Bear target face

Equipment review – phoenix archery target faces

 

Bear target face in the woods

Bear target face in the woods

Those of you who shot the NFAS National Championships this year might have already seen some new target faces produced by Phoenix Archery (https://phoenix-archery.co.uk/). Well thanks to the generosity of Mark at Phoenix Archery we have been able to enjoy using a couple of his new range of target faces down at the Briar Rose club course.

The first thing I have to say is that the few faces I have seen do look good, with much more definition than I’ve seen in other faces. They are high definition faces are printed on a plastic fabric rather than the normal paper, making them more water resistant and potentially ideal for the approaching winter months.

Generally the wound lines are pretty generous following the main outline of the animal, though a few of the inner kills are a little small, but not that bad. The reason I mention this is if you have a lot of very accurate archers in the club shooting, maybe compound sighted or crossbow archers. Then it is likely they will shoot out the centre on smaller target faces.

close up of the MeerKat target

Not all the faces are life size and I think this is probably my only gripe. I’m not a big fan of shooting target faces that are half or two thirds size of the real animal.

I think a development that Mark might like to consider is producing these faces on paper rather than plastic as it might reduce the cost and may work better for the smaller faces where the scoring zone could get shot out quickly.

Meerkat target on the boss

Meerkat target on the boss

So how did they get on with being shot? From testing of the faces I have found a few things

  1. They last well in bad weather with no signs of shrinking or warping in the wet.
  2. The faces we’ve had have been out on the course for several weeks and show no signs of fading. Neither has been in direct sunlight but the bear has been in a sunny spot.
  3. It’s worth using a few more target pegs when securing them to the bosses to keep the faces taught.
  4. Wear and tear wise they are pretty good and stand up to arrow damage, the only thing you have to be careful of is drawing the arrows. Carbon and alleys tend to be ok, but we’ve noticed that wooden arrow piles can snag on the fabric when drawing. To be fair Mark mentioned this to us when he gave them to us.

Unlike hessian targets the fabric weave doesn’t close up after the arrows are drawn so you are left with a hole.

Bear target face - close up

Bear target face – close up

Overall I think they can work pretty well especially if you looking for an all-weather target face suitable for leaving out over the winter months where paper faces would simply turn to mush. If you have a few good archers the 24 might get shot out pretty quickly but they will still look cool.

I’m not sure when Mark at Phoenix is going to post the prices details on the website for the full range, but there are some up there, so drop him a line.

Once again, we’d like to express our thanks to Mark for his generous donation to the club of the face.

Thanks for reading.

Finished arrows in the sun

Equipment Review – Goblin Snot Paint

Goblin Snot paints

Goblin Snot paints

Okay, so this is not one of the most pleasant sounding products I have encountered, but if you can look past the name you can have pretty decent paint.
Lee Ankers of Heritage Longbows was kind enough to provide me with same sample colours (pink, white, orange and purple) to try out. There are obviously other colours but these would prove to provide a good selection as it offered both light colours and darker shades. If you check out their website for full colour list of what is available. (https://www.heritagelongbows.com/).
Before I applied them to the shafts that would become arrows I tried the paints out on some off cuts to get used to applicator and how many coats might be needed.
Samples after one coat

Samples after one coat

I did have a play at applying the paint to a pre varnished shaft, which worked petty well giving an even coat but it didn’t seem to adhere as well. I did find if I then applied a couple of coats of clear varnish over the top it did protect the paint.
I applied the paints to the bare wooden Port Orford Cedar shafts, after giving them a quick sand to remove any dust of rough patches.
First stage - orange being applied

First stage – orange being applied

Since Sharon wanted two contrasting colours on her arrows, I used masking tape to avoid me covering areas I wanted to cover in a different colour and to form an edge.
Second stage with the pink being applied

Second stage with the pink being applied

Firstly I have to admit I really like the purple. I’ve never been a huge fan of the colour in the past, but it works well for contrast. I’ve made up a few arrows with purple cresting and bright yellow fletchings and they work really well, as the contrast means you can see the arrows in flight and stand out in a number of target faces really well.
Bit dark, but purple shaft with bat wing fletching

Bit dark, but purple shaft with bat wing fletching

The orange and purple go on very easily and after a couple of coats, you can a good deep colour and covering. The white and pink need a little more work, taking three to four coats to get a consistent covering, which is expected really as being a lighter colour.
I’ve included a few photos of the arrows I made up for Sharon with the pink and orange as these happen to be matching to her fletching colours. The orange had two coats and the pink three or four.
I left the paint to dry for a couple of hours between coats, giving a very light sanding to ensure a clean smooth surface for each of the coats.
The paint goes on easily enough, once you get the hang of using the applicator, which has a sponge on the top of the bottle.
One tip is not to squeeze the bottle to much as you’ll end up with loads coming out. (Yes, this happened to me and fortunately I had put some old newspaper down just in case as I have been know to make a slight mess).
I’ve varnished with a clear acrylic varnish from a local model / hobby craft store.
Close up of a couple of finished arrows

Close up of a couple of finished arrows

Another tip would be to take your time when applying to make sure you have an even application.
Finished arrows in the sun

Finished arrows in the sun

Overall I think they work pretty well, being easy to apply and drying evenly.
Thanks for reading.
First Aid Kit

Carry a simple first aid kit

It is the time of year when the days have been getting longer and we are out more often. Some will be out on two day shoots, camping in some beautiful British countryside, or maybe course laying in readiness for the shoot.  The downside of the warmer days is it results in me having to start taking antihistamine tablets due to slight hay fever and possibility of insect bites.
I’m pretty lucky, as I’ve been bitten or stung by most things including a swarm of angry bees one time when we disturbed a nest putting in a new target. The only bug that tends to result in a very bad reaction are horse fly bites and those I really react badly too. You can see below how my hand swelled up after a few hours, following one. Luckily I got my wedding ring off before the fingers swelled up too much or I might have had to have it cut off. (The ring not the finger)
horsefly bite

horsefly bite = very swollen hand

It is also when I go through the first aid kit on my quiver belt to check things are still in date. I do it every year and whether camping, skiing, hiking or enjoying field archery I always carry a simple first aid kit, either in my backpack, day sack or on my quiver belt. It doesn’t take up much space and weighs nearly nothing.
Top tip – put everything contained within the kit into waterproof zip bags. It keeps the kit together and more importantly dry.
The kit is pretty basic, the sort you can pick up from most outdoor stores with a few extra items, I’ve added  like antiseptic wipes, spare micropore tape, antihistamine cream, dehydration sachets etc. I’ve also added in a tick removing tool, as the numbers of ticks seem to be on the increase and we as field archers tend to frequent areas infested with the little things.
When asked why I bother carrying one as the organisers are bound to have something I tend to reply saying “It’s one of those things you hope to never have to use but am glad to carry”.
Thanks for reading.