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Archers take aim at Colton event

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COLTON — With bows in hands and arrows at the ready, shooters tested their accuracy Sunday at the Racquette Valley Fish and Game Club’s Dustin Crosby Memorial Archery Shoot.

Participants traveled a course lined with 40 3-D targets at the club’s property on Cold Brook Drive. Some targets were traditional, such as deer or foxes, others fanciful, like a baboon or dinosaur. Points were earned for hitting the target, with higher scores given for hitting a bull’s-eye.

Sunday’s event was a “fun shoot,” meaning there were no prizes for the highest score. Instead, a portion of the proceeds was given to a participant selected randomly by a raffle.

The rest of the proceeds will be donated to various local charities in memory of Dustin Crosby, a Hammond teenager who died in an accident in 2007.

The day started with a $6 all-you-can-eat breakfast.

“It’s a good way to get the family together, and, of course, it’s good practice for deer-hunting season,” said Justin’s father, Robert Crosby.

The shoot was one of many in the area this season. For Larry A. and Jill M. Butler, Massena, it was their second of the weekend.

Mrs. Butler used to shoot competitively more than 30 years ago, but has just begun participating again.

“I just got into it again last year,” she said.

Shoots are not as popular as they used to be. In the past, more than 100 people might come out to an event, Mr. Butler said. Expectations are lower now.

“If you can draw between 60 and 80 people, that’s phenomenal,” he said.

Twenty-three people had signed up for Sunday’s shoot by 10 a.m.

Mr. Butler said he hopes that will change soon. Archery is in vogue in Hollywood this year, with blockbusters such as “Brave,” “The Hunger Games” and “The Avengers” all prominently featuring bow-and-arrow-wielding protagonists.

Mr. Butler said he hopes the extra attention will inspire more children to take up archery. It’s worked before.

“When ‘Lord of the Rings’ came out we had all sorts of kids,” he said.

The Measheaw family of Colton has been shooting for years. Joseph Measheaw Jr., his wife, Nicole M., and son Joseph Measheaw III came out Sunday for their first shoot of the season.

While his mom and dad chose to shoot modern compound bows, which use pulleys to draw back the string, Joseph Measheaw III brought an old-fashioned recurve bow instead, in part because of its sentimental value.

“The bow belonged to his grandfather,” Mrs. Measheaw said.

Mr. Butler said he hopes more families will take the time to learn the sport.

“People try to make it too technical,” he said. “It doesn’t take much to learn how to shoot.”

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