In a Quest to Save Chickens,
an Archer is Born In a Quest to Save Chickens, an Archer is Born

On the second night in her new home in Chapel Hill, N.C., Christine Harrelson grabbed her new bow and arrows, sneaked out to her backyard and shot a raccoon before it could kill another of her chickens. That experience fueled a love of predator hunting that burst into a passion for competitive archery. Harrelson’s unconventional start to archery helped her become an outstanding professional archer within a year of picking up a bow the first time.

“I never intended to be a hunter or tournament archer,” Harrelson said. “I’d never even shot a bow and arrow before, or considered shooting a bow and arrow. But when I moved from the country to the city and brought my chickens, I didn’t imagine losing them to predators. When raccoons killed two chickens in two nights, I took action.”

Taking Action

For Harrelson, that meant buying a PSE bow and arrows, target-practicing in her backyard, and getting hooked on bowhunting. When predators no longer posed a backyard threat, she loved shooting her bow too much to put it down. Instead, she took up target archery.

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Arrow in flight: Harrelson practices her shot.

Different Sports, Similar Passion

Bowhunting and target archery often are viewed as different sports. The equipment needed and targets used are usually different. But for Harrelson, the necessity to bowhunt led seamlessly to a passion for target archery. She has since won the Dixie Deer Classic and the NCFAA Indoor Championship, and placed fourth in the U.S. National Team Trials. She’ll be a team alternate for the 2014 World Championship in Nimes, France.

If you’re interested in trying archery, or aren’t quite sure, check out six reasons to love tournament archery.

Six Reasons to Love Tournament Archery:

1) Even if you aren’t athletic, you can become a better archer than your friends/boyfriend/husband.

2) You can practice shooting arrows in your backyard.

3) Target archery can make you better at bowhunting and/or bowfishing.

4) Shooting arrows is an adrenaline rush.

5) Tournament archery offers opportunities to see yourself improve.

6) Archery opens doors for women to compete, and age and strength don’t matter.

From Predator Hunter to Pro Archer in One Year

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What appealed to Christine Harrelson about tournament archery? Pretty much everything.

Going from being a predator hunter to a professional archer in one year is unusual, but not impossible. If you’ve never tried archery, there’s no time like now to start. If you already enjoy archery, competing against more skilled archers might seem daunting. But Harrelson says competing against top archers is the best way to improve.

Here are her top three tips to become the best possible tournament archer.

1) Compete Against Other Archers

Great shooters help raise your proficiency and accuracy. Anyone who wants to be better and really wants to be the best must see how they stack up against the best. Don’t be afraid to compete against other archers or move to a higher level. Don’t be chicken!

2) Get a Bow that Fits You

The bow’s fit has much to do with your success. Don’t try to pull a bow that doesn’t fit you. If a bow is too heavy or its draw length is too long or too short, you won’t shoot effectively. When using a bow that fits, you might be surprised how quickly you’ll learn to shoot accurately. Regardless of your size, age or athletic skill, the market has a bow that will fit you.

3) Ignore the Haters

Have fun with archery. Put a target in the backyard, and start shooting arrows. Don’t listen to anyone making negative comments about you shooting archery.

Learn more about archery by checking out getting started in archery.

Harrelson stays focused on her own game - and on a positive attitude.

Harrelson stays focused on her own game – and on a positive attitude.

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