Shoot Report – NFAS Championships

Arrow checks at the National Championships on Sunday

Arrow checks at the National Championships on Sunday

September saw the National Field Archery Society championships which this time was to be held not far from Hemel Hempsted on Gaddesden Estate. It’s not the first time the estate had hosted the championships and if interested you can read the past
reviews here.
For those of you unfamiliar with the championships it is a two day event. This year it would comprise of 2 courses; A & B, with archers shooting one course each day. Unlike the 3D championships wooden arrow and metal / carbon arrow archers would not be split. Each course comprises of 40 targets, these being a mix of paper and 3D targets. You can read last years championships here, which had been held in the Lake District. Some 400 archers would be either camping or filling local bed and
breakfasts or hotels for the weekend.
Sorry there are so few photos from the event but the Saturday was very wet so my phone was buried under waterproofs to keep it dry. I did manage to get some photos from the Sunday though.
With Sharon and I shooting American Flatbow we would shoot course A on Saturday and B on Sunday. A course had been set by by the Field Officer of the NFAS and other volunteers and the NFAS committee with B course being set by the Cloth of Gold club, whose grounds are part of the Gaddesden Estate.

It was an early start both days for us as we’d offered to help with the admin of the event. Sharon would be helping handing out the score cards and I’d be doing arrow checks. For those that aren’t aware of NFAS rules, all arrows have to checked to ensure that they have the archer’s name and the shooting order. On that point, one thing that amazed me was the number of people who attend the event yet forget to mark their arrows or argue that its not needed. Not only are the markings required
by the rules of the society but also a requirement on safety grounds.

If an arrow is shot and an incident occurs you need to know who it was and from where it was shot, hence the reason of shooting order and name. Most people where fine and friendly but there are always a few that feel it feel it’s unreasonable. I can understand why so many of the admin or organising crew get tired and disillusioned. Anyway onto the shoot report…

Saturday

Saturday’s course would prove to be the flatter of the two courses. With the overcast and damp weather it made the woodland quite dark at times making some of the paper targets very hard to make out. I think this problem was compounded by the use of some new target faces being used this year. Some of these new faces were quite dark, especially the pigeon and goose, which the whole group struggled to first identify and then score well on.

The first day of the champs would see me shooting with Sue, Ian and Ben. I’d shot with Ben at liberty and Sue I’ve know known for years. It was a mixed group of Sue and me on American Flatbow, Ben in Hunting Tackle and Ian in Crossbow.

We started on target 40, which meant we shot one target and then had a
food stop, but that is just luck I guess. The next 20 targets worked well and were challenging, though I think a few could have done with having a torch shone on them as they were very hard to see in the darker areas of the wood. After target 20  had we were back to the food stop and this time did stop and have chance to catch up with others. The second half of the course didn’t go as well for me with a few shots after lunch that were I thought were further than they needed to be. Yes it’s a champs but I think they could have been challenging without being set at those distances.
By the end of the day the rain had stopped and it was a bit brighter, with us heading back to the hotel in Hemel Hempsted for a shower and a meal. One positive thing from the weekend was a large group of us went out for a great meal on Saturday night.

Sunday

Sunday - B course - pre-shoot announcements

Sunday – B course – pre-shoot announcements

Following very little sleep on the Saturday night due to the hotel room being far too warm and noisy we were up at 6 am and on site for 7 am having promised to help with the administration and arrow checks.

Sunday course would be B and I think the course layers probably had the more challenging terrain to work with and I’m really glad it was dry as getting around would have been a whole lot harder if it had been wet. On a couple of shots the organisers had set up ropes for you to use to get down to retrieve your arrows and it was needed.
As is normal the shooting groups changed completely so I’d be shooting with Ian, his son Connor and Dawn shooting Crossbow. I’d shot with Dawn at last years 3D championships when she had been shooting American Flatbow. Fortunately the weather was far kinder to us on Sunday with it being both dry and slightly warmer.

Starting target on Sunday - 3D bear across the pond

Starting target on Sunday – 3D bear across the pond

I think the course worked well for the most part, with our first target being a 3D bear along a river bank. The downhill paper faced tiger was also a good shot.

Paper face tiger between the trees

Paper face tiger between the trees

The lack of sleep really played havoc with both Sharon and I with neither of us shooting as well as we could or should have on Sunday. Think Sharon suffered the worse as she’d been working away from home the week before the championships so was already tired.

Long paper face Rhino target

Long paper face Rhino target

Despite the lack of sleep Sharon still managed to gain a second place in Ladies American Flatbow. For the second year running I managed to secure third in Gents American Flatbow, which I was surprised at since I didn’t feel like I’d shot well enough.
We managed to win the nearest and dearest trophy for the third year running, which I think is the prize we both wanted most.

Nearest and Dearest trophy along with a silver and bronze.

Nearest and Dearest trophy along with a silver and bronze.

Severn Valley won the Barebow Team trophy and special congrats to Mae on wining Junior Girls Barebow at her first Nationals.
Thanks for reading.

Shoot Report – Forest of Arden – July 2016

Forest of Arden shoot

Forest of Arden shoot

It’s been a couple of years since we’ve been to the Forest of Arden club for a shoot, which is ironic as it’s one of the closest shoot grounds to where we live. So the other weekend we took the short drive up the motorway to their grounds. For those interested here is a link back to that shoot report.
We were very fortunate with the weather with it being dry if a little windy at times. The sun even made an appearance though the trees, making a pleasant change to the previous few days. Early July is has not proved to be a particularly warm or sunny month at present here in the UK. Quick piece of advice for any archers thinking of visiting the Forest grounds, there is a bit of a walk from car park to woods, so you best not leave anything behind.

one of our first target

one of our first target

Our Sunday shooting group that weekend, would see Sharon and I being joined by Sandra and David both of whom were shooting barebow. It was only David’s fourth open shoot and I think he did really well, nailing some targets and only really struggling on longer ones.

Down hill turkey 3d

Down hill turkey 3d that David got with a first arrow.

 

3D big cat

3D big cat shot off a bank

I discovered that Sandra is an avid reader of this blog and has recently subscribed to receive email updates. Thanks Sandra for all the feedback and I’m glad you enjoy reading it. If anyone of you do have feedback or questions please drop me a line.

The ladies hitting a 24 each on one target

The ladies hitting a 24 each on one target

The Forest of Arden course layers had set us a 40 target course consisting of 3d targets, though there weren’t many back stops which meant if you missed you were searching for arrows.
For those that have shot there before, you’ll recognise some familiar shots from the hillsides down into the small valley or gully, ones that I recall from our last trip.

Large 3D white goat

Large 3D white goat

There were a few shots where I’d have preferred to see some more space between the previous target and the next shooting peg as we felt very close or in line with the previous target. This can make people feel a bit uncomfortable.

Small 3D target before lunch

Small 3D target before lunch

Catering is split in two locations, the main hut and one smaller station at the opposite side of the wood.
Forests wood is a mix of broadleaf established trees and younger plantation that has been opened up by tree felling last year. The result of this land management was in areas where the tree canopy was less we were surrounded in a forests of foxgloves of over five feet tall in some spot. You couldn’t see the wood for the foxgloves as it were.

Giant foxgloves cover the grounds

Giant foxgloves cover the grounds

The only downside to these areas were if you missed the target, finding you arrow took a while as you had to pick your way through the broken branches covering the plantation floor, but it made for a beautiful backdrop.

There were some nicely framed shots and nothing that could be thought of as stretched, with some good use of dead ground to mask and confuse distance judgement.

Bedded 3D target behind the undergrowth

Bedded 3D target behind the undergrowth

The day started late, delayed due to some archers getting lost on the way to the ground. Having said this it flowed reasonably well, though there were times we were waiting. I think this was down to some shots been tougher than archers expected and wanting to give the group plenty of space to move away from the next peg as they were in line of sight.

3D target

3D target

Sharon shot well winning ladies AFB and scoring high enough to be second in the gents class (apparently this resulted in audible gasp from some male archers there when they heard her score.) Though she did get one very lucky shot.

Sharon gets a lucky shot

Sharon gets a lucky shot

Thanks for reading.

Shoot Report – NFAS 3D Championships 2016 – day 2

View of the field surrounding Y course

View of the field surrounding X & Y course

Some of you may have read the first part of the shoot report of this years national field archery society 3d championships, if not here is a link to it now.
There were two things I noticed on Sunday morning. Firstly it was dry though a little cooler that Sunday morning, still the weather was still far better than previous years. Secondly there seemed to be a lot or reorganisation of shooting groups for A & B courses with archers having to move pegs. These were the metal and carbon arrow courses. My guess, this was down to no shows or late cancellations. This delayed the start a little but hats off to admin for sorting it.
Unlike previous years there was no list of scores and placing posted so no one knew where they stood position wise.
Sunday morning

Sunday morning

Day two
So Sunday would see me along with the other American flatbow and longbow archers hed off on the short walk to shoot X course. As we walked out to X course it was clear it was a very different woodland affording the opportunity to the course layers to offer different styles of shots.
One of the 3D wolves on X course

One of the 3D wolves on X course

X course would see me on Peg 12 again, but with a completely different shooting  group made up of Darren shooting afb, with Dave and Graham shooting longbow.
The course had been set by Pines Park club and unlike Spirit of Sherwood ground was a lot more open making for opportunities for longer shots.
3D deer on X course

Darren shooting 3D deer on X course

A good example of this was a very nicely laid shot, a bedded elk which by some miracle I hit with my first arrow. Overall the course flowed ok, though a little slower than Saturday with us off course by 4 while others on X course still had 5 or 6 targets to shoot.
Think the longest shot on X course the bedded Elk 3D

Think the longest shot on X course the bedded Elk 3D, think this was the blue peg

I think the course must have been set in a clover leaf as we passed catering at least 3 times.
X course through the tree stub at a 3D frog

X course through the tree stub at a 3D frog

Another shot I thought was was good was the 3D frog through the tree stump. Sadly the photo does not do it justice. The hardest shot to judge was a deer in a hollow that had been set really well.
Dave getting a very lucky shot

Dave getting a very lucky shot

There were a couple of things that I didn’t like or enjoy on this course.

The 3d crocodile I felt was too close to catering for my liking and could have been angled differently.It made me feel very uncomfortable when shooting it and seeing archers nearby the target. The other thing was on some, though not all targets, the 3d was placed angled making for a narrower angle and increasing the chance of deflections. It’s a personal thing but if you are going to set the 3d at the upper end of distance you don’t need to angle it as well.
We spent a lot of time searching for misses arrows and were finding them 20- 30 yards behind targets as they skipped along the ground. I know there are 2 of my arrows lost on one target where we found 5 of other archers arrows. Though I did see a couple of Pines marshals searching for lost arrows especially the guys with the metal detectors who seemed to be working hard.

To conclude
In hindsight I think having one course with target set closer so accuracy is important and another with longer targets to test distance judgement worked.
Maybe the society could invest in large foam sheets to act as simple catching mats behind targets as this would speed up the search for arrows  and still be easy to set up for the course layers.
Overall it was a good weekend and my thanks to all the people I shot with and who put the effort in to setting the courses, doing the admin before and on the day of the event and everyone else in the background.
Sharon's trophy

Sharon’s trophy

Sharon did really well winning Ladies AFB, 6 months after picking up her bow. As for me well I managed a 7th place in gents AFB. Not too bad for limited practice and low confidence.
A full breakdown of all the results are here.
As always thanks fro reading.

Shoot report – Long Eaton Field Archers – May 2016

LEFA Practise area

LEFA Practise area

Despite the best efforts of the weather forecasters to predict poor weather for the Long Eaton shoot,  the British weather provided a  spring day which was mostly dry although not that warm.

The shooting group couldn’t have been better company, with fellow Severn Valley members JT, Paddy and Jim Kent aka Grizzly Jim joining Sharon and I.

LEFA marshals and shooting group

LEFA marshals and shooting group

The course was to be 36 targets, all 3d targets, with LEFA running it as a shoot through. Targets included the normal LEFA favourites of the bison and moving target, along with a couple of choose the target where you had a couple of 3d targets at slightly different angles and distances. This gave the archer the choice as to which to go for.
JT shooting our first target

JT shooting our first target

There were some nicely laid shoots, framed well between trees and using dead ground. It  was evident the course layers had worked hard on redesigning the course and it seemed to work well with few hold ups. You can read a previous shoot report here. Despite the easy flow, it was a tiring day as you were slipping and sliding in areas due to the mud, nowhere near as bad as Wolverine had been. I was very grateful that it didn’t rain as we would probably have joined that carpet of bluebells covering the forest floor.
View through the trees

View through the trees

Sadly my archery was not up to the mark and I don’t feel I did the course justice .
JT shooting

JT shooting

The lack of practice over the past few weeks showed as I struggled to hit anything. Amazing how a few weeks off shooting has such a negative effect for instinctive archers or at least it does for me.
Sharon shooting at LEFA

Sharon shooting at LEFA

Sharon shot well winning ladies AFB and congratulations to Jim on his placing.
Thanks for reading.

Shoot report – Severn Valley – April 2016

SVYF shoot 2016

SVYF shoot April 2016 – archers gathering

Normally I would give you a detailed description of how our NFAS shoot went at the weekend. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to be there for the entire day due to being called by the police to tell us we’d been broken into.
Those who follow the tumblr blog associated with off the arrow shelf will have seen some photos of the damage. Fortunately it was our garden shed which had been smashed into and ransacked and not our house.

Sadly this is the second time in 6 months and we think it’s probably the same thieves returning. We weren’t the only victims as it appears they worked along the backs of people’s gardens. So in total we’ve lost approximately  £600 worth of tools and a couple of hundred pounds in damages over the two incidents. Since excess on our insurance is £200 each time we are at a considerable loss.
There’s also the feeling of anger, frustration and fear of leaving the property and wondering what we might find on our return.

Bluebells in the wood

Bluebells in the wood

As for the shoot it seemed to go well with a mix of 3d and paper faces making up the  36 targets.
I don’t think there were any hold ups on the day but as I said I wasn’t there for much of it. I think there were around 170 archers with a dozen no shows, which was a real shame as I know we had a waiting list.

Cobra 3D target

Cobra 3D target

We were lucky with the weather, as it stayed dry and sunny for most of the day.

3D standing bear

3D standing bear

It was good to have the positive feedback as a large portion of the 36 target course had been set by archers new to setting up courses and it was good for them to gain both the experience and feedback.

3D bear target

3D bear target

Well done Marcus, Jamie and Andy for your first foray into course laying.

3D fox - this was set by Marcus and Jamie

3D fox – this was set by Marcus and Jamie

It was nice to chat with a few archers and to catch up with Patrick a coach who qualified at the same time as me. We had a chat about our experiences of coaching since qualifying along with developments we’d seen etc. Good to see you mate and glad you made the trip.
Anyway thanks for reading this very short write up.