There are many like it, but this one is mine

“There are many like it, but this one is mine” is an excerpt from the Marine Corps Rifleman’s Creed that all enlisted Marines learn during recruit training.  The Rifleman’s Creed has serious meaning that goes far beyond the analogy I’m about to use; I certainly must acknowledge that before moving on.

So what I am I applying this phrase to?  My bow, of course!  Options for today’s archers have never been better.  There are hundreds of different bows out there that people can choose from.  It’s fantastic to have such a diverse selection, but at the same time it can be overwhelming.  Unless you are one of those people who get a new bow every year (I envy you folks!), when you choose a bow you’re making a long term investment.  Bows aren’t cheap so you want to take your time and make sure you get the one that fits you best.

My current bow was purchased in 2012.  I spent a considerable amount of time doing research before making my decision, and the process was a lot of fun.  Despite being right handed, I have a dominant left eye and thus I shoot left handed.  It’s not a big deal to shoot left handed, however finding lefty bows in stock to test shoot proved to be a challenge.  As a result, I put on many miles traveling around to archery shops to find a sufficient number of lefty bows that I could evaluate and shoot.  The process of figuring out what I wanted took a little over two months to complete and I really enjoyed it.

What was I looking for?  My top priority was the feel of the bow.  I wanted a comfortable draw cycle that was smooth, not jumpy.  I wanted a bow with a solid back wall so I could confidently hold at full draw for extended time periods in a hunting situation.  I wanted it to be quiet and I wanted it to have minimal vibration after releasing the arrow.  I wanted a comfortable anchor point and I discovered that the biggest variable in this area was a bow’s axle-to-axle length.  In terms of my personal preference, I found that short axle-to-axle length bows (30 inches or less) created a tighter sting angle at full draw and that did not provide me with a comfortable anchor position.

What did I end up with?  After an exhaustive search I found a handful of bows that I didn’t like at all, many bows that felt good, and one that jumped out as my clear favorite.  My bow is a 2012 Hoyt Vector 32; it is set at a 60 lbs with a draw length of 29″.  I really love this bow and after thousands of shots I enjoy shooting it now as much as the day I got it.  If you’re curious to see a professional opinion on the Vector 32 you can check out a review from Petersen’s Bowhunting Magazine by clicking here.

Despite the enormous temptation to go try out and perhaps buy one of the latest and greatest new bows on the market, I know that my Vector 32 will serve me quite well for many years to come.  I’ve attached a photo below.  This is my bow, there are many like it but this one is mine!

Hoyt Vector 32 w viscosity strings

My 3 essential outdoor items

I see them every single day.  Their location is strategic; they’re intentionally placed in a closet where I am sure to encounter them with regularity.  They are inanimate objects, but despite having no voice they call my name every time I see them.  They are like a dog with a ball in its mouth, staring at you and begging to go outside!

Item #1 – My running shoes.  I am a runner.  I need to run; my body and mind is dependent upon it.  Six days a week I rise at the crack of dawn, throw on the running shoes and head out the door.  Running is therapeutic for me; it helps me sort out my thoughts, plan my day and get my endorphins going.  There is simply no better way to begin a day than with a run.

Item #2 – My bow.  Hanging in the closet right above my running shoes is my compound bow, quiver and arrows.  Typically I grab my bow immediately after my run and I get in a short archery practice.  Shooting after running is ideal for me.  My heart rate is up after the run, so practicing at that time helps simulate hunting conditions by forcing me to focus on a good shot while controlling my breathing.  Archery also serves to clear my head.  While running there’s a lot of thinking going on and my mind wanders on a number of different subjects.  Archery, on the other hand… it causes me to block out all of that and focus my attention on my shot sequence and the task at hand.  When I shoot my bow, there is only one thought…FOCUS.  Even when I only have time to shoot 10 arrows it’s important for me to do it.

Item #3 – My fly rod.  Leaning right inside the corner of the same closet is my fly rod stored in its case.  This is my newest outdoor item; I purchased it last fall to begin a renewed pursuit of fly fishing after a 20 year hiatus.  Last year I had some late season success while catching some panfish and largemouths on a couple of small lakes and ponds.  I enjoy practicing my casts in the back yard and I hope to allocate time this spring to pursuing trout in local rivers.

Every day I encounter these items and it helps me maintain my connection to the outdoors.  Even when I can’t use them, I just like seeing them.  It’s similar to the guy who keeps a classic car in his garage…when it can’t be driven there is still pleasure in just looking at it.  Seeing these items each and every day reminds me that outdoor adventure always awaits.

Welcome to Outdoor Avidity

So now I’m a blogger?  Yeah, right!  If that title suggests that what you’ll see here is a competent author, don’t count on it.  I can assure you that you’ve come to the wrong place if you’re looking to be blown away here with outstanding writing.  But what I can promise is that you’ll see plenty of passion.  I love the outdoors and outdoor activities.  My challenge is that I have a limited amount of time to pursue them.  Thus the idea for this blog…if I can’t be actively enjoying the great outdoors, then I feel that writing about it is a great way to stay connected to it.

So that’s it.  There’s my first blog post.  I warned you not to get too excited…