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 – Long Eaton Field Archers – October 2015

Long Eaton making announcements at the start

Long Eaton making announcements at the start

The early mist of the October morning soon gave way to a bright sunny day, giving dappled sunlight on many of the 3d targets at Long Eatons ground. If you are interested you can read an earlier shoot report here, along with a listing of all shoot reports being available on where the Arrow lands page.
The course this time would be 36 targets all 3D, including predator prey and a moving target.

First target

First target

Sharon and I were joined by two Paget de Vasey archers Craig and Breanna Smith, both shooting hunting tackle. As we shot round I discovered Rianna follows the Off the Arrow shelf tumblr blog. Small world this archery community is.

Long deer target in the sun light

Long deer target in the sun light

The early morning low sun made shooting the big 3d Bison very difficult with the sun directly behind the target. There was quite a bit of discussion as to the distance and I think it was around 68 yards. I managed a very lucky lower leg hit with my first arrow, far more luck than skill.

Long bison in the sun seen from the red peg

Long bison in the sun seen from the red peg

Unlike previous times we had shot LEFA , they organsied the day as a shoot through, rather than everyone stopping for a hour for lunch. I think this worked well and we flowed round the course easily all day. In fact, I don’t think we saw the group in front or behind most of the day. The result of this was, at times we thought we were the only ones in the woodland. This made for quite a relaxing shoot, surprising when you think there were over 120 archers present.

Lion on the log

Lion on the log

I think LEFA must have bought a job lot of small 3d targets as there were a number of them, including a flock of magpies and small birds. Whilst there were many well laid shots, there was one target I think could have been improved. This was a small 3d hedgehog. The shooting pegs were situated in a hole and you were just over eye line to the ground, if like me you are 5ft 8 inches. The issue was you had to shoot over a low log. Anyone 5ft 4 or shorter struggled especially if they were shooting flat trajectory bows like a compound.

I’m not a huge fan of small 3d targets as I’m not convinced they are worth the money. The other thing I have found is if the 3d is soft then it gets shot out quickly, if its hard then due to the small size and shape they tend to result in glance offs if not hit straight on. This might be a personal thing, but if I was putting out a small target I’m more likely to use a paper face.

LEFA set some excellent shots like the large stag in the woods, along with the puma on the horizontal log.

Long 3D stag in the woods

Long 3D stag in the woods

Turkey shoot through an avenue to trees.

3D turkey

3D turkey

One highly unusual target was the running deer, which from a distance looked like it was flying.

The flying deer

The flying deer

There were also a few targets set at an angle making it harder to judge and hit.

Predator / Prey shot from the red peg

Predator / Prey shot from the red peg

Predator / Prey shot up close

Predator / Prey shot up close

It was good to meet up with Steven Tomkins, who I’d been chatting with online about Prokill24 all weather targets. I’d seen the targets at the national championships and there had been some posts on the various forums about them. Steven took the time to have a chat about their design and production. I hope to do a write up on there target faces in the next few months after I’ve tested them out, so watch this space.

Example of the Prokill target face on the practice bosses

Example of the Prokill target face on the practice bosses

I didn’t shoot well largely due to my shoulder playing up following a couple of hours of heavy gardening on Saturday using the petrol engined strimmer. Should have known better, really. Sharon was successful in winning not only the ladies Hunting Tackle but also the ladies handicap trophy. Congrats to Rianna also who was placed in Hunting Tackle.
Thanks for reading.

Course and Target Laying – A clear picture

So in the last post on course laying ideas I made reference to distances addressing a few things to possibly consider. In this post I’m going to look at target size and choice. I know in some societies they always shoot circular targets of varying sizes and over marked distances.

In the NFAS we shoot printed animal shapes and pictures, with marked scoring zones or 3D targets. Both over unmarked distances, so this is what I will cover in this post.

So it might seem obvious. Large target is easy to hit, right? Well maybe not, so lets see if I can debunk a couple of myths concerning target faces.

Myth number one – A large picture = large target

Not always, so to start here is a word of warning on target faces and face selection. Just because it is a large printed sheet of paper doesn’t mean the target is large or scoring zone is equally large. There are a few targets where the picture is large but the target animal itself in the picture or scoring zones in the animal aren’t. A good example of this is shown below and is what I tend to call the rhododendron deer because of the bush shown in the background.

Deer

Deer

The target face is quite large but the first thing to note is the animal is not that large on the face, secondly the scoring lines are some distance in from edge of the animal. This wolf image is another example.

Wolf picture

Wolf picture

Myth two –  all targets have the same scoring zones.

There are probably thousands of different target faces out there (Merlin  JVD Delta Maple leaf etc) and hundreds of 3d targets. Here are a few Pheasant images

Delta Pheasant

Delta Pheasant

JVD Pheasant

JVD Pheasant

Mapleleaf Pheasant

Mapleleaf Pheasant

You can have a dozen images of deer or rams and each has slightly different scoring zones, some following the line of the animal others have the scoring line much further in making the face look larger while in fact it’s not. So you might like to consider this when setting up the target and selecting a suitable target face. If you want to make a shoot easier choose targets with larger scoring zones.
3Ds are the same with each manufacturer being slightly different and if they have been repaired by the club then chances are the scoring zones maybe different.

Simple Plea

Please, please, please don’t repeat target faces on a course. There is no need on a 36 / 40 shot course to repeat any target face or 3D.
There is nothing more depressing than walking up to a shot and going oh it’s 16 yards so must be a racoon!
I’ve shot courses where in 36 targets there were multiple repeated target faces of raccoon (3) deer (twice) ground squirrel (2-3). It reflects badly on the club and can spoil the day.

Size of target face or 3D

Well this is kind of obvious or is it? You don’t put a small target at long distance as you’ll be accused of stretching shots or being in the target preservation club.
But put a large face at comparatively short distance can confuse people as they look for the trick. Others will relax and not concentrate and end up with a 16 rather than the 20 they were expecting or even worse having to take a second arrow. We saw this with our last shoot where we put a multiple shot in (see posting). Another example is the old Rhino shot shown below.

Our Target 4 Paper face Rhino

Our Target 4 Paper face Rhino

This rhino paper face is just about 34 yards away from the first shooting peg for an adult, well within the normal distance you see it at. Yet many misjudged it on our recent shoot.

Merlin Rhino

Merlin Rhino

Possibly because they were expecting it to be further than it was.

Managing faces on the day

When replacing a target face because its shot out make sure you position the replacement face exactly where the old one was so all archers are shooting the same distance or height. (I’ll do a later post on how many faces you might need for a shoot, and preparation and mounting them)

Useful tip – There are a few target faces which have great ground cover or settings. The JVD boar is one that works well if there is leaf cover on the ground as it merges with the target.

JVD Boar

JVD Boar

You can see how good it looks from the red peg.

First view from Red peg

First view from Red peg

Targets at an angle

There have been a few shoots recently where targets whether paper or 3D have been angled.
The result of this is it reduces the scoring area but it tends to increase the damage to both 3Ds and bosses as the foam is torn or ripped.
I’m not a fan of putting 3Ds at an angle promote tearing of 3d as arrows glance off.

Sharons arrow

Sharons arrow is the top one.

In my view Small 3Ds are not always worth while as they have a smaller area so hits are concentrated into one area. I know some manufacturers are looking at this. See the long life targets link a friend posted a while back.

If you find this useful or have any questions then please contact me.
As always thanks for reading.