Often after school when I’m not tired and it’s not raining, I go to my dad’s friend Sebastien’s house to shoot arrows into a large/thick cardboard box with drawings of chickens on it. At his house it is really fun for a couple of reasons: I don’t have to pay any money to do archery now that I’ve bought my own bow and arrows, and I can shoot as many arrows as I want or as many as I have all at one time without waiting for clearance. When I’m done shooting, I can walk right away over to the target to retrieve my arrows without waiting for a bell to alert me that it’s “all clear,” or for someone to tell me it’s okay. There are also reasons why it’s not perfect. I don’t shoot into hay blocks to stop the arrows. Instead, I use cardboard, so sometimes the arrows go through all the way to the feathers and that damages them. That has happened to five of my arrows so far – but all I have to do is glue the feathers back and the arrows should be as good as new. Another bummer is that it rains a lot more here in the Marquesas than in Southern California, so I cannot go shooting as much as I’d like.
I got my bow and arrows when Uncle Nick came to visit us here in Nuku Hiva last August. I knew my bow and arrows were coming, so I was very excited. We opened all the goodies at Sebastien’s house. Bryce was expecting something special too – a special hunting knife. We were both quite impatient to open up Uncle Nick’s bags. Not only did Uncle Nick bring my bow, but also he brought 12 practice arrows with blunt tips. They work fine for practicing against cardboard. While Uncle Nick was visiting, I didn’t get a chance to practice my archery, but when he left it took about a week or so to find a thick cardboard box. Once I got set-up, I practiced archery often during the next month. However, I got a little discouraged because some of my practice arrows were getting damaged or ruined and I only had the 12 that Uncle Nick brought. My grandparents came and school other activities got busy, so I stopped for awhile until after friends visited us over Christmas and brought some real arrows. Plus my dad mentioned that it wouldn’t be easier to do archery anywhere else. I agreed with him and started back up practicing about an hour five days a week. I am now starting to get pretty good. I have hit the cardboard chicken ten arrows out of twelve times. I can even approach the target moving stealthily or running and hit the chicken drawing two out of five times. I still have lots of room for improvement, but I’m starting to think I might be able to target real chickens now. Chickens run wild all over the island and are considered pests. The fact that they’re edible is a bonus. I better tell my mom to learn how to cook “Coq au vin.” It’s the only way to eat this kind of chicken – the kind that actually forages for food and runs!