sometimes bring? Not at all, rather she was feeling a bit under the weather and would join the gang in the afternoon.
As she starred out the window, she knew if she was to ever harvest a moose she needed to be in her treestand. At that moment, she caught movement down by the creekside. Could it be a moose, she thought to herself. She reached for her gun. Her confidence and expertise in her firearm made her next step seem to come natural. She stepped out onto the frost filled porch. The moose was heading out of sight. She quickly gave a calf call and proceeded off the slippery wooden planks towards the back trees. The cow turned around and looked for the calf that was calling out. The sights easily found the boiler room and the cow bucked up like a bull at the rodeo, it took two steps and fell over. Exhillerated she called her husband on the two way radio. The words spoken were short, “COW DOWN”. Her husband was full of questions as his mind raced. Do we need to go find it? Where did you hit it? Are you ok?
She explained that the cow was down and she could see it. He was excited for his wife and her defeat. The gang quickly congregated and the boys took care of the moose. Once the hanging pole was occupied, festivity arose.
I guess it comes down to a simple choice really, get busy living and that is just what she did. The outdoors is a great place, discover it! Now to get her husband to take her to Hawaii.
By Danielle Russell
October 2013 ©
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