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Ben Fleguel will enter his first competition at the North American Games this July. (Supplied by Ben Fleguel) When Ben Fleguel first picked up a bow, it took him only three tries for the lethally sharp arrow to pierce the deer in front of him.

The deer, however, didn’t feel much.

Fleguel had aimed for a foam target, part of a setup common to the burgeoning sport of 3D archery. Shooters like Fleguel, rather than aim for a circular bullseye, move around inanimate prey in a natural setting, mimicking a real-life showdown.

That first hit, recalled by 15-year-old Fleguel as eminently "satisfying," launched him into a near obsession. For the next year, he’d work with coach Rebecca Watts, honing his skills in a special range filled with three-dimensional bears, deer and other wild game.

Fleguel’s natural talent impressed Watts, who’s been shooting for over a decade. "You could tell right off that he was an amazing young man," Watts said, remembering their first class together.

Fleguel enters his first serious contest in two weeks, representing Team Ontario at the North American Indigenous Games in Toronto.

The young archer says he doesn’t practise for trophies or glamour. Instead, he’s preparing for hunting season this fall. Ben Fleguel sets up a shot in the woods around Curve Lake . The community has a keen interest in refining the skill, according to coach Rebecca Watts. (Supplied by Ben Fleguel) For Fleguel, who lives in a community where felling deer and moose often stocks freezers with winter meat, the thought of foregoing guns and snaring game the same way his ancestors did instills a sense of pride.

"It means a lot, carrying it on," he said. That’s why he practises nearly every night after a full day of work.Fleguel’s interest in archery "really surprised us," said Aricka Fleguel, […]

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