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There was a multitude of game animals near the Los Alamos Sportsmen’s Club Saturday, everything from porcupines to mountain lions, although none of them were cause for concern.
The LASC and the Los Alamos Youth Shooting Sports Program held an exhibition 3D archery shoot Saturday in Rendija Canyon. About 30 game animals made out of foam were placed in various spots around a trail near the LASC clubhouse for archers to take aim at.
Jeff Fredenburg, the section chair for archery at LASC, helped organize the event as a fundraiser for the youth shooting program, which he also oversees.
In all, more than 30 archers from around the area took part in the exhibition.
Archers were given scorecards to keep track of their progress to see how close they could get to finding their mark.
Fredenburg said many of the hunters taking part Saturday were using the event as a warm-up for other 3D archery competitions coming up soon, including a competitive event the LASC is planning Aug. 6.
Several members of the youth shooting sports program were on hand to try their luck with their bows as well.
Bow hunting can be quite a bit more complicated than rifle hunting for several reasons, not the least of which is that bow hunters usually need to get considerably closer to their prey than their rifle counterparts.
“You’re not going to be able to shoot anything much past 50 yards,” Fredenburg said. “You’re playing right into all the animals’ senses. Their hearing, their sense of smell. They can smell you 200 yards away. They can hear you breathing if you don’t control it.”
Many 3D shoots are meant to simulate the scenario hunters will encounter in the wild.
Foam animals were set up in many tricky spots. Colored ground stakes were set up several yards away from each animal where hunters had to take aim.
Some of the setups were tricky ones. One foam deer was set up in between two large trees with very little of its body exposed.
Kai Coblentz, who is with Fredenburg’s youth club, said he was having so-so day on the course.
“I’ve hit a bunch of trees,” said Coblentz, who shoots a more traditional recurve bow as opposed to the modern compound bow, generally favored by Saturday’s competitors.
Fredenburg said his youth group meets weekly for shooting sessions. LASC and his program in particular stresses safe usage of all equipment.
“Our main focus is learning how to handle firearms of all types in a safe manner,” he said. “Within a month or so, you can really tell the difference.”
Eventually, Fredenburg said he’d like to see his youth shooters, which number about 10 and vary in age from 8-14, be ready to compete in the Youth Hunting and Education Challenge.
That event took place this weekend in Raton but Fredenburg didn’t feel many members of the group were ready for the type of competition they would see there.
The Raton competition includes not only archery but muzzle loaders, .22s and even orienteering.
LASC hopes to attract 100 shooters or more to its competition Aug. 6, where awards will be given to the top performers.