It had been a while since I had shot at an archery club ground that was comprised of such a lovely wood or such testing terrain.
The Hawk Archers wood is situated in the welsh hills and is a lovely mixed broad leaf woodland. That is when you find it, as finding the grounds is the first challenge because it is tucked away down narrow country lanes and then over a mile down a farm track. Once there the views are wonderful.
This was the third day in a row I’d shot and though the shoulder is recovering I think I was asking a bit much especially with the number of second or third arrows I was having to take.
Due to the nature of the geography I think navigating the course would be very difficult in bad (read wet) weather or even for parking as I can imagine the field being a bit of a quagmire. Having said that we were lucky as it had been dry for several days before and on the day. In fact the previous week had seen warm sunny days but the welsh hills that morning were a little chilly initially.
This was a small shoot compared with many other NFAS outings with only 50 competitors of mixed classes from homemade bows to the latest compounds.
Like many other courses this was to be a 36 mix 3d and paper with a couple of predator prey and nominate shots.
First Target – 3D wolf in the distance
We started on peg 31 – a long uphill wolf and yes it was as long as it looked. The group was Sharon, myself and Dylan who we had shot with previously (about 5 years ago), though he was now shooting bare bow.
First Target – some how I managed to hit it with first arrow
To say the course was challenging would be an understatement! We had been warned that the course would be difficult and targets might be stretched, but had gone with an open mind (and lots of arrows)
Sharon shooting at Hawk Archers
The course layers made very good use of the terrain with very few flat shots and lots of use of dead ground. When you combine the distance of the shots, with the geography or elevation of shots and size of the targets I personally think it was too hard. I felt a number of shots were stretched 5-10 yards further than needed.
3D mountain lion on a log
Reducing the distance by a little to the targets I think would have made a significant difference. and you would still have had a challenging shot. In all I blanked 3 targets and had way too many 2 or 3 arrows scoring just over 500.
Would I go back? I loved the woods and the club is very friendly.The only thing that puts me off is the difficulty of the course.
Don’t get me wrong I enjoy a challenging shoot and like the occasional long shot, but good archers win from the red peg, average archers hit sometimes from the red normally from white and the blue is the last chance for an adult to hit. So when the difference in the distance between pegs is only a few feet on a 35-40 yards shot its not very forgiving. Also white pegs are junior pegs as are blue so making them long is not fair on youngsters who have lighter poundage bows.
Sorry this has turned into a bit of a moan and dig at Hawk club, in fairness Hawk aren’t the only club that does this. I’ve seen this issue of stretching targets at a few clubs.
Maybe next time if I go, I’ll have a better idea of what to expect and what the course is likely to be like. The sad thing is that I know some people will have been put off returning because of their experiences which is a real shame as it was a lovely wood and it was a very relaxing shoot partly due to the low numbers and fantastic scenery. I know quite a few people were first time visitors to the wood as it was being talked about in the car park and over the pre shoot bacon butties. I do wonder how many might not return?
As always thanks for reading.