Teaching a ten-year-old archery while deer threaten

We took out the arrows and bow,

In the afternoon late summer glow.

    There was nothing to fear

    By the whitetail deer.

The waddling dog was too slow.

After I worked on my application for an Irish medical license for an hour this afternoon I went downstairs and assembled my deer-shaped Styrofoam archery target and set it up in the back yard.  I brought out my compound bow and started to hammer the vital area.  I would have like to have arched longer but I’m still in the first three weeks of my program and to avoid tendonitis I have to go slow early on.

When I was done, my next-door neighbor’s ten-year-old grandson came out and said, “Can I try?”

I’ve been teaching children projectile weapons and hunting for twenty-five years; I taught archery at summer camp.  Of course I said yes, and we got out the kid-friendly bow, arrows, and target.  I determined that Jaime is left-eye dominant, and though he’s right-handed he’ll need to shoot left-handed. 

I started archery at day camp when I was twelve and the bug bit me right then.  I promised myself that when I grew up I would live in a place where I could do archery in my own back yard.  I did target archery for twenty years before I ever went hunting.  As a consequence of pulling a bow back for most of my life I have very heavy clavicles.

When it comes to archery, I like to show the kid the basics, then stand back and let them figure out the details.  Twelve arrows into the lesson Jaime started hitting the target solidly.

His grandfather, Kent, came out.  Like many in his  family, he shoots very well with little practice.  He did archery in college but declined his grandson’s invitation to join in, and sat down to talk and watch.

After a while he said, “Well, would you look at that.”  We turned around, looking northwest onto the golf course.  Standing in the clear sunlight with a dark, dramatically foreboding sky in the background, just off the sixth hole, was a good-sized, glossy-coated doe.  We chuckled and talked about having venison for dinner tomorrow night and made Bambi jokes.  Jaime was more interested in target shooting. 

Then Kent said, “Well, here come two more,” and, sure enough, two smaller does followed the larger doe into the patch of woods twenty paces behind us.  We kept on arching.

Then a spotted fawn trotted across the same opening to join the three others.

I told Jaime that, most likely, the group was a mother with her daughters and the fawn was her grandchild. 

Jaime kept shooting arrows at the target.

About five minutes later we heard commotion in the patch of woods where the deer were browsing.  I turned around to see the spotted fawn trotting through the trees, right towards us.  When she was fifteen yards away I said, “I beg your pardon,” but I had to say it twice before she changed her course.  Just then the other three deer came running out of the pocket of trees, back the direction they’d come, jumping with their white tails held high in the air. 

Thirty seconds later, a fat black-and-white Pekingese size dog came out of the woods, waddling disappointed towards the fleeing deer.

 I have never seen a fawn have spots this late in the season; winter will be very difficult.


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One Response to “Teaching a ten-year-old archery while deer threaten”


    You were headed for a 5 star rating on this post until you said that a spotted fawn this late in the season indicated a harsh winter!
    HOPE you’re wrong!

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