Some of the wood carving in the fort area

Shoot Report – NFAS National Championships – September 2017

Some of the wood carving in the fort area

Some of the wood carving in the fort area

Sorry this shoot report is so late in appearing, works been pretty mad, with long hours and a restructuring, but enough of that it is an archery blog after all. So the NFAS National championships has come and gone in what seems like a blink of an eye last September. Has it really been that long ago?

The weekend long competition this year was held in the Usk area of South Wales and if you would like to, you can read a review from last year’s event here.

I have to say I wasn’t approaching the weekend with a great deal of confidence and yes this will probably sound like me making excuses. I’d not had time to do much practice due to long hours at work and not having the opportunity to practice at weekends. I’m not as disciplined as Sharon, who gets up early and practices before starting work. Guess that is an advantage she has of working from home at times.

Archers on the shooting line

Archers on the shooting line

I don’t know about you but I know the lack of practise and associated lack of confidence really affects me as I tend to doubt myself and second guess my shooting. It also tends to affect my muscles as I don’t feel as fluid in the draw up and release sequence. Not to mention the stamina required to shoot two full days of competition.

Archers massing for the start

Archers massing for the start

Anyway time would tell and more importantly onto the interesting bit, the shoot report. The NFAS National championship is an annual event, attracting archers from all over the country shooting under the NFAS banner. Unlike the 3D Championships held on the late May bank holiday, where all targets are 3Ds, the Nationals are a mixed competition meaning you will shoot both paper faces and 3D targets (approximately 60/40 split respectively) on each course.

This year we were lucky enough to find a very nice local hotel Llangeview Lodge only a five minute drive from the courses, so no need to pack the tent or have a long drive to and from the event.

As is the norm, competitors shoot two courses, one each day. Saturday would see us shoot B and Sunday A, with the courses having been set by Hawk archers club (B) and a group of volunteers (A).

So day one saw us shooting B course. This course’s woodland was quite dense in areas making for some quite dark shots. The woodland hosting the course also had a number of small ponds, which Hawk course layers used on a number of shots, such as the crocodile and brown bear.

Ian shooting 3D bear on B course across pond

Ian shooting 3D bear on B course across pond

It felt like I started in the hardest area of this course as our first shot was a 3D Velociraptor, followed by the infamous JVD artic wolf paper face that I tend to call the Chihuahua wolf as it is all fur, this was followed by then JVD deer all over pretty open ground along a path. Three longish shots one after another, but it wasn’t just me who would struggle.

Crocodile 3D across pond on B course

Crocodile 3D across pond on B course

Ian shooting turkey face on B course

Ian shooting turkey face on B course

I felt sorry for the young junior archer who I was shooting with who blanked several of the early targets and was getting quite despondent when we got to catering. An upside of the day though was that it was good to shoot with Ian from Artemis Archers who I’d not chatted with for ages.

Ian shooting 3D frog on B course

Ian shooting 3D frog on B course

I think it would be fair to say I didn’t gel with this course overall. I felt many of the shot’s difficulties or challenges were really based on distance rather than framing. If you could judge the distance then you were more than likely to be successful, but since at times I couldn’t make out if I was in or not I was often second and third arrows.

To be fair to the course layers, I spoke to some archers who loved B course, having to judge the distance and dead ground was right up their street, but to me it felt like most of the challenge was in judging the distance. Of course if I’d done more preparation I might have felt differently. I personally find it difficult to recover from a bad start and wonder in hindsight if that has affected my view of B course.

Well Sunday would be another day; my hope was my shoulders would be ok. The several second and third arrows I had been taking was tiring it, causing occasional spasms during the day. We left the venue and retired to the hotel for a hot shower, very enjoyable meal and early night.

Day two would see an early start for all, with Admin opening at 7 am to get archers out on the courses as early as possible. I have to say I was feeling a bit guilty not helping out in some way on Sunday morning. Saturday I had been able to do my bit in marshalling the practise bosses, but we didn’t get to the site until about 7:30 and by the time we’d gone through arrow checks and picked up score cards, there was just enough time to shoot a few arrows and grab some breakfast before we were off onto the course.

A course woodland - 3D deer by the tree

A course woodland – 3D deer by the tree

The woodland that hosted A course was very different to that of B course, being more open and situated in and around an ancient hill fort.

A course - in and around ancient fort

A course – in and around ancient fort

This offered some beautifully laid shots with a mix of open and framed targets.

Paper face fox target on A course

Paper face fox target on A course

I feel I engaged more with this course and I think that helped, the only problem was my shoulder. In fact this would be the biggest problem I had on the Sunday that of fatigue or rather muscle spasms in my shoulder. It resulted in my arm flinching on a couple of targets in the morning and more in the afternoon, with my shoulder gradually getting worse as the day progressed.

A course - 3D bobcat on the log

A course – 3D bobcat on the log

Those are the breaks I guess and I at least finished the day, though it is incredibly annoying to see an arrows fly at exactly the right height landing just left or right of the target due to arm twitching, which was the case on the big white Ram 3D.

3D frog target hidden in the undergrowth

3D frog target hidden in the undergrowth

I think the one target I really did not get on with was a brown deer/ mouse paper face round the back of the hillside. None of us in the group could make it out and even when we were up close it was hard to identify.

Quick general comment to make here is I’d like to express our thanks as always to the course layers on both A and B course, admin teams, site organisers and estate owners.

I found out on the day that the volunteers who set A course had never set a course before, which did surprise me as I think they did a grand job, as did the guys on B course. Thanks to all that work so hard on setting the course, running the admin and organising the site.

I think the archer of the weekend must have been Richard Davies, who put in a truly amazing score to win Gents longbow.  Congrats to Lee Ankers, fellow Briar Rose club member on his medal winning placing in Gents Primitive.

The full breakdown of the results and collection of photos from them event can be found on the NFAS website (http://www.nfas.net/home.asp).

Sharon - Ladies NFAS National Champion in American Flatbow

Sharon – Ladies NFAS National Champion in American Flatbow

Sharon did really well despite not feeling she was on form, improving on her second place last year to win Ladies American Flat Bow. As for me, well despite having a collapsing shoulder and not shooting much this year I manage to come in with a 3rd place in Gents American Flatbow, third year in a row.

My 3rd place medal for 3rd year on the run

My 3rd place medal for 3rd year on the run

More importantly for Sharon and I, we managed to retain the Nearest and Dearest trophy for the fourth year.

Thanks for reading.

Advertisements
3D coyote target set behind fallen tree

Shoot Report – Windrush – October 2017

Archers massing before the start

Archers massing before the start

On a beautiful sunny early autumn morning we headed towards Windrush shoot grounds in Oxfordshire. I have to say the old adage that the journey is as important as the destination seemed accurate on Sunday, as due to the early start and route down the took us along some country lanes we ended up dodging squirrels crossing the road, indecisive flocks of partridge who couldn’t decide whether they wanted to cross the road and not forgetting the pair of fallow deer running across parallel to the road in a adjacent field. Added to the wildlife was demonstration of multiple hot air balloons as we approached the woodland, all in all it was quite eventful.

3D fox between the trees

3D fox between the trees

It had been a number of years since we’d shot at Windrush and were curious to see how or if it had changed in that time. Our shooting group would consist of Sharon, myself and the father and son team of Anthony and Michael, both shooting barebow and both on their first NFAS shoot. I have to say I felt sorry for the poor souls having drawn what some might have seen as the short straw and others might see as a baptism of fire with shooting with us. Hopefully we haven’t put them off field archery.

Anthony shooting bedded 3D boar

Anthony shooting bedded 3D boar

The course of 36 3D targets was arranged in a series of loops round the central admin hut which worked well, with about 100 archers navigating the course easily. This meant we enjoyed a shoot through course i.e. no formal stopping at a set time for a lunch break.

Windrush Club hut

Windrush Club hut

Catering was very efficient as was the admin. In fact I thought the whole event seemed to work well. The course was safe and well marshalled, as we saw marshals walking the course checking on archers and targets throughout the day and taking the time to chat. All of which added to the relaxed feel of the day.

Sharon shooting 3D

Sharon shooting 3D

The land itself that the course occupies is a flat ground, being in an open deciduous mature woodland. Windrush course layers try and provide some height difference with the use of a platform in one area for a well-hidden bedded deer 3D.

3D badger target being shot by Michael

3D badger target being shot by Michael

They also make use of a few tree stumps as shooting platforms. I’m not sure if I am completely comfortable with this as I think some might find the footing a challenge. Maybe adding some chicken wire for additional grip or off cuts of decking with the grooves in it would help. Having said that it is only a minor comment on what I thought was a very nicely laid and engaging course.

3D antelope with shooting peg on the stump

3D antelope with shooting peg on the stump

Even though the ground is quite open and flat the course layers offered a good selection of targets at sensible distances that were challenging but not stretched. It is so easy on flat ground to push targets that little bit further back to “offer a challenge” but Windrush didn’t do this. They set targets at sensible distances for their size and used the dead ground or framing to make the shot a challenge.

3D coyote target set behind fallen tree

3D coyote target set behind fallen tree

 

Anthony shooting 3d deer - very nicely framed shot.

Anthony shooting 3d deer – very nicely framed shot.

They also managed to use the cover they did have to make for some very nicely framed shots between trees, over or under fallen trunks.
One thing I did learn was if I listen to the voice in my head more often when something doesn’t feel right it helps. On a couple of shots earlier in the day the little voice in my head was saying “come down, something’s not right” Well I didn’t listen and resulted in having to take another arrow. Now I know what you are thinking. “You’re a coach, you should know better” well yes I should, but sadly I don’t always practise what I preach. Having said that I did on one shot I did listen to the now screaming voice and it did make a difference as I came down and drew up a second time( and yes I did get it with that shot)

3D dinosaur target set between trees

3D dinosaur target set between trees

The day flowed really well with us experiencing no hold ups, in fact the only delay was at one of the food stops whilst Anthony had to replace the rest on his bow. In all it felt a very relaxing stroll in the autumn woodland, whilst chatting with Anthony and Michael about their experiences of archery so far and what their aspirations are. And yes Anthony I am Rob with the blog. By the way, here is the link to the book I was recommending Shooting the Stick bow.
The Briar Rose club saw five members attend and came away with 3 first places, with Sharon winning ladies AFB and me in the gents’ class. Have to say special congrats to Steve on his first in Gents Barebow.
I’d also like to congratulate Eleanor on winning ladies longbow (John let me know when you have sometime with flatbow). By 4:30pm we were all on the road home, making for an early end of good day out.
Thanks for reading.

Sharon and my bow at Wolverine shoot

Shoot Report – Wolverine – August 2017

Wolverine - Gary making announcements at the start

Wolverine – Gary making announcements at the start

So a couple of weeks ago we headed north again, through the road works venturing this time towards Wolverine club grounds. Once again we were blessed with good weather, though the ground was a little wet underfoot, it was no way as bad as we’ve encounter previously. In fact we didn’t have rain until the drive home.

For those interested here is a link back to previous shoot report.

So onto the shoot report in full, the course would consist of 36 target, mixed 3D and paper faces. We would be shooting with Cliff with his trusty longbow and Neil shooting his primitive bow.

Neil Shooting 3D target

Neil Shooting 3D target

The start was marked not with the usual horn blast but a rocket which worked well for both the initial start and post lunchtime break. Wolverine operate a lunch break being between 12:30 -1:15 and as luck would have it we were in part of the lower woods making for a long walk back for grub.

Our first target at Wolverine - 3D bobcat

Our first target at Wolverine – 3D bobcat

The day seemed quieter than normally, with slightly lower numbers than wolverine normally have attending. This could possibly be because Pines Park who also had a shoot on this Sunday, or maybe people fancied a day off. Even though there were less people there was a good atmosphere, quite relaxed and stress free.

3D owl target between the trees

3D owl target between the trees

The smaller numbers meant we were finished by 3, though the awards were delayed slightly due to one group not handing their cards in until late.

Archers beginning to mass prior to start of the shoot

Archers beginning to mass prior to start of the shoot

Of course there was the famous giant Kong target in the field which is a trademark shot for Wolverine. There were of course a few other nice shots throughout the course. I think my best shot of the day must have been on the standing black bear which I managed to nail.

By lunch break we’d shot 18 targets and had a good rhythm going so were hoping to keep the same pace going in the afternoon. Sadly it was a bit slower after the lunch break as we waited on all targets due to catching up with the group in front.

Sharon shooting paper face crocodile

Sharon shooting paper face crocodile

I think it would be fair to say that I thought the course was challenging and different to previous years though the old faithful Kong was in the field watching over all archers. Overall it was a good day with good company.

There was a good result for Briar Rose with 3 of the 4 of us placing. Congrats to Jayne on her second in ladies hunting tackle and Sharon who won ladies American flatbow too.

Thanks for reading

Cliffs very lucky shot at the 3D carp

Shoot Report – Lyme Valley – August 2017

Cliff shooting 3D hare

Cliff shooting 3D hare

A couple of weeks back we headed north up the motorway and through what feels like endless road works to Lyme Valley shoot. Sorry its taken so long for the shoot report. If you are interested here is a link to a previous shoot report. We were lucky to have good weather, dry and not to warm which is perfect conditions for Lyme valley as you don’t want it to be too warm going up and down the slopes, or wet as it can get very slippery.

It would be a twice round twenty rather than the normal 36 target course they have set in the past. This would prove to make it  a good but long day. Admin and catering was as good as I remember from past visits.

Cliff shooting 3D vulture

Cliff shooting 3D vulture

Our shooting group made for great company, with us being able to catch up with Nadeem, Cliff and Kay all shooting longbow, not forgetting Teyah (Kays dog)

Downhill 3D bear

Kay shooting downhill at 3D bear

There were some nicely laid shots with good use of dead ground. The big grizzly bear 3D shot was great and I wish I’d taken a photo of it. The use of dead ground worked really well I thought on this shot.

Another  was the big bedded elk 3D shot along the hillside was a very nicely framed shot and provided the shot of the day from Cliff on the first circuit round as he managed to 24 it. Though it has to be said that one person’s reaction was timeless to the shot, especially the timing of the comment.

Sharon shooting 3D bedded Elk

Sharon shooting 3D bedded Elk

I had one very lucky shot on the 3D carp only just getting it, with the arrow balanced on top. Ironically Cliff had done exactly the same thing happen the first time round. Evidence of this can be seen in the photograph.

Cliffs very lucky shot at the 3D carp

Cliffs very lucky shot at the 3D carp

Only shot I wasn’t overly keen on was the 3D crocodile by the river. As it was situated on the bank, if you missed your arrow stood a chance of breaking in the stones bank or deflect up into the bridge. The shot looked good and wonder if mounting the crocodile a couple of bosses would have saved a few peoples arrows (including Sharon’s) worse thing was you had to shoot it twice.

Another change to the normal Lyme valley shoot was it was a shoot through rather than a lunch break which I much preferred.

Tricky shot at 3D frog on bank

Tricky shot at 3D frog on bank

The  downside of shooting a twice round is if you get a good shot the first time round on a target you feel you should be able to replicate it second time round. The upside is getting some photos, that is if you remember.

I know some people have commented on some parts of Lyme Valleys course being a little tight on space but by reducing the course to 20 targets from 36 it gave them plenty of space between the different shots.

Sharon shooting down hill towards 3D baboon

Sharon shooting down hill towards 3D baboon

Overall it was a good day with a well laid course. Personally I think if they do another twice round twenty they would be better to use only part of the woodland rather than all of it. Or maybe as Sharon suggested at the time they could set a course of 30 targets and possibly charging slightly less entrance fee. It proved very tiring going up and down the slopes, not once but twice. I think it also made others tired too as the second time round felt slower. To be fair to Lyme Valley, it was a good course and fun day out in the woods.

There were 4 Briar Rose archers attending the shoot, with it being Gayle’s first visit. Steve only just missed out on placing in gents barebow by a couple points. Sharon shot really well despite her thinking the opposite winning ladies AFB with a score that would have had her placed second in the gents class. I surprised myself by winning gents AFB.

Thanks for reading

3D deer from the tower at LEFA

Shoot Report – Long Eaton Field Archers – Solstice Shoot June 2017

Lone Eaton shoot briefing

Lone Eaton shoot briefing

Sorry it’s taken so long to write this up but life seems to be delaying my writing recently.

It had been a while since Sharon and I had been to a Long Eaton Field Archers (LEFA) shoot and I have to say it was good to be back and catch up with people. As always if you are interested in reading a previous shoot report a link to one is here. It’s a relatively short drive for us being around an hour depending on traffic on the motorway, which wasn’t too bad. This would be their Summer Solstice shoot and LEFA always put in even more effort for this.

On this Sunday we would shoot with Tim and Martin both shooting compound unlimited. Have to say we had a really good laugh all day, with it proving to be a really friendly group with chats about the course, bow styles and the recent 3D champs. I know some traditional archers find shooting with compound archers not their thing, but I’ve never had a problem with it and that Sunday was a good example of how different archers can mix and enjoy the same event.

Interesting 3D spider on the web

Interesting 3D spider on the web

On that Sunday LEFA set up a few shots with WASP pegs, these are used as the first peg as opposed to the red peg, for adults shooting crossbow and sighted compounds. I think Wasp pegs can work quite well, offering normally a longer or more technical shot for those bow styles, though it I didn’t think it worked as well as LEFA course layers had hoped. Shame as I think it could prove quiet a good idea, offering a slightly different shot.

3D fox

3D fox

Overall I think it was a very challenging course that used the dead ground well, probably a bit harder than I remember previous solstice shoots but still achievable. I think we would both like to go back and shoot it again and see if we could improve our performance.

Sharon shooting 3D deer between trees

Sharon shooting 3D deer between trees

We were pretty luck with the weather as the few heavy showers arrived whilst we were having lunch  and were under cover enjoying some of the excellent catering that Long Eaton are renowned for.

Sharon thinking - she does this a lot

Sharon thinking – she does this a lot

LEFA like a few other clubs go to the trouble of camouflaging the target bosses so they are less obvious and effectively disappear into the undergrowth when shooting the 3ds in front. This adds to the natural look of the shot and is something I know a few archers commented.

3D deer from the tower at LEFA

3D deer from the tower at LEFA

Raising boar 3d

Raising boar 3D

One of the many nice shots was the large deer in the bracken. You shot it off a low tower and this made for a nicely deceptive shot as you tried to judge the distance. The course layers also worked hard on setting some nicely framed shots between trees or using the uneven ground to make for dead ground.

Small rabbit 3D between the trees

Small rabbit 3D between the trees

The course was a shoot through and seemed to flow well, with only a couple of hold ups near the end of the day, which is normal as archers get tired, having been on their feet all day. It felt a little quieter than previous visits, with a few less archers, though still had a very relaxed feel. It was good to see Dixie Leather there selling their ware.

Despite feeling we didn’t shoot well, Sharon and I both won our classes (ladies and gents American flat bow), with a slight mistake when the results were announced added to Sharon’s reputation as her score was announced as 644. It was actually 464, yet no-one was really surprised at the higher score, guess they know what she is capable of.

Thanks for reading.