Arrows are Meant to be Shot

Focused and calm, I breathe in, and I breathe out.

I’m relaxed, but my adrenaline is way past levels of final exams or roller coasters.

All I can do is pick a spot and aim. Release – release it all. The arrow was begging to be shot with all of its potential stored. It was just waiting to be released. I watch that kinetic energy soar.

Thwack. It hits the spot. I smile, but not as a smirk. Rather, as a moment of relief. As a second of gratitude.

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Photo credit: Laura Valley

Sure, it’s just practice, but every arrow matters, especially when they’re truly a flyin’ WV, as the wraps say. And especially when archery season feels like it’s right around the mountain range.

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Yes, those are my Crocs with a Buzz Lightyear jibbitz. Sadly, Woody fell off the right one.

My dad custom-made my arrows from shafts at Woody’s Sporting Goods, my awesome local archery shop. If you haven’t yet, find your own local shop – they’re the coolest guys that know the area, know the animals, and know the equipment necessary to get the most ethical shot. Bigger chains are convenient and the people are nice, but there’s nothing like building an archery community in your area and knowing others that have the same passions as you.

Plus, they get it. They get the desire to wake up at 4 a.m. on a Saturday to “just sit in a tree” and “waste time in the woods.” Because they get it’s not wasting time. It’s so much more.

They also get that this weather in Wyoming has felt like perfect archery weather every day – humidity less than 14%, a high of mid-80s and a low of mis-50s. The only thing that’s missing is the golden leaves falling off the quaking aspen.

That archery itch has me shooting whenever I can, except when a hail storm blows through. Then it’s okay to not shoot.

Ever since my dad put the finishing touches on my dozen arrows with Batwing feathers and West Virginia University wraps, I’ve been shooting them often and (trying to shoot them) well on the 10 3D targets at AWLS.

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Cue the “pick a spot” joke.

When the arrows look as cool as they do #inmyhumbleopinion, they need to be shot.

Kinda like you – you’re awesome. You have that potential to be great. Pull the release and get goin’. Go climb a mountain. It’s possible. And you’re foolin’ yourself if you don’t believe it. What’s holding you back from being all that you’re meant to be?

For my last archery season, it was a lack of practice. The only good shots I had were from a camera. I missed two deer, which is never fun to experience, but I’m glad I didn’t injure the deer.

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Penn’s Woods, circa Oct. 2016.

Which is why I’m working doubly hard to be an even better archer. The call of the rustling, endless deciduous trees in a Pennsylvania October and my dad triple-checking that we’re in Wildlife Management Unit 5B (“Or is it 5C?”) has me pumped for the upcoming season. Plus, anterless doe tag applications go out Monday in PA.

Don’t worry – I’m still loving these mountains, and heck, I’m even climbing a few of them while I’m here. Nothing’s stopping me, not even hail or an extra 1,000 feet in elevation. And come fall, I hope to say the same again.

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8,080 feet in elevation. Have I earned my Mountaineer credentials yet?

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire” – St. Catherine of Siena

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