Shoot report – Harlequin Bow Hunters – February 2016

Mark mustering the archers at the start of the day

Mark mustering the archers at the start of the day

So last weekend was a baptism of fire back into the field archery circuit with Paget de Vasey shoot on Saturday and Harlequin club shoot Sunday.
So with slightly aching shoulders we set off up the motorway to Harlequin’s grounds. You can read my previous shoot report here. (Just so you don’t get confused Harlequin changed the club name recently from Hay Smiths to Harlequin)
The course was a mix of 3d, 2d and paper faces set over sensible distances. In fact I would say it’s one of the best set courses I have shot for a long time.
We had great company on the shoot with Roger and Julie joining us shooting Hunting Tackle and Barebow respectively.
Sharon shooting at Harlequin

Sharon shooting at Harlequin

The club have a lovely piece of woodland offering some great opportunities to frame shots and use dead ground, including a cracking shot at a 2D lynx which was across a small pond that wasn’t even visible from the first peg. A great example of how to cleverly lay a target.
Action shot of Roger shooting the 2D Lynx

Action shot of Roger shooting the 2D Lynx

Due to recent heavy rain areas of the course were very muddy and waterlogged.
The shoot had a really good vibe with a relaxed atmosphere. Catering was run really well by the club especially as it was the first time they had done it.
Sharon shooting 3D goose between the trees

Sharon shooting 3D goose between the trees

It was also, like Paget, well marshaled, something that became apparent when the whistles blew and the shoot was stopped. An archer had slipped and injured her back and was helped off the course. The fact the marshals handled it so well was great to see and a credit to the club. It was also great to see that all archers also obeyed the rules and had stopped shooting.
Martin bear set between the trees

Martin bear paper face set between the trees

Great framed shot through the trees

Great framed shot through the trees

I think the only negative I could say was that the latter quarter slowed which I think was down to people misjudging targets and having to take second or third arrows. I know I took way too many second and third arrows.
Sharon taking a shot after lunch

Sharon taking a shot after lunch

I must say though it was good to shoot a challenging course, made challenging by clever course laying and not stretched targets. Nothing couldn’t be reached you just needed to take time to judge it carefully. In fact we started on, I think, the longest target – the 2d tiger.
First target at Harlequin the long 2D Tiger

First target at Harlequin the long 2D Tiger – sorry slightly out of focus

The small (read very small) bedded fawn caught a few out as it had been set in such a way that you thought it was the large one.
Congratulations to Sharon on her first in Ladies American Flatbow with a score that would have got her placed second in the Gents class. Congrats to Jim Kent on his placing and JT on getting his personal best.
It is a shoot like Hawk that we will do our best to get to in future as I think it is one of the best on the circuit.
As for me I need to practice more and to build up the strength in the shoulders to cope with two days of shooting. P.S, Mark if you are reading this sorry for not hearing the comment about targets, I was distracted by some fellow SVYF archers talking to me.
Thanks for reading.

A year in review

Autumn view

Autumn view

As 2015 draws to a close it is traditional to review the past year, taking stock of what has gone by. So being a bit of a traditional archer here goes.
There has been nearly 50 posts on this site over the past twelve months, with more than 20 of them being shoot reports, the rest have been a mix of articles on archery, with tips and advice. Some I have written, others are reblogs, along with equipment reviews from Leatherman multi tools to Timber Creek arrows. So here we go and I hope you find it interesting.
Timber Creek Arrows

Timber Creek Arrows

2015 prompted a change for me, having shot Hunting Tackle in the NFAS for the past few years, 2015 saw me move to a different class, that of American Flatbow, Sharon stayed in Hunting Tackle for 2015.

Yosemite valley deer in early morning

Yosemite valley deer in early morning

One thing we have been able to do this year is a road trip to the USA, something Sharon and I had wanted to do for years. If you ever get the chance San Francisco, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park are amazing places to visit. I would love to go back and do some more hikes or even a ski trip to Lake Tahoe.
Yosemite valley in early morning

Yosemite valley in early morning

More recent developments have been with coaching. In the last few months I’ve managed, with the approval of the club and the support and help of the club members (cheers Andy, Sharon and others, you know who you are), to set up the basics of a coach program for new and / or  experienced archers.
2015 saw us travelling around the country for different shoots. One of the advantages of getting to lots of shoots is that you get to meet so many different archers from around the country. It also provided me with the opportunity to meet some readers and followers of this blog and sister blog on tumblr (http://offthearrowshelf.tumblr.com/). I see this as a great privilege and I’m very grateful for all your comments, support and feedback, both online and face to face. Thank you all so much. If you asked me to pick the best shoot of 2015 it would be impossible. I shot at over 25 courses this year, not including championships, these ranged from our club night shoot, two day weekend shoots, to the normal Sunday club shoots all round the country.
Sharon studying a shot between the trees

Sharon studying a shot between the trees at Hawk

My favourite ground has to be Hawks, situated on a beautiful wooded hillside in South Wales. Others well worth mentioning are Spirit of Sherwood who always put on a cracking wooden arrow shoot. The award for the muddiest shoot has to go to Wolverines which was very, very wet, but still great fun.

SVYF on the next peg

SVYF on the next peg at Liberty

Liberty two day was great for the social aspect of group camping with group discussions round the camp fire at the end of the day of the shots you made or wish you had. For a different reason the 3D championships in Devon was very sociable over a meal in the hotel restaurant and drinks in the bar. We really enjoyed Wasps shoot with the beautiful bluebell woodland. Other great shoots have been Centaura, Thornbury and of course Lyme Valley.

Sharon shooting from one of th towers

Sharon shooting from one of the towers

2015 would see Sharon’s skills tested at both NFAS championships. would she retain her title in Ladies Hunting Tackle for a second year? Firstly at the 3d Championships in Devon and then at the Nationals in the Lake District she proved what a capable person she is and how good an archer we all know she is by winning both.
Bronze medal from Nationals

Bronze medal from Nationals

A personal high for me this year was securing a third place at the National Championships in September, my highest position at any championships.

A course - view back from 3D crocodile

A course – view back from 3D crocodile

I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to all the course layers, admin teams, marshals and catering crews. Not just at the championships or national organisations,  but at all the local clubs around the country. Without the hard work of these people the archery community be far less than it is.

So as I am always writing, thanks for reading and may I wish you all great success in 2016. Whether that be placing at shoots, mastering a new bow or style, simply developing your skills or supporting the greater archery community.
Thanks for reading.

Shoot Report – Spirit of Sherwood – December 2015

Spirit of Sherwood Wooden Arrow shoot

Spirit of Sherwood Wooden Arrow shoot

So last shoot of the year and our thanks to all at Spirit of Sherwood for making it a good one.  They hosted a wooden arrow only shoot which unsurprisingly was well attended with an excess of 100 archers. Spirit ground is a long drive for us and knowing they wanted an early start along with the weather not looking great  we decided to stop over in Worksop the night before. For those overseas readers, parts of the UK have been battered by high winds and heavy rain resulting in serious flooding in Cumbria and southern Scotland, with the rest of the country experiencing high winds.
As it was the choice of motel was good as it was a 10 minute drive to spirits grounds and an easy walk to a local bar for an evening meal on Saturday.
3D baboon in the morning sun light

3D baboon in the morning sun light

So Sunday morning saw us packing up and heading down the road to Spirit. As I’ve said the shoot would be wooden arrow only meaning reduced number of classes, with there being Longbow, Amerian Flatbow, Hunting tackle and Primitive, all shooting wooden arrows with feather fletchings and no sights. Here is a link to last years shoot report.

It would be a 36 target course with a majority of 3d targets and only a few paper faces.
3d beaver complete with sawdust

3d beaver complete with sawdust

Our group would include Jackie and Charlie from Castle Bowmen both shooting hunting tackle. This would be the first time Sharon would be shooting her new Blackbrook American flatbow at a shoot, though she had had a little practise down at the club woods.

Sharon Shooting off the tree stump at 3d

Sharon Shooting off the tree stump at 3d

The course included one moving target a festive 3d turkey along with a predator prey.
Throughout the course Spirit had distributed boxes of sweets as festive treats for archers to help themselves,  a very kind and generous touch.

Spirit of Sherwood gift to archers

Spirit of Sherwood gift to archers

The shoot flowed well with no hold ups or apparent problems with the whole thing being completed by 3 pm allowing for all to set off home while there was still light.

3D bedded dear

3D bedded dear

There were some nice new 3d targets I hadn’t seen before including a 3D boar and bear.

Nice 3D bear target I hadn't seen before

Nice 3D bear target I hadn’t seen before

3D Boar hidden behind the tree

3D Boar hidden behind the tree

Being a  pretty flat ground spirit made use of a couple of tree stumps for elevated shots along with a few nicely framed shots between trees including one of a climbing cat 3d I’d not seen before.

Shooting off the tree stump at 3d

Shooting off the tree stump at 3d

3D car climbing the tree

3D car climbing the tree

Overall it was a really relaxed enjoyable shoot with good company and great atmosphere. There we no stretched targets just well set course at sensible distances, well done guys. We were lucky with the weather too as it was mostly dry except for the briefest of showers.  It was nice to chat with friends and fellow stick throwers along with other Fellowship of the Bow Facebook group members.
Sharon shot well and she came away with first in ladies American flatbow sadly I only managed third missing out on first by 8 points.
Thanks for reading and have a safe and enjoyable festive season.

Spooky shoot report – SVYF Halloween night shoot – October 2015

Halloween shoot

Halloween shoot

Well that was a very busy weekend. Saturday morning we were driving up to Loughborough for Sharon to collect her new Blackbrook American flatbow from Andy Soars, then back home to collect the bows for club Halloween themed night shoot which meant we finally got home about 10:30 pm. Sunday we were back to the wood for 9:30 am to tidy and clear away the temporary course and for Sharon to try out her new bow.
Anyway on to the shoot report. Some of you might remember that last year Severn Valley ran a charity night shoot and this year Nigel and crew set about doing another.
This year we had just over 50 people for the shoot, made up of members and guests arriving in the early evening as dusk began.
SVYF welcome all, just don't feed the zombies

SVYF welcome all, just don’t feed the zombies

Even the weather helped to set the mood, with mist just forming as people started to arrive. The weather was unseasonably warm and completely dry, which was as good as could be hoped for for this time of year.

Mist appearing as dusk falls

Mist appearing as dusk falls

One thing about a night shoot is how very different the woodland is at night and you can hear the owls not being too happy with us being in their woodland.

woods at night

woods at night

As was the case last year it would be a simple 20 target course with custom faces and scoring from one arrow getting you 40 points to negative scores if you were unlucky in picking the wrong target. The flock of bats (or should that be colony) was one where you picked the target and shot two arrows. Problem was you only found out what you scored when you got to the target.

Themed pumpkin target

Themed pumpkin target

The targets themselves were illuminated with candles buried in the ground just in front of the bosses . (Yes you did have to be careful not to go too low or you ran the risk singeing your arrows.)

baby ogre target

baby ogre target

There was the floating bat distraction too, which Nigel controlled on a length of fishing line and would bob up and down as a distraction. sound effects were also played at some shots or along paths to set the atmosphere.
One target that worked well was the skull. Normally you have to hit a target to score, with the skull you had to shoot through the eyes or nose and had one arrow.

skull shot in day light

skull shot in day light

Here is what it looked like in day light from the peg. At night it looked like it was floating in air.

Skull target from the peg in day light

Skull target from the peg in day light

There weren’t any very long targets,  the longest target was about 30 yards
Once the shoot was over there was hot food of chilli or a variety of soups along with mountains of cake to warm you up for the journey home. The atmosphere was great with lots of laughter and joking around. Congrats to Nadeem on shooting so well in longbow. I’m sure you will remind Rich of your sucess, but stop picking on Cliff 🙂
I  think we raised just under £300 with the plan being to donate the surplus once the costs are covered to local charity.
Thanks for reading

Shoot report – Long Eaton Field Archers – October 2015

Long Eaton making announcements at the start

Long Eaton making announcements at the start

The early mist of the October morning soon gave way to a bright sunny day, giving dappled sunlight on many of the 3d targets at Long Eatons ground. If you are interested you can read an earlier shoot report here, along with a listing of all shoot reports being available on where the Arrow lands page.
The course this time would be 36 targets all 3D, including predator prey and a moving target.

First target

First target

Sharon and I were joined by two Paget de Vasey archers Craig and Breanna Smith, both shooting hunting tackle. As we shot round I discovered Rianna follows the Off the Arrow shelf tumblr blog. Small world this archery community is.

Long deer target in the sun light

Long deer target in the sun light

The early morning low sun made shooting the big 3d Bison very difficult with the sun directly behind the target. There was quite a bit of discussion as to the distance and I think it was around 68 yards. I managed a very lucky lower leg hit with my first arrow, far more luck than skill.

Long bison in the sun seen from the red peg

Long bison in the sun seen from the red peg

Unlike previous times we had shot LEFA , they organsied the day as a shoot through, rather than everyone stopping for a hour for lunch. I think this worked well and we flowed round the course easily all day. In fact, I don’t think we saw the group in front or behind most of the day. The result of this was, at times we thought we were the only ones in the woodland. This made for quite a relaxing shoot, surprising when you think there were over 120 archers present.

Lion on the log

Lion on the log

I think LEFA must have bought a job lot of small 3d targets as there were a number of them, including a flock of magpies and small birds. Whilst there were many well laid shots, there was one target I think could have been improved. This was a small 3d hedgehog. The shooting pegs were situated in a hole and you were just over eye line to the ground, if like me you are 5ft 8 inches. The issue was you had to shoot over a low log. Anyone 5ft 4 or shorter struggled especially if they were shooting flat trajectory bows like a compound.

I’m not a huge fan of small 3d targets as I’m not convinced they are worth the money. The other thing I have found is if the 3d is soft then it gets shot out quickly, if its hard then due to the small size and shape they tend to result in glance offs if not hit straight on. This might be a personal thing, but if I was putting out a small target I’m more likely to use a paper face.

LEFA set some excellent shots like the large stag in the woods, along with the puma on the horizontal log.

Long 3D stag in the woods

Long 3D stag in the woods

Turkey shoot through an avenue to trees.

3D turkey

3D turkey

One highly unusual target was the running deer, which from a distance looked like it was flying.

The flying deer

The flying deer

There were also a few targets set at an angle making it harder to judge and hit.

Predator / Prey shot from the red peg

Predator / Prey shot from the red peg

Predator / Prey shot up close

Predator / Prey shot up close

It was good to meet up with Steven Tomkins, who I’d been chatting with online about Prokill24 all weather targets. I’d seen the targets at the national championships and there had been some posts on the various forums about them. Steven took the time to have a chat about their design and production. I hope to do a write up on there target faces in the next few months after I’ve tested them out, so watch this space.

Example of the Prokill target face on the practice bosses

Example of the Prokill target face on the practice bosses

I didn’t shoot well largely due to my shoulder playing up following a couple of hours of heavy gardening on Saturday using the petrol engined strimmer. Should have known better, really. Sharon was successful in winning not only the ladies Hunting Tackle but also the ladies handicap trophy. Congrats to Rianna also who was placed in Hunting Tackle.
Thanks for reading.