Girls ready for State Archery Meet hereThis weekend hundreds of bow hunters and archery enthusiasts across the state will aim their sights on Jamestown for the North Dakota Bow Hunters State Archery Meet.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
This weekend hundreds of bow hunters and archery enthusiasts across the state will aim their sights on Jamestown for the North Dakota Bow Hunters State Archery Meet.
Shooters range from all ages, but four girls from town have their sights set on state championships and learning a skill that requires patience and hard work.
Emily Sargeant, 8, and her sister, Amanda, 9, and Sarah Azure, 11, and her sister, Jessica, 14, have a combined 20 years of experience bowhunting. They also perform well at state meets — all four placed in the top three last year.
“I like to shoot the long targets on the grown-up course,” said Amanda, who won in her age class and bow field last year. She’s also the only one in the group to take a deer.
The family instilled bowhunting in their daughters because they have no brothers. But also to learn a sport that requires some patience, their parents said.
At only 8 years old, Emily has trouble keeping awake during the long days in the tree stands and likes to nap while her mother, Felicia Sargeant, keeps an eye out for deer.
“Climbing up the tree is very fun,” she said. “Every time I wake up the deer is there. I’m not very patient.”
Growing up in Indiana, Felicia learned bowhunting from her father.
“It’s a lifelong thing they can take with them wherever they go,” Felicia said.
Jessica Azure, the oldest of the girls, finds hunting a way to get away from it all.
“It’s relaxing to get away from school and what’s going on,” she said. “There’s nothing like that out there, you can sit up there and relax.”
The meet is a 3-D shoot expected to draw about 300 archers.
Styles to participate in range from the traditional wooden bow and arrow to a custom compound bow with a stabilizer and scope, said Trent Teets, state competition director with the North Dakota Bow Hunters.
The meet is at the Civic Center Saturday. Registration starts at 7 a.m. and competition at 8 a.m. Registration closes at 3 p.m. On Sunday the registration and competition start at the same time but registration closes at 1 p.m.
Costs vary based on age and what rounds participants partake in.
“The majority of them are hunters and it’s for shooting proficiency,” Teets said.
Bowhunting for deer in North Dakota is open from Sept. 2 to Jan. 1. There is no age restriction but bow hunters must be able to pull a bowstring with 35 pounds of resistance back to a distance of 28 inches or less.
While there are archery meets across the country, Dave Azure said during the past 10 years more women and children have been taking interest in the sport.
For the Sargeant and Azure families, bowhunting is more than just state meets.
“It’s a great family activity. An awful lot goes into a hunting trip beyond getting the animal,” said Glen Sargeant. “... It’s a yearlong activity.”
Both families said bowhunting is a no-batteries-required, real-as-it-gets activity that connects participant to the land in this modern age.
“So much of what they do is instant gratification — bowhunting is definitely not something with instant gratification,” Glen Sargeant said.
An early start in archery is something the parents said was necessary to grow the hobby.
“If you don’t start them off early, chances of ever getting them interested in it decrease drastically,” said Dave Azure.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org