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Archers walked past this snow drift at last weekendís Eastern Oregon Super Shoot at Anthony Lakes. It was 75 yards long and 12 feet high at its tallest point. Norm Paullus of the Grande Ronde Bowmen, one of the tournamentís organizers, is standing next to the snow drift. SCOTT WILSON photo
ANTHONY LAKES —Archers at the annual Eastern Oregon Super Shoot did not have to look far for ice cold refreshment last weekend.
About 10 snow drifts, including one about 75 yards long and 12 feet high at its tallest point, decorated the Super Shoot’s upper course.
Some drifts were close enough to targets that errant arrows may have penetrated them and been buried inside.
“If this happened to any archers they will have to wait until the snow drifts melt to get their arrows back,’’ said Norm Paullus of La Grande, who helped set up the Super Shoot’s courses.
The Eastern Oregon Super Shoot has been conducted in late July at Anthony Lakes since 2001. Snowdrifts have occasionally been seen at the shoot since then but nothing like the ones this year.
“We were surprised by how deep they were,’’ Paullus said.
Paullus is a member of the Grande Ronde Bowmen, which put on the Super Shoot along with the Elkhorn Archers of Baker County.
More than 270 archers participated in the Super Shoot Saturday and Sunday. The shoot had three courses, two of which started at the top level and another in the base of the ski area. Archers had to complete all three courses, which had a combined total of 80 targets, to place. Styrofoam replicas of elk, deer, dinosaur, wolf, bear and coyotes were among those that archers encountered.
Archers took a ski lift to the highest course, the one with the snow drifts, and then hiked down. No targets on any of the three courses had yardage markers, forcing archers to estimate, just as they must when bow hunting.
Estimating yardage on the course is difficult because of terrain dips. Paullus explained that it is hard to judge distances when you can’t see a flat level plane.
No devices for determining yardage could be used during the shoot.
Ten targets had $300 money spots. Anyone hitting a money spot won prize money. The amount was based on how many shooters hit the same target. The $300 for each target was split among those who hit it. One target on a mule deer was hit eight times, which meant the payout to each archer was $37.50.
All money spots were hit but one that was on a bull elk.
A number of people at the Super Shoot were preparing for bow hunting season, which begins for deer and elk in late August in Oregon. Others were honing their skills for the International Bowhunting Organization world championships Aug. 11-13 in Holiday Valley near Ellicotttville, N.Y. The world championship course, which also has a ski lift, is similar to that of the Eastern Oregon Super Shoot.
“It is a good dry run (for the world championships),’’ Paullus said.
One aspect of the Super Shoot that separates it from some other archery events is that the focus has long been on family, said Ron Babcock of the Grande Ronde Bowmen.
Babcock explained that the shoot has always been conducted in a family-friendly environment where opportunities for hiking, fishing and camping are available. He also notes that the distances of shots are also a little shorter, reducing the likelihood of arrows completely missing their targets and being lost or shattered after hitting rocks. This helps make the shoot more affordable for families, since arrows are expensive to replace, Babcock said.
The more than 270 archers at this year’s shoot did not seem to bother the wildlife in the area. Paullus noted that four deer causally walked by the ski lift while it was operating last weekend and that at one target a chipmunk was so relaxed among the archers that it held them up.
The chipmunk was laying on its back behind a target when a party Paullus was with came by. The archers feared that an errant arrow would hit the chipmunk so they waited for it to leave. To the party’s surprise the chipmunk stayed in the same place, continuing to sun itself.
“We finally had to ‘shoo’ it away,’’ Paullus said.
Following are area archers who placed at the tournament.
• Drex Shira, Cove, placed first in the senior men’s division.
• Roy Booth, La Grande, placed third in the senior men’s division.
• Clayton Lowe, La Grande, placed first in the men’s bow hunter freestyle division. Lowe beat 135 archers in this category.
• Jolene Smith, La Grande, placed first in the female freestyle division.
• Becky Wilson, La Grande, finished second in the senior women’s division.
• Lance Denny, La Grande, placed second in the boys cub division.
• Elizabeth Robinson, La Grande, placed first in the girls cub division.
• Jerry Gibson, La Grande, placed first in the master’s senior division.