After a practice session on the archery range at Hickory Knob State Resort Park, I now appreciate the incredible proficiency that is required to hit a moving target while bouncing along on a horse.
It was all I could do to hit a stock-still mark standing just 10 feet away.
A staple of summer camp, archery is one of the many recreational activities offered at Hickory Knob State Resort Park. (Later this week I'll be writing about the skeet shooting also available at the park.) Having missed the summer camp experience as a kid, I've always wanted to try archery. During a recent visit to Hickory Knob, I decided to give it a go.
The park uses recurve bows - much like those used by Robin Hood only they're made out of fiberglass. To start things off, park services operator Steve Cameron showed me how to brace the bow using the step-through method.
Once the bow was set up and ready to shoot, he demonstrated the proper way to position the arrow on the arrow rest and draw the bow string using my index and middle fingers.
The range features 5-, 10-, 20-, 30- and 40-yard markers where you can stand to shoot the bow. Adult beginners like me, generally start off 10 yards from the target.
My first shot flew over the target and disappeared into the surrounding woods. No.2 stuck the bag, but missed the bullseye. As I got more comfortable, I managed to hit inside the circle a couple of times.
Confident of my newfound skills, I scooted back to the 20-yard mark only to find I was back to making air shots. Clearly I would need a few more sessions before achieving the mad skills of the Merry Men.
A 30-minute archery session at Hickory Knob State Resort Park is $10 and includes instruction. You'll need to make reservations in advance at the front desk of the lodge or by calling the park office at (864) 391-2450.
I don't expect I'll ever be able to shoot an apple off someone's head, but I'll be back to try this sport again.