Sharon shooting 3D between the trees

Shoot report – Thornbury Archers – October 2018

Thornbury Archers October shoot

Thornbury Archers October shoot

So on a very foggy Sunday morning we would load up the car and head south on the motorway to just outside Bristol for the Thornbury archers NFAS shoot. Thornbury had wanted to start early, stating registration would close and they wanted to start by 9:30, so it was an earlier start for us being a little over an hour drive. I’m not sure exactly what time we did get started shooting in the end as it didn’t feel that much earlier than normal. Thankfully the fog quickly burnt off making the journey easier and leading to a lovely bright autumnal day.

Sharon shooting a 3D panther

Sharon shooting a 3D panther between the trees

This was the first shoot we would have done since the NFAS national championships in mid-September and only the third time I’d picked up a bow since, so there would be a few cobwebs to clear and muscles needing reminding of how to shoot. It was a good opportunity to catch up with people and a chance to have a chat with friends we hadn’t seen for a few weeks.

Jim shooting another 3D owl

Jim shooting another 3D owl in the early morning sunlight

The woods are a mix of deciduous trees with a few areas of dense undergrowth allowing for a few dark corners. The land is mostly flat, with only a few gullies and the famous Thornbury tower shot which this year would be at a 3D bear in the undergrowth. The set-up of the course was to be 40 targets, being a mix of 3d and paper faces.

There would be five of us in our shooting group, with Gail in ladies hunting tackle, Jim shooting trad bow hunter (both of whom we’d shot with at Druids earlier in the year) and Martin shooting in the primitive class, with a bow he had only finished making a couple of days earlier.

Martin shooting 3D wolf

Martin shooting 3D wolf

The course layers made some good use of dead ground and also were able to use a new part of woodland offering some lovely shots in the early morning sun and views of some ancient oaks.

One of the ancient oaks and cleverly set targets

One of the ancient oaks and cleverly set 3D targets

This meant there were several new shots as they had reworked areas of the woods completely from our last visit. You can read a shoot report of that visit here.

The day would flow well, with lots of conversations and jokes interrupted by the occasional shooting. This made for a very relaxing and enjoyable day. Top marks to the catering team too, who seemed well organised and had an ample supply of lemon drizzle cake.

Personally I think there were a couple of shots that were stretched, where maybe the red peg might have been better suite as a position for a wasp peg. They did use wasp pegs on some shots, which was nice to see. The two shots that I mean was one at a small squirrel on the wooden stump (One Two Tree) and a paper face caribou in the gully another.

squirrel 3D on the stump

squirrel 3D on the stump

To be fair to the course layers I did think they set some really nice shots, including one of the 3D owls. This target was set to appear as though it was sitting in a nest but was in fact on a post a few feet behind.

Martin shooting the owl 3D between the trees

Martin shooting the owl 3D between the trees

Close up of the owl between the trees

Close up of the owl between the trees

I feel the only negative of the day was the number of arrows Sharon broke, 5 in total with a couple being due to the metal hoop pins used to secure the 3D targets. She had one hit the pin and glance off and another on the same target hit the 3D and penetrate the foam hitting the securing pin. I did mention this to one of the marshals, suggesting in future they might want to reconsider using the metal pins replacing them with wood dowels as it would be kinder on any arrows. Other than the fatalities to the arrows it was a really enjoyable day.

Sharon shooting the paper face tiger on the hillside

Sharon shooting the paper face tiger on the hillside

I’ve always liked Thornbury as on previous occasions they have always had a couple of nicely set targets, normally a fox 3D set to appear to be going through a dustbin. Whilst they didn’t have this shot this year, they did have some very nice shots. Our last being one, a paper face Tiger on a hillside is well worth mentioning as it looked great.

close up view of the tiger face on the hillside

close up view of the tiger face on the hillside

So after a fun day of shooting, we came away with a gold for Sharon in ladies AFB and I secured a silver, missing out on gold by 2 points.

Thanks for reading.

Sharon on the ermin shot

Shoot report – Centaura bowmen – September 2018

Centaura Bowmen shot

Centaura Bowmen shot

Centaura Bowmen’s ground is over an hour drive from home on a good day, so it would be an early start for us to make sure we got there in good time. It is a ground we know quite well, situated outside Derby. For those interested you can read a previous shoot report here.

As it was it would be a warm and pleasant early autumn day, with great company as we were joined by the recently married Mr and Mrs Hands, shooting traditional bowhunter and bowhunter respectively. Congratulations to you both again, it was a great wedding.

Shooting group of Roger, Julie and Sharon

Shooting group of Roger, Julie and Sharon

Since our last visit to their grounds Centaura course layers had worked hard on resetting sections of the course, not easy in the confined space they have to work in. There were a few familiar shots for those that had visited before, such as their very short shot on the weasel. Overall I feel the hard work paid off and the changes worked pretty well, though maybe a few more arrows or red and white tape to clearly mark the new routes would have helped, as in a couple of places people tended to revert to old known routes, which now were defunct.

Mrs Hands shooting paper face

Mrs Hands shooting paper face

The course itself consisted of a 36 target course comprising a mix of paper faces and 3d targets. Many of the paper faces are custom faces produced in house. These have generous lines but some were a bit small for the distances they were set and not that clear to make out, like the chicken, yes chicken target. This was a light brown bird on a brown grass background. Another that sparked debate as it wasn’t that clear was the black badger on a black background, on a black boss.

Mrs Hands shooting

Mrs Hands shooting

There were a couple of predator prey shots would allow you to boast your scores if you were lucky enough to get the predator with the first arrow.

Roger aka Mr Hands shooting a paper face wolf

Roger aka Mr Hands shooting a paper face wolf

As I have said in previous shoot reports Centaura operate a lunch break as otherwise due to the route round the wood you would only pass catering once in the day. On this occasion they set a lunch hour break from 12:30 to 1:30. Maybe this was a bit too long but, it allowed archers to get back to the muster point and grab some food without having to have to then rush back out for the restart. This made for a more relaxing lunch break allowing archers to chat over a coffee and sandwich.

One thing I think the organisers do need to do is marshal the lunch break stop carefully. At 12:25 they sound a horn to inform archers to finish shooting the target they are on. Archers were instructed at muster not to start walking off course until the second horn sounded at 12:30. This was to ensure archers could walk safely off the course. Unfortunately not all archers followed these instructions, meaning some started walking off at 12:25, worse still some took short cuts across the course using old paths. I know I stopped one group who were walking off early.

Sharon shooting 3D panther

Sharon shooting 3D panther

As is pretty normal for Centaura the shoot was well attended with over 100 archers. The reworked course flowed well with no obvious hold ups though it was a little slower in the afternoon, possibly because it was post lunch or because we entered the area of the course which had quite a few smaller faces.

We, along with many other groups had shot 20 targets of the 36 target course by lunch break.

Despite being so well attended or maybe a testimony to good organisation involved, it was an early end with us leaving by 4:30 pm after all the prizes and raffles had been awarded.

Sharon shot well winning ladies American Flat bow and I managed to place first in gents flat bow too.

Thanks for reading.

3D target set up for shoot off

Shoot Report – 3DA Tophat Classic

Archery 3DA series

Archery 3DA series

The other weekend Sharon and I had the opportunity to shoot a different style of archery competition to the normal NFAS shoots we attend. We shot a couple of the rounds of the 3DAs, being hosted at Long Eatons grounds. You can find the full details of the 3DA tournaments on their website https://www.3darchery.co.uk/
So for us it would have a different scoring system, a different atmosphere to the an NFAS shoot, a different structure, and format with less targets and only one arrow per target, but and probably the most important thing was it was still fun.
This 2 day competition saw archers from across the country shoot 2 courses, one each day each comprising of 20 targets. These rounds would be the Unknown and Known distances (UDC and KDC for short), one being shot in the morning the other the afternoon
We would only shoot the morning on both days, which was the unmarked course. The series is open to amateurs and professional archers, with two different courses, one shot on Saturday and one Sunday.
Sharon shooting on Saturday

Sharon shooting on Saturday at 3D leopard

The format is different to the NFAS in you only shoot one arrow per target, which means you need to focus far more. It does get a little annoying when you miss a shot you’d normally get, but those are the breaks. In the morning the course is UDC, where you can use binoculars to identify your target, but no range finders. In the afternoon you shoot the same course but can use range finders as the afternoon would be the known distances competition KDC.
The course layout is a bit different too, with all targets being walk backs. Rather than trying to give a long explanation here, I’m just going to post a link to their site that explains it far better, including diagrams of how the different layouts work. (https://www.3darchery.co.uk/sample-range-layouts) I have to say I was a bit sceptical as to how well it might work initially.
Due to the set up of the course, one of the safety rules is you can can’t collect if group to the side is shooting. This may sound a bit strange, but when you remember that archers to your side might be shooting at 50 yards and you are at 30 yards so in front of them it makes sense. As I said have a look at the link above and you’ll understand the rational. I was concerned that this waiting round might slow the day down, but to be honest it didn’t, with us finish on both days just after a couple of hours.
 Archers were given 3 1/2 hours to shoot your 20 targets, which was ample time as there weren’t as many people as at an  NFAS shoot being a little over 40 competing and I think about a dozen non comps like ourselves.
Example of shot

Example of shot at a 3D coyote, you can see coloured pegs.

Shooting Pegs

The distances are set by the style you are shooting from 50 yards for the compounds down to 30 yard max for the traditional. This meant no target was over 30 yards from the yellow peg, but those targets could range in size from a 3D Bear to a 3D coyote.
3D bat target

3D bat target

One of the nice shot worthy of mentioning was on the Sunday and was a 3D bat hung upside down from a tree. I feel there is some something to remember with this form of competition, that though targets are set at a maximum of 30 yards, those targets can range in size. This can really throw you at times as you see a large boar and you expect it to be further than it is.
Sharon shooting 3D

Sharon shooting 3D

The style of bow you shoot denotes which shooting peg of which there were 3 you shoot from, the numbered peg being the furthest peg for the sighted compounds, then the red peg and finally the yellow being the closest.
Since we were shooting traditional bows, with wooden arrows we’d be shooting off the yellow peg.
Archers on peg on Sunday

Archers on peg on Sunday

Points and scoring zones.

Scoring is also different different to the NFAS , with scoring zones ranging from 5 points  to 12 points (14 points if you feel confident and name a target zone)
Hit on the target not within the kill zone scores 5 points, 8 , 10 for the inner kill and 12 for what I would call the pro ring
One interesting thing I noticed was the use of binoculars. Okay, so I know I am likely to be hated by some NFAS archers out there but I will say that despite several archers using them, the very use of of binoculars did not slow the day day down and in fact I think they helped. There were a couple of shots where using them helped work out what the target was, since there were some 3Ds I hadn’t seen before and so in turn identify where to aim. People weren’t spending ages looking through them on the peg which is often said. Most of the time it is a quick 5-10 seconds to focus in and that is it. Like the photo below shows, it is more often the group that are using them than the archer on the peg.
Can you see it?

Can you see it?

I wasn’t shooting well having strained my back gardening the previous weekend, removing any chance of practise prior to the event. I was also trying out some new arrows with the Gateway batwing feather fletching cut which I am going to write a review of when I get the chance and experimented more..
Archers massing for the start on Saturday

Archers massing for the start on Saturday

On the first day we shot with David, but shot on our own on the Sunday. One thing I really liked was the chronograph station on the course, where archers had to have their bow speeds checked. Maybe there is something that the NFAS could learn from that.
Sunday would also see a very early start with us having to be on site and ready to start by 8 am, so didn’t get chance to get on the practise range to warm up. Both days were pretty warm and dry with the sun coming out on the Sunday afternoon resulting in the final shoot offs being under a baking sun.
I have to say I was slightly annoyed that I missed some shots that I really shouldn’t, missing one on saturday and 2 sunday. Still managed 138 on Saturday and 137 Sunday.
I think my best shot of the weekend was hitting the standing bear between the trees on Saturday.
3D bear between the trees from compound peg

3D bear between the trees from compound peg

3D bear shoot after zooming in a little

3D bear shoot after zooming in a little

I think there were times when I got the feeling of being a bit of an arms race with the latest equipment, binos, accurate range finders etc. but at the end of the day the latest equipment might help but it is still down to the skill of the archer.
Some have commented on it being expensive to enter and yes I guess it is if you compare to how very cheap it is to shoot at the NFAS competitions.
Overall we enjoyed ourselves and had a laugh, the shoot off on the Sunday between the top shots was quite fun to watch too. You can find a full breakdown of the scores here (https://www.3darchery.co.uk/2018-results) For those curious yes I’d be tempted to give it another go next year.
Thanks for reading.