This summer, the archery bug has definitely hit our house. (And shed. In more ways than one!)
In front of our red shed rests an archery target — a big foam square with large pink dots painted on it.
Around the foam target are six hay barrels to help absorb the stray arrows. Around those barrels are a few pieces of plywood. And yet we still have many hits into the shed from stray arrows, but we really don’t mind too much).
In the evenings, my son, Stuey, and husband, Patrick, take turns with the bow. Sometimes it’s chill and other times it’s competitive.
Stuey loves the bow and has to painfully wait his turn as Patrick takes his turn shooting their five arrows. Then, its Stuey’s turn again.
The bow and arrow fascination isn’t a recent one for Patrick. As a kid he was hooked on wrist rockets and later used bows and arrows.
When Patrick was in his early 40s and living here in Kodiak, he learned to hunt with a bow and arrow.
For goat hunters, bow-and-arrow hunting means you can hunt on the road system without drawing a permit. That said, it is more challenging than rifle hunting.
Goats are often perched on cliffs — icy, snowy cliffs. To hunt those goats with a bow, one must be perched on those same icy cliffs. The hunter must be also retrieve them when they tumble off a cliff after their death.
Eight years ago, during winter, Patrick and his hunting buddy John B. would disappear for many Saturdays and Sundays. Off they went to mountain tops to go after goats with their bow gear. In the early hours of those cold, snowy November mornings I was just grateful it wasn’t me heading up mountains in the near darkness.
I found their mission to be so manly. Like ultimate manly. Guys chasing after goats with bows and arrows. How much more primal can it get, really? That winter was particularly snowy and cold. They wore white “camo” suits to keep their presence from the goats more hidden.
Every weekend, for about six weeks, Patrick returned from his hunts with a similar story.
“Honey, we were so close. I had the goat right there, in my sights, and then a gust of wind came, and …” Patrick would say, or, “Honey, this time we really almost had one. He was five yards away, I had arrow pulled back and then he dashed around the cliff.”
The sexy primal-ness of bow-and-arrow hunting really started to wear off. My patience for that type of hunting was wearing thin.
“Ummm, hmmm. OK,” I began to reply with less empathy, as I bounced baby Stuey on my hip and toddler Nora was clinging onto my leg. I wasn’t sure who was more challenged — him chasing after goats on snowy cliffs or me trying to appease an infant and a toddler. For you moms in the mix —you know what I mean. Just having an extra set of hands on those weekend days can help so much!
At the end of those six weeks, Patrick and John did get their goat. When he walked through the door telling me they shot one, I was in disbelief. It really happened.
The other evening, after dinner, I went outside to check out the bow-and-arrow time with Patrick and Stuey. I sat on the lawn with a cool summer beverage and soaked it all in. Patrick and Stuey were taking aim at 10 and then 20 yards.
Stuey carefully drew the bow back, elbow by his ear. He would look over at me and smile, glad to finally have an audience.
“I want to try shooting,” I told the guys after almost 30 minutes of watching.
“OK, Yeah! Stuey, lets let mommy shoot one round of arrows,” Patrick said. “How about we start mommy on the