Sure, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t get your favorite veteran a bow for Christmas. There’s plenty of time, and after reading this article you’ll want to run right out to your local archery shop.
Archery is a sport that doesn’t require hearing or eye protection; you only need about 20 yards of space. If you want to test your skill, though, you can reach out to about 110 yards. They make some cool foam animal targets. No background checks or expensive ammunition. Yeah, arrows aren’t cheap, but if you hit your target you get to reuse the arrow. Can’t do that with gun ammo.
There are many bow brands. PSE (that’s what this writer shoots), Bear, Mathews, Hoyt, Prime and more. Bows range in price from $300 to $2000. They do require a sight, arrow release, and of course, arrows. Finding a local archery shop should be easy enough in your area and they will show you the way.
Once your veteran has the bow and equipment, now it’s time to sling some arrows. Total Archery Challenge (TAC) is a premier 3D archery event that runs from April 1 to August 1 and covers most of the country. From Vermont to Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Colorado, Utah and Montana, the venues are usually ski resorts and the scenery and terrain mesmerizing. You might need to get some hiking boots to accompany the bow, too. TAC’s trademark saying really hits the mark: “Life...It’s Better With A Bow.” The archery shop that helps you get the bow will have information on other fun local archery shoots if you can’t make the Total Archery Challenges.
Black Rifle Coffee Company puts on a Veteran Adaptive Athlete Shoot in April around the Texas TAC timeframe. The therapeutic nature of archery is great for veterans. The inner peace and concentration while holding back the string and focusing on the target is amazing for veterans. The added benefit of being in the outdoors leads to the healing power of archery.
Lastly, the camaraderie involved with the archery scene is what your veteran probably needs, too. I’ve seen people shoot wearing their old BDU woodland camo pants, to new Crye Precision multicam. It’s a no judgement zone. No need to be wearing the latest Sitka hunting gear. The 3D animal targets aren’t moving.
Kevin Shears, Air Force veteran, got into archery just last year when TAC came to Oklahoma for the first time. Beavers Bend is in the southeast corner of Oklahoma and Shears came down from Oklahoma City to partake in his first 3D archery event. Shears showed up with a bow that none of us had ever heard of and the paint job on it reminded us of some 80s hair band, like Poison. It had some flare to it. Shear's military training and love of working out still led him to shoot an excellent course even with his Mötley Crüe bow.
And if you think your veteran has some limiting factor, it’s okay -- they can probably still do archery. Jason Tabansky is an Army veteran who is paralyzed from the waist down. Tabansky has a tracked chair and a wheeled 4x4 chair. He can traverse the terrain in the Texas hill country. Tabansky said, “Archery gives us purpose after injury and in some cases, saves us from depression or feeling useless.” Jonathan Lopez is an Army veteran who is a left arm amputee and shoots his bow with his teeth. Yes, you read that right. His teeth.
A lot goes into tuning the bow for the individual, but once dialed in your veteran will catch the archery bug and thank you for such an amazing gift.