A Clarenville man with a passion for bows and arrows has made it his target to develop the sport of archery in the local area.
Jon Gullage, 32, started using a bow and arrow to hunt about 12 years ago.
“I’ve always found archery fascinating, it’s a very addictive sport,” Gullage told The Packet.
He’s used compound bows, recurve bows, longbows. He shows how passionate he is when he details the intricacies of each discipline.
Gullage has been an avid hunter his entire life and came to see the beauty and value of hunting with a bow instead of a rifle or shotgun.
“I never would’ve thought it was as enjoyable or as lethal as it is in a hunting situation. It’s proven itself time and time again that it’s every bit as effective as a firearm – but it comes down to the shooter, someone who puts in the time and the practice needed to get in close and make an accurate shot in a highly intense and adrenaline-fueled moment,” said Gullage.
Over the years as a hunter, Gullage and his dad, Dave, have successfully harvested black bears, a caribou and several moose with bow and arrow.
He says bows are also practical for hunting small game, like grouse and rabbits.
While it’s challenging and takes a lot of practice, it’s also very rewarding.
“It’s a very fun and enjoyable pastime for couples, even,” he says, adding his girlfriend Cheryl Noel often accompanies him with a bow.
He’s gotten so enamoured with bows and arrows, he’s taken a step back from the high-tech compound bows with sights and triggers, and now often carries a traditional, wooden bow with wooden arrows. He appreciates the patience and discipline it takes.
“I’ve been hunting with a traditional bow for three years and I’ve yet to harvest an animal. But it makes me more determined. It’s that challenge is what’s very satisfying. There’s something about looking at something to challenge my skillset as a hunter.”
Now, to further the development of the sport in the area, the Clarenville Area Rod and Gun Club is putting on a 3D archery competition at White Hills on June 22.
The idea for a local event stemmed from Gullage attending a 3D shoot in St. John’s.
“The St. John’s Rod and Gun Club has got an excellent 3D archery course set up behind their club.”
He says that club is helping out by bringing their three-dimensional targets out for the event in June.
The 3D aspect of the competition is the targets themselves. Competitors will take aim at three-dimensional animal targets including caribou, black bear, white-tailed deer, turkeys – even a stegosaurus.
Any type of bow can be used, with the exception of crossbows.
As far as safety concerns, the course at White Hills will be barricaded to ensure no one can wander onto the shooting area. Gullage gave a big thanks to the Clarenville Nordic Ski Club for allowing them to use their space.
The local archery club is part of the larger Clarenville Rod and Gun Club. While there is already interest in archery among some local people, Gullage wants to see more get involved. In turn, he hopes they will see some of the other things the club has to offer, like trap shooting and more.
“Any interest we can get into the archery club will also benefit the Rod and Gun Club, as a whole.”
Gullage has offered training sessions to groups like the Scouts, teaching them how to safely and effectively use a bow and arrow at the Rod and Gun Club range.
For anyone interested in the competition, registration begins at 9 a.m. Gullage wants to encourage as many spectators as possible to come by and learn from watching. There will also be a draw for spectators to win a youth compound bow and perhaps jump start their interest in archery, much like Gullage did years ago.
Competitors as young as nine years old can participate, but the event is more suited to those who already know how to shoot. Medals are won based on score, but additional prizes will be raffled off as well. They’ve got many sponsors who have donated prizes.
If interested in watching, be at the site by 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 22. Spectators are admitted free, but there are tickets for purchase to help support the club, as well.
A hobby turned small business
Jon Gullage has taken his love for archery and started Arrow Addiction, a small home business which offers sales and services, including repairs, and trains individuals with compound or recurve bows, arrows and other accessories.
“As far as a pastime, even people who don’t want to hunt enjoy coming out and shooting bows,” Gullage explains.
“I find it’s something that people are really fascinated with and it doesn’t have the same stigma as firearms. A lot of people are apprehensive when it comes to bringing children around firearms.”
He’s excited to introduce people to the sport, offering lessons to make sure people know what they’re getting into.
“It’s very satisfying to take an bow and launch it down range and have an arrow arc directly into a target.
“There’s something about it. I’ve been a firearms enthusiast my whole life, and no firearm has ever captivated me the way that any bow has done.”