Bowhunters aim for foam deer, wolves, bison — even a cobra

After sinking a couple of arrows into a pair of nicely antlered deer Saturday morning in John F. Kennedy Memorial Park, Kyle Mosley, of Algona, and his son Jon Mosley, 14, both managed to avoid getting arrested for poaching.

In fact, they casually strolled on down the trail and then shot a raccoon and two wolves before continuing their arrow slinging at a variety of other animals.

Each of those punctured critters was made of durable foam.

The two were enjoying the challenge of a 40-station course of fire set up by the Webster County Bowhunters and Archery Association at its 3D shoot.

On some of the animals, it is indeed a challenge; Kyle Mosley described the highest scoring ring on a skunk target.

“It’s not much bigger than a dime,” he said. “You have to be pretty precise.”

Mosley has been shooting for about 30 years, he said, his son, about nine.

They said it’s an activity they enjoy doing together and have both harvested real whitetail deer during the season.

Mosley said the targets have gotten better and better. Not only are they more realistic but removing the arrows, which used to require someone to hold the target and someone to pull it out, has gotten easier.

Ben Kingland, president of the club, and Chad Neiland, who helped organize the event, said the shoot gives the archers a more lifelike experience.

They also set up the firing lanes and targets to make it a challenge.

Some require shooting from slightly awkward positions and even though there are marked firing points for shooters with different levels of experience, none of those reveal something critical to bow hunters – distance.

“You have to guess the yardage,” Neiland said.

They also put a few surprises into the course. In addition to the whitetail deer, elk, caribou, buffalo, raccoons, skunks, bears and other animals that can be hunted in North America, there are a few hunters are unlikely to see here.

“We have a spitting cobra and a baboon,” Neiland said.

There are also a couple straight out of Hollywood and the fertile imagination of a bored taxidermist.

“There’s a stegosaurus and a jackalope,” he said.

The pair are quick to praise the trails at the park that they were able to use. He said they are smooth enough for a family to bring a stroller along.

“Most 3D shoots don’t have trails as good as we do,” Kingland said.

Kalee Beckman, of Fort Dodge, is new to the sport.

Her boyfriend, Tyler Rokes, not only introduced her to the sport, he gave her a bow for Valentine’s Day this year.

Her reaction?

“I loved it,” she said. “This lasts. Roses die.”

She won’t be an archery widow.

“This gives us something to do together,” Rokes said.

Of course, bringing a novice shooter to a 3D does carry the risk of them shooting circles around the veteran.

For Todd Hauge, of Williams, his son Alex Hauge, 12, and family friend Vanessa Wickett, 12, were giving him a good run for his money.

“I think I’m going to leave the kids home next time,” he joked.

Exactly how bad were the children beating him? They were in the process of adding up the scores.

“We’re figuring it out,” he said.

Both of them enjoyed the more unusual targets, including a lion.

“I love lions,” Wickett said. “I hugged it.”

After she pulled the arrows out.

The 3D shoot continues today from 8 a.m. to moon. It’s located at the northeast corner of John F. Kennedy Memorial Park. Adult admission is $12, youths 13-17 are $5 and those 12 and under shoot free. The club is also hosting shoots on July 26 and 27 as well as Aug. 24 and 24. Hours are Saturday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday 8 a.m. to noon.

For more information see www.webstercountybowhunters.com. The group is also on Facebook.