Monday, September 19, 2011

Archery Targets "Success Close" May Be Too Close

This is to all those archery coaches out there, parents included who want their young archer to have success in making their first shots.  Being close enough to hitting the target, or perhaps even the bulls-eye means that the target needs to be at whatever safe distance is necessary for the arrow to hit its mark.  Depending on the archer, the equipment and the target, a commonly used distance of 15 feet or 5 yards may in fact be posing a danger to the shooter and others on the range.

A close call! - Last night on the archery range, one of our young shooters shot a 10 pound draw weight bow, into a commonly used archery target rated for bows and target arrows up to 40 pound draw weight.  The arrow bounced out.  It didn't just bounce and fall, it bounced with such force that it came all the way back to the shooting line and was caught by an instructor over the heads of other shooters and spectators!  If that arrow would have struck someone, it wouldn't have killed them, but it could have certainly penetrated the skin or other soft tissue.

The target that was being used was too dense for the arrows being shot, and was made of closed cell foam, which is common in the industry.  A much safer choice in this circumstance would have been a target made of open cell foam.  For those who do not know the difference, open cell foam is commonly seen in the white $2 insulated coolers, and closed cell foam is used in camping mattress pads and door insulation.

Gavin W. proud of his first shot!
The bow and target pictured right are a great combination for a young archer's first shot.  Gavin is holding a Matthew's Genesis bow, set at a 10 lb. draw weight, standing in front of a Drew Foam archery target made of open cell foam, which is covered with bulls-eye faced plastic for immediate use and weather proofing.

In a well rounded archery program the equipment will match the skill levels of the students. Having both open and closed cell targets, and alternative bag targets will allow for shooters with light and heavy equipment, at different skill levels have a safe and rewarding experience.

Mr. Gus

Thursday, September 15, 2011

UCF Pre-Service Teachers Learn All About GPS In The Classroom

I had the greatest experience working with Instructor, Shloe Kerness of the University of Central Florida teaching Elementary Pre-Service teachers all about GPS receivers, classroom navigation and Geocaching. I felt the classroom portion moved along quite well, and we had fun in the field looking for secret locations!  A few important points I failed to give appropriate attention to include:
Hands-On Activities In The Woods!
  • Space Coast Geocachers, who are very active in Brevard County and throughout Florida.  In fact, they manage the one and only geocaching retail store known to most of us in the sport!
  • In navigation, a GPS receiver can, usually does, but SHOULDN'T EVER be solely relied upon as the only navigational tool.  A well studied map and compass should always be kept near by.
  • Besides, some of my other favorite related sites include: Waymarking, which builds a "geocaching" database of virtual sites such as historical markers, landmarks, interesting scenic views, etc.  My other favorite, but not as popular is the Degree Confluence Project which has snapshots of every corner of the globe, and has just celebrated its 15th anniversary.

Keep up the great work and be sure to interact with your colleagues in class and those you meet in Extension.  Throughout the US and Florida, teachers are utilizing GPS receivers and geocaching to teach all of the core subjects, while at the same time inspiring their students to increase their knowledge of science, math and of course - outdoor education!
Mr. Gus

Friday, September 9, 2011

National 4-H Shooting Sports Invitational Results

I had the great privilege to escort the Florida 4-H Shooting Sports team to the National 4-H Invitational this year in San Antonio.  What a great event it was!  Florida had the best coaches and shooters we could ever hope for.  Below are the results, but I also wanted to include a few notes on "lessons learned".

Muzzle Loaders Joe and Jake Menendez
Lesson I learned:
  • Make sure the youth are prepared with their equipment, skills and mind for the rigors of long distance shooting, all day.  It can be a grueling process and many times the shooters don't have equipment that will hold up, or meet the requirements of the tournament.
  • Keep continuity of administrative staff and coaches.  Having new people attend this event every year can be disheartening.  Participants miss out on opportunities that new people are not aware of.  I propose having a head coach and an assistant.  The head coach will have attended Nationals at least one time before.
  • Make sure all the participants know how much this event costs.  It is very possible an individual will have to invest up to $1600 for this event.  Some of that is reimbursed, but done so after we all return home.
  • Continue to encourage the National Shooting Sports Committee to train the volunteers to run the match as written to the rules.  Many times the line officials did not run the match to the letter of the rules, and the shooters need to be held to a same consistent standard.
Again, I want to say what a great event this was!  It could have not been done without the tireless help of the parents, coaches, youth leaders, sponsors and the FL 4-H Shooting Sports Committee and the FL 4-H Foundation.

Day 1
Air Rifle – 2nd place, Alexandria Mohs; 7th place, Robin Dolliver
Archery, Compound – 5th place, Kevin Dukes
Archery, Recurve – 6th place, Stephen Gables; 5th place team, Stephen Gables, Cody Ptachik, Ryan Metcalf, Kristel Stiegler
Muzzle Loading – 10th place, Joe Menendez
Shotgun –
Small Bore –

Day 3
Air Rifle – 3rd place, Robin Dolliver; 10th place, Alexandria Mohs; 4th place team, Alexandria Mohs, Robin Dolliver, Wayne Friesul
Archery, Compound – 5th place, Kevin Dukes
Archery, Recurve –
Muzzle Loading –
Shotgun –
Small Bore –

Day 3
Air Rifle –
Archery, Compound – 4th place, Kevin Dukes
Archery, Recurve –
Muzzle Loading –
Shotgun –
Small Bore –

Air Rifle - 4th place, Kevin Dukes
Archery, Recurve – 5th place team, Stephen Gables, Cody Ptachik, Ryan Metcalf, Kristel Stiegler

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fishing Knots...Part 5 of 6, The Blood Knot

The blood knot is a knot used for attaching two pieces of monofilament together, primarily for rebuilding tapered leaders. This is an extremely strong knot when formed properly and should be tied with monofilament close in diameter. Best use is for monofilament 10 lbs. and up.

Step 1. Lay both sections of monofilament across one another. Wrap one section 5-6 times around the other bringing the end back down through the loop formed by both.

Step 2. Wrap the other line 5-6 times around the remaining portion of the first line and pass it's free end up through the formed loop. (See illustration 2)

Step 3. Moisten the knot with your mouth, and while holding the long ends pull the knot tight. Clip the short ends close and the knot is complete.

Many thanks to The Fly Fishing Connection for their great resources!