Summary: The Apache Hills launch is a large, clean ramp at the back of a neighborhood along the shores of a flood-ravaged Lake Somerville. It’s a popular spot for the friendly locals. The cove makes for a nasty paddle when the wind kicks up, but you can access some creeks and shoreline at the mouth of the cove for a sheltered paddle. Wildlife was surprisingly quiet when I went in mid-spring, but the scenery was beautiful when the sun saw fit to shine through moody clouds.
I’ve often overlooked Lake Somerville as a paddling destination due to what appears to be a lack of cover if it’s viewed from Google Maps. There is a lot of open water, but not much cover. Mother Nature made me the fool when I put this hypothesis to the test on April Fools’ Day in 2017.
The Tennessee Classic is an annual pilgrimage for many bowyers, knappers, and traditional archers throughout the southeastern and midwestern United States (and even some beyond). Every year hundreds of archers gather with their families in a valley near Clarksville, Tennessee and camp out, craft gear, and lose arrows in thick vegetation beyond tricky 3D targets. The actual 3D shoot, organized by the Twin Oaks Bowhunters, takes place on a Saturday and Sunday in April of May. Many arrive up to a week in advance, however, just to enjoy good company amidst amazing scenery.
This year marked the 20th annual gathering and was incredible as always, with record attendance despite heavy rains that soaked the course for two days straight before the shoot.
Thanks to the Twin Oaks Bowhunters for all their hard work setting up such a great event!
Summary: If you’re looking for a short paddle through sheltered waters with plenty of wildlife, I highly recommend launching at Hugo Point. If the weather permits, you can also venture into some of the surrounding, bigger waters for more marsh to discover. The safety and quality of the launch site at Hugo Point Park is top-notch, and you can enjoy a pleasant day on the water without worrying about coming back to your windows being broken.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about a shortbow I built and named Jumper. I hailed the all-forgiving Osage for allowing me to coax a bow from firewood. Today that stave’s forgiveness ran out and I learned a lesson about over-stressing wood.
Red marks indicate failure points on the back of the bow due to tension (left) and on the belly due to compression (right). The chrysals, or compression fractures, are directly opposite the limb from the splinter. Contrast is enhanced to the point of ugliness to show the chrysals.
I strung Jumper up cold and fired off a few arrows. There were no audible cracks, no strange feelings, and no other telltale sign of wood failure. It shot like it had hundreds of times before.
Part one of this series began with a discussion about researching forums and blogs and state-level bowfishing regulations. Part two continued to discuss finding launch sites. Check them out if you missed them.
I find that local regulations are the greatest impediment to launching a kayak and shooting fish. Therefore, it would make sense for this to be the first step in finding a new place to bowfish – except you have to narrow down where to launch before you can look for local regulations.