Course & target laying – A different kind of shot

A different kind of shot

A different kind of shot

At a recent shoot the club hosted I came up with the idea of a different kind of shot to the traditional one. The idea was to give them something a little different and give the archer a choice.

There would be 3 targets, not the customarily one, with each target being set up at varying distances ranging from 18 yards down  to 9 yards. On each target boss I placed the same target face a picture of an owl I had taken a few years back, but with one crucial difference. The nearest was A3 in size (A3 =  280mm × 420mm)  the middle A4 (A4 = 210mm × 280mm) and the furthest A5 (A5 =  140mm × 210mm).

A scoring line was drawn just inside the animal but I didn’t bother with any inner markings as all they had to do was be within the line. This is the image I used. I didn’t want to use a face that people had seen before.


Target face

Archers were told they were allowed only one arrow and had to choose which target they wanted to go for.

If they made the shot and hit within the line, they scored otherwise it would be a blank on their score card. They would not be allowed to shoot a second if they missed first time or third arrow if they missed on their second attempt.

The closest and largest target (A)would score them 16 points (the normal score for a first arrow outer or wound hit) the smallest (C) and furthest would score 24 points ( inner bull often described as either pro ring or inner kill) and the medium sized middle (B)  one 20 points (outer bull or outer kill).

Targets A & B were across clear ground allowing archers to judge the distance more easily, also target A & B had been positioned with little difference in the distance. This was deliberate as I wanted to encourage the slightly less confident archer to had a go and be rewarded with 20 points.   To make target C a little more challenging I tied some holly bush bows down a few feet in-front of the boss so it was harder to judge the distance.

Close up of Target C

Close up of Target C

All target bosses were covered in greenery to camouflage them.

So the archer could go for an easy 16 points or challenge themselves if they felt confident, it was their choice.

Archers reaction

It was interesting to observe the archers on the day trying to way up which to go for.

  • Many archers went for the easy 16 points, happy with just not blanking the target.
  • Many of the sighted archers went for the 24 thinking they had too to keep their score up, the result being some missed.
  • The remaining went for the 20 points (middle size target B).
  • The holly bush trick on Target C worked, as a few archers commented they thought it was closer or further than the target actually was.
  • Interestingly there  were those who said I’ll go for what they perceived as an easy shot. Either target A or B, only to miss  possibly due to lack of concentration?
  • Many archers selected their target, shooting it and because there wasn’t any queues of people waiting asked if it was okay to have a pop at the harder shot for fun.
  • Lastly I noticed lots of smiling faces and a few people have commented on it to be since the shoot.


As I said earlier the idea was to give them something a little different. This worked with a number of archers speaking to me afterwards about the shot and how they liked it. Importantly it didn’t slow the shoot down which had been a concern, in fact I would say the opposite as it was one of the quickest targets on the day with no waiting. People seemed to enjoy the difference.

One thing I would add is the importance of having clear instructions. For those interested these are the instructions we used to explain the shot to archers on the day. We laminated a couple of copies, attaching them to trees near the shooting peg for archers to read before taking the shot.

You only shoot 1 arrow.
No 2nd or 3rd arrows are shot.
If you hit anywhere within the scoring area of the animal you score points shown below otherwise you blank.
Choose target A, B or C.
If you hit your chosen target with your one arrow you score
16 points for hitting target A or blank if you miss.
20 points for hitting target B or blank if you miss.
24 points for hitting target C or blank if you miss.
No hit. No score.
No 2nd or 3rd arrows are shot.
Choose carefully and Good luck.

Future Posts

In the next few posts I will be looking at course laying and the factors as I see them that make a good shot and a great shot. Trying to give advice, thoughts and ideas. If you have any thoughts or comments please let me know.

As always thanks for reading.

Shoot Report – Thornbury July 2013

Before we start

Before we start

This was our first visit to Thornbury which is just over an hours drive from home. Their ground is a mix of deciduous woodland and rhododendron with the course being made up of 34 mixed targets (3D, 2D and paper faces), yes 34 not 36 or 40, as the wood is quite small. Having said that they make very good use of the grounds, and have constructed a number of tree stands or shooting platforms.
Britain has been enjoying somewhat of a heatwave over recent weeks and we wondered if we’d suffer in the heat so had packed lots of water but we found the woodland very cool and not as humid as our home ground of svyf.
Sharon in summer shoot mode

Sharon in summer shoot mode. Look warm weather, with Sharon not in waterproofs

This was no doubt helped by the organisers deciding to drain their pond due to the number of  insects and mosquitoes. Good call in many ways as the pond is right next to administration and catering and think we would have been eaten alive.
This was the first time we had shot in nearly 3 weeks (Hanson being the last time) and it showed, we were both very rusty. In fact I had hardly touched my bow other than to run a couple of coaching sessions the week before. Add to this, that part way round we discovered that Sharons’ arrow rest had broken, we weren’t doing well.
Thornbury was a small shoot by NFAS standard with just over 60 people, which made for a very relaxed and enjoyable day. With only 3-4 on a peg and no forced lunch break time as it was a shoot through, it meant the day flowed well with no hold ups. Our shooting group was made up of Sharon, myself and Pug from Druids club.
We had a great day, with warm but not hot weather and really good company on a challenging and enjoyable course.

Unlike other shoots Thornbury use a public car park at a local leisure centre with a short walk to the wood. This is worth mentioning as the walk is down a main road so please be careful if you attend one of their shoots as drivers by might get a little worried seeing people carrying bows or large knives down the road.

Shot settings were well thought out and there were some truly amazing settings. They really had put in a lot of work.
3D deer

3D deer shot, with you in a hollow shooting along ground

The grizzly bear 3D target looked tiny from on top of shooting stand, but was a reasonable distance just set to challenge.

3D Grizzly bear in the distance

3D Grizzly bear in the distance

In the UK we have foxes in both rural and urban settings, one target was of a fox 3D set to look as though it was rummaging in an overturned dustbin.
3D fox

3D fox at the dustbin

Another was a 3d boar where they had mocked up a pig pen round it with straw on floor.  Top marks guys.
I can not think of any target that was stretched for the distance with some very good use of dead ground.

Though one target was a real challenge which was a toy rubber bat suspended on an elastic line dangling in front of a painted moon. You would shoot it from about 8-9 yards. The only problem was if the breeze caught it, it would spin.

Spinning bat

Spinning bat

Catering was good, basic by some clubs standards but not over priced and filling. Organisation was good too with a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere.  I think something that helped was they cap shooting numbers at 80ish so they can leave a few empty pegs between groups. This cuts down queuing and hold ups making for a free flowing days shooting.
The grounds are a short walk down a public road from a public car park, so consider this when leaving the car park.

So how did we do? Okay, but not great.  Sharons rest breaking cost her first place and at least  40 points but she still managed 2nd. As for me, well no blanks but too many 2nd and 3rd arrows so only came away with a second place.
As always thanks for reading.