Annual bow shoot gives practice for upcoming season
SHENANDOAH JUNCTION — On the Saturday before West Virginia’s archery season opens every year, many local sportsmen gather for an annual bow shoot at Fellowship Bible Church in Shenandoah Junction. This year’s free event was held this Saturday, as the church’s 14th Annual Bow Shoot.
Richard Beddow, organizer of the event for all 14 years, said the event came about because he knew many bow hunters who liked to get together and shoot and practice. The first shoot was attended by just a handful of enthusiasts, but since then, the event has grown to an average of 75 shooters and their guests, bringing totals to approximately 100 each year.
“All the targets are 3D game animals that have scoring,” Beddow said, mentioning a free lunch was also provided for attendees.
The shooters form into teams of their choice to walk through the course spread through several acres on the church’s Daniel Road property.
“It’s sort of like miniature golf,” Beddow laughed. “There are 20 stations and three bonuses. Each animal is factory scored with a point system.”
Team members compete as they go through the course, keeping track of their points with hopes to score higher than their friends.
“The first time through, the course is for competition,” Beddow said, although no actual prizes are awarded. It’s more “bragging rights” that are earned by the shooter who gains the most points.
Even more important than the competition, the event brings together men and women who have a passion for bow shooting and who are looking for an opportunity to practice before bow season opens.
Harpers Ferry resident JaRon Puller has attended the shoot for the past four years.
“It gives an opportunity to sharpen your archery skills and to fellowship with believers,” Puller said.
Puller said he is an avid bow hunter and plans to head out when the season begins, with hopes of shooting a deer or two to feed his family.
“My hunting cuts down on our grocery bills for sure,” Puller said. “We save about $800 a year not buying as much red meat.”
Garrett Brackbill, 13, from Stephens City, Virginia, participated as a shooter for the second time this year; however, he has attended the shoot for seven years with his father.
“It’s a very peaceful place to practice,” Brackbill said, mentioning he also hunts to help provide food for his family.
Brackbill was recently selected to participate in a hunt within the boundaries of Cacapon State Park in Berkeley Springs. One of 30 chosen to participate, he will attend in early November.
According to Beddow, the West Virginia hunting program helps to regulate and keep the deer herd healthy.
Archery and crossbow season in West Virginia opens Saturday and runs through Dec. 31, according to the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources website, www.wvdnr.gov. There are many regulations and limitations of which hunters need to be aware before heading out.