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Pull back and release: Mother-son bound for bowhunting Worlds

Pull back and release: Mother-son bound for bowhunting Worlds
Pull back and release: Mother-son bound for bowhunting Worlds
Shaunna Hubert and her son, Jeremy, take aim at a deer target while practicing for the upcoming IBO World Championships in New York. Photo by Brian Smith

Competition has caught the outdoor-oriented Hubert family.
Growing up in the outdoors, Jeremy Hubert has long been around many things in the wilderness, including bowhunting.
It was only natural Jeremy place a bow in one hand of his wife, Shaunna, and an arrow in another to take her shot at pulling back to take aim at a target.
That was 14 years ago. The Corydon couple’s relationship has spanned 16 years, including 13 as husband and wife. Five children later, Shaunna’s keen eye and developing form with a bow has led her to departing tomorrow (Thursday) for the International Bowhunting Organization World Championships.
‘It came pretty natural,’ Shaunna, a former multi-sport athlete at Corydon Central High School, said of the archery. ‘It’s been a lot more challenging at the national stages because of the level of competition. I’m used to more local events, but I like the challenge. It shouldn’t be a breeze. It takes a lot of focus and practice.’
Trekking to the World Championships, Shaunna won’t be alone. Her oldest son, Jeremy, 11, qualified by placing eighth at the 2015 Winter Nationals. Although Shaunna competes as an individual, she is also part of team competition with allies from Gun World and Sporting Goods in Corydon.
It was at Gun World, which features a vast archery pro shop and indoor range, where Shaunna joined three other women to compete at a higher level.
‘We’ve made a lot of friends at Gun World,’ Shaunna said. ‘Eddie Heil is a great bow guy, and Tina Morrison asked one day if I wanted to be on their archery team.’
Morrison, of New Salisbury, is joined by Courtney Campbell (Vine Grove, Ky.), Sonya Smothers (Charlestown) and Hubert to make up the ‘Gun World Girls’ squad.
‘Courtney is the most experienced on the team,’ Shaunna said. ‘She’s a really good shot and has been involved with big shooting competitions. She helped get this girls’ team together, and we’ve shot well at some national events.’
A triple-crown series is set up by the IBO. The first two legs saw the Gun World Girls place third in the Female Hunter Class. Individually, Shaunna was among the top shooters at the events. After the three legs, Shaunna finished 20th overall out of 80-plus entrants.
‘I thought it was pretty good for my first year,’ Shaunna said. ‘It encouraged me to build on that and get better. I know what to expect when I go each time.’
Conditions, including mud, for the shoots can be challenging. Targets at the 2D- and 3D-type shoots have animal targets with rings signifying the highest scoring placement of the arrow. Judging distances is a critical part of shooting well. Range finders, binoculars and lasers aren’t allowed. It’s the wilderness and your bow and arrow.
‘Being able to complete the perfect shot, you have to focus and have superb form,’ Shaunna said. ‘When the bow rests in your hand, if you barely move your hand, it can throw off your shot by an inch or two. Form has to be pristine.’
Husband Jeremy aids in tuning the bow and assuring the equipment is set. On the field, there are different obstacles within nature, ranging from open-field shots to aiming between trees or up or down elevation.
‘My husband is my coach and my mentor,’ Shaunna said. ‘He’s helped fine-tune my form and bow. He makes sure I have the best of everything. The shooting is left up to me because he makes sure everything else is spot on. I have to make the shot happen.’
Channeling her inner Katniss Everdeen, the fictional character in ‘The Hunger Games’ series, Shaunna added the terrain of Southern Indiana prepares her for the national stages. Ranges in New Middletown, Georgetown and Patoka Lake, along with the facility at Gun World, help her prepare her Bowtech Invasion for different conditions.
Faith and family have been key to success as well.
‘I’ve really been blessed,’ she said. ‘I thank God over anybody and anything. It isn’t possible without Him. My husband and mom (Frances Lasley) have given me main support. They really dedicated a lot of time and efforts. My mom has helped raise money to go on the shoots.’
With mom practicing in the backyard, the younger Jeremy has picked up the sport quickly. Although the St. Joseph’s sixth-grade student is passionate about baseball and football, archery has his interest.
‘I get to meet and see new people,’ Jeremy said about traveling to local and national events. ‘I love to shoot my bow. I like to win, too.’
Jeremy is quick to rattle off the few times he defeated his mom in competition.
‘I shot 399, and she shot a 389 at an outdoor shoot. I beat her at an indoor shoot 198-196,’ Jeremy said.
‘He’s really smart, a straight-A student. He won’t forget those (scores),’ Shaunna said.
‘I’m the best in the World. What you need is confidence, and I have it,’ Jeremy said.
Last year, he utilized show-and-tell at St. Joseph School to share with classmates his sharp-shooting abilities. Increased strength also has Jeremy ecstatic about the approaching deer-hunting season. It will be his first with his bow in tow.
The Hubert family includes four other children: Jasmine, 8; Isabella, 6; Destiny, 4; and Samuel, 2. Experiencing the outdoors is emphasized by the Hubert parents.
‘We have a close family already,’ Shaunna said. ‘We try to involve our kids in everything we do. We are very faith, sports and outdoor oriented. The one-on-one time with the kids is really important since we have such a large family.’
Finding time to shoot can be a challenge. Working the night shift at Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services in New Albany as a registered nurse in labor and delivery doesn’t leave many opportunities for Shaunna to practice with the other Gun World Girls.
The first three legs of nationals sent the Gun World Girls to Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana. By qualifying for worlds, they will travel later this week to Ellicottville, N.Y.
‘I saw it on TV, but I never thought I’d be competing at this level,’ Shaunna said. ‘We have the potential, as a team, to really grow together and improve the next couple of years. Courtney, our team leader and veteran, has been a great role model.’
Practice for Shaunna takes about four days each week. She’s garnered local support in sponsorships from not only Gun World, but also Dr. Stephen Baldwin of OB/GYN Associates of Southern Indiana and Massage and Body Works in Corydon, a business Lasley owns.
‘My ultimate goal would be to be sponsored by Bowtech and be a Bowtech shooter,’ Shaunna said.
The IBO World Championships will take place Friday through Sunday.