Dennis Anderson: Archer's aim is true

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 12, 2012 - 12:53 AM

A contest at Game Fair pits man and bow against balloon at 100 yards and also shows how the sport and its gear have evolved.

view larger photos

  

Kurt Baumgartner has hunted with a bow for more than 30 years and is coordinator of the first 100-yard archery contest this year at Game Fair, which runs today and next Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Armstrong Ranch Kennels in Ramsey, just west of Anoka.

Contest entry fee is $10, all of which will be donated to the National Archery in the Schools Program. Qualifying events are at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day of Game Fair (www.gamefair.com), with the finals next Sunday. Prize for first, second and third places is $500, $300 and $200.

In the interview below, Baumgartner discusses how the evolution of modern bows and other archery equipment allows archers using off-the-shelf gear to hit targets at 100 yards.

QHunting bows have become so accurate that 100-yards shots -- at least at targets, as opposed to deer and other game -- are now possible.

AArchery equipment has evolved dramatically in recent years. As few as 10 years ago, shooting 100 yards with a hunting bow wasn't a very good idea. But as the technology has gotten better, it's now possible.

QWhat has been the most important recent development in archery?

AThe speed with which they shoot arrows. Also, today's bows have less vibration. And arrow manufacturing has changed dramatically. It used to be that everyone shot aluminum arrows. Now it's carbon. Additionally, the way fletchings are made nowadays -- they're smaller, with considerably less wind drag. Yet they're capable of producing accurate flight at long distances.

QWhose idea was it for the 100-yard Game Fair contest?

AWe've been shooting exhibition 100-yard shots at Game Fair the past four years. We do it just before Tom Knapp does his trick-shooting exhibition, so we've had some good crowds. People get a kick out of it -- many don't think it's possible to do. So the idea of a contest just grew out of the exhibition, and now we expect a pretty good turnout.

It's the only contest of its kind we know of. In the preliminary rounds, each archer will get three warmup shots, then one shot at a balloon 100 yards away. If they break it, they qualify for the finals next Sunday. Finalists that day who break the balloon stay in. Those who miss are out.

QArchery competition has gained higher visibility with the Olympics in London. But most tournaments aren't with shots as long as 100 yards.

AThat's right. In fact, a lot of actual target shooting is done at 20 yards. But those competitors use target bows and are looking for pinpoint accuracy, whereas in our contest, accuracy will be determined by those who pop a balloon at 100 yards.

QHow fast are the fastest hunting bows today?

ASome of the higher-end ones are in the 350-feet-per-second range. Realistically, in the field, that translates to about 290, which is still extremely fast. The best news is you don't have to pull a 70-pound bow anymore to get those speeds. I pull 60 pounds and still get plenty of speed. It all depends how you've got your bow set up.

QWhat importance is speed to a hunter, as opposed to a target shooter?

AIt comes down to distance. When you're shooting slower bows, you have to be a very accurate judge of distance. I'm not advocating that hunters with fast bows don't have to judge distances accurately -- all archers should know what they're shooting at and how far away it is. Carrying a good range finder helps do this.

Still, if I've got a fast bow, the advantage I've got is that, say I've got a 20-yard pin on my sights, I can still hit an ethical vitals shot out to 35 yards. In fact, I can make the same shot anywhere from 10 to 35 yards, using that single sighting pin, because my bow is so fast.

Speed just gives your arrow a flatter trajectory and takes some of the distance judging out of the equation.

QWhat type of sight do you use on your bow?

AI have only a single-pin sight. I've got it preset at different distances, so that if I'm target shooting at 100 yards, for instance, I can move the pin to that setting. I use a single-pin sight because, again, I shoot a fast bow, and using a sight with, say, five pins, would be too confusing.

It used to be with slower bows that there would be a gap between the pins, making the different colored pins easy to pick out -- one for 10 yards, another for 20, 30, 40 and 50 and so forth. But the fast bows would require the pins to be placed nearly on top of one another. The pin gaps would be so small it would be difficult to pick one out in a hurry. And anyway, you wouldn't have to, because in hunting, you're usually setting your stand up so most shots that you take will be at about 20 yards, give or take. With a fast bow, and one pin, you can stretch that out pretty much as you need to, say to 30 or 35 yards, or shorten it up to as few as 10 yards.

QHow much do the new, faster bows cost?

ASome of them run up to $1,000 and more. And there will be other costs to get a bow set up with sights and so forth. But you don't have to spend that much. There are a lot of good-performing bows on the market today in the $500 range.

QWith bows, however -- regardless of price -- it's never one-size-fits-all.

AThat's right. Archery equipment is size and dimension specific. It has to be set up to your measurements. That's the most critical part of archery equipment purchasing: getting a bow that fits you.

QA consideration with some of the new, faster bows is the importance of keeping them tuned, so they shoot accurately.

AIt's a factor of the brace height of a bow, or the distance from the handle to the string. The shorter that distance -- taking certain other factors into consideration -- the faster the bow will be, and the more tuning it might require. In my opinion, a hunting bow should have a brace height of about 7 inches.

QTarget shooting with a high-tech bow at long distances is one thing. Shooting at an animal at long distances is another. Have the new bows changed the general rule that most hunting shots with a bow should be in the range of 20 yards or less?

ABefore our shooting exhibitions at Game Fair, I always issue a disclaimer saying we don't advocate shots at these distances at game. Can I break a balloon at 100 yards? Yes, fairly regularly. But I always set up my bow stands for 20-yard shots. In all the years I've been hunting, I've only taken one "long'' shot, and that was at an elk in Colorado that I killed at 45 yards.

Dennis Anderson danderson@startribune. com

  • related content

  • Photo gallery: Game Fair

    Friday August 10, 2012

    The outdoor sports show in Ramsey runs this weekend and next, (Aug 17,18 and 19).

  • Kurt Baumgartner

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 13 FINAL
Jacksonville 21
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 97 FINAL
Chicago 103
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Houston 90
Milwaukee 108 FINAL
Sacramento 107
Oklahoma City 109 FINAL
Golden State 114
Florida 2 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 1
Colorado 0 FINAL(OT)
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 1 FINAL
Carolina 4
Washington 5 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 4
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Montreal 1
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Los Angeles 6
Edmonton 3 FINAL
San Jose 4
St Thomas (TX) 61 FINAL
Rice 72
Stony Brook 59 FINAL
Canisius 60
Temple 82 FINAL
Delaware 62
FIU 58 FINAL
Long Island 69
Lehigh 65 FINAL
Quinnipiac 80
South Alabama 54 FINAL
Richmond 65
Seton Hall 89 FINAL
South Florida 69
Ga Southern 76 FINAL
Stetson 67
Yale 57 FINAL
Vermont 56
Cleveland State 54 FINAL
Virginia 70
Wright State 69 FINAL
Western Carolina 56
Nicholls 54 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 79
Morgan State 48 FINAL
Rider 62
Idaho State 72 FINAL
South Dakota St 75
Oakland City 52 FINAL
Austin Peay 76
Eureka 38 FINAL
Bradley 80
Appalachian St 65 FINAL
Charlotte 75
Connecticut 56 FINAL
Duke 66
Southern Miss 46 FINAL
Jackson State 66
Coastal Carolina 68 FINAL
Ole Miss 71
Montana State 53 FINAL
South Dakota 55
LSU 79 FINAL
UAB 70
Ohio 69 FINAL
Evansville 81
CS-Dominguez 50 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 72
Walla Walla 39 FINAL
Idaho 86
DePaul 59 FINAL
Oregon State 90
Nevada 65 FINAL
Pacific 69
Portland State 40 FINAL
San Francisco 77
CS-Bakersfield 56 FINAL
Utah State 57
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Niagara 76 FINAL
Cleveland State 58
High Point 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 81
Towson 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 74
Presbyterian 50 FINAL
Charlotte 66
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Bradley 59
Northwestern Coll 58 FINAL
Drake 102
Vanderbilt 67 FINAL
Marquette 80
Temple 78 FINAL
Howard 48
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Ole Miss 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Rider 67
Miami-Florida 74 FINAL
UCLA 67
St Mary-KS 51 FINAL
South Dakota 115
William & Mary 71 FINAL
Wofford 51
Troy 82 FINAL
Evansville 94
Loyola Marymount 54 FINAL
USC 96
St Francis-PA 52 FINAL
Duquesne 92
Indiana-Southeast 45 FINAL
IUPUI 95
Delaware State 52 FINAL
Detroit 74
Tenn Temple 48 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 68
West Virginia St 58 FINAL
Radford 52
Fairfield 47 FINAL
Seton Hall 79
Dartmouth 44 FINAL
New Hampshire 60
Ball State 47 FINAL
Pittsburgh 59
Jacksonville 61 FINAL
Tennessee St 64
Trine 45 FINAL
Western Mich 81
Tenn Tech 53 FINAL
Lipscomb 72
Samford 56 FINAL
Tulane 57
New Orleans 55 FINAL
Tulsa 78
Incarnate Word 61 FINAL
TX-Pan American 65
Ark-Little Rock 42 FINAL
South Dakota St 67
CS-Northridge 77 FINAL
Northern Ariz 71
Santa Clara 88 FINAL
Oregon 92
(19) Oklahoma St 55 FINAL
Weber State 49
Washington 69 FINAL
San Diego State 48
Cal Poly 68 FINAL
New Mexico 84
(10) Louisville 65 FINAL
Grand Canyon 51
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close