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Hunters set sights on 'redneck golf' season

September 10, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

CLEAR SPRING - They call it golf for rednecks.

About 30 people picked up bows instead of clubs Sunday and arrows instead of golf balls, and took aim at life-size replicas of animals at the Izaak Walton League's Washington County chapter.

They were preparing for the upcoming bow hunting season, which begins Saturday in Maryland.

Tom Forman, vice president of the chapter, said archers aim at 30 targets, depicting deer, bears, turkeys, elk and other animals. Different points are awarded for hitting specific parts of the animal.

"It's kind of like golf," he said. "You walk a course like you would in golf. It's golf for rednecks."

The highest points are given for striking in the "vitals," meaning the heart and lungs, he said.

Brenda Miller of Quincy, Pa., said Sunday that she has some trouble judging how far she is from the target. Her husband, Larry Miller, talks with her before she shoots, helping her judge the distance.

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"I enjoy it," she said. "I'm not really good, but I enjoy it."

Brenda said she began using a bow to hit targets last year, but she does not hunt. Her husband and a friend, Shane Hahn of Waynesboro, Pa., who was practicing with the couple Sunday, hunt mostly for deer.

When bow hunting season begins in Maryland, hunters will be able to shoot whitetail deer and sika deer, which are found on the Eastern Shore, Larry Miller said. The hunting season ends Jan. 31.

Most deer are shot within 25 yards, he said, but the ideal target is within 30 yards.

"It's more of a challenge than with a gun," said Sonny Hollingsworth of Mont Alto, Pa. "You have to be a whole lot closer."

Forman said that hunters who use a gun can be as far as 300 yards from the animal.

"People think of hunters as murderers," he said. "We're conservationists. There's a negative opinion of hunters. It's a never-ending battle."

Jason Gouge, a member of the Izaak Walton League's board of directors and co-chairman of the archery committee with Forman, said there is a difference between hunters and those who just want to kill.

"We don't want to shoot a deer and have it get away," he said. "We don't want to wound it, or just kill everything that moves."

Richard Drewry of Falling Waters, W.Va., said he was practicing Sunday for hunting season, which begins Oct. 15 in West Virginia. He's been bow hunting for 21 years and said he likes the challenge.

"It's getting close and being able to execute after you get close," said Drewry, who was able to get within four yards of an elk he killed in Colorado.

"He seen me, but just as he seen me, I shot him," he said.

Drewry has been hunting in other parts of the country and is planning a trip to Illinois in October for a deer hunt.

"They're bigger and more of them (than in West Virginia), supposedly," he said.

Paul Downin of Greencastle, Pa., said this is the fourth year he has been bow hunting.

"I love hunting, period. Any kind of hunting, and fishing, too," he said. "Everybody should try hunting. Everybody should try the outdoors."

Downin was at the course Sunday with Jeff Moats of Hagerstown, who likes to make target shooting a family activity. He was there with his wife, Connie Moats, and her mother.

"When we're out there, it's not a competition, it's fun," Moats said.




If you go



What: Youth archery

When: First and third Tuesdays of every month, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Where: Izaak Walton League Washington County Chapter, Independence Road, Clear Spring

Cost: Free

Details: For more information, call Tom Forman at 301-432-6407.

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