WINFIELD, W.Va. — Most archery hunters will tell you it’s rarely advisable to take a shot beyond 30 yards. Those who are willing to risk it probably would draw the line at 50 yards. But Winfield resident Dave Powell is fairly comfortable with his set up to attempt to put an arrow on target at 120 to 150 yards.
“I practice out to about 150,” he said in a recent appearance on West Virginia Outdoors.
Before you scrap this article as hogwash or lash out at Dave for such a risky shot, it should be noted he’s shooting at 3-D targets, not live animals on a hunting trip.Still, he has successfully taken shots well over 100 yards and many of them at odd angles. Dave participates in the Total Archery Challenge.
“It’s typically set up at ski resorts around the country,” he said. “You shoot at relatively long distances and very tight shooting scenarios to mimic a hunting situation.”
The competitions are welcomed by ski resorts across the country, always looking for ways to generate guests and business when the sun is broiling during the summer months. There are eight events nationally and Powell has already shot in two of them. One at Pennsylvania’s Seven Springs resort and another in Boyne Mountain, Michigan. He’ll shoot two events later this year in Park City, UT and Big Sky, MT.
“I shoot Matthews and the folks at Addington’s Bow Shop in Winfield keep me in good equipment. I also have a special contact lens when I’m shooting at that distance that I put in my right eye,” he said.
The terrain is steep and often difficult to walk, the shots are long and at odd angles, but the competition isn’t completely unforgiving. Shooters can use range finders as part of the competition. There are several courses at each event designed with various scenarios and degrees of difficulty in
mind. Powell prefers shooting the Sitka course, but this year, he’s stoked about one really good shot he just made.
“I’m actually trying to win a new pickup truck and at the event in Michigan I was able to qualify. At the event at Big Sky, they’re going to give it away and I’m one of six people right now in the running for it.”
The trick is to hit a long range shot on target in the center ring. There is no allowance for the arrow touching lines, it must be completely in the 12 ring which is about an inch and a half in diameter. Powell ranged the shot at 114.5 yards and scored. You can take multiple shots, but they cost $15 per arrow. He tries to shoot one arrow at each of the competitions and hopes he can get a couple more on target to increase the chances of claiming the prize.
“That truck is going to look really good with West Virginia plates on it,” he laughed.