Archery sessions at parks and rec gym run through March

Archery is on target at the community gym through March 25 to keep the blues from the winter cold and the winter rain at bay.

Instructor Winston Davies oversees the activity, and has a few bows, arrows and sheaths to clip to your belt or waistband on hand if you don't have one of your own. It's not an instructional class per se, but Davies is happy to give a few pointers to people who've been removed from the sport for a while, even if it's been nearly a decade.

Davies taught math and science for 17 years in the middle school, and switched to teaching shop class last year. He commercial fishes in the summer. He's married to sixth grade teacher Laura Davies. Their son, 10-year-old Quinn Davies, and 12-year-old daughter Madelyn Davies both enjoy archery, he said. Quinn was in attendance Feb. 15 at the first meet of the archery open gym session.

Interest waxes and wanes over the years, Davies said. It's been challenging getting gym time with all the other recreation going on, but Lucy Robinson, recreation director, thought it was important to get the activity in before the winter was out, he said.

Participants shoot five arrows at their targets, arranged at varying distances inside the gym according to the archer's skill and comfort level, then after Davies gives the all-clear the archers advance forward to tally their scores (if they're keeping personal score, like Quinn was) and pull their arrows from the target, or fish errant arrows from a strung-up cloth backdrop. Shooting five arrows at a time keeps the participants fresher than shooting all of them at a time, Davies said.

Davies, born and raised in Wrangell, enjoys rifle hunting as an adult, but didn't take to archery immediately.

"My dad bought me a bow when I was Quinn's age," he said. "It wasn't until college that I got into it." That was at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. Davies studied biology, and had initially wanted to be a fisheries biologist. He liked the subject "because I was always out in the woods."

Davies said being a "bad bow hunter" made him a better rifle hunter because hunting with a bow and arrow means you have to get closer, and be more quiet, around prey - also qualities which lend to being better at rifle hunting wild game. "When you're bow hunting, you have to really pay attention."

The winter sessions offer Davies and anyone else who stops by - attendees such as parks and recreation board member Nancy Delpero and Adam Sprehe, airport manager - a chance to sharpen their skills and offer something to do in the winter.

"I find shooting my bow relaxing," Davies said. "It's a challenge."

Archery is available at the community center gym every Tuesday night from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. until March 25.


Reader Comments(0)