When Aaron Einsiedel shoots arrows for the Missouri 4-H Recurve Team in the 2005 National 4-H Shooting Sports Invitational, he is doing more than just competing to win.
While other archers have their eyes set on a first-place finish, Einsiedel, 17, is finding ways to gain experience from the sport that can help him in his career.
“I want to study ballistics,” Einsiedel said. “I’ve always been interested in shooting and how changing the speed or the angle can change the flight of the bullet.”
Archery can provide good practice for ballistics, Einsiedel said, because they both involve estimating the flight path of an object and finding ways to influence that path.
Einsiedel, ofSturgeon, brought those interests to the Cedar Creek Rod and Gun Club near Columbia on Wednesday. The first day included the 3D competition, where archers walk through the woods shooting at targets shaped like animals.
Archers receive points for hitting the target animal in the kill zones around the heart and lungs; however, they can lose points by hitting the target but not hitting the kill zone. The purpose is to encourage hunters to make sure they can bring down their target, rather than hit the animal but allow it to escape with a wound.
Einsiedel has been shooting for five years, but this is his first time shooting recurve.
Compound archery involves using a bow with a system of wheels and cables designed to help support the tension of a taut bowline.
A recurve bow, however, does not contain such a system. These types of bows are used in the Olympics, and the lack of wheel and cable system makes it much harder to pull the string back.
“Compound is a lot easier to shoot,” Einsiedel said. “The wheels on the end of it hold more poundage. The recurve doesn’t have any wheels, so you’re holding onto the full poundage when you pull it back.”
The 3D event does not tell archers how far each target is, so participants must estimate and adjust their sights on the bow accordingly. It is here where Einsiedel compares archery, especially recurve, to his intended career.
“It’s kind of fun figuring out how it’s working and what I need to change,” Einsiedel said. “The recurve is a lot harder to shoot left and right because when you release you don’t have a mechanical release making sure you release the same every time. You have to adjust your fingers and make sure you release it the same every time.
“You have to measure things out in your mind. It’s all a puzzle out here, and we have to figure it out.”
Despite Einsiedel concentrating on the science of his arrows flying, he never forgets there is a competition around him.
“Nobody really cares who wins when you’re out there because everyone is having fun and hanging out. But in the end, everyone is hoping to take home the gold medal in the event you’re shooting in.”