Maine archers take aim at open shoot night

Posted March 08, 2013, at 5:29 a.m.
Archery coach Bill Duncanson aims an arrow at a target 20 yards away at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham.
Archery coach Bill Duncanson aims an arrow at a target 20 yards away at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham. Buy Photo
Rick Hilton (left) and Hayden Eilinger prepare to loose their arrows at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham.
Rick Hilton (left) and Hayden Eilinger prepare to loose their arrows at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham. Buy Photo
Arrows stand at the ready at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham.
Arrows stand at the ready at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham. Buy Photo
Maine Archery Association Vice President Bill Duncanson (left) offers good-natured ribbing to President Matt Nicely in Gorham on an open shoot night. The association's indoor state championships will be held this weekend at Central Maine Archery in Auburn.
Maine Archery Association Vice President Bill Duncanson (left) offers good-natured ribbing to President Matt Nicely in Gorham on an open shoot night. The association's indoor state championships will be held this weekend at Central Maine Archery in Auburn. Buy Photo
Archers walk 20 yards downrange to retrieve their arrows on an open shoot night at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham.
Archers walk 20 yards downrange to retrieve their arrows on an open shoot night at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham. Buy Photo
Forrest Lizotte, 18, draws his bow on an open shoot night at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham. Lizotte will compete this weekend at the Maine Archery Association's indoor state championships at Central Maine Archery in Auburn.
Forrest Lizotte, 18, draws his bow on an open shoot night at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham. Lizotte will compete this weekend at the Maine Archery Association's indoor state championships at Central Maine Archery in Auburn. Buy Photo
Forrest Lizotte, 18, gets an arrow from his quiver on an open shoot night at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham. Lizotte will compete this weekend at the Maine Archery Association's indoor state championships at Central Maine Archery in Auburn.
Forrest Lizotte, 18, gets an arrow from his quiver on an open shoot night at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham. Lizotte will compete this weekend at the Maine Archery Association's indoor state championships at Central Maine Archery in Auburn. Buy Photo
Josh Hilton, 12, retrieves his arrows on an open shoot night at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham.
Josh Hilton, 12, retrieves his arrows on an open shoot night at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham. Buy Photo
Josh Hilton, 12, shoots downrange on an open shoot night at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham.
Josh Hilton, 12, shoots downrange on an open shoot night at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham. Buy Photo
Matt Nicely (right) president of the Maine Archery Association, offers tips while watching a short video of Hayden Eilinger's last few shots.
Matt Nicely (right) president of the Maine Archery Association, offers tips while watching a short video of Hayden Eilinger's last few shots. Buy Photo
Hayden Eilinger, 15, retrieves his arrows at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham. Eilinger says he shoots about 120 arrows a day, seven days a week.
Hayden Eilinger, 15, retrieves his arrows at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham. Eilinger says he shoots about 120 arrows a day, seven days a week. Buy Photo
Three arrows find their mark at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham on an open shoot night.
Three arrows find their mark at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham on an open shoot night. Buy Photo
Coach Bill Duncanson works with Hayden Eilinger, 15, at an open shoot night at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham. Eilinger is preparing to compete at the U S National Indoor Championships in Virginia later this month.
Coach Bill Duncanson works with Hayden Eilinger, 15, at an open shoot night at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham. Eilinger is preparing to compete at the U S National Indoor Championships in Virginia later this month. Buy Photo
Coach Bill Duncanson talks with Hayden Eilinger, 15, at an open shoot night at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham. Eilinger is preparing to compete at the U S National Indoor Championships in Virginia later this month.
Coach Bill Duncanson talks with Hayden Eilinger, 15, at an open shoot night at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham. Eilinger is preparing to compete at the U S National Indoor Championships in Virginia later this month. Buy Photo
Hayden Eilinger, 15, draws an arrow as he prepares shoot a target 20 yards away at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham on an open shoot night. Eilinger is preparing to compete at the U S National Indoor Championships in Virginia later this month.
Hayden Eilinger, 15, draws an arrow as he prepares shoot a target 20 yards away at Nicely Equipped Archery in Gorham on an open shoot night. Eilinger is preparing to compete at the U S National Indoor Championships in Virginia later this month. Buy Photo

GORHAM, Maine — More than half a dozen archers stepped to the line at a recent open shoot night at Nicely Equipped Archery. Some were preparing for the Maine Archery Association’s indoor championships this weekend. Some were brushing up on their hunting skills.

Hayden Eilinger, 15, was preparing to compete at the U.S. National Indoor Championships in Virginia later this month. His coach, Bill Duncanson, was on hand to offer advice.

“It’s a challenge,” said Duncanson, who has been an archer for nearly 30 years. “It’s something you have to continually practice and work at.”

Duncanson thinks archery informs other parts of his students’ lives as well.

“It teaches them patience,” Duncanson said.

And there’s no shortcuts to success.

“You’ve got to put the work into it, to get to where you want to be,” he said. “And it’s not easy.”

Eilinger doesn’t have much trouble sticking with it.

“It’s addictive,” he said after practicing. “You shoot your first ‘X’ and you want to shoot your next.”

Eilinger admits he sometimes has to work on keeping his concentration.

“When you’re shooting, you’re supposed to be clearing your mind,” he said. “I’m a teenager. I can’t clear my mind.”

So he thinks about the word “squeeze” to focus on the act of drawing the bowstring and arrow back before shooting.

Eilinger shoots about 120 arrows a day, seven days a week. When the weather doesn’t cooperate, he uses the loft space in a neighbor’s barn

The Maine Archery Association’s Indoor Championships are open to the public. The tournament takes place this weekend at Central Maine Archery, 213 Washington St., Auburn. For information, go to www.mainearchery.org or call 207-783-3060.

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