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John's Journal... Entry 182, Day 3


Aiming and Shooting a Flip

EDITOR'S NOTE: Eighty-eight-year-old "Whittling" Sim Lovejoy of Springville, Alabama, has made flips for 55 years. His children, grandchildren and extended family get together every year for a traditional, family squirrel hunt using their flips. Today we're discussing flip hunting with Sean Lovejoy.

QUESTION: Sean, you're a third-generation flip hunter, right?
ANSWER: Before I could walk, my daddy had me in the woods with a slingshot in my hands, teaching me how to hunt squirrels.

QUESTION: Is flip hunting for squirrels a way to start off young boys hunting?
ANSWER: Definitely. It's safe. It's not something like a gun where you have to be concerned about a child killing someone. It's something a family can enjoy together.

QUESTION: How long have you been coming to this hunt?
ANSWER: Since I was three or four years old.

QUESTION: How do you shoot that flip?
ANSWER: You start with your ears. Most people think you start off with your arms stretched out and then the flip pulled back next to your face. But you actually start off with the flip pulled back to your ear. Then pull your right hand down straight until it's extended fully, release and then flip your wrist over.

QUESTION: How do you aim your flip?
ANSWER: A number of people have asked me that. It's difficult to say. It's similar to aiming a bow. You just get a feel for it after a while. It's similar to the crossbeams of a bow or the scope on a rifle -- knowing how it aim correctly. It's instinctive shooting.

QUESTION: How do you keep from hitting your knuckles with the steel ball?
ANSWER: From the surgical tubing to the pocket, you have a string -- about 2-1/2-inches. Ten years ago a world-class flip shooter told me a secret. By using surgical tubing all the way to the pocket, when the string goes through the flip it'll hit the fork and knock the shot off every time. However, if you put the string on there, it causes no friction when it goes through the flip, and gives you a more-accurate shot.

QUESTION: Tell me about when your dad went to flip contests.
ANSWER: We used to go over to Horton's Forties. Back in the 70s, flip shooting got really popular, especially in the Southeast. They used to have contests over at Horton's Forties. We'd go over there every year and compete.

QUESTION: Who would go?
ANSWER: Sim Lovejoy, and his sons David and Lyman Lovejoy.

QUESTION: How were the contests conducted?
ANSWER: They'd set up targets at 50 feet and 100 feet away. You got two shots each time. The one with the closest consistent shot would win.

QUESTION: What would they win?
ANSWER: Nothing. Nothing worth near as much as we spent on the whole trip.

To contact Sean Lovejoy, write 2855 Dahlonega Highway, Cumming, Georgia, or call (678) 513-5109.




Check back each day this week for more about HUNTING SQUIRRELS WITH A HANDMADE FLIP ...

Day 1 - Flipping Fun
Day 2 - History of the Hunt
Day 3 - Aiming and Shooting a Flip
Day 4 - The Joy of Flip Hunting
Day 5 - Flip-Hunting

John's Journal