Another Long Winter Brings A New Beginning
Waking my bow and my body up from a long winter’s slumber isn’t always an easy thing. After hunting season ended here for me in Northern Maine (after a dreadful bow season) with an opening day rifle kill, hockey season was upon me. I spent countless hours carting my two youngest sons all over the state of Maine for various games and tournaments. With the end of March in the books and most of the snow melting away, it was time to get my bow out in anticipation of turkey season.
Turkey season begins on Monday, May 2nd here in Maine this year—and with a couple of mild winters in row—the turkey numbers appear strong. I typically hunt my family’s 400 acres down in the central part of the state. The turkey numbers have been growing in that area since the State opened a season on them in the late 80’s after reintroduction efforts by the NWTF. In the north where I now live, just a mile or so from the Canadian border with New Brunswick, the turkey numbers are on the rise but the population is not truly “huntable” yet.
I can remember sitting in my rocking chair when the thought dawned on me to actually go get my bow case and open it up. I was “0-fer” for 2010 with stick and string so I was unsure as to how I would feel when I opened the case up. It was like seeing an old friend again. There sat my bow, strapped in and snuggly surrounded by Easton arrows all tipped with NAP Broadheads of all types. HellRazors, 2-Blade BloodRunners, 3-Blade BloodRunners and so on. What a sight for sore eyes! I picked up my bow and other equipment and inspected it thoroughly. Everything seemed to be tight so I immediately put on a couple practice heads and trudged through the snow, to my back yard, stopping off in the garage to grab my 3-D Turkey target.
After a layoff, it's important to inspect your bow, accessories & arrows for loose fit and damage.
It’s funny that feeling you get, which most folks from warm weather states probably don’t get, when you take your bow out for the first time after winter passes. Where I live there are no indoor ranges or anything like that, so when you are getting 10+ feet of snow a winter, you really don’t get to practice your archery skills. With my bottled up excitement under control I put my release on my string loop and drew back, easy enough I thought. Trying to steady myself? That was a different story entirely. Trying to keep my 20 yard pin anywhere near the 10 ring was nearly impossible. That little green pin was bobbing and weaving all around the my chosen spot like a prize fighter.
Once I was near where I wanted to be I squeezed the release…and I do mean “squeeze”. At the same time I grabbed for the grip on my bow, causing it to torque and throw my shot off to the left. Luckily, my brain had the memory to realize what my muscles didn’t. Muscle memory for my archery form was a thing of the past, and I knew right then and there I was back to square one. Thankfully I have enough time to exercise and get back in bow-shooting form before getting out there to chase turkeys. I have even more time before bear, moose and deer bow seasons descend upon us here in the Pine Tree State. Furthermore, if blessed with the much coveted Maine Moose Permit, I am going for an all-bow Maine Big Game Slam.
I will keep you all updated on the progress of that lofty goal, but in the mean time please take my advice. Before you begin shooting again don’t only take a complete overhaul of your equipment, take an overhaul of your body. Your muscle memory, form and your bow shooting mechanics all will need some work after a long winter.
Good luck out there!