Liberty Archers woodland
This was the first time we had made it to Liberty Archers shoot. This made us Liberty newbies and we weren’t exactly sure what to expect, as the stories of robo deer had spread along with the tall tales of huge steaks and wild turkey (the drink not the bird).
Add to this was that the shoot was to be themed winter wonderland which was kind of ironic, since it was probably the warmest weekend of the year so far with temperatures hovering round the low 30 degrees centigrade. This would also be my first real test of shooting with a glove rather than a tab of for any real duration.
We arrived Friday afternoon following a three hour drive, some times crawl along motorways. Many archers had arrived a day or so before including a couple of members of the SVF club who had been kind enough to take our tent along with others tents to pitch, this meant we were all located together.
So after unpacking the last of the camping gear and a quick run to local takeaway we settled down for a couple of drinks and an early night. Friday night / Saturday morning saw a huge thunder storm overhead with a very impressive light show, visible even through the tent and tree canopy. It left us wondering if a travel lodge might have been a better plan, if this was to be a taste of the weekend weather. Fortunately the rain didn’t last and we were left with a dry warm read very warm day come morning.
The course on both days would comprise 42 targets, more than the normal 40 targets, the extra couple had been added so as not to disappoint those archers on the waiting list. These targets were all 3Ds ranging from small raccoon to huge moose and elk. I don’t think there were any stretched shots with a few lovely set natural looking shots.
An abandoned 3D target reclaimed by nature
The ground is flat, very flat but then again it is next to an airbase (Lakenheath). In fact the grounds are part of the air force base with you camping a stones throw from the runway overshoot. (If you had arrived a day or two earlier you could go plane spotting which I think some people did). Thankfully it’s very sandy ground so the heavy rainfall of Friday night quickly drained away. The downside of this is your arrows burrow themselves into the earth, so searching for any misses can take time. If you aren’t a fan of bugs then be warned there are a few as we discovered when packing the tent up on Sunday.
Sharon shooting on Saturday
Unlike other shoots this had a really relaxed almost party atmosphere, with the organisers working hard to keep everyone happy. Most noticeable from the shooting perspective was the work they put in to finding lost arrows with marshals having metal detector near permanently attached to their arms. Thanks guys for all that work in that heat it is really appreciated by all.
Saturday – view of the group
Our shooting group would comprise six of us Theresa, Ben and their two grandchildren Conrad, Charlie joined Sharon and I. So one flatbow two barebow and three hunting tackle; beginning to sound like Christmas Carol lyrics.
Most groups had between 5-6 archers but it didn’t seem to cause any real delays in our progress round the course. I think the biggest issue was the heat on Saturday, which at times was very uncomfortable. Part of the woodland runs alongside the main road and there we a couple of shots where you could see the traffic in the background which was a bit off putting, maybe some nets would have been a good idea.
By the end of the day we were all tired and looking forward to a relaxing evening.
Saturday Night entertainment
Saturday night was party time and Liberty put on a great show complete with Christmas lights, music, father Christmas a sleigh and of course it was drawn by reindeer. Though saying that the deer were lacking target zones as they were made of polystyrene. Did I mention the wild turkey, there always appeared to be a bottle being passed round. The theme encouraged lots of archers to enter the spirit of things and to go in fancy dress, with Sharon having made an ice queen costume.
Sharon in her costume, yes that is a blonde wig
The organisers arranged Saturday night as a steak night too, so there was plenty of food to help soak up the alcohol which was flowing. You can see a brief YouTube video of the evening celebrations here
Sunday morning dawned with bright and clear skies, though maybe not so many clear heads. I’m guessing there were a few sore heads as the camp was a lot quieter first thing with less activity early on.
Sunday would see the same shooting group except for Ben whose s health didn’t enable him to join us. Think he may have overdone it a bit in the heat of Saturday.
Me preparing to shoot on Sunday
Sundays course was similar to Saturdays with the organisers changing a few of the 3ds and peg positions so you wouldn’t be shooting exactly the same course. The nice thing was there were a few very nicely framed shots between trees, that proved quite decepetive.
Sharon shooting on Sunday
I also think I got the luckiest shot of the weekend on a 3D boar (glad it was modeled on a male boar).
Lucky shot on boar
Fortunately Sunday wasn’t as hot as the previous day and there seemed a few less people, so the day flowed well. By the end of the day I was a little happier with using the glove, though there’s still a long way to go before I’m completely comfortable.
Novelty shots Robo Deer
Robo deer is a somewhat famous or is that infamous target which Liberty is renowned for. Made up of 6mm steel plate cut to the shape of a deer (hence the name) with a 5 inch circle hole to represent the kill area.
It’s a one arrow target with the option of shooting a different target but with a lower score. With it being about 18-20 yards downhill its not the hardest. All yYou have to decide what to go for.
Robo Deer from the peg
So you can run the risk of going for the deer and possibility of breaking the arrow if you missed the soft spot. If you hit the metal you get 16 points if you hit the soft spot its 20 points.
By the end of the weekend, the top of the boss saw a collection of broken arrows where people had gone for it but failed and had broken their arrows.
Robo Deer up close
When we got to robo deer on the first day I’d just had an arrow flick off a target and develop a slight bend. Not wanting to use a good arrow I thought Id give this one a go and lo and behold it sailed perfectly into the soft spot. Sadly this was not repeated on the second day with my arrow clipping the metal and exploding in a shower of splinters and fletchings.
Overall it was a very enjoyable weekend and far more sociable than we were expecting helped by the light hearted party on Saturday night and laid back feel. It was great to see so many SVYF club members out at a shoot too, with many camping.
The club did quite well too, with Chris and Keith Harley, Debbie, John, Jason and Colin all placing. As for us, Sharon won ladies Hunting Tackle despite not being happy with how she shot on Sunday. Amazingly on Sunday I shot far better than expected, resulting in winning Gents Hunting tackle. Guess I’m getting used to using a glove after all.
As always thanks for reading.