Steamboat Springs Some of the best bowhunters in the county don't hang up their bows until hunting season rolls around. In fact, their archery equipment rarely will sit around for longer than a week before it's time to go shoot.
For about 12 years, one of the best places for local bowhunters to hone their skills and hang out with fellow sportsmen is at Byron and Clarice Dean's property on County Road 29 in South Routt County.
"We get people together up there on Tuesday night to shoot," Byron Dean said.
Usually, the Tuesday night shoots are a bunch friends and members of a couple of bowhunting clubs in the county getting to together to enjoy something they love to do. The clubs include the Wapiti Bowman out of Steamboat Springs and the Dean Acres Archery Club. The latter club was started by the Deans and revolves around their property, which is basically a course of targets set up for bowhunters.
"It's really a good family sport," Clarice Dean said.
Her daughter and grandkids all take part in shoots on the property.
The course consists of numerous foam targets placed on different parts of the land 10 to 40 yards out from the bowman. They provide the hunter an opportunity to take multiple unique shots at targets, similar to what they might see in the field.
Twice a year the Deans' course is set up with 3-D targets for a large competition of bowmen.
"Everyone is welcome to come for those shoots," Byron Dean said.
The last competition was Memorial Day and the next one will be Aug. 2.
"It is pretty fun to go up to that 3-D shoot," said Leland Reinier, a member of the Wapiti Bowman.
The two days of shooting consist of different competitions on 20 targets on the course, as well as some open shooting. There is also a fair amount of socializing, with locals and visitors with similar interests getting to know each other.
"I spend a bunch of my time gabbing with people," Dean admitted.
Usually the event draws people from all over the state who want to come to Routt County to enjoy the area and the event.
"One thing that is nice about the shoot is that it's up in the mountains, just like real hunting conditions," Dean said.
On Memorial Day weekend, about 50 shooters came to compete in the event. Anyone interested to compete in the Aug. 2 event should look for advertising in the newspaper next month for information to sign up.