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.

Shoot Report – Wolverine Archers – April 2016

Wolverine Archers - April 2016

Wolverine Archers – April 2016

Last Sunday morning we were packed and ready to head up the motorway to Wolverine Archers shoot, then I remembered. I hadn’t checked the cars tyre pressures and oil levels on Saturday. Oops. Never mind it was only a short delay and as it was we were still some of first archers to arrive. It was also dry and not  promising any rain! I think it is the first time we have shot at Wolverines ground and it’s not rained at some point during the day.
Having said that there was a little mud, well actually quite a lot, which made it interesting getting round parts of the hillside course and in some cases on to and off the parking area. There are times I am very glad we have am old Honda CRV.
The slipping and sliding did cause a number of people to lose their footing and unfortunately one archer was taken away in an ambulance have fallen badly on her side. Good news is she is okay, she does have bruising and fractured rib, but it could have been much worse. I will spare her any embarrassment by omitting her name  but we are all wishing you a speedy recovery. On this point I feel it should be said the ambulance personnel and the club members looked to deal with the situation really well.

Anyway onto the shoot report. I quickly identified  two objectives for the day. Firstly, not to fall and twist my ever troublesome left knee and secondary was to try and hit Kong with my first arrow, a goal I have had since I first shot at Wolverines ground so many years ago. More about Kong later.
Wolverine is always a popular shoot and Sunday was no different, with most pegs being full so over 150 archers in a variety of classes making the journey to just outside Stoke on Trent. If you are interested here is a link to an earlier shoot report from last year.

Sharon shooting a bedded 3d

Sharon shooting a bedded 3d deer

The 40 target course was a mix of 3d and paper faces and I think it is fair to say it was a challenging course especially some of the paper faces which had been set at their upper limits as far as distances were concerned.
We would be shooting with Sarah Bacon (ladies bowhunter) and Martyn Cotterell (gents unlimited) both of whom are excellent shots and from Woodend archery club.

Martyn and Sarah preparing to shoot paper face bear

Martyn and Sarah preparing to shoot paper face bear

My first 10 targets were a disaster with 3 blanks! My head was just not engaging and I was really struggling. I was either hitting with first arrow or missing with all three. It wasn’t until we were coming up to the lunchtime break my brain started to work.

downhill 3d deer

Downhill 3d deer

Due to the terrain Wolverine operate a lunch break from 12:30 to 1:15, though on this occasion it was extended due to the archer falling on her way back to the peg. I think partly due to the slippery conditions it was a slower shoot than normal as people traversed the hillside with care.

Sometimes a wooden arrow can match a sighted compound

Sometimes a wooden arrow can match a sighted compound

So on to the infamous Kong. Kong is Wolverines club signature shot and is a homemade 3D target standing over nine feet in height. Being that tall you would think it would be easy to hit, but it isn’t. The giant of a target is often set out in the open field, making it very hard to judge the distance and even harder for those who miss to find their arrows. Fortunately there are always a couple of marshals stationed nearby to help search for the wayward arrow or two. I think they enjoy watching the archers challenge themselves.
We’d got to the peg late afternoon and watched the two groups in front of us shoot Kong, with the marshals helping them search for arrows. Then it was our turn. Martyn went first and got a fantastic shot, straight in the red heart with  his first arrow, Sarah shot next and got it with her first arrow, this time on the shoulder.

You know it is a long shot when there is a significant delay from a compound arrow being released to you hearing it hit the target. Then it was the wooden arrow turn, being a gentleman I let my good lady go first. This resulted in me seeing Sharons’ first arrow sail through the air and hit it in the leg. So I was the last to go and everyone in group had hit Kong with their first arrow, add we now had two groups in  audience  waiting to shoot Kong after us, no pressure.

Kong - standing at the red peg, its a long way

Kong – standing at the red peg, its a long way

Well nothing ventured. nothing gained as they saw, so I went for it and  let lose watching the arrow fly. After what seemed like ages in flight I saw my arrow appear in Kongs chest. For the first time since going to Wolverine I’d hit it and not only that but it was a good solid hit. Walking up to collect the arrows Martyn stated he’d set his sights at 75 yards. That is actually closer than other  times it has been out at Wolverines grounds.

Kong - standing at over 9 feet tall

Kong – standing at over 9 feet tall

Sharon shot well winning ladies afb with a score that would have got her second in the gents class. Congrats to Martyn and Sarah who both won their respective classes too. Despite my terribly poor start I ended the day with 630 enough to get me a first in gents afb.
I must give top marks to the guys at Wolverine who made sure everyone got off the parking field at the end of the day. Not an easy task considering the condition parts of the field were in. I  know how hard they worked as we were the last non Wolverines members to leave. Nice work guys.
I think it might be a while before our boots manage to shed the mud though, but I did manage to get round without falling, though my knee is twinging a little after all the walking or should I say sliding.
Thanks for reading.

New Field Archery Clubs

Recently I was contacted by one of my followers, Alan Holland concerning a new archery club.
Alan along with some friends have set up a field archery club, the Bowmen Of Salcey based in the Milton Keynes and Northampton area of the UK. I’ve not had chance to visit yet but hope to do so soon.
Details of this club can be found on their website. http://bowmenofsalcey.webs.com/
Also Woodend Field Archers have recently been set up by Martin Cotterill in Nottinghamshire. Martin if you are reading this just mind your fingers, you know why 😉 As yet I don’t have a website. There first shoot is in a couple of weeks so good luck, wish I could make it.
Both clubs are NFAS registered and I’d like to wish them all the best of luck.
It’s really great to see new clubs appearing across the country promoting field archery and if you want to find out details of other clubs in your area have a look on the NFAS website. http://www.nfas.net/clubs.asp
Thanks for reading.