Early spring weekend activity

spring is almost here - snowdrops

spring is almost here – snowdrops

In one quiet less muddy corner of the car park there were a few signs of spring.
Whilst at the wood this weekend helping to prepare for next month shoot we bumped into a couple of friends Irene and David walking off the course having been down to the wood early.
In hand was an example of good grouping. Dave had been shooting his compound bow at the target but lost sight of where the arrow hit so thought he’d have another go.
A Course - Target 10

A Course – Target 10

The result a “Robin Hood” on the first arrow.

Robin hood arrow shot

Robin hood arrow shot

If you look closely you can see the carbon threads. Good shooting Dave though a bit costly on the old arrow front.
Just a quick note to Chris, Keith, Badger and Denzil. Well done guys on getting the new B course up and running over the weekend, 20 new shots all set up in 2 days is great going.

Also thanks to other members of the club who helped laying gravel on the entrance path  (50 odd bags of it) along with the 2 bags of hard core that went on filling in the ruts in the car park. Really good to see so many members helping out.
Thanks for reading.

Shoot Report – 3D National Championships

Morning Sunrise

Misty sunrise over the fields

The weekend of the 25th-26th of May saw the arrival of the annual National Field Archery Society (NFAS) 3D championships.
This 2 day event would see archers from around the country (just under 600 competitors) travelling to Osmaston just outside of Derby. This was the 4th year the event had been hosted there and possibly the last as the contract with the estate is ending this year. Here is a link to last years report.
3D Badge

3D Badge

I will admit to approaching the weekend with a level of apprehension, the week before I had struggled to shoot round our wood on both days, so wondered how my shoulder would cope with 2 days of no doubt challenging courses. Only time would tell.
We’d chosen to camp this year with a group of fellow archers from SVYF and had taken the Friday off work so we could get up early and set up the tent.
3D Champs, Sharon sheltering from the wind

3D Champs, Sharon sheltering from the wind

As it was pitching the tent was a bit of a challenge in winds, gust up to 50mph and showers but we managed it.
Rainbow over campsite

Rainbow over campsite

Format of the weekend

Each class would shoot a different course over the 2 days, A+B course if shooting wooden arrows X+Y course if shooting metal / carbon arrows. The courses had been set by 4 different clubs Artemis Archers, Lyme Valley, Hanson and Duvelle.
Since I was shooting my recurve in the Hunting Tackle class as my shoulder was still not 100% I would shoot course A on Saturday which had been laid by Duvelle archers and Sunday it would be Lyme valleys course (B course). Sharon would be shooting X&Y course (X course Saturday and Y course on Sunday)
The courses were made up of 40 3D targets of various size and distances and I do mean all shapes and sizes. Over the weekend I shot everything from 3D deers, bears, frogs, raccoons to the occasional dinosaur.

Saturday Morning

Saturday Morning – archers gathering

You register between 8:30-9:30 and go through arrow check, this is where a marshal will check your arrows to ensure they are marked with your name, and shooting order. (this is a requirement for both the rules and insurance)
Announcements started at 10 and we were sent off onto our respective courses on the walk out, which can take up to 15-20 minutes itself before you even get to your course and then have your course briefing and escorted to your starting peg. Roughly by 11am you should have started shooting.

Saturday

Saturday dawned with a clear bright sky, thankfully the wind from Friday had gone too. having made up a few new arrows I thought I’de try them out on the practise targets before they got too busy.
The day didn’t start too well with breaking 2 arrows on the first 6 targets, one of which hit the target but broke on the leg after hitting the leg support. By the end of the day I had smashed one into pieces and had to re-pile 2 others.
My only criticism of this course would be that within the first 16 targets we shot,there were a number of the same targets, we had 3 of the same bedded panthers and 2 Velociraptor. This isn’t the clubs fault as they are given the 3D targets, but I think it would have been better to spread them out a bit more.
Having said that the targets weren’t stretched for their size or distance. I think a few more signs informing archers to shout clear when they had left the target they had shot, so the following group knew they were clear and could start shooting would have been good. There were a number of large bushes that blocked vision so at times it was hard to tell if people had cleared the area.
As for shooting, well I didn’t blank any targets so wasn’t too bad a day, though my shoulder was beginning to ache. Here’s hoping for a decent nights sleep.
We had finished by 4 pm and I was back at the tent shortly afterwards, A course being the closest to the campsite.
As the evening approached we gathered round the camp fire, lit the barbecues and sat chatting about the days successes and failures over some hot food and a few drinks. Good social end to the day.

Sunday

Sunday was another bright and clear day, a complete difference to last year when it was continual rain all day.
The one downside was I hadn’t slept well and my shoulder was stiff and painful, add to that my stomach wasn’t feeling 100% (guess that was the Barbecue I thought). The organisers had posted the first day results on the net late Saturday night and a copy at Administration so there were people massing round comparing notes and scores.
This days course had been set by Lyme Valley archers. Lyme Valley’s home ground is in a valley outside Stoke on Trent and they make great use of up and downhill shots. They had obviously taken this skill set to the course and applied it very well.
There were a number of deceptive shots making use of the height and dead ground.
I’m sorry but I didn’t take any photos of the course, but I’ve included a couple of photos from the course Sharon shot on Sunday.
upsidedown Baboon Y course - thanks to Sharon

upsidedown Baboon Y course – thanks to Sharon

Including an interesting upside down baboon.

Photo from Y course - thanks to Sharon

Photo from Y course – thanks to Sharon

I didn’t shoot as well on this course as Saturday, partly down to it being a more testing course and partly due to my shoulder beginning to cause me grief. Despite blanking several targets I came in with 30 points less than Saturday, just under 600 points.
Hanson were doing the catering for Lyme Valley and they always do a great spread, sadly my stomach was not feeling right so I only snacked.
It transpired that I had a better day than Sharon who was shooting on Y course (Artemis), she had had the misfortune of being held up on most targets which interrupted her flow and concentration.
Sharon on Y course

Sharon on Y course

So how did we get on? Well Sharon came away in third for ladies Barebow (despite shooting badly on Sunday) As for me well I came in 15th, not bad for feeling off and having a bad shoulder. You can see the full results here.
We got home on Monday after a fun weekend, the only down side was I came down with a very unpleasant stomach bug which saw me not venturing far from the toilet for 3 days. The doctors think it was gastroenteritis.
So despite falling ill after the event, it was a great weekend. What is more it has made me realise that despite having a bad shoulder I can shoot and do well. Big thanks to all those archers and friends out there who have been so supportive, especially a certain lady called Sharon. Thank you.
As always, thanks for reading

Literature Review – Idiot Proof Archery-How to Shoot Like a Pro

I recently bought this book (Idiot Proof Archery-How to Shoot Like a Pro) on a trip to Wales Archery.  But I had first seen a copy about a year ago whilst competing at the Scottish championships. Some of my club members from Artemis had a copy and were promoting its content.

Idiot proof archery

Idiot proof archery

I like the style of writing, as it makes the book an easy read. It also means you can easily put it down and pick it up or flick through.

I think it gives good advice for those wanting to improve and I found the Dos and Don’t chapter particularly informative and insightful. Another thing is if you are a coach or interested in developing coaching skills there is some good advice and tips throughout the book on things to look out for in your students.

I particularly like the quick key points tips in the margins.

I would classify myself as a traditional archer in many ways, in so far as I shoot mostly wooden arrows from bows without sights. I have a compound and carbon arrows for my recurve, sights etc but prefer instinctive shooting, which means some of the material and subject matter covered is not as relevant. Having said that I still found this very insightful and in short a good read.

Images can be a little small but they succeed in getting the messages across. the one thing I think is lacking is an index of content to aid in finding topics.

I’ve included a link to Amazon below but as I said I bought my copy from Wales Archery, which is a great little shop in Crick, Monmouthshire.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Idiot-Proof-Archery-How-Shoot-Pro-Step/dp/0971281211

ISBN-10: 0971281211

ISBN-13: 978-0971281219

What to do during winter months

First of all, Happy New year to all readers.

Okay, so the winter months are here, short days and long nights with not much chance of shooting.

If you are a gardener you could be reading seed catalogues for the next growing year, if you are a warm weather lover you could be looking at holiday brochures, but if you are an archer what do you do?

Well you could be practising indoors if you have the option and facilities.

or

You might be cross referencing the latest catalogues and internet sites to work out the best combination of carbon arrows for the bow (think this is the closest we get to checking seed catalogues). I know this is something Sharon is doing at present in her quest to find some carbon arrows for next season.

or

Something you might find useful to do is review targets?

What do I mean? Don’t they all look the same? After all a circular target is the same day in day out. Well yes, if you are shooting at a circular target.  But in the field archery I shoot you aren’t shooting circular targets. I’m shooting either 3D animal targets or animal paper faces.

How is it scored?

Well if you hit with your first arrow you can score 20 points for a kill shot and 16 points for wound (if you get an inner kit you score 24 points)

If you miss with your first arrow you are allowed to take another shot from the second peg.  If you hit, you can score 14 points for a kill shot and 10 points for wound (if you get an inner kit you score 14 points i.e. no difference now as the bonus points are only if you hit with first arrow).

If you miss with your second arrow you can take a third and final shot from the last peg. From there you can score 8 points for a kill shot and 4 points for wound (if you get an inner kit you score 8 points)

JVD Boar

JVD Boar

The image above shows clearly the 3 scoring zones. The outer most line is the wound line. The next in is the kill line and the smallest is the inner kill.

As you can see not all the animal scores on paper faces so if you hit a leg, you don’t get anything.

There are now hundreds of animal faces and 3D targets on the market (JVD, Martin, Delta and Maple Leaf to name a few)  and if a course is laid well you should never be faced with the same target face on a shoot.  Also new target faces are always arriving on the market,  Merlin Archery in the UK have recently produced some fantastic quality paper target faces.

Target face - merlin boar

Merlin Boar

Another good target they produce is their ram.

target face - merlin ram

Merlin Ram

The only downside I have found with these faces, is they tend to reflect light so be careful course layers and try to avoid putting them in direct sunlight. Think they are changing this in next batch.

The problem with having all these faces, is trying to remember them all and know where the key high scoring areas are. In the NFAS only a few bow classes can use memory aids  such as booklets of targets faces or phone apps. For the rest of us we have to try and remember.

I’ve lost track of how many different boar or deer faces are on the market at present. All slightly different in size and shape. Some are life size others are reduced.

Likewise there are hundreds of different 3D targets out there too.

3d javalina

3d Javalina

A good tip I have been given is to aim for the leg line when shooting a 3D target, as if you drop low you are still in the leg. Downside of this means you aren’t in the highest scoring areas, but at least you don’t blank the target.

3d Turkey

3d Turkey

Anyway it is something to do, whilst we wait for the longer days and the season to start

As always thanks for reading and good luck for 2013.

What arrows for beginner?

Early this week Sharon was asked by an archery friend what arrows she thought would be good for her brother. What an easy question to answer … NOT 😉

She asked me and my response was to suggest she found out some more information first

The type of arrow is dependent on numerous factors many of which I’ve covered but in short

  • Draw Length
  • Bow weight
  • Club rules
  • Bow Style – compound, recurve, longbow etc
  • Purpose – hunting/target/field etc

Shooting an arrow that is not matched to your draw length and poundage can be dangerous as it may snap under the pressure if the wrong poundage, or you might draw it off the arrow rest if too short. Beginners often find their draw length increases as they get more used to shooting, so make sure any arrows allow for this.

Likewise too light an arrow can damage your bow as there is insufficient strength and weight in the arrow to cope with the energy from the limbs, resulting in damaged limbs.

General rule of thumb is the longer the draw length and the heavier the bow draw weight you end up going for stronger arrows ie the numbers higher. This is explained best here, taken from the Easton Arrow site

The four-digit number refers to the outside diameter and wall thickness of the shaft. The first two numbers are the outside diameter in 64ths of an inch. The second two numbers are the wall thickness in thousands of an inch.

For example, a 2514 shaft would be 25/64th of an inch in diameter and .014 of an inch wall thickness. OD and wall thickness are the two variables in controlling spine for aluminum arrows.

http://www.eastonarchery.com/frequently-asked-questions

Quick point on club rules. Some clubs do not allow archers to use carbon arrows, others ban beginners from using them. Personally I am not a fan of beginners using carbon arrows simply because I prefer them to use alloys. Alloys are easier to find if lost, if they glance off a tree they might be slightly bent but can’t be straightened, they don’t break / shatter leaving carbon shards. This topic is covered in the recent stick and string podcast

For complete beginners I tend to use Easton Neo alloy shafts, they are 1618 and at full length 32 inches. They are great arrows for low poundage bows, up to about 24-26lb at 28″ above that they get a bit whippy.

Easton Neo

Easton Neo

Another good arrow for a slightly more experienced archer is the Easton Jazz.  They range from 14130  to 1916. I tend to find most beginners find the 1816 work well from their first bows that come in about 26lb-30lb.

Easton Jazz

Easton Jazz

Here is a link to Easton Arrows selection chart http://www.eastonarchery.com/uploads/files/52_target-sel-chart.pdf  this will help work out whats best for your bow.

As the archer progress good alloy arrows are the Easton x7  (think they are 1614 going from memory) which Sharon uses (recurve 38lbs and 26″, yes 26″ not 28″) and work well for the field archery we do. I’ve got some XX75 that are pretty robust too, but I tend to shoot wooden arrows more.

There are loads of really useful sites out there and a wealth of help in local clubs, so do a few searches and if you can try different arrows before you buy. Jordan Sequillion blog site covers this well as do others like Charlies

Please note I have no alliance or connection with any of the shops or manufacturers I mention here, other than being a customer. So I have no vested interest in this other that trying to help an offer my opinion.

I hope this is of interest and if you have any questions drop me a line. Always happy to help if I can. Thanks for reading.