The Cliff's Notes version is this: Dylan watched Brave, then wanted a bow. Then she wanted a nicer bow. I stood around while she shot targets, handing her arrows and mumbling, "Nice shot," until my cousin Brett gave me his really nice bow. We practiced, we watched bow shooting videos on YouTube, Dylan won a contest, I arrowed a buck. We were hooked. Then Grady wanted a bow. And around we go, the circle stays unbroken.
So now we do things like worry about our laundry detergent's scent (for sneaky hunting) and spend Sunday afternoons at 3-D shoots. You're probably thinking, 3-D shoots, that sounds awesome! Are there lasers involved? Cosplay? Furries? No. It's even more awesome. Think hillbilly mini-golf with weapons. You hike around, usually up and down hills, and take shots at 3-D targets. Some shots are difficult (Ashland has a bison out at 100 yards, Siskiyou has an iron hog with a very small soft center to hit. There's a pile of busted arrows beneath it). Some are easy. Some are surrounded by poison oak, or blackberry brambles, or creeks. Some targets are beneath cliffs and some are in caves. Still not convinced that it's fun? I wasn't either, until the first time I went. The kids and I had a blast. We flung arrows until my eyes got fuzzy and came home and started practicing for the next shoot.
Which is also something archery is great for -- discipline. There's a concentrated focus in shooting a bow properly that very few activities offer. Kids have to be calm, still, focused, and patient. In archery, there's a hundred things that can go wrong before one thing goes right, and shooters have to sort all those things out in their heads before they shoot. Plus, the sound of an arrow hitting a target is deeply satisfying. It's something our cool-ass caveman forefathers and mothers did for survival, and that thwack of an arrow finding its mark is embedded in our DNA.
So now, we mark our calendars every year for the local shoots. I keep googling more places to