Tucked away in the forested hills and canyons beyond the populous beaches of Lake Siskiyou this past weekend, families of sharpshooting bowmen, bowwomen and bowchildren hiked between 42 three-dimension archery targets set up by the local Shasta Mountain Archers.

Tucked away in the forested hills and canyons beyond the populous beaches of Lake Siskiyou this past weekend, families of sharpshooting bowmen, bowwomen and bowchildren hiked between 42 three-dimension archery targets set up by the local Shasta Mountain Archers.
In their best Robin Hood and Cupid poses 159 representatives of the passionate subculture adjusted their sights – from distances as far as 80 yards and as close as four – on heavy foam replicas of local wildlife in the 10th Annual Shasta Mountain Shootout.
Mount Shasta is but one of a string of regional archery shootouts held in the warm California months, attracting families of bowhunters and sportsmen alike to south Siskiyou County.
Family is a common theme among the attendees.
One such group spanned three generations: a pair of brothers who once roamed the halls of Weed High School before relocating, a grandson, and a family friend.
Another family of 16 camped out adjacent to the course – as many of the competitors did – having marked the annual trip on their calendars well in advance.
A proud father escorted his three armed daughters, ages 6, 8 and 13 through the forested trails.
Another thing the archers had in common is that they would twice pass Mel’s Upper Cook Area – once after target 10 and a second time after target 25 – where one of the Shasta Mountain Archer’s colorful members volunteered his time to cook breakfast and lunch for those passing through to raise funds for his fraternal organization.
“I think we’ve had a great turnout,” Melvin Hildreth said from his barbeque tent. “It’s enjoyable just to come out here and eat some sausage and eggs.”
“People come from all over and enjoy it,” Hildreth said of the event. “We all do it for the fun. It’s addictive.”
Mel’s passion certainly was evident in his cooking, as archers raved about the grub they could smell from beyond the sight of his white tent.
But in the end, the gathering revolved around the bows and arrows as Hildreth added more credence to the family theme of the event.
“My son got me into archery,” he said. “I used to shoot a rifle, but now I shoot about 100 arrows a day during tournament season. I don’t shoot a rifle anymore.”
Hildreth is one of many archers whose passion takes him from Stockton to Eureka and places in between to compete, or rather, take part in such events. He is one of 16 members of the local archery club hosting the event.
“I try to shoot against myself,” Hildreth said refering to his personal records. “I just do it for the fun.”
Fun was echoed throughout the weekend, although the event does pose some challenges.
“It’s a tough course up here because of the hills and the slick rocks,” Hildreth said. Additionally on Saturday, the archers had to deal with thunder, scattered rain, deer flies, mosquitoes and the high altitude (if from out of town, which many of the participants were).
“But our range is very safe,” Mel adds, which could be ascertained by viewing the zig-zagging lines of the course map that by comparison made the stock market look flat.
It was good planning, as when a horn blared through the 90-some acres leased by the Shasta Mountain Archers from the Forest Service at 9 a.m. sharp both Saturday and Sunday, a shotgun start ensued, as toxophilites from across the forest simultaneously took aim at most, if not all, 42 different targets.
Bowmen tallied either zero, eight, ten or eleven points per arrow, of which two were fired at each target.
A white “bull’s-eye” earned 11 points, a shot within a larger circle 10 points, and any other body shot an eight on the scorecard. A perfect score on the course is 924. But shooting a bow and arrow is harder than it looks.
“You don’t want to drop an arrow,” said competitor Steve Russell of Redding, formerly of Weed. “Too many can mess up your whole day.”
Targets ranged from a full size elk, deer, bears, skunks, and even a crowd pleasing/confusing mini Sasquatch. “That one was donated to us [by fellow Shasta Mountain Archer Russ Calkins],” Hildreth offered with a laugh. Calkins won the oddly figured target at a Redding shootout.
So what was one of the earliest forms of artillery and continues as an Olympic event, archery is quite alive here in south Siskiyou County as evidenced by the successful weekend and overall event sponsored by the Shasta Mountain Archers – who by the way are on the hunt for new members.
“If people come out and do it they’d find out how fun it is,” said Calkins.
Listed below are the scores of the pin winners and National Field Archery Association/California Bowmen Hunters cardholders. Guest shooters also participated but were not eligible to win a pin for finishing in the top three in each division.
A great variety of prizes also were donated by businesses supporting the Shasta Mountain Archers and raffled off for all participants. 
Adult–Female–Bowhunter Freestyle – Class A: Rhonda Whitson – 861, Kellie Jespersen – 851, Donna Laughlin – 808. 
Class B: Gina Tedder – 803, Theresa Shaffer – 787, Cyndie Butler – 739.
Class C: Jeanie Eliassen – 684.
Adult – Female – Bowhunter Freestyle Limited – Class C: Gina Jones – 509.
Adult – Female – Freestyle – Class A: Rita Waters – 824, Pennie Pyle – 773.
Class B: Jackie Phillips – 872, Laura Hanes – 712.
Adult – Male – Bowhunter Freestyle – Class A: CJ Bartaldo – 894, Chuck Hicks – 892, TC Hammons – 890.
Class B: Roy Miller – 870, Bob Wharton – 855
Adult – Male – Bowhunter Freestyle Limited – Class B: Mark Simmons – 747, Larry Jones – 724, Greg Monson – 714.
Adult – Male – Freestyle – Class A:Mike Casteel – 915, Neil Eliasson – 894, Rick Ceccato – 883.
Class B: Robert Deegan – 856, Walter Childress – 852, Richard Babcock – 845
Adult – Male – Longbow: Greg Lindsey – 535.
Senior – Female – Bowhunter Freestyle – Class B:Florence Deslauriers – 605.
Senior – Female – Bowhunter Freestyle Limited – Class C: Jeanne George – 578.
Senior – Female – Freestyle – Class A: Bev Kouns – 890. 
Senior – Male – Bowhunter Freestyle – Class A: Gerald Whitson – 875, Don Gipson – 855.
Class B: Bob Deslauriers – 829.
Class C: Leland George – 545.
Senior – Male – Freestyle – Class A: Don Gipson – 901, Don Kouns – 901, JT Taylor – 896, Tom Lupo – 894. 
Class B: Russ Calkins – 867.
Class C: Tanner Funk – 555, Aaron Latourell – 531.
Youth – Male – Freestyle – Class A: Aaron Tucker – 867. 
Pro: Dennis Neely – 919; Kevin Pearce – 917.