June 8, 2005
Competitors crept through the woods near Little John, bow and arrows in hand, trailing red ribbons like they were fresh elk tracks. Tracking quietly, archers followed an inconspicuously marked trail from target to target, drawing, aiming, and taking their best shot at each of the 40 life-size animals on the course. They earned five points for a body shot, eight for a lung shot, and ten for a heart shot.
For about 20 years now, the Little John 3D Trail Shoot has drawn competitors from around the northwest. Despite the weekend's cold and windy mountain weather, a group of dedicated archers participated Saturday and Sunday, firing on life-size targets ranging from local elk to Alaskan polar bears.
"It's a very well known and very well liked competition," said event organizer Bob Kendall, of Windy River Archery. "This year's numbers were down from usual, probably because of the pending doom of bad weather, especially on Sunday… We had a really good tournament though and everyone enjoyed it."
Archers followed the discrete trail through a series of four courses, with about ten targets per course. Once they located a target, competitors had one shot each from a set distance, depending on their age, skill level, and bow type.
"We try to set up the course as close to a life-like hunting situation as possible," Kendall said, "with more points awarded to more deadly shots."
The competition wrapped-up Sunday afternoon with youngsters begging their parents to let them keep shooting.
The Little John 3D Trail Shoot is organized each year by Hood River's Appleknocker Bowmen Club. The Appleknockers have been around the valley since the 1950's with their bows and arrows. They hold meetings once a month and two organized tournaments a year. The club also has a private outdoor range off Swyers Drive, where members can shoot year round. Anyone interested in joining the club is encouraged to contact Bob Kendall at Windy River Archery: 386-1142.