Summer archery and a darker side too

Summer is a great time for archery, lots of outdoor shoots, weekends away for two day competitions and lots more. I love 2 day competitions, camping for a few days and conversations into the night round the campfire.

Children have long holidays away from school with lots to do.
Sadly there is a flip side to this for some.
Not everyone is willing to undertake fun activities that aren’t detrimental to others.
There is an old saying “the devil makes work for ideal hands
With the start of holidays many archery clubs see a rise in thefts and vandalism.
Just last week we found signs of illegal camping and abandoned campire, with exploded gas canisters.

Sadly we also had a couple of target bosses vandalised with the banding cut in several places and foam ripped out.

This is quite minor compared to other clubs experiences but is still demoralising and repairing costs time and money.

So what can we do?

  • We can all keep an eye out for suspicious characters at our clubs or woods.
  • Cultivate links with other local clubs and groups, so you can share news and alerts.
  • We can be careful how we promote the clubs locations on public websites.
  • Securing the huts, sheds etc seems like common sense, but having been a victim of thieves I know that simply putting a lock on the door is not always enough. When we were last broken into they got past the lock and quality padlock by forcing panels out of the door.
  • Think about marking your equipment with club name, or branding the 3Ds with club name is something I know a few clubs have done. You could invest in smart water option too for the more expensive items.
  • If we see deals that appear too good to be true on sites like eBay or offered locally, be suspicious.
  • I know some clubs have invested in security systems, whether these be alarms or cameras. Inexpensive trail cameras, the sort used for wildlife monitoring can prove an effective way of monitoring who actually visits your woodland. If you do use these, I think you have to post signs stating CCTV is in use, but not all clubs are allowed to dependent on who else uses site.
If you have any other suggestions why not share them.
Here’s hoping everyone has a great summer of shooting.
Thanks for reading.

Literature Review – My Outdoor Life by Ray Mears

Ray Mears - My Outdoor Life

Ray Mears – My Outdoor Life

As many of you will know I normally write reviews of archery related books, but this was a birthday gift and since Ray Mears is well known for being an outdoors enthusiast I thought I would include his book here. Some of you the UK readers may have caught his recent TV series exploring France’s wilder parts. Anyway I hope no one objects to me including it here.
The copy of the book I have is over 350 pages, a paperback published by Hodder & Stoughton (www.hodder.co.uk) for those interested the ISBN 978-1-444-77821-2
It covers his life from early childhood and the development of his desire to learn about woodland skills, to his involvement with television and his numerous expeditions taking him to the four corners of the globe. I wonder how many passports he’s gone through in his time?
Included in the book is his account of a helicopter crash that nearly cost his life along with members of his film crew. I can’t help but think how lucky they were to survive.
This wasn’t the first book by him I’ve read, that being The Real Heroes of Telemark, which if you have a chance I would highly recommend.
I found this book a very easy and engaging read, written in a manner that encourages you to imagine him talking to you, possibly reminiscing on past adventures and trips, over a shared campfire. I feel it gives a far greater insight into the man who many will know from his television series or bushcraft books. It goes some way to exploring what has shaped his life, from early judo lessons, on to the expeditions in Africa, all providing a greater level of detail than I was expecting. It is a very brave person who can open themselves up and discuss their feelings and beliefs in this way, being both honest and open, whilst not fishing for compliments or favour. I feel this is very apparent where he writes of the loss of his first wife and the turmoil that engulfed him.

Ray Mears inside the book

Ray Mears inside the book

One thing I found of interest was his analysis of how TV documentary makers have changed from when he started and now. How they afford less time to expeditions, expecting filming to be completed in far less time than in the past. Maybe this explains why some modern documentaries feel as though they are lacking in depth. Could this be a reflection of the speed we now are forced to live our lives at. Expecting fast facts and data?
Overall I’ve enjoyed the book and have little doubt that I won’t reread it from time to time.
To give it a rating almost feels wrong as though rating the man and his achievements which I am sure are not yet ended. In fact he has just completed a new series on UK television. For that very reason I’m going to give a 9/10 as I’m sure he’s got more stories and adventures to come.
Thanks for reading