One of the things I always enjoy when watching YouTube archery videos or hunting shows is the pristine nature of the targets shown.
Between you and me, I figure they are stunt targets brought out solely for the video. The real target is just off screen, consulting.
That’s because a true target – one that works for a living – is not a pretty thing.
It might have started that way. But, before you know it is something your better half winces at every time he or she walks by. It’s a crumbling block of foam that looks like Swiss cheese or a beat up bag that appears as if it got into a fight with a wolf pack and lost.
Either way, it’s relegated to the darkest recesses of the yard – with express instructions to hide it when company is expected.
Before you feel too bad, remember, these targets are like that because you, the archer, shoots at them every chance you get. It might be one casual arrow after dinner or a full-blown session where you only quit when your back muscles threaten to sue.
Regardless, each arrow takes its toll.
I’ve had targets that look so pathetic Jenn has ordered me to buy a new one just so neighbourhood property values wouldn’t decline. Heck, one birthday she even bought me one.
I still get choked up when I think about that day – mostly because it was her birthday.
The thing is you get attached to the old one. As an archer you spend an awful lot of time with these things. Eventually, you come to respect them and enjoy those stolen moments together.
You even feel like the target understands you. One thing leads to another and next thing you’re having an early morning coffee together and reminiscing.
Yet, deep down you know it can’t last forever. So you take it one day at a time and the day comes when you know it has to end. It’s never easy.
So here’s my advice to new archers. Be aloof. Maintain a professional relationship. Avoid small talk. Shoot your arrows without emotion. Don’t smile when your target stops them. Don’t hug it when you shoot a tight group. Don’t give it a pet name. Don’t get too close.
In fact, try to keep distant. They last longer that way.