By TERRI HARBER
Keith Jensen is at a full draw in silhouette against the video screen to illustrate the Simulated Archery system called TechnoHunt that lets archers shoot indoors. Bowen Valley Archery is operated by Jensen’s son, Allen, at Jensen’s Ag Service South of Baker City. (Baker City Herald/S. John Collins)
Bowen Valley Archery recently introduced a computerized video simulator for people who want to practice their aim year-round.
Called TechnoHunt, this indoor simulator shows an archer various animal scenes and allows the person to aim and shoot.
Owner Allen Jensen describes TechnoHunt as similar to being inside a movie theater. Professional wildlife photographers captured images of the animals.
“It has a big, 10-foot Kevlar screen,” he said. “And the videos of animals were shot all over the world.”Each session brings with it a new experience. He mentioned some titles to illustrate how much variety the system offers: “Elk Encounters,” “Turkey Jamboree,” “Whitetail Bonanza,” “Canine Congregation” and even the exotic-sounding “Journey to Africa.”
These and other video groups can be mixed together to create even more scenes so people using the simulator can continue to be challenged, he said.
Bow hunters in this area prefer deer and elk. Turkey hunting is growing in popularity, though piercing the wild birds can be hard because “they see very well,” Jensen said.
The videos were taken from various vantage points to provide an array of visual distances to aim toward.
An archer shoots at the video screen from about 20 yards away using an arrow outfitted with a special tip. Shooters customarily bring their own bow and arrows and attach these tips.
The system keeps score and statistics. But the ability to shoot at the screen provides an archer the chance to see where arrows strike the video animal. And why. Both are important facts that allow people to continue perfecting their skills.
An area simulator league started at the beginning of this year. It lasts for 10 weeks and has garnered a lot of attention among local archers, he said.
For 30 minutes it costs $8 for a single player, $6 each for a pair and $5 each for a group of three to six players. No more than six people can use the simulator at one time.
Many will spend an hour or more using it, he said.
The system didn’t come cheap. Even second-hand models can cost as much as moderately-priced, late-model automobiles.
Jensen said that the purchase has been well worth it, however.
The business also sells a variety of archery equipment, accessories and other products. People can bring archery items to the shop for repairs as well.
The outdoor range is closed down for the winter but offers a different atmosphere for practice when the weather is right.
Jensen has a theory why bow-and-arrow hunting has so many fans: “People seem to enjoy the challenge.”
He also has been helping youth learn how to properly use a bow and arrow. The time and effort spent practicing and honing the skill is a way to build confidence, he said.
It’s an ancient human skill that improves concentration as well as upper body strength — no matter whether it’s used for hunting animals or aiming at a bull’s-eye or other targets, enthusiasts say.
The business is at 18790 Juniper Gulch Lane, about five miles south of Baker City. It’s housed in the new 3,200-square-foot building that also is home to Jensen’s Ag Service.
Call Jensen at 541-523-6375 for details about TechnoHunt as well to find out more about his products and services.