By Eric Norwood Jr.
PNT staff writer
Arrows were flying both on and off target Saturday morning at the Portales Recreation Center.
The Portales Bowhunters put on a workshop for any and all interested in the historical craft of bowhunting. Archery enthusiasts and youthful beginners were both present to take lessons from members of the Portales Bowhunters from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“I just got back into archery, shooting in my backyard,” said Kristian Keip, who brought along his daughter Gwendolyn, 11, who received lessons as well.
“This is fun,” said Gwendolyn as she sized up her target.
Those present were mostly children, teeming with excitement to learn how to shoot. Mike Hilburn, president of the Portales Bowhunters, said they were compound bows.
“These bows are for anyone. A grown man could shoot this bow, or a young child could use it,” said Hilburn.
Hilburn patiently showed youngsters how to shoot while also explaining safety measures. The room was full of stands stacked with bows and the shooters stood directly in front of the stands, aiming at large targets about 15 yards away. Even if an arrow only traveled a few feet, Hilburn was adamant about waiting until everyone finished shooting to retrieve even one arrow.
“In the words of Daffy Duck, I could’ve skewered your funnybone,” joked Kristian Keip.
Thallan Schwartz, 9, of Portales, was brought by his mother Marian Schwartz, who said her son has had an interest in archery since first holding a bow and arrow at a renaissance fair at age 3.
“He’s been wanting to try it, but where we lived in Louisiana, the closest place for him to shoot was an hour, hour and a half away. We got him a toy bow and arrow with suction cups, and he had good accuracy using that,” said Marian.
Thallan Schwartz was overflowing with excitement, even as he missed widely. After a good half hour of hands on instruction by Hilburn, the young Schwartz had noticeable improvement to the point he was consistently hitting targets as long as his feet were still. Even those not paying attention could hear Schwartz exclaim, “I hit the target,” excitedly after each feat.
“Anybody that’s interested in archery, we’re here to help them out. We’re not professionals or anything but we can help and get them started if they’re interested,” said Hilburn.