Local archer aims for success

After his first indoor competition season, Dwight Vanderveen is getting ready for outdoor archery competitions.

Archer Dwight Vanderveen practicing for the outdoor competition season.

Dwight Vanderveen is back in the Elk Valley after shooting his bow in the Armstrong Provincials where less than 20 points separated the top four finishers.

“I got fourth, which is okay, I was hoping for better. I was three points off of being third, 10 off second, and 15 from being first. So it was really close because it is totalled out of 1,200 points,” said the archer. “In my category I’d want to say there were about 12 people shooting.”

This was Vanderveen’s first season shooting competitively indoors; he intends to sign up as a back-up shooter for Canada in hopes to get to shoot at Archery World’s.

“Even if you do not place well in Provincials or Nationals you can apply as a back up. Some of the time they won’t have a guy to go or he will drop out so they will take a back up. I hope to go around the world shooting,” he said.

Indoor shooting may have closer targets than outdoor shooting, but the accuracy needed to be a successful indoor shooter is tougher than many think, according to Vanderveen.

“I usually shoot at 20 yards or 18 meters, it’s a lot harder than most people think. You have to be so precise on every shot, hitting a quarter sized dot at 20 yards, 60 shots in a row is what you are aiming for,” he said. “When people say ‘oh, it’s only 20 yards’ they do not think it’s a big deal but when you are pretty much trying to hit your own arrow every time it isn’t that easy.”

The archer is getting ready to transition to outdoor shooting now that the seasons are changing. Outdoor competitions have increased distance to the target and shooters also need to factor in wind and weather, aspects that do not affect an indoor shoot.

“With outdoor, you usually shoot at 55 yards or 50 meters, it gets a little different, you have different factors like wind,” he said. “You still shoot for the same sized target as indoor. It is a little harder but you do not have to get as close as you would at 20 yards. No one is really hitting a quarter-sized dot at 20 yards. It’s not more difficult, it is just a different shot.”

“With outdoor, you usually shoot at 55 yards or 50 meters, it gets a little different, you have different factors like wind,” said Vanderveen

Even the gear changes for outdoor shooting. Vanderveen is currently looking to get outdoor competition arrows, which are not cheap; each arrow can cost well over $100.

Indoor competition arrows are about twice the width of the hunting ones the archer uses, and outdoor competition arrows are even smaller in diameter than his current hunting arrows.

“Arrows for outdoor competitions are different from my hunting arrows, an outdoor competition arrow is a lot skinnier than a hunting arrow,” he said. “Outdoor arrows are half a hunting arrow size and that is because even if the competition is on a windy day the organizers won’t change it. You will have to shoot for the condition; a smaller arrow won’t be affected [by wind] as much. They are really expensive.”

He hopes to continue to help with the Junior Olympian Program (JOP) in the Elk Valley and to have a hand in setting up shoots to continue to give back to the community.

“JOP trains archers for the BC Games and that happens over the winter. They all train for it just like what I did,” he said. “I help out the little kids, helping them shoot and giving them some tips when I can. I also help set up shoots, it takes a lot to organize where the targets go and to set them up.”

When comparing the two competitive shooting styles, the archer prefers shooting his arrows outdoors.

“I like outdoor, you are outside, I love being outside and it is a lot more fun. 3-D shoots are even better; indoor it just feels kind of cramped. They are both really fun though,” said Vanderveen.