Fun targeted at archery range
MONTICELLO — The hunter is walking quietly down the trail whenhe spots his prey. He shoots a wink at his friend and glides to theedge of the trail, where he has a clear shot at the deer standing50 yards away. Then, with the practiced ease of a man not new tohis craft, he raises his bow, takes aim and lets the arrow fly.
The deer, however, is not real and the hunter is shooting forpoints instead of meat.
At the New Zion 3-D Archery Range, a few miles north of Highway84 in Lawrence County, visitors do not shoot at paper targets, butat 3-D targets of deer, turkey, bear, wild pig and other gameanimals.
The range boasts a practice field and about a half-mile trail ofmore difficult targets at varying distances. The range is open yearround, but most active in the summer, according to owner JerryKing, who opened the range 10 years ago.
“It’s a lot of entertainment for people on the weekends,” hesaid. “It’s a family event when they come out here.”
King said he has hosted the state archery tournament in the pastand is slated to host it again next year.
Between 35-40 people were on hand Saturday to attend atournament. Participants compete in several different classes,including Youth, Cubs, Braves, Women Open, Women’s BowhunterRelease, Men Open, Pros and the Senior Division. The winner of eachclass receives a trophy, except for the pros. They compete for a 75percent payback on the entry fees.
King said several competitors brought their children to thetournament to compete and enjoy the family atmosphere.
“It’s just real nice to have a sport like this for the youth toenjoy,” he said.
Les Fox of Crystal Springs brought his son Collin, 5.
“He likes to sneak up on them,” Fox said with a smile. “He’sdoing better than I am today.”
Collin received a trophy at the end of the day.
Fox said King’s range has become a favorite of his because ofits quality and the atmosphere.
“This is my second summer out here and one of the things Iappreciate the most is that I have not seen the first beer can orheard the first curse word,” he said.
Fox said he also appreciates the number of benefits King holdsat the range for those in need.
King held a benefit last year for Randy Foster, who died a fewmonths after the event, which raised more than $1,000. Anotherbenefit is planned for June 18 for Chris Thornhill, who wasparalyzed after an accident.
The next tournament on the New Zion range is June 4 with aleisure start from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.