I grew up in a rural village on the New York Tug Hill Plateau. Most of my extended family lived deep in the Adirondacks and I spent many weekends and summer weeks with them in the mountains. Kids my age grew up without iPods, iPads, computer games and cellphones. As a matter of fact, we didn’t have much at all – rarely did we even have television. Where there was TV, there were never more than three channels available. One thing we did have was good, clean fun and plenty of it. We learned to make and to make do. We spent time with each other and we spent time outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, gather and process were just a part of the way of life.
A very few of the kids that I grew up with had bb guns or bows. What we all had were slingshots. Almost all the slings were homemade, only on a rare occasion did someone have a store bought sling. Zeke, the owner of the local service station, was a really popular man as he kept us supplied with old inner tubes to make our slings with. Once in a great while, we’d also score a small handful of ball bearings from him for ammo. Ammo usually consisted of marbles or pebbles gathered from the Little Salmon River or Oswegatchie River beds and banks. My great uncles kept us supplied with patches of deerskin for pouches. I never attained a high degree of skill with a sling, but I became proficient enough to be respectable among my friends and to gather some bounty for the stew pot.
When I finally got my first bb gun, I kind of forgot about slingshots and the fun I’d had with them as a kid. That is until I started going to Terrill Hoffman’s Practice What You Preach (PWYP) at the Chestnut Mountain Proving Grounds in NC. I started a slingshot competition there some years back. That competition faded away for a couple years as interest started to dwindle.
Enter 2012 and Woodsmonkey.com. Woods Monkey revived the PWYP slingshot competition in fine fashion with some challenging targets and the promise of some prizes to the winner and runner up. The competition was tough, but amiable. First timers, some with experience, young, or old – everyone had a blast. My luck held out and I won. My prize was to be sent to me, a new handmade slingshot from A+ Slingshots.
I had nearly forgotten about the prize until some weeks later on returning home from work there was a box on my doorstep from Woods Monkey. Opening the box, I found a brand new nicely finished laminated birch Rough-N-Ready sling from A+ Slingshots, along with a selection of the different replacement bands made by A+. I was impressed enough to run downstairs, grab a handful of 45 caliber lead balls and head out to the backyard to test out the new sling. I set up a nice sized hunk of dried cherry firewood, backed up about 30 feet and let loose. WHACK!!!! A piece of bark flew to the left and the ball ricocheted right. The cherry recoiled and lazily fell off the stack. I achieved the same results over and over until the ammo was exhausted. I was impressed and tickled at the results. So tickled in fact, I went inside, got online and immediately ordered another A+ Slingshot.
When I heard that there was going to be another competition at Marty and Aggie Simon’s Wilderness Learning Center in Chateaugay, NY as part of their Memorial Day encampment, I was thrilled. The first item packed for the trip was my new A+ Slingshot.
On the day of the competition, Marty and Aggie had a great range set up for us. Competition was fierce, but again amiable. My luck didn’t follow me to Chateaugay and I was beaten soundly by my friend Kevin Thompson who was using my very own A+ Sling! Everyone had a great time shooting the wide variety of slings available. However, it became clear that the A+ was a superior sling. The energy delivered on target was incredible. Accuracy was very good and very consistent when we did our part.
What was really amazing was the competition that occurred after the competition was over. Using my A+ Slingshot, Kevin Thompson, Kevin Estela and I backed up and cleared cans off the rack, reset and backed up again and again. We were reliably putting rounds on target at around 150 feet. We backed up as far as 219 feet with hits on target before my bands failed. I had inadvertently left my spare bands at home on my desk, so we called it a day. The above should speak highly of the quality of A+ bands. Those bands had fired literally hundreds of rounds before they failed.
Perry Adkisson, artisan and owner of A+ Slingshots, offers three different sizes of slings in a host of wood options and steel reinforced wood options. For the real traditionalist, he has a “Heritage Series” that looks like the slings we made as kids. Prices range from as little as $15 for an unfinished Rough-N-Ready model to as much as $60 for steel reinforced specialty wood versions. He also markets a neat little bb shooter slingshot, ready to install replacement bands and a wide variety of other slingshot and survival related merchandise. The replacement bands are very high quality and, after watching Perry’s YouTube video, are very easy to install. I strongly encourage anyone even slightly interested in slings to check out Perry’s website. I highly recommend A+ Slingshots. Placing an order? Tell him Woods Monkey sent you…
Before I close, let me say this – Look closely at the faces of the kids in the pictures above. Take a kid camping. Teach them how to shoot a sling. The memories you make will last a lifetime…
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