This past Sunday I watched a number of deer, bears, turkeys and even a dinosaur shot with a bow and arrow in the woods in Saratoga County at the Kayaderosseras Fish & Game Club’s open archery shoot. For the past five years, the archery program has been a major activity for club members, but they also host five or six open-to-the-public fun shoots. Spearheaded by Karen Almy of Saratoga Springs and her right-hand man, Howie Hutchins of Saratoga Springs, these shoots have continued to attract not only indiv-idual shooters, but also a number of families who are shooting.
And I say shooting, not competing, because what I witnessed was not competition, but, rather, fun. And believe me, there were some very GOOD shooters that were there; and they were willing to help anyone who needed it.
I did notice a number of fam-ilies at this shoot, and I spoke with one of them that actually had three generations of bow shooters at this event. It was the Wetherington family from Albany. There was Gene Sr., Gene Jr. and his wife, Debbie, and their 6-year-old son, Shane. They have been attending these shoots for the past three years, and the adults are deer hunters; and Shane and his PSE Mini Burner will be ready when the time comes.
According to Howie, there is a group of sportsman clubs, the Cap-ital Land 3-D group, that formed and conducts the shoots each summer at their clubs; but you do not have to belong to the clubs to shoot in these events. The entry fee for the Kayaderosseras archery shoots is $10 per person, and children 12 and younger shoot for free.
What I found to be a great encouragement for the kids was that in addition to the free ice cream and a ticket for free miniature golf, each receives a very professional-looking certificate with their score for the day.
The Kayaderosseras 3-D range consists of 30 life sized animals (deer, bear, boar, etc.), a turkey, a large dinosaur and even an allig-ator set in a swamp along a trail that winds through the back woodlot of the club. It is truly a very real and challenging hunting-like atmosphere for all the shooters.
The 3-D targets are set at different distances with various shooting points that include elevated tree stand-like platforms. The actual ranges to each target vary from 10 to 80 yards, and each is positioned with safety in mind for other shooters on the course.
Each shooter gets one shot at each target, and the maximum/perfect total score is 330 points; that’s 30 perfect shots. I know two of the shooters did quite well. Jack Douglas of Galway shot a 304, and Chad Jazwinski of Galway, a member of the PSE Staff Shooters, shot a 312. I watched both of these guys thread an arrow through a nine-inch opening in two trees and break a clay target at 50 yards.
While walking the course, I spoke with several of the shooters and asked them what they considered to be the most difficult, and I was surprised to hear a number of them say the dinosaur. It wasn’t because of its size, which is huge, but rather its softball-size bullseye.
While I was out there, I watched several groups shooting, and realized what I was missing: What a perfect way it was to keep in touch with your hunting bow during the long offseason. I have never shot 3-D bow targets, but as a current member of the Kayaderosseras Club and living less than two miles from the club, I am going to start.
I did get the opportunity to watch a young man shoot some targets in the woods. His name is Ashton Perkins of Saratoga Springs, who was with his grandfather, Phil Barron of Saratoga Springs. The 11-year-old has been shooting his Matthews bow for two years, and shortly, he will be hunting alongside grandpa in the deer woods. And watching him shoot at the 3-D whitetail buck from an elevated platform, I know that any deer that comes within 28 yards of him is in trouble.
The Novelty range that they also had set up offered some very interesting and fun shooting challenges for the group. One of these special shoots was the cigarette challenge. There was a mann-equin with a cigarette in its mouth standing sideways 27 yards out, and all you had to do was shoot it out of its mouth without hitting any of the body. The first shooter, Brad Harnichar of Corinth, using his grandfather’s River’s Edge recurve with a 40-pound draw without sights missed his first two shots low, but his third shot cleanly cut the cigarette in half.
Another novelty shoot offered was one designed by Howie using an old microwave oven. He used a wire hanger attached to a stick and fastened to the to the rotating plate holder inside the microwave. Then, using two alligator clips, he attached two pieces of chalk about 12 inches apart; one on each end of the hanger. The object was to time your shot when the two separated pieces of chalk were in line and break them both with one shot. I watched PSE pro Chad break one piece of chalk all four times that he shot, which I thought was great shooting.
The other novelty shoot was a rotating and bobbing turkey; another of Howie’s creations. He use a life-size standing turkey archery target that would slowly rotate and bob, and the shooter had to hit the “kill zone” of the bird. As for prizes, there were many that included $50 gift certificates and a lot of archery accessories.
If you are a bowhunter and/or just like to shoot a bow and arrow, you cannot beat the fun and/or hunting practice you will have at one of these shoots, and all for $10. The remaining Archery Shoots that will be held at the Kayaderosseras Fish & Game Club are July 28 and Sept. 22. The club is located at 706 Geyser Road in Ballston Spa.