Check your kit

First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit

Some of you may follow my Tumblr (http://offthearrowshelf.tumblr.com/)  or instagram (https://instagram.com/offthearrowshelf/) sites. Those that do, will have seen my recent post about checking the contents of  your first aid kit. For those that haven’t I’m going to expand on it a bit here.
Whether camping, skiing  hiking or enjoying field archery I always carry a simple first aid kit, either in my backpac, day sack or on my quiver belt. It doesn’t take up much space and weighs nearly nothing. One tip I have found is to put everything contained within into waterproof zip bags. It keeps the kit together and more importantly dry.
It’s nothing fancy, just a simple kit you can pick up from most outdoor stores with a few extra items, I’ve added over the years like antiseptic wipes, spare micropore tape, antihistamine cream, dehydration sachets etc.
I’m no medic but I have patched a few people up over the years and found it amazing how few people carry such a kit. It’s one of those things you hope to never have to use but am glad to carry. As it has been said “you hope for the best but plan for the worst“.
First aid kit and spare arrow tube

First aid kit and spare arrow tube

Since it’s the start of the summer and the 3d championships are just round the corner I use it as a reminder to check, replace and refill the kit. It’s worth checking to make sure everything is within date as sterile dressings, antiseptic wipes etc have a limited shelf life. When in Cotswold Outdoors this last Saturday I noticed they sell a refill pack for first aid kits, which is a good simple means by which to restock.

One addition to the kit this year is a tick card, which is a small credit size card with a magnifying glass and simple prongs to help you remove a tick (http://www.cotswoldoutdoor.com/lifesystems-tick-card-b3210065).
There has been a number of articles in the news about the spread of ticks and the increase in the number of reported cases of Lymes Disease.

Lymes Disease is a potentially serious condition and here is a link to a recent BBC news article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-32429228 and another on the dangers of tick bites http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-27255853

As if to prove the point within 3 hours of posting the original photo on Sunday, the kit was being used. They had been doing some maintenance at the wood and badly cut his hand when trying to saw some wood.

Thanks for reading

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Shoot Report – HaySmith – February 2015

Hay Smith  Shoot just before start.

HaySmith Shoot just before start.

So this is my first shot report of the new year and it sees us heading north to Leicestershire to try out a brand new club and ground. The “HaySmith and Spares” club was set up following the success of the course they laid at last year’s 3d championship course.
So on a cold frosty Sunday morning we headed up the motorway. I approached the shoot with some trepidation as it was to be the first time out for several years with my American flat bow (AFB). I’ve been trying to build up my strength to cope with shooting it for last couple of weeks but this would be the first real test.

Cold and frosty  start to the day

Cold and frosty start to the day

The club’s grounds are quite a small deciduous woodland with a few streams running through, but generally a flat course and easy to navigate.

To say the shoot was popular is an understatement with it being fully booked within 24 hours of registration opening.  The shoot itself was to be a twice round 20 targets with five archers to a peg and all pegs being filled.

Being a new club there were a few 3d targets with  the majority being paper faces. Having said this they did have some new 2d foam targets: a wolf and rabbit which I hadn’t seen previously. Maybe in hindsight reducing the numbers on the shoot to 4 a peg with a couple of empty pegs might have made the day flow more quickly but you live and learn. Having said that it was great to catch up with so many people many of whom we hadn’t seen since last year. It was also good to meet up with Jim Grizzly Kent from Merlin Archery Adventures and have a chat.
One thing the organisers did right at the beginning before the shoot started, which I though was a great idea, was have every archer check the arrows of the archer next to them. After which they announced that anyone found with unmarked arrows would be escorted off the course.
I think it is fair to say the club members put a lot of effort in to making access around the wood easy with numerous bridges across the brooks and secure steps cut into the banks.
We started on target 7 and were joined by Alan and Neil from Pines Park and Josh from Centaura.

Target 7 - first target of day

Target 7 – first target of day

One interesting thing they did was take some standard faces and change the scoring zone and to ensure all archers were aware of the new zones they provided copies at administration and catering. One of these was to be our first target which fortunately I managed to hit.
There were some lovely set shots including one of a 3D wolf across the small pond, thought the reflection looked great.

3D wolf shot - target 20

3D wolf shot – target 20

There were some lovely framed shots which unfortunately suffered due to the low sun and shadows making them not only hard to hit but also hard to see.

Hard to see target

Hard to see target

They had the space to put on a particularly long shot to a 2d hessian tiger which was over 50 yards and probably closer to 65.

Long Tiger shot

Long Tiger shot

In all there were good shots but I  didn’t feel they knitted together as a course as well as they could.

Unfortunately not all things went well for them, which was a shame considering the effort they had put in. There were a couple of issues with targets where the overshoots were close to the next peg so when archers on one target missed the boss the arrows were heard to land near the group in front. This perception of danger often unsettles archers. A ricochet off the ground by one target landed near Administration, resulting in the shoot stopping until the organisers rectified the issue, which they did quickly.

Like many clubs HaySmith relied on outside catering and unfortunately they weren’t the fastest which resulted in delays as groups waited for food. In fairness the food was good and it was the first time the caterers had done such a large event.
Sadly these issues and delays resulted in a long and at times slow day and for this reason the organisers decided to reduce the number of targets that the archers were to shoot from 40 to 30.
It was a brave move by the organisers on the day and I think given the delays they were encountering it was probably a good idea. It meant people could get off the ground and set off home before it got dark.

 They are running a second shoot this weekend due to the initial demand and speed at which their first was booked up.

I’m sure they will review and develop the course over time addressing any issues.
Sharon did well winning ladies Hunting Tackle and being only a few points behind the top gent archers. As for me I didn’t do well and need a lot of practise to get my head in the right place with the AFB. I did have one very lucky shot on a 3D standing bear that was a lot smaller than I expected.

Lucky shot of the day

Lucky shot of the day

I think the mark of a course and shoot is whether people would go back. Despite all the problems I know we will and I hope others do too. Yes there were problems on the day but they reacted to them and will know for the future. Not all clubs learn from their mistakes.

Thanks for reading.

PS I still say the club colours are pink and not salmon Chris.

Cricket tragedy affects us all

I’m not a cricket fan but can’t help feeling for the friends and family of Australian cricketer Philip Hughes who died following being hit in the head by a cricket ball. He was doing what he enjoyed and had worked hard for. A series of tributes across the globe displaying cricket caps and bats are appearing on social media sites.
In our hobby we often talk of the dangers of archery and safety of courses, equipment and archers. When you consider there are over six thousand members of the nfas with shoots nationwide every weekend there are a lot of arrows flying round with thankfully few issues. Incidents like these make me  think and goes to show how fragile life can be.
My thoughts also go to the bowler Sean Abbott, who bowled the ball that hit Philip. I  can’t imagine how Sean must fee, l I just hope he receives the support and time to recover. From everything I have read and seen it was a freak accident.
Thanks for reading.

Archery and numb fingers

Very good posting from a very useful and informative site  on the issue  some archers can experience of numb fingers and methods to avoid damaging yourself.

Charles' Archery Blog

I first experienced numbness and tingling in my fingers while shooting barebow with a thin Damascus glove. The numbness didn’t go away, so after dealing with non-feeling fingers for a while I tried a bit of medical tape around the affected fingers in addition to the glove.

Med tape on fingers

The tape worked but was a chore because I had to apply it every time I picked up a bow. I also had to be precise with how much tape I put on, as varying amounts affected my shots differently. Suffice it to say that it didn’t take me long to make my way back to the land of tabs, and leave the Damascus glove behind.

Cavalier tab

A tab with two layers of leather was certainly better than my thin glove had been but after breaking it in, I found myself experiencing numb fingers again. This time, I did some research on the web and in the varying archery forums. I found that this wasn’t…

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Compound bow riser snaps

broken bow

Compound bow snap

Anyone ever seen or heard of this happening?
A Bowtech compound bow riser, not limb, but the metal riser snapped when the archer was at full draw. This happened at our club open shoot yesterday, in fine dry warm weather. The archer had shot about half of the course and was drawing up on her next target when bang. You can see from the above photo how the metal has deformed.
Close up

Close up of the metal

Thankfully the archer wasn’t seriously injured, though she has extensive bruising to her face from the limb and cam hitting her. It could have been much worse. She could have easily lost an eye or been knocked unconscious.

I know everyone at the shoot would like to wish her a speedy recovery. 

Thanks for reading.