Joe Sarrazin’s skill at staying on target is taking him to Italy.
An accomplished archer, Sarrazin has been to national competitions dozens of times but he recently had the biggest win of his life.
The Silver Creek man competes in the 3D category where competitors shoot at life-sized animal targets made out of foam.
The targets can include everything from moose, caribou and elk to sheep, goats and wolves. The better the shot, the higher the score.
Sarrazin recently competed in Lac La Biche, Alta., a shoot put on by Archery Canada that was delayed for a year due to Covid. It would determine who would go to the World Championships.
In 2019, the top three in the men’s compound-bow category were going to the Worlds, but Sarrazin placed fourth.
Points were a combination of two days’ shooting this year. At the end of the first day the closest person was 20 points behind him. He said he didn’t shoot too well Saturday, but he did Sunday.
“Probably early morning Saturday I was nervous but by Saturday night I was fine.”
So fine, that he’ll be competing for Canada in the Worlds in Terni, Italy in September this year.
He said the shooting is better once you can get out on the course.
“It’s like a round of golf,” he said, because you’re walking through the bush with unmarked distances and you have to figure out how far it is.
“If you think a deer target is at 40 yards and it’s only 35, you’re not going to get the score you want.”
The course is set up like the spokes of a wheel, he explained, so competitors are always shooting to the outside. The targets are set down trails and the course has to be safe for everybody.
It would be like walking down a sidewalk and then shooting down an alley, he said. Then you go get your arrows and move on to the next target.
Asked if it’s fun, he is quick to reply.
“I’ve been doing it for 30 years so I must like it,” he said with a laugh. “It can be quite addictive and if you’re a competitive type of person, the better you want to be.”
It took him a while before he began to feel competitive.
“It’s something that I really enjoy. It’s the same as a round of golf; you go out and shoot with your friends, and a little bantering goes on. Once you get all your equipment, you can shoot for $20 or $30 a day.”
Sarrazin said 3D shooting was helpful when he began hunting with a bow because he learned to judge distances. The Rinehart targets are good because they look authentic, he added.
When Sarrazin hunts he doesn’t always use a bow, but he likes a bow because it’s more of a challenge.
“You have to be a lot closer. With a rifle it can be 300 to 400 yards. With a bow, and an animal the size of a moose, a long shot is 60 yards. You don’t want to wound, so you want to be close enough to do the job you’re intending on doing. Quick and humane.”
His friend has a saying: “An archery hunter is a vegetarian.”
From the competition in Lac La Biche, Sarrazin was heading to Cranbrook for Provincials and then Prince Edward Island for Nationals.
He said he and his spouse like to use the competitions to see the country. With the Worlds in Italy from Sept. 5 to 11, they’ll be expanding their adventures.
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