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Festivals designed for both traditional, modern hunters

Published July 03. 2010 09:00AM

COUDERSPORT - No, there is no one in green tights to be found in attendance.

And, for that matter, there are two chances - slim and none - that Russell Crowe or Sean Connery will make an appearance. Still, even without Robin Hood, a lot of men - and women and youth, for that matter - turn a portion of Potter County into their own version of Sherwood Forest every July at the Eastern Traditional Archery Rendezvous held at Denton Hill State Park.

This year's 21st annual ETAR will be held Thursday-Sunday, July 22-25, for those in the archery fraternity who prefer longbows and recurves over compounds. Last year, the event attracted more than 8,000 people and 100 dealers, including visitors from Australia, Europe and Korea.

In addition to the ETAR, two other archery events will also be held before the Saturday, Oct. 2, opening of Pennsylvania's statewide six-week bowhunting season.

This year's Potter County Bow Hunter Festival will be held Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 19-22, at Ski Denton Hill, and the Sawmill Mountain Bow Shoot will be held Friday-Sunday, Sept. 10-12, at Ski Sawmill, Morris.

This year's PCBHF courses are set out on more than 200 acres of State Forest Lands, and annually attracts an array of compound archery dealers, arrow makers and other vendors with items related to bowhunting. Events are held on seven courses that are comprised of approximately 180 targets that are set-up to practice realistic hunting scenarios.

Most of the courses are for fun shoots and practice, but for those interested in testing their skill against others can enter the Sharp Shooter Competition or the King of the Mountain course to win money and, or prizes. There is primitive camping and five log cabins at the shoot, and there is also lodging available nearby.

While not as large as the ETAR or PCBHF events, the SMBS offers nearly as many targets. Primitive camping and a 10-unit motel, including some with Jacuzzis, is available for on-site lodging.

Featured at this year's ETAR event is one of the most respected lineup of speakers ever to present seminars at the festival. Heading the list is author G. Fred Asbell, the president of Compton Traditional Archers, a past president of Pope and Young and a recent inductee in the Archery Hall of Fame.

Asbell's seminar topic is "Advanced Instinctive Shooting: The Rest of the Story." He is a regular contributor to "Traditional Bowhunter" magazine.

Byron Ferguson and Mike Fedora are two of the other well-known traditional archers appearing at the festival.

A longbow legend, Ferguson will present his aerial and trick shooting demonstrations, and Fedora, who is a native Pennsylvanian and bowyer, will present the seminar "Point of Aim."

New to the ETAR will be continuous blacksmithing demonstrations and seminars on Korean Traditional Shooting by Kwak Yun-Sik, a 5th degree Master in Korean Traditional Archery.

Yun-Sik's attendance is sponsored by Great Tree Archery, which have some unique bows available for shooting after the seminar each day.

One of the goals of the ETAF is to promote traditional archery to youth, and there will be a special youth range, special seminars for youth and balloon shoots for youth.

Festival promoters said that equipment manufacturers and dealers come from 24 states and three countries have registered for this year's event.

They will have displays of bows, arrows, quivers, accessories and other traditional items - and all bowyers will have bows available for testing.

Another major draw of the ETAR is the 3-D field courses, and this year there will be at least eight courses of 200 targets over 700 acres in addition to the youth course. There will also be a special competition course, and three of the courses are accessible via the chairlift which operates daily.

Camping is primitive, although there is space for a limited number of motor homes. For those not planning to camp, food is available in the ski lodge, which also has shower service.

For more information on the three archery festivals, visit the Web site at www.archeryfestivals. com or call 814-435-6653.

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