MacGyver would have been proud of my creation. It was made from tarp, duct tape, and PVC pipe, the trifecta of any standard backwoods apparatus. Every time a ball would enter the “system”, it would make a sort of rattling sound and role with a little bumpy tick down the pipe.
My invention. A time saver. The Sling Shot Ball Return System.
I took up sling shot this summer after my husband spotted a Yellow Jacket nest in a tree on our property. That not being a good thing, we decided to take potshots at it with a BB gun. Although slowly watching a nest dwindle one tiny hole at a time is satisfying, I decided I wanted something with a little more punch.
I’d bought my son a slingshot earlier that year. The thing sat around for about 10 months unused except for the one time point and shoot and it goes sideways and then you put it away thing. It moved from one spot to another, mainly getting in the way until I dug it out for the second time ever.
I took a shot and missed by a mile but I got a little better over the next few weeks. I made it a habit to take a few shots each day and after the brittle rubber band broke, I upgraded to the 10.00 model from Walmart.
I quickly got tired of searching for balls. They would disappear; hundreds of them, within a day or two. With no backdrop, I’d be left to rummaging through the bushes, crawling under trees and roaming about for a half hour only to recover about a third of the balls each time.
At that rate of return my numbers dwindled quickly so one morning I had an idea. I envisioned a ball return system.
We had about 200 feet of PVC pipe left over from our original internet installation so I grabbed about 5 or so 6 foot lengths for my project.
My first design involved using a huge cardboard box I ripped apart as a backdrop that would funnel the balls into the far end of the series of connected pieces leading from the box to me. It was about 30 feet long and the balls would roll into the pipe and emerge right at my feet.
The cardboard soon proved to be a poor material for a back drop as the balls would ricochet like bullets off at odd angles into the trees and brush, never to be seen again.
Next was tarp. We have plenty of that. It had “give” to absorb the impact. I hung one up from 2 trees then taped a funnel into the bottom so the balls would drop in and role down the tube. Much better.
It actually worked although it required constant tweaking. The pine needles kept clogging it and the rocks I decided to shoot into it didn’t help.
My husband, who generally sleeps in later than me, emerged from the RV the morning I made my invention and shambled over to where I had set everything up. He eyeballed the remains of the mangled box and my creation and mumbled “how long have you been up?”