-By Randy Cooper
I love archery and it’s my passion. I’m into it heavy and love to help people who want to learn how to shoot or just need a little help tuning their bow to get them back into action.
This past weekend I met a young man that is about as enthusiastic about bow hunting as anyone I’ve ever met. He reminds me of myself when I first started shooting a long time ago. Bart bought a great bow two years ago and in the span of those two years has managed to take two deer, four hogs and a rabbit. That’s quite an accomplishment considering he had never shot a bow before. Did I mention that he had never shot ANYTHING before? Not even a gun. In fact, he had never hunted before, at all, ever! His first weapon was a bow. I had to pinch myself when I found out he wanted to meet me and have me take a look at his bow.
Upon meeting Bart, I could see the passion in his face as we talked about archery and hunting. I looked at his bow and began to notice a few things that could be adjusted to make it shoot better. After walking him through everything I noticed and showing him how to fix it, he was more excited than ever. We paper tuned the bow and it shot well. It was late evening and we gathered our bows and headed for the range. Once there, Bart shot a few times as I watched his form. It looked really good. I shot his bow and noticed that for some reason, it wouldn’t hit the same place twice, even at close range.
After once again watching him shoot, I found the problem. Someone had tied in a D-loop so tight that it was pinching the nock of his arrows to the point that it was pulling the arrow completely off the rest into the air. It’s a wonder we hit the target at all! I re-tied everything and now the arrow stays on the rest like it should. He was so happy he hugged me and told me thanks about 14 times.
That is a feeling I’ll never forget. It’s one I’ll never get tired of. I genuinely love helping people discover archery. I also really enjoy working on bows. Every bow is a new challenge. You learn as you work on different bows what the bow “LIKES” to make it shoot well. Some are easy fixes just like Bart’s. Some bows are very temperamental and you do a lot of head scratching to figure them out. The point here is that helping young people like Bart is what turns my crank. He is the son-in-law of a very close friend of mine and I was glad to help him. In doing so, I added fuel to the flame that is already burning in his heart for archery and hunting. I’m sure that he will, in turn, do the same thing for his friends with the knowledge he has.
This is how the torch is passed. This is what we all, as outdoorsmen, need to do every chance we get. Young people are the future of our sport. They are full of energy and like Bart, they will tell anyone who’s interested about what his favorite sport is and if they want, he’ll teach them too. I feel good inside every time I get to help anyone involved in our sport. If you get a chance to help a kid or an adult, take the time and do so. It’s time well spent and it will come back to you. As far as the kids go, my motto is, “TEACH A KID TO HUNT AND YOU’LL NEVER HAVE TO HUNT YOUR KID.” Pass this along to someone you care about. You’ll be glad you did, so will they.